AMD’s Threadripper CPU is a significant departure from any mount system the company has used before. And if you’re planning to buy one of these chips, we’d strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with the process before you begin.
Here’s why: For over a decade, AMD has used basically the same mounting system for its CPUs. The heatsink locks down over the chip with a pair of prongs with 1-3 hooks on each side of the core. The dimensions of the socket changed so little over that time, you could use coolers that date back to the original Athlon 64 on AM3+ motherboards (provided they were rated for the CPUs TDP, of course).
AM4 slightly adjusted the ratio. But Threadripper? Threadripper tosses out that rulebook altogether.
The new TR4 socket packs 4,094 pins and is AMD’s first LGA (Land Grid Array) product for its consumer hardware division. The socket’s physical dimensions are identical to Epyc’s, even if the name is different (TR4 for Threadripper, SP3 for Epyc). MSI has released a video showing how you install a Threadripper CPU and the steps involved in doing so.
For those of you who don’t want to or can’t watch the video, here are the steps:
First, use the Torx wrench (provided by AMD) to loosen the three Torx screws that hold the chip’s retention bracket to the motherboard. These are loosened in a 3-2-1 pattern (each corner of the socket is labeled). The “1” Torx screw is at the top of the motherboard.
Once the retention plate is lifted, you’ll see a second retention bracket underneath it. You slide the Threadripper CPU and the orange sled it’s mounted to into the second retention bracket. Assuming you are looking down at the motherboard, with the CPU at the top of the board and the PCIe slots and various peripheral headers at the bottom, you want to make certain that the arrow on the CPU is in the top-left corner of the sled. I’m not sure it’s even possible to insert the sled any other way, but let’s not take bets on it.
Once the CPU is fully and correctly inserted, you lower the second retention bracket down into the socket. With that done, the primary retention bracket drops back down as well. The torx screws should be tightened in reverse order, 1-2-3, as opposed to the 3-2-1 used to loosen it.
Once that’s done and you’ve applied your thermal paste, it’s time to mount the cooler.Here, the mounting system is similar to what Intel uses for its LGA 2066. There are four screw sockets around the CPU frame, and all compatible coolers will use these sockets to mount appropriately. Mount the cooler, tighten your screws, and voilà — everything locks down.
The overall installation process is different than anything we’ve seen from AMD before. But it’s not hard, and every Threadripper CPU contains a Torx screwdriver as part of the kit.
Hat-tip to our sister site PCMag, which initially posted this story.