AMD blames motherboards for overheating Phenom X4 CPUs

Apr 29, 2008
AMD blames motherboards for overheating Phenom X4 CPUs

Processor manufacturer AMD is being forced to field criticism from some users, after reports of compatibility issues between a number of their quad-core Phenom X4 chips and motherboards using a certain chipset. The company confirmed that the issue arises when the 9750 and 9850 Phenom processors, which have a Thermal Design Power (the maximum amount of power the cooling system is required to dissipate) of 125 watts, are used with motherboards based on the 780G chipset. Such boards - which AMD describes as "mainstream" - are only capable of dealing with the lower, 95 watts TDP processors, such as the 9600 and 9550.

"What people have done, mistakenly, is paired a 780G (chipset-based) motherboard with the higher frequency Phenom--the 125-watt Phenom. They've taken an enthusiast-class quad-core part and paired it with a mainstream motherboard, and not all motherboard manufacturers have tweaked their boards to support a 125-watt TDP" Jake Whitman, AMD spokesperson

The solution is straightforward: use a motherboard with AMD's 790 chipset. While the company says a number of 'board manufacturers are now doing that, initially the majority of the industry is said to have "underestimated" the TDP demands of the high-end Phenoms.

AMD is now reportedly working on lower-TDP version of the chips, with a 95 watt TDP Phenom X4 9750 2.4Ghz first, followed by a new version of the Phenom X4 9850 2.5GHz in Q4 2008. The top-range Phenom X4 9950, with its TDP of 140 watts, will also be addressed, but there is no timescale attached to this.

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