Delidding AMD's Ryzen 7 7600X Zen 4 CPU Yields A Chiplet Surprise

delidded 7600x confusion
For folk who aren't familiar, AMD's desktop CPUs since third-generation Ryzen have followed a particular form: two or three chips under an integrated heatspreader, with one being an I/O die that connects to external devices like memory, PCIe, and USB, while the other one or two dice are Core Complex Dice (CCDs) that contain the actual CPU cores. Each CCD has 8 cores, so only CPUs with more than 8 cores need two, right?

On the Ryzen 5000 series, you would find two CCDs under the IHS of many eight- and six-core CPUs, and it turns out that's the case with the Ryzen 7000 series as well, at least based on the small amount of data we have. Erstwhile overclocking wunderkind der8auer has popped the top on his Ryzen 5 7600X and found that it has a pair of CCDs underneath. That's just a six-core CPU, and the man himself was initially confused when he removed the CPU from his delid tool, as he had just showed a delidded 7800X with only a single CCD underneath.

copper blocks on 7600x
The copper slugs provide some mass to keep the CPU from instantly hitting thermal shutoff.

So what's going on, here? Well, nothing particularly interesting, really. The second CCD is completely disabled and probably not even connected to anything electrically. To confirm this, Der8auer made a impromptu heatsink on the delidded chip out of small copper blocks, and used a thermal camera to observe which blocks got hot. After turning on the system, the block on top of the I/O die and one of the blocks on the CCDs got quite warm, but the other one only warmed up much more slowly from heat simply dissipating into it.

Why would AMD bother to put a second CCD in CPUs that won't use it? The most likely answer is simply that this CPU was intended to be a Ryzen 9 7900X, with two six-core CCDs, and then one of the CCDs failed to meet the performance requirements of that processor in testing. If it still has six good CPU cores on the other CCD, there's no reason not to sell it as a 7600X instead.

der8auer zen4 thermal camera
Only one of the CCDs is actually doing anything.

To be frank, the video (embedded below) is in large part an advertisement for Thermal Grizzly's upcoming Socket AM5 products: a Delid Die Mate to make the process of popping the top on your Zen 4 CPU "idiot-proof", a lapping tool to help those who want to grind some of the IHS off of their chip, and a Direct-Die Frame for holding the CPU in its socket after it's been delidded.

The latter part is necessary because LGA sockets require a certain pressure to help the pins make contact with the landings on the CPU, and the Socket Actuation Module that normally does this is designed to put that pressure on the CPU IHS. Without the IHS, it won't be able to apply any pressure at all, so you need another device to hold the CPU in place. Thermal Grizzly's product is specifically designed to prevent users from cracking off the corners of their CPU dice as we used to do back in the day of the Socket A-based Athlon processors.

So yes, your six- or eight-core Ryzen 7000 processor may well have two processor dice underneath its funky-shaped IHS, but no, there's probably no way to re-enable it. We'll let you know if someone figures out that next step, but don't hold your breath.