AMD 4800S Desktop Kit: console APU recycled and fitted with better equipment?
Obscure hardware has been thriving lately, with AMD choosing to recycle APUs used in consoles into improvised PC CPUs. Following the Jaguar chip from the Xbox One, this year theAMD 4700S Desktop Kit, a CPU with 8 Zen 2 cores produced from defective PlayStation 5 APUs, has appeared. And AMD now seems to be preparing a similar CPU with a new 4800S designation. A mainboard fitted with such should be suited for gaming.
The VideoCardz website informs that it got hold of pictures of a new version of a recycled console chip (or better said, motherboard based on it) named AMD 4800S Desktop Kit. It seems this type of recycled CPUs will not be sold separately and will be tied with a whole mainboard instead, which means we are likely to always see them with the same PCB as a result. This is why they are called the AMD 4700S (and now 4800S) Desktop Kit.
While the 4700S version had a mini-ITX mainboard form factor with only one PCI Express ×16 slot (which however seems to only provide an actual connectivity of just PCIe 2,0 ×4), the AMD 4800S Desktop Kit is a mainboard of the mATX form factor with multiple slots: a long PCI Express ×16, a short PCIe ×1, an additional M.2 slot for a wireless module, which likely consumes one PCI Express line and one further M.2 slot for SSD on the right side of the CPU (allowing the SSD to take advantage of the CPU cooler’s downdraft). So far the actual number of PCIe lines wired into the PCI Express ×16 slot for the graphic card is not entirely clear. According to VideoCardz there is a possibility it might even support PCIe 4.0, although this is not confirmed yet.
The mainboard appears to have four SATA ports for HDD, SSD and optical drives and it is powered by the usual ATX PSU connector. It is interesting that the image shows two separate passive coolers, almost as if the mainboards had a chip set with a separate north and south bridge. This has not been the case with the 4700S model, which bears only the smaller of the two passive coolers on its chipset (the AMD A77E, a derivative of the chipset used with 28nm APU for the FM2+ socket). We therefore believe that the chipset is located under the smaller heatsink again. The second and bigger passive cooler might hide a PCI Express switch, which provides a higher number of PCI Express lines from the limited number of lines offered by the CPU. This seems to be the most logical explanation, but it has to be said that such setup would not be the most elegant solution, as PCIe switches consume additional power and aren’t very cheap.
Possible compatible with AM4 coolers?
Judging by the pictures the mainboard still uses GDDR6 memory chips, soldered on the bottom side of the mainboard (they are cooled by a backplate on the 4700S board). The 4700S mainboard had its own special cooler, but in the case of the 4800S Desktop Kit mainboards, mounting holes for AM4 socket coolers are visible – it appears that the Wraith Stealth stock cooler is being used with the board. AM4 compatibility might theoretically allow for the use of a broad scale of coolers, however we do not know whether the height difference between a BGA processor and the CPU mounted in a AM4 socket, has been addressed in some way. It is therefore equally possible that, despite the same mounting hole spacing, many coolers will not be compatible, due to their baseplate ending up too high above the PCB and not making contact with the CPU’s surface or having insufficient pressure after being installed. Furthermore, out of the coolers that would work, it will be prudent to opt for a top flow cooler and avoid side-flow tower coolers, because the VRM to the left of the CPU does not have a passive heatsink on it so ideally you want airflow from the CPU cooler coming directly over it, to ensure safe VRM temperatures.
So far we do not know the specs of the CPU, it will likely have eight Zen 2 cores, and maybe a frequency reaching a bit higher than on the 4700S, which has a 3,6–4,0 GHz clock (provided the higher 4800S number indicates more than simply a better connectivity of the whole board). It’s possible the board uses thes same die as the 4700S mainboard, but it is also possible that a recycled Xbox Series S or an Xbox Series S APU is used instead of the PS5 die.
Sales in bundle with the Radeon RX 6600
Anyway, it seems the processor again doesn’t have its integrated GPU activated and will require a separate graphic card. Which is a pity, especially as that way it would be a better solution for the current hardware-supply shortage crisis (where seeking to buy a graphic card is certainly not a pleasant experience). It would be better if the iGPU were active, even if it was with just a small amount of computing units, in order for the APU being able to operate without a separate graphic card, like in the case of the mainboard using the A9-9280 CPU from Xbox, which does provide an iGPU. Especially given that a PCIe switch was required to support a separate card.
The AMD 4800S Desktop Kit will hopefully be bundled with a graphic card, the report says it will come with a Radeon RX 6600 card by TUL (which would technically make it a PowerColor card, but a simple OEM marking without the PowerColor brand might potentially be used as well). The actual motherboard is reportedly produced by MSI.
This combined bundle should arrive on the market during the first quarter of 2022. It is not clear whether it will be sold in stores as a set of components, or whether it will enter the market only as a part of fully assembled PCs, with added case, PSU and SSD/HDD.
English translation and edit by Karol Démuth, original text by Jan Olšan, editor for Cnews.cz