Since it is a holiday weekend in the US, we have a quick story today. As you may have read previously on STH, Lenovo is vendor locking AMD Ryzen CPUs in its systems. This is something we have seen previously on SP3 CPUs (even Threadripper Pro ones), but we ran into factory vendor-locked CPUs as part of our Project TinyMiniMicro series on Socket AM4.
Lenovo Vendor Locking Ryzen CPUs with AMD PSB the Video
Here is the video on Lenovo vendor-locking AMD Ryzen CPUs using the AMD PSB, or platform secure boot feature:
We always suggest watching this in its own window, tab, or YouTube app for the best viewing experience.
One thing added compared to the Lenovo Vendor Locking Ryzen-based Systems with AMD PSB piece a few days ago is my suggestion for how PSB should work in the future:
- AMD ships chips with fuses not blown
- Vendor sets PSB to ensure no post-factory tampering from the factory to the customer
- Have the ability to de-PSB CPU (perhaps by blowing all field-programmable fuses)
- A CPU that has gone through the de-PSB process cannot be used again with the PSB feature but can be used in any system with PSB disabled
- All systems should allow PSB enabled or disabled with an indication on which is being used
The above steps would allow CPUs to be used on the secondary market for those who are simply trying to upgrade or for those in lower per capita income areas where purchasing full-price new CPUs is not always possible, especially a few years after purchase. Once a CPU has moved system to system, then having the PSB feature validating that the hardware has not been tampered with seems like it would be less useful since there was indeed purposeful tampering.
Doing the above would decrease the amount of e-waste Lenovo is generating by enabling the PSB feature on its chips, while at the same time enabling an up-cycling opportunity for those who cannot afford to purchase new systems.
AMD PSB is a game-changing feature for the second-hand market. We are starting to see some vendors disclose when AMD chips have been vendor locked to Lenovo and Dell systems, but primarily on the EPYC side. This impacts Lenovo Threadripper Pro systems like the Lenovo ThinkStation P620 as well. The challenge is that with AMD Ryzen and AM4, there are a lot more consumers and enthusiasts that can potentially be impacted as the volumes and market segment is different than it is for servers and high-end workstations. We hope AMD and its customers take these suggestions.