I have, however, learned from waterblock manufacturer EK that Socket AM5 isn’t going to offer cooler manufacturers and cooler owners an entirely easy ride. While the plastic brackets on current Socket AM4 boards will remain, giving coolers that use them a free pass for cooling Zen 4 CPUs, the same can’t be said of those coolers that require the use of a backplate on the motherboard.
EK told me this month that the backplate will be fixed to the socket this time, rather than being detachable, as with Socket AM4.
This is similar to Intel’s LGA2066 socket, meaning that the use of custom backplates won’t be possible. This raises some significant problems, as plenty of air coolers, AIO liquid coolers and waterblocks require the use of a custom backplate to secure them to the motherboard.
It remains to be seen if the CPU socket mounting holes will sit in the same place, and if the backplate itself is physically the same, with the same threads as the one used on current Socket AM4 motherboards.
If it is, then there are a number of coolers that do currently make use of the included backplate rather than using their own designs.
If that’s the case then two out of three situations will be okay. However, it’s highly unlikely that any CPU cooler or waterblock that uses a custom backplate will cleanly fit to an integrated backplate on a Socket AM5 motherboard.
The fittings for these coolers vary significantly, with different screw lengths and screw threads, so if you’re planning on jumping on the Socket AM5 bandwagon at launch, and the cooler you plan to use has a custom backplate, be prepared for some problems on day one. You’d also be well advised to check compatibility with your cooler’s manufacturer nearer the time, as they’ll probably offer adaptor kits if necessary.
That said, the similar situation with Intel’s new LGA1700 socket didn’t result in a smooth transition, with adaptor kits suffering from poor availability at launch, and many manufacturers still not offering them or even compatibility information. We’ll be updating you here with the latest news as we approach AMD’s Socket AM5 launch.