September 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm #119812
- Posts: 5,250
I recently got my first AMD Ryzen system, and I was shocked to see a lack of a single good overclocking guide for Ryzen. Information on this subject is scattered not just between different threads and articles on different websites, but often times valuable information can only be found in individual user comments. So here is a guide that attempts to cover everything, and will be expanded as necessary.
This thread does not include Ryzen Threadripper, although some of the information here applies to Threadripper as well.Only Use “Ryzen Optimized RAM” with Ryzen!
Anything else has too high of a chance not working (reliably).General Warning About PGA Mounting
Ryzen, like other AMD platforms, uses a PGA socket. While this has some electrical benefits and drawbacks, and also has a longer lifespan, it is prone to having CPU coolers remove the CPU from the socket even when it’s locked in. This typically happens when unmounting a heatsink, but certain tower form factor heatsinks with poorly designed and constructed mounting systems (we can only confirm the Cryorig H7 Quad Lumi) can loosen the CPU in the socket even after it’s mounted! Only use coolers with very good mounting systems on Ryzen, and do not use EK Predator coolers with it as they can destroy AM4 motherboards.
Ryzen was a rushed platform, so only two or maybe three motherboards are widely confirmed to be really good for overclocking. They are:
- ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero – This is the reference board for overclocking. The one everyone uses and compares to.
- ASRock X370 Taichi (CH6)
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Extreme is probably really good too, as well as an even higher end ASRock model (Fatal1ty X370 Professional), but there is not enough information on them. It is somewhat surprising how few Ryzen users are willing to spend over $250 on a motherboard.
I am using the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero for reference.
CPU Overclocking Tips and Procedure
- AMD Ryzen Master – Sensing and overclocking for AMD Ryzen CPUs. Not recommended to overclock from here, but this is the only program I know of that accurately reads Ryzen temperature sensors.
- HWiNFO – System wide monitoring and sensing. Known to have the most accurate sensors. Top recommended.
- Prime95 – CPU stability testing.
- HCI Memtest – Windows RAM stress tester during runtime.
- Google Stressapptest – The most comprehensive RAM stability tester there is, used by Google on their servers which demonstrates how trustworthy it is. Should be run on Linux, does not run during runtime.
- Nothing bizarre. Overclock using the BIOS, not Ryzen master. Stick to increasing CPU multiplier only. Base clock is tied 1:1 with PCI-E speed, so you won’t be able to adjust that much. Ryzen has some advanced multiplier settings you shouldn’t use, you just want to be able to set it to say 39 for example, which would give you 3.9 GHz with the stock base clock (100 x 39).
- Ryzen sucks at overclocking. The best Ryzen CPUs are not going to achieve more than 4 GHz, barring miracles. Only the Ryzen 7 1800X and Ryzen 5 1600X have a decent chance of hitting 4 GHz. The R7 1700X seems to have a slightly better chance than the R7 1700 of hitting 3.9 GHz, but 3.9 GHz is a challenge especially with all DIMM slots populated. The R5 1600 seems to be in the same vein as the 1700X. Not sure about the others. Later batches of Ryzen CPUs are even worse overclockers. My 1700X is one of them; I use 4 x 8GB RAM (not Samsung B-die) and am limited to 3.7 GHz.
- Ryzen is anal about RAM. Anything other than Samsung B-die RAM will require lots of trial and error to get stable at frequencies above 2667 MHz. Populating all four DIMM slots also makes it harder to hit higher RAM frequencies and achieve stability.
- Keep vCore below 1.45v unless using subzero extreme cooling. 3.9 GHz and above will usually require around 1.4v give or take. 3.8 GHz usually requires quite a bit less than 1.4v (around 1.35v for me for reference).
- Many Ryzen motherboards force you to use vCore offset rather than directly changing vCore.
- Load Line Calibration (LLC) is the same as on Intel. It results to voltage adjustments during runtime. They have CPU and DRAM LLC. Available settings differ per motherboard manufacturer, just pick the setting that gives you the most accurate voltage relative to your BIOS setting. ASUS LLC leaves a lot to be desired still. For example, my BIOS is set to 1.35 vCore, but in Windows I get 1.331v (use HWiNFO to monitor voltages, it is the most accurate) with LLC level 3. This is the best setting. An ideal LLC would get me 1.35v in Windows as well.
- Keep CPU core temperatures below 82c. This is easy due to Ryzen’s amazing efficiency and soldered IHS. I use a Cryorig H7 Quad Lumi, a small heatsink, with a single 120mm fan that is always running below 1000 RPM. Even at 3.8 GHz 1.353 vCore, Prime95 Large FFT doesn’t reach 80c with this cooling setup.
- Although most DDR4 RAM kits are rated for 1.35v, you can safely run them up to 1.425v but I wouldn’t go beyond this. On Ryzen, you will need more DRAM voltage than you will on Intel. Expect to use 1.4v give or take.
- VDDSOC voltage is important when running memory speeds at 2800 MHz or more. 1.0 – 1.2v is safe, beyond 1.2v is rather extreme.
- VDDP voltage should be equal to or slightly less than VDDSOC.
- VTTDDR voltage should be 1/2 DRAM voltage.
- DRAM voltage and timings must be set manually, no XMP. Playing with subtimings is important for overclocking and lowering timings further, but I don’t bother doing that. I only set CL, RCD, RP, RAS, RC, and CR timings to what the manufacturer rates them.
- RGB LED memory kits get corrupted by running LED software and software that reads SPD (e.g. HWiNFO, CPU-Z, HWMonitor) at the same time! Avoid this!
- Keep your BIOS up to date. BIOS updates often bring tremendous improvements especially with regards to RAM speeds.
Ryzen temperature readouts are skewed, and the skewing is different depending on the model (all X variants are the same as each other I believe). As far as I know, only Ryzen Master can read temperatures appropriately but even that depends on a BIOS setting.
ASUS has a “SenseMi Skew” setting. To get proper temperature readouts, it should be Enabled and set to 272. This is the default setting on their motherboards now.Stability Testing Procedure
Use the latest version of Prime95, linked at the top of this page. Large FFT is the best test for CPU stability. Run for at least 8-12 hours. If you get an error, your CPU is unstable. Remember, keep your CPU temperatures below 82c.
Prime95 custom run using Blend settings + 90% of your RAM is also useful for general stability testing.
Google stresstestapp is the preferred RAM tester. Otherwise use HCI Memtest by opening one instance for each CPU thread you have (so 16 instances for Ryzen 7, 12 for Ryzen 5 1600/1600X, 8 for 1400/1500X, 4 for Ryzen 3). Close all applications on your computer and the total amount of RAM all instances combined should test for should be no more than 90% (e.g. no more than 28800 MB combined for a system with 32GB RAM).
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