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Ryzen 7 Overclocking Guide

AMD has "RYZEN" from the ashes! Facing issues from AMDs previous release of Bulldozer back in 2011 has allowed Intel to dominated the mobile and desktop market for many years. Intel has provided small incremental updates of improvements called "Tick/Tock" and We have not seen an AMD performance part capable of standing up against Intel's top chips until now.

Today we will be looking at AMDs enthusiasts parts the Ryzen 7 lineup which could provide an impressive comeback. Zen was teased last year and it was promised that we would see performance gains over Intel's best efforts. Zen also promised to bring a new socket type called AM4 with a new core logic.

Now that Ryzen has been released we will be looking at how to overclock the R7 1700 on an x370 chipset and this should apply to the other R7 parts the 1700x and 1800x as well.

Why Zen?

AMD has been working on Zen for over four years. The goal of Zen is to transition to a faster instruction-per-clock throughput and provide a significant boost over their old excavator design choices. The Zen core is what fundamentally makes Ryzen a success story. It takes advantage of SMT ( simultaneous multi threading) support and allows each core to operate in parallel. This is important because it allows more resources for your hardware.

AMDs goal of reaching significant performance gains has been accomplished by Zens new architecture. IPC (instructions per clock) improvements can be seen because of the new branch prediction, larger instruction scheduler, and faster cache times. This has created about a 52% total gain in performance over excavator.

Ryzen 7 Chips

AMD has split up its new CPUs into categories by cores. The Ryzen 7 CPUs provide eight-cores, the Ryzen 5 families offer six, and the soon to be released Ryzen 3 with four cores. These chips provide significantly more core counts than Intel's current high-end 10 core i7's parts. The most significant thing is AMD offers more cores at a huge reduction in price over Broadwell-E. kaby lake is a bit cheaper but offers a lot fewer cores.

The new technologies supported by the Ryzen 7 lineup is SenseMI and XFR over the x series chips. This essentially automatically increases clock rates beyond the factory intended specifications. For the 1700 chip we will be overclocking, XFR isn't supported but we can still plan to overclock the 1700 with some current benchmarks surpassing the 1800x part. We will show more about this later.

The Ryzen 7 chips do NOT include any integrated graphics and should be used with a discrete graphics card. All three Ryzen 7 models include eight physical cores, 16MB of shared L3 cache, and unlocked multipliers. In order to achieve overclocking these CPUs, you will need an x370, B350, or X300 motherboard.

Since we will be using the 1700 here for our test system we will be primarily looking at this part in greater detail vs its bigger brother parts the 1800x and 1700x. The 1700 is unique because it offers a lower TDP at 65W making it the lowest powered eight-core desktop CPU available. The 1700 offers a 3 GHz base clock and a precision boost of 3.7 GHz.

What's AMD SenseMI, XFR, and Neural Net Prediction?

According to AMD, Zen uses 1000 sensors to accurately measure up to 1mA,1Mv, and 1°C. The voltages can provide real-time adjustments based on algorithms. The sensors feed data to adjust the voltage and frequencies for optimal performance.

Precision boost adjusts the power/performance curve and is very similar to Intel's Turbo Boost. Using the sensors mentioned above provide real-time information that can adjust the boost in 100Mhz increments.

XFR is AMD's eXtended Frequency Range technology which is provided on the R7 1800x and 1700X. This technology essentially allows the processor to dynamically change its clock rate if there is thermal headroom. AMD has said that this feature scales well with air, water, and of course even LN2.

The last bit of technology that AMD includes with Zen is neural net prediction & Smart Prefetch. This technology is capable of learning application behavior and pre-load instructions before they're needed. This can really help reduce application load times and provide quicker access over time.

What is AM4?

AM4 is AMDs enthusiasts socket for Zen. AMD pushes integration by taking Southbridge tasks and integrates them into the CPU core logic. The CPU handles more tasks and splits up the performance tasks between the CPU & Southbridge. We may see in the future motherboard vendors only taking advantage of the CPUs built in functions over the x370 southbridge tasks. AM4 add support for DDR4 and current-gen enthusiasts features like so we will see if a budget air cooler is up to the task of providing decent frequencies.

- AM4 Ready (No Bracket Required) Universal Socket Compatibility for all the latest Intel/AMD CPU Socket

- Supports up to 150W Intel CPUs

- Direct Copper Contac 4x Ø6mm Solid Copper Heat-pipes

- Frustration Free Fan Bracket Installation

- 2 Year Warranty

Before I overclock I also like to adjust my fan curves and profiles. The VI Hero has a great fan control from the UEFI BIOS under "Monitor". You can manually adjust your CPU Q-Fan curve or just use automatic Q-Fan tuning. This will automatically adjust your fan curve based on the PWM fans and CPU cooler your using. This is great for 4 pin PWM fans for your CPU air cooler or AIO pump.

Easy Overclocking

We will be covering the VI Hero motherboard's UEFI for overclocking but most of the steps will be very similar concepts to other manufacturers BIOS settings. There are two levels of overclocking I will cover here the simple straight forward approach and the more advanced tweaking. Before we start overclocking make sure you have the LATEST BIOS, always! There has been revisions to microcode and even improved memory overclocking through several BIOS updates. The latest BIOS for the Crosshair VI Hero is version 1002 from 03/29/2017. You can find the download just change the "CPU Core Ratio" to your multiplier amount times the BCLK Frequency. An example would be 38 x 100MHZ = 3800MHZ, which is 3.8 GHZ. For the 1700 this is an awesome overclock over the stock frequencies.

For adjusting the voltage you have a few options. You can leave this on AUTO but be warned you will use excessively more voltage than what's required but will most likely be stable, you can select manual and key in what you want your voltage to be, or choose offset mode which will be better for Pstate overclocking. We will get into Pstate overclockIng in the advanced section. Most people and beginners are going to want to choose manual and key in your voltage first to see what voltage your chip is stable at. My 1700 requires about 1.4 to be stable on manual. You will notice that Offset using AUTO conditions goes up to about 1.417 with my Offset numbers. I needed to get around 1.4 to be stable.

I chose offset for my settings because I am using Pstate overclocking which will allow the chip to idle down voltage and speeds when the PC isn't doing anything intensive. The offset can still be used if you wish but there isn't a point unless you are trying to adjust a curve for what auto can't accomplish. Offset basically takes AUTO and allows you to subtract or add voltage to where AUTO puts your voltage. The reason you're going to want to know what voltage your chip is stable at is so you can determine how much of an Offset to key in. The voltage adjusted will always be a bit higher here than your keyed number. For example, my offset took my stock voltage and adds the 0.13125 and gives me 1.373. but the actual applied voltage is 1.417. It takes a bit of playing around with to get your number right but as long as your just above your stable voltage you should be fine.

Setting the Voltage to manual and keying in a static value makes the CPU run at that voltage 100% of the time, so later when we look into Pstate overclocking, this is what allows the CPU to adjust lower similar to Intel's Speedshift and Pstates. The other important thing to consider is that the CPU also constantly stays at your given CPU ratio unless you follow the Pstate overclocking guide later. Even offset voltage just adjusts the voltage statically until you enable the power saving features. These are on by default and set to AUTO in the current BIOS but nothing happens due to how Ryzen interacts with Windows current power settings. This is why using the Ryzen power plan helps reduce any problems from balanced, and why also 100 % is not preferred for some people.

Also, for now, I would leave LLC (Load Line Calibration) alone. AUTO seems to do a decent job of appropriately adjusting the voltage load under the given load conditions. You can mess with this if you want but AUTO for the VI Hero seems to work fine.

The other key important tips I can give you straight from ASUS is to make sure DRAM voltage is 1.35 or above and set "SOC Voltage" to manual and key in 1.2. This will help stabilize memory DOCP settings and memory overclocking. If DOCP isn't working right and also can try keying in your desired values and speeds manually.

The last step is to boot into windows and try out your overclock. If you don't successfully boot into Windows or your overclock fails, you will need to back down your core ratio or try a higher voltage. You may also have to lower your memory speed as Ryzen has had issues with higher rated memory kits. Just because your memory is rated for a certain speed doesn't guarantee it will run at those settings. Anything above 2133MHz is considered overclocking. If you were able to boot into Windows try some games and run some stress test programs. For Ryzen I have been using Asus

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