Ryzen 7000's release window is right around the corner, and pictures of qualifying samples of AMD's new Zen 4 processors have started to surface. A Ryzen 7 7700X qualifying sample was posted on the AnandTech forums (originally posted on Chinese social networking site Baidu Tieba).
Twitter user SkyJuice66 commented on the image, noting the "D" lettering at the bottom of the integrated heat spreader (IHS) denotes this unit as a qualifying sample (not made for the retail market). This suggests AMD is still tweaking its Ryzen 7000 chips — even though the August 29 launch event and the September launch window are less than a month away.
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AMD Ryzen 7 7700X26th Week 2022The "D" marking indicates non-retail silicon.Has shown up on review samples before. https://t.co/BtUUSBjFE4 pic.twitter.com/CWhfWDzzzTAugust 17, 2022
But it makes sense that AMD is still testing right now. Another leak from the chiphell forums suggests AMD bumped the Ryzen 7000 launch window by a few weeks due to unforeseen BIOS issues found on its new 600 series AM5 platform. If this is true, AMD will want to use this time to "catch up" and ensure the platform is stable before release.
This is especially important for a brand new platform such as AM5, where engineering experience with the new design is nonexistent and could result in unforeseen bugs hitting customers on release day. Day-one stability with new platforms from both Intel and AMD is always a little shaky, and it usually takes a quick series of BIOS and firmware updates before a platform is truly stable.
Looking at the Ryzen 7 7700X qualifying sample, it's obvious that AM5 has undergone drastic changes from AM4. AMD has swapped from a pin grid array (PGA) to a land grid array (LGA) form factor, which means the CPU pins are now located on the motherboard. AMD has also reduced the size of the IHS with eight cutouts, making room for additional caps on the CPU's PCB.
The Ryzen 7 7700X will reportedly be AMD's new mid-to-high-end octa-core CPU, succeeding the Ryzen 7 5700X — and possibly the 5800X — and flanked by the hexa-core 7600X and twelve-core 7900X. Rumored clock speeds for the 7700X suggest a peak boost clock of 5.4GHz, and 40MB of L2 and L3 cache combined.
AMD's Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 series launches September 15, which gives AMD just under a month to prepare.