AMD's AGESA Update Fixes Ryzen 7000X3D Voltage Issue But There's A Side Effect

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If you follow tech news at all, you're almost certainly already aware of the much-publicized issue where certain AMD motherboards, when configured a certain way, can very literally cause the Socket AM5 CPU to explode, destroying the CPU and possibly damaging the motherboard, too. AMD's already issued a new AGESA firmware to resolve this issue, but it does so by limiting the maximum SoC voltage value, and that has other consequences.

Specifically, the new firmware has worse memory compatibility than the previous version. The latest AGESA revision is numbered, but on version it was possible to run four 48GB DDR5 modules at up to 6000 MT/s—AMD's own stated "sweet spot" for Socket AM5 systems.

If you're out of the loop, memory speed has a large effect on general performance on Ryzen systems because the transfer rate of the processor's fabric connecting its components is tied to the memory speed. Because of that, it's very important to run the highest memory speed you can manage, which is usually around 6000 MT/s for Socket AM5 parts.

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Using the new firmware, folks that have stacked on four memory modules are not likely to be able to overclock them as far. A reliable source with a funny name—regular leaker chi11eddog (@g01d3nm4ng0 on Twitter)—reports that his own sources are unable to exceed 4400 MT/s with four DIMMs installed on the latest firmware.

To be fair, most motherboards don't guarantee anything more than that, and using an SoC voltage higher than 1.3v does risk damaging or degrading your CPU over time. Furthermore, it's possible (on some motherboards) to decouple the fabric clock from the memory controller speed at the cost of some memory access latency; this earns you extra multi-core performance, and the latency difference is likely to be negligible on X3D CPUs.

For most users, particularly most gamers who will probably only have two memory modules installed anyway, the new firmware offers some peace of mind that it will prevent your processor from dying an early death due to overly-aggressive motherboard overclocking profiles. With that in mind, we do continue to recommend that everyone grab the latest firmware for their Socket AM5 rig—just be advised of the potential downsides.