How to Fix AMD CPU Bent Pins With Mechanical Pencil
For decades, bent pins have been one of the realities of buying, installing, and swapping out processors, especially if you stuck with AMD chips after Intel switched to LGA processors. in 2004. While there are undoubtedly a few lucky people with one-handedness, quick reflexes, and a merciful lack of pets known to walk across a table with less than perfect respect for its contents, the majority of long-time AMD enthusiasts have dealt with bent pins at one point or another.
One of the most common ways to fix bent pins is to use a narrow ruler like a credit card or needle to get the pins back into alignment. A loop of thread or dental floss can also sometimes be wrapped around a broken flat pin and used to remove it from the wrapper. But there is another method to fix AMD CPU pins. It’s a little less common than the two methods above, but it beats them hands down in terms of speed and efficiency, especially if you have a lot of pins to fix. The only tool you will need is a mechanical pencil, but with a particular type of tip, detailed below:
Editor’s note: The method described here isn’t brand new, and we don’t claim to have invented it, but it was new to me when Jess suggested it earlier this year. I then pitched this idea to avid friends and other reviewers, and while a few people knew about this AMD CPU pin repair method, most didn’t. Of all the methods I’ve used to fix bent pins over the past 20 years, this is one of my favorites. — Joel
Recently, we brought two AMD processors back from the dead using the method we’ll describe below. No pins were broken, but the chips had several types of “wounds”. A bunch of pins had been flattened in various directions, and some pins had their heads bent together. While a fine embroidery needle can lift the pins again, it just wasn’t enough control to straighten them. Ideally, if we could straighten the pins sufficient, the plug would allow them to fit properly, with the last useful micro-adjustments provided by the AM4 plug itself. Without intervention, those fleas were dead Jim, dead, and we had nothing to lose.
Although a needle also came in handy, the instrument we used for these repairs was a 0.5mm Pentel GraphGear 1000. The outer diameter of its metal tip fits between adjacent CPU pins without pressing on it, while the inner diameter fits just about snugly around an individual. pin. This tight fit allows you to adjust the angle of the pins relative to the chip, without having to depend on having perfectly steady hands not to crimp the pin halfway along its length.
To attempt this repair, you’ll want a flat, sturdy, and stable work space. You will also need plenty of light, and a magnifying glass of some sort is also recommended. Make sure there is no lead in the pencil before you begin. Hold the chip by the edges of its solid base, lay it flat to make the actual repairs, and be gentle.
For CPU pins bent flat
Carefully thread the end of the pencil over the twisted tip, like an arm through a sleeve, so that the tip slips into the empty tip of the pencil. Gently move the angle of the entire pencil and the pin inside will come with it. Slowly tilt the pencil so that the tip is resting flat on the solder joint of the pin and the body of the pencil is perpendicular – perfectly straight – against the plane of the green PCB. It shouldn’t take much more force than manipulating tissue paper.
With the tip firmly against the circuit board, rock the eraser end of the pencil several times in a very small circular “joystick” motion around the perpendicular axis, to equalize the flex in any other direction. Although the wire is very thin, the metal barbs have some bending resistance, which you should be able to feel through the pencil. Remove the pencil and check the results; adjust your angle accordingly.
For the pins with their heads bent together
When two pins are bent together, it is more difficult to straighten them using the pencil trick. So, we prepared them beforehand by separating their heads with a needle; this pushed the heads far enough apart to straighten the two pins using the mechanical pencil.
Lay the needle flat and slide it between the rows of pins, like this, where the “o” is the tip of the needle seen from the end, and the lines are the pins facing up: | | | | /o | | | | (If the needle doesn’t fit between the rows of pins, it’s too big and you’ll need something smaller.)
Find where the pins catch the needle. Then, with a slight upward sweeping motion, use the needle as a lever arm and your fingertip as a fulcrum to mechanically separate the pins whose heads are bent together. The move may look like an upward move at the end, due to the resistance of the bent pins. It’s important to sweep up, because if you tilt to the side, you may bend other pins. It may take several repetitions of the same threading and lifting motion for the metal to “remember” the bend.
Once the heads of the pins stay apart from each other, you can use the pencil to straighten the pin all the way.
Will this repair work for other processors? What type of pencil do you need?
A repair like this should Works on any AMD processor with pins, although with older models you may need to use a pencil with a larger inner diameter to accommodate the larger pins of previous generations. We haven’t tried it so can’t recommend it, but the same mechanical pencil we used for these chips is also available in a standard 0.7mm. (Our first instinct was to use the standard Bic “clicky pencil”, but the outer diameter of its tip is too large.)
The chips we fixed were a Ryzen 9 5900X and an AMD A8-5600. This latest processor was our model for the photos above. After the repairs, they were confirmed to fit properly and start and run without incident. This was obviously more important for the 5900X, but we’ve confirmed that the 5600 still performs just as well after some enthusiastic flexing for photographic purposes.