Here's what's going on under that weird new AMD Zen 4 heatspreader / RYZEN
There's a lot going on under that new AMD Zen 4(opens in new tab) heatspreader. In fact, there's a lot going on outside of it, in all those little cutouts around the edge of it, too. Somewhere you know is going to end up with a whole lot of thermal paste(opens in new tab) getting squidged in at some point down the line.
I got my first chance to get hands-on with AMD's new Ryzen 7000-series CPU(opens in new tab) at the recent Tech Day in AMD's Austin backyard. And it's a relief to finally have an AMD chip where you can't mash the pins if you get a little heavy handed with it.
Though I kinda wish they'd told me the heatspreader wasn't attached when they passed the sample over, telling me not to break it. Inevitably I did the fake drop thing, only for the chonky eight-legged heatspreader to hit the floor with a dull thud.
Still, it's good to get hold of something tangible after a long while of rumoured specs and performance figures. With the chip in hand it feels a lot more real.
And somehow this shift to an LGA socket with AM5 makes the chip feel a whole lot more grown up, too. The AM4 platform has been a real workhorse of a socket for AMD, lasting six years and hosting red team chips even prior to the Ryzen revolution. But they all still looked essentially the same as the old Athlon 64 3200+ which sat in the first gaming PC I bought with my own money.
This solid lump of CPU is a far more robust thing, though we've yet to see how well the AM5 socket itself survives against the inevitable accidental thumb-squishes that have historically blighted Intel's LGA motherboard sockets.