A report continues to be going around online that AMD CPUs are suffering higher than usual failure rates after PC builder PowerGPU shared a truly alarming tweet. That tweet, which has since been deleted, claimed the company had received 19 dead Ryzen 5000 CPUs in many 320, with 3-5 failing AMD motherboards dropping into its lap every single week. 5950X failure rates, specifically, reached as much as 16 percent.

CPUs, in most cases, do not fail. It’s not unknown for a CPU to die or appear dead, but a 6-16 percent failure rate could be far greater than expected. Multiple sites have dug into this problem, including PCWorld and PCMag. Currently, the bulk of evidence suggests AMD CPUs aren’t failing in higher-than-expected numbers, though there’s some nuance to the data.

Credit: PCMag, via Twitter and also the Internet Archive

PowerGPU told PCMag it pulled down its initial tweet since it “didn't want fanboys from each side just filling up our timeline. The good thing is AMD does really care for our logo and they want to allow us to and ensure our business continues forward.”

PCMag’s Michael Kan points out that Mindfactory.de posts its RMA rates by itself website. We’ve quoted Mindfactory’s sales information in repeated articles over several years, and it is Ryzen 7 5800X, 5600X, and 5900X RMA minute rates are 0.58 percent, 0.52 percent, and 0.33 percent, respectively. This really is in the range we’d anticipate seeing. Kan is partly concerned about this issue because he received a dodgy 5800X himself and that he advises readers to “keep your box” when they decide to buy a CPU.

PCWorld notes that the unnamed vendor provided all of them with information showing a failure rate between 2.5 – 3 percent on Ryzen 5000, 3000, and Threadripper CPUs, while the Intel 9th Gen fails at 0.9 percent and also the 10th Gen fails at 1.2 percent. This third vendor reports it declares a CPU ‘failed’ if it cannot run with all of RAM slots loaded while running top-frequency RAM or in low-latency configurations. PCWorld doesn’t get into the exact more knowledge about the vendor’s requirements past this, but these types of requirements make a difference so far as whether a CPU would pass or fail.

I’ve tested multiple Core i9 CPUs within the HEDT segment that may not maintain DDR4-3200 clocks with all of banks loaded. I’ve had Intel CPUs that hit fully-loaded RAM clocks flawlessly, and I’ve had chips that couldn’t be stabilized no matter which RAM vendor I made use of. I’ve seen CPUs pass an all-slots-loaded test when kitted out with 32GB of RAM, but fail when packed with 64GB. In every case, I had been pushing the RAM specifications beyond the boundaries of what AMD and Intel understood to be guaranteed behavior. Every CPU mentioned above ran perfectly when tested within the limits of manufacturer-guaranteed behavior.

AMD and Intel don't always guarantee that confirmed RAM clock could be maintained with fully loaded motherboards, which means the vendor may be setting another bar for pass/fail than Intel or AMD would. There’s no problem with that, specifically for a high-performance vendor, but it does limit how much we are able to glean from this test information. Other vendors PCWorld spoke to reported no problems, with equal return rates between AMD and Intel CPUs.

ExtremeTech has spoken with a US boutique vendor and confirmed it saw no problems with AMD versus Intel return rates. Our very own test samples still perform perfectly, with no issues. This isn't to assert that PowerGPU was deliberately inaccurate in the own tweet — AMD is dealing with the company how to identify what may be happening — nevertheless its experience does not appear reflective of the wider market. If that changes, or maybe AMD releases any information suggesting a genuine problem, we’ll cover it.