AMD Ryzen Threadripper Delidding Reveals Multi-Die Mystery Of EPYC Proportions

AMD has been doing very well with its new line of Ryzen processors, gamers and enthusiasts are excited about the brand again. In fact, PC fans are happy enough with Ryzen right now that much of the growth AMD posted in its recent financials was laid squarely at the feet of the Ryzen and Radeon GPU growth. The next big thing that AMD has for fans to enjoy is the Ryzen Threadripper processors, which notably come in some of the flashiest retail packaging we've ever seen.

If you follow Threadripper, you might know that a mystery has been swirling this week after an overclocker called der8auer decided to pull back the curtain and see what the great and powerful AMD had put under the massive Threadripper heat spreader, and what he found was a surprise to us all. As you can see in the image here from der8auer, with the lid off Threadripper appears to have four dies that many presumed to be 8-cores each. We know that only 16-cores are active on the Ryzen Threadripper 1950x that you see sans heat spreader.

delidded threadripper

Early on some thought that packing four dies into Threadripper, but only activating two of them for 16-cores, had something to do with AMD's economies of scale. That really didn't make a lot of sense though. Some might have thought that perhaps the chip started life aiming to be a 32-core Naples [EPYC] and AMD found too many of the cores to be non-functional and turned it into a 16-core offering to move the parts.

While we don't know what the deal is for sure, PC World claims that it has solved the mystery. The publication cites sources who wanted to remain anonymous as saying that two of what appear to be chips under the lid of Threadripper are actually only spacers. Those spacers are there to help maintain the integrity of that massive heat spreader lid. This does contradict what der8auer claims AMD "confirmed" to him that only two of the "dies" were active. 

Original delidding video was taken down by AMD for some reason...

With two contradictory claims floating around, we'll have to wait on official confirmation from AMD on what's truly going on with Threadripper. What we do know is that unlike Intel, AMD uses multiple chips to create its Ryzen parts and that they are connected with high-speed Infinity Fabric. This is the same basic layout that AMD uses with its EPYC chips for enterprise use. Intel prefers to use a single monolithic die for its chips. Some of Intel's building practices on its newer processors are literally catching heat from enthusiasts for using thermal paste for dies rather than solder.

This Threadripper delidding process did confirm that AMD uses indium solder for its dies and has gold-plated the back of the heatspreader for proper thermal cycling. No matter how AMD laid out the Ryzen processor, it is helping the chipmaker to take the fight back to Intel after many years of a rather one sided enthusiast and performance chip market. AMD's EPYC processors are aiming to do the same thing in the enterprise world, you can check out all the details of the AMD EPYC 7000 series processor for more information.