Bug In ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte And MSI Utilities Can Instantly Kill An OC'd Ryzen CPU
When the Ryzen 7 5800X3D came out and allowed AMD users to instantly upgrade an aging AM4 machine with a CPU competitive against Intel's latest and greatest, a whole lot of people snatched them up, including your author here. It's a great CPU for PC gamers, with enough cores to handle background tasks while gaming, and enough cache to allow the Zen 3 architecture to meet its potential.
It does have one Achilles heel, though, and that's the relatively low clock rate. While it's not that far behind the regular Ryzen 7 5800X, the 5800X3D does lose out in most productivity tasks. Comparing it against the Zen 4-based Ryzen 7000 parts, the 5800X3D hangs tough in a lot of games, but loses badly in some, and really falls behind in productivity tasks.
You might be tempted, then, to overclock your eight-core X3D CPU and eke out a little extra performance that way. Unusually, AMD actually locks out overclocking on CPUs with 3D V-Cache, and the reasoning behind this is that the cache die itself is very sensitive to extra voltage—like, "could-instantly-die-when-overvolted"-sensitive.
With that in mind, be aware then that overclocking utilities from the "big four" Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers (that being ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI) purportedly don't honor this behavior and will apparently allow you to crank the clocks and voltage to the sky if you so choose.
We say "apparently" and "purportedly" because we haven't tested this behavior ourselves. After all, we would like our Ryzen 7 5800X3Ds to continue working. However, the nominative Igor over at Igor's Lab sacrificed his Ryzen 7 5800X3D to prove that the capability of these utilities to crash through AMD's roadblocks is completely legitimate.
Using MSI's MSI Center application, Igor overvolted the chip beyond 1.3v, and he says that the system immediately shut down and would no longer start up. He's declared the chip dead, and while he accepts the blame for his action, the fact remains that the software shouldn't really have allowed him to do that.
As Igor points out, expert overclocker Roman "der8auer" Hartung recently killed a Ryzen 9 7950X3D in much the same way, but you might reasonably expect that the 5800X3D, having been out for a good long while now, might not be vulnerable to the same issue. As it happens, it absolutely is.
While Igor used MSI software to kill his chip, further testing in the community has revealed that all of the motherboard vendors' overclocking software will gleefully let you terminate your own 3D V-Cache CPU if you click the wrong thing in the UI and overvolt the heck out of your chip, so maybe don't do that.
AMD Ryzen Master
Better yet, maybe just avoid these utilities altogether and use AMD's own overclocking software, Ryzen Master, which doesn't have this problem. The only approved overclocking on the X3D CPUs is AMD's own Curve Optimizer. That's more for reducing power consumption and heat output than improving performance, but it's not a terrible idea to run it on your 5800X3D. You could save a few pennies off your power bill, anyway.