How To Find & FIX Ryzen 3000 Boost Problems
So AMD’s third generation Ryzen CPUs were launched a little while ago. To be more precise, it was launched on the exact same day as the RX 5700 series GPUs, and as most of you have probably heard or seen those graphics cards performed spectacularly. Now, if you caught our latest Ryzen build video, which you can check out right over here, you would know that we didn’t publish our Ryzen 3000 series performance review and that is simply because our X570 motherboards were showing some odd behaviors. As many of you may or may not have heard, it’s been discovered that AMD actually sampled a lot of the reviewers with motherboards that had buggy BIOSes. And this specifically had to do with AGESA – otherwise known as AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture – which basically had an issue where it wouldn’t allow the chips to boost properly.
Well, it turns out that those issues are also being encountered by some of you guys who are running Zen 2 CPUs, which is unfortunate. So in this video I’m going to be showing you how to check to see if your Ryzen 3000 series sponsor is boosting properly with a few simple tools, so that way you can at least be sure that you’re getting every last Megahertz that you paid for.
Okay, so let me go over what exactly is happening with these new processors since launch. Basically many of them aren’t hitting their specified boost frequencies and sometimes they were missing it by a big amount too. Let’s take the 3700X as the first example. It has a Max Boost Clock of 4.4GHz, but in our case, in single-threaded stress tests are 3700X would only boost a 4.375GHz. Meanwhile, the 3900X that we all love so much – and is supposed to Max out at 4.6GHz – would top out at a sad 4.5GHz. Now, neither of these lower frequencies would cause significant performance issues, but neither of these chips were performing at their fullest capabilities. Some people were actually reporting lower clock speeds than the ones I just showed.
Anyways, we figured this out pretty early on in our testing process, but without a new functional BIOS available at the time there wasn’t much that we could do. Even as you’re watching this, brand new BIOSes are being rolled out with the new AGESA 18.104.22.168AB which is supposed to fix these core boosting issues.
Now in the last few days we’ve looked at four X570 motherboards, including the ASRock X570 TaiChi, the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Master, the GIGABYTE X570 I Aorus Pro WIFI, and the MSI MEG X570 Ace, and with the latest BIOSes they all seem to work properly. However, while our problems have gone away, we’ve also heard from quite a few actual consumers using both brand new X570 and older X470, X370, B450, and B350 motherboards and supposedly their chips still aren’t boosting properly with the latest “fixed” BIOSes.
So let’s get into how you can test your system to ensure that the CPU is running at its proper clock speed. Now in order to do this we will require a few programs including Cinebench R20, HWiNFO64, and CPU-Z. Actually I’ll leave the download links to the latest versions in the description down below for your convenience. I would still recommend downloading them just to make sure that you have the latest versions of all of three programs. Now to start off, we’re going to make sure that Windows is running the proper power settings. We are going to type in “power settings” into the search bar, then head over to “additional power settings” and then select the AMD Ryzen High Performance power plan. This just makes sure that there are no aggressive power saving settings that could interfere with the processor’s ability to boost. By the way, please make sure that you’re running the Windows May Update Build 1903 and the very latest chipset drivers off of AMD’s website.
Next up, open Cinebench R20 and HWiNFO64 select the sensors only box when opening HWiNFO and then you can resize Cinebench and then have them side by side. Then what you want to do is head over to HWiNFO and find the frequency section, which is under the CPU sub-header. So in my case I’m using the 3900X and you want to keep an eye on the CPU core ratios or frequencies. Now if you’re wondering HWiNFO gets this information directly from the CPU, so it should be as accurate as possible.
In Cinebench R20 run the single core tests – which takes quite a while – which gives you plenty of time to keep an eye on the CPU core issues and if you’re Ryzen chip is behaving properly. You should start seeing at least one core running at 4400MHz for the 3700X and 4600MHz for the 3900X or any of these other listed speeds for the rest of the AMD’s lineup. The highest frequency will probably keep switching from core to core since the intelligent sensors in the processor are actually trying to make sure the heat loads are balanced across all the cores.
If you haven’t seen any of those cores hit those speeds in the current column, check out the maximum column to see if it maybe happened too quickly and you missed it. If you still don’t see those proper core speeds, then there is a problem. Now assuming that your CPU temperatures are not, you know, around the 90°C mark that just clearly means that your CPU is just not boosting properly.
So what can you do to fix this? Well, if you’re already using the latest BIOS, you can try clearing the CMOS or just loading the optimize defaults within the BIOS. If none of that works, you’re just gonna have to wait until the motherboard manufacturer releases a BIOS that fixes the problem. By the way, unless you’re overclocking, you don’t want to mess around with any frequency multiplier, voltage and power settings within the BIOS because if you fiddle around with those settings it could stop the processor from boosting properly.
While making sure that your CPU cores are boosting properly, there are other three frequencies that you want to keep an eye on for optimal performance. To do this you’re going to need to have the Ryzen Master software and CPU-Z memory tab open side-by-side.
This is the memory clock frequency.
This is the Infinity Fabric frequency.
And this over here on CPU-Z is the memory controller frequency. Now many people have made the mistake of thinking that this number was actually the Infinity Fabric, but by default the memory clock, the infinity fabric clock and the memory controller clock are all fixed in a one-to-one-to-one ratio from DDR4-2133 all the way up to DDR4-3600 past DDR4-3600 all of those three frequencies are not synchronized and that my friends that can cause some serious performance penalties. This is something that I’m going to plan on discussing in the overclocking videos, so definitely stay tuned for that.
Now if you set your memory to DDR4-3600 the memory clock should be 1800MHz, which is half the Double Data Rate (DDR) and the Infinity Fabric should be 1800MHz and the memory controller should be 1800MHz as well.
Another example is if you have your memory set to DDR4-3200, the memory clock should be 1600MHz, the Infinity Fabric should be 1600MHz, and the memory controller should also be running at 1600MHz. Now, if any of those numbers don’t match and if you haven’t changed anything in the BIOS except for the memory, speed timings and voltage, then your motherboard isn’t behaving properly and it’s certainly not giving you the best possible performance.
Unlike these CPU boost frequencies, this one can be fixed. Both the Infinity Fabric and memory controller frequencies are manually adjustable in the BIOS. However, just to remind our guys that if you’re not comfortable doing that, expect to wait for a new BIOS to fix the problem.
There is another problem that we found and that’s the ability for these processors to downclock and idle properly. Now if you don’t mind losing a little bit of performance in exchange for lower power consumption, you can actually change the Windows power plan from Ryzen High Performance to Ryzen Balanced since this will allow the processor and downclock and run at much lower voltages, at least in theory it should. However, just like these other issues a lot of people have actually been reporting that their processors are maintaining unusually high core voltages and they never actually go down when their processor is just idling. Well, it ironically enough it appears that monitoring tools like HWiNFO64 and Ryzen Master or background apps like Corsair IQ, NZXT Cam, Razor Synapse, and maybe even other random apps like Steam, Discord and OBS are fooling the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs. You see the CPU thinks that there’s a system load, so it’s staying in a continuous high boost and high voltage state when those applications are open, even though the programs aren’t really doing anything.
So right now running the latest version of CPU-z with no other monitoring apps open or in the background seems to be the best way to see if your processor is idling properly. If you see the core voltage ever dip to sub one volt, then everything is working correctly and idle is working. Now, what if you’re using the right Windows power plant and you only have CPU-Z open and you’re still not seeing those sub one volt core voltages? Well, let’s assume that you’re running the latest Windows update as well as the latest AMD chipset drivers as well. There’s one possible fix that you can try, which is going into the BIOS and changing the CPU voltage from Auto to Normal. This seems to resolve the issue for a lot of people. If that doesn’t work for you, well I’m probably going to repeat the same statement that I probably did like five times with this video. You just can have to wait for your motherboard manufacturer to roll out an updated BIOS so that it can address all of these issues.
So there you guys have it and I do want to mention something. A lot of these issues can be fixed with a BIOS update and some of them seem to have been taken care of already, so that’s nice. I just hope that this quick article helped if you’re rocking a Ryzen 3000 series processor, and definitely stay tuned for the overclocking article.