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Lenovo Locks Threadripper 5000 Pro CPUs to P620 Workstation Systems

AMD Threadripper Pro
(Image credit: AMD)

As tweeted by @momomo_us, Lenovo has officially locked all of AMD's Chagall Ryzen Threadripper 5000 Pro CPUs running in its P620 workstation systems. As a result, the CPUs cannot be used in other systems besides Lenovo pre-builts. 

To accomplish this, Lenovo is using an AMD feature known as Platform Secure Boot -- or PSB for short. This feature is built into the AMD secure processor and is installed in all of AMD's modern server and professional-grade chips. According to STH, PSB is designed to be a powerful anti-malware defense system that prevents remote attackers from embedding malware into the system's firmware.

But as a side effect, PSB also functions as an anti-theft tool, preventing stolen CPUs from working in other systems. But this function only works if the thieves are not using systems from the same OEM.

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PSB works by effectively binding the AMD CPU to the motherboard's BIOS firmware code signing key through one-time-programmable fuses. Once completed, the process cannot be undone.

Thankfully, PSB is an optional feature that isn't required to run these CPUs and they come unlocked from the factory. The CPUs only become locked when installed in PSB-enabled systems. However, in Lenovo's case, the company wants to use this feature, so any P620 system with an AMD CPU will be locked.

Threadripper Pro 5000 will officially launch on March 21st and is the successor to the Ryzen Threadripper 3000 series CPUs. The new 5000 chips will run on AMD's modern Zen 3 microarchitecture, providing a 19% IPC boost, higher clock speeds, and a unified L3 cache to each CCD, improving core to core communication latency.

But unlike Ryzen Threadripper 3000, AMD appears to only be introducing Threadripper 5000 in a workstation form factor, meaning it'll be locked exclusively to OEMs.

So if you want to build your own Threadripper 5000 system, you'll have to figure out a way to buy a chip through unofficial means and make sure it isn't locked with PSB.

Aaron Klotz
Aaron Klotz

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • hotaru.hino
    A friendly reminder that any publicly traded company by default is not your friend. Unless you happen to be a majority shareholder.
    Reply
  • spiketheaardvark
    But, why? I can't think of any compelling reason to do this. How is this supposed to get Lenovo more money? Surely no one is going to be making money from buying a big workstation and pulling the processor for resale. Maybe I've not got what it takes to be a businessman or criminal genius.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    spiketheaardvark said:
    But, why? I can't think of any compelling reason to do this. How is this supposed to get Lenovo more money? Surely no one is going to be making money from buying a big workstation and pulling the processor for resale. Maybe I've not got what it takes to be a businessman or criminal genius.
    Vendor lock in.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    I saw this on Linus tech tips of the month or so ago. They suck for doing this
    Reply
  • tommo1982
    hotaru.hino said:
    A friendly reminder that any publicly traded company by default is not your friend. Unless you happen to be a majority shareholder.
    I did wonder when AMD is going to copy Intel. Didn't take them long.
    Reply