Initially, it was not planned to drag out the review on two separate materials, but AMD is one of those that will not let you get bored. During the preparation, a series of difficulties arose. It all started with memory. Surely, anyone who is interested in computer components knows that the relationship between processors built on the Zen architecture and RAM develops with a variable result. The motherboard that took part in the past testing of non-overclocked systems, ASUS TUF B450M-Plus Gaming, flatly refused to work stably with RAM at frequencies above 3266 MHz. And there is no desire to make a review “for show”.
We were prepared for this turn of events, and the materialized ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming adopted the new processor. However, we failed to rejoice at good memory overclocking on the advanced AMD X570 chipset. The maximum voltage for the memory modules turned out to be 1.35 V. This is clearly not enough to conquer the record frequencies, with this voltage we managed to stabilize the system only at a frequency of 3333 MHz. Changing UEFI versions did nothing, contacting technical support also did not bring positive results. But we are overclockers! Encouraged by this thought, we found the ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming. Luck turned away from us this time too, there were no problems with the choice of voltage modes, the motherboard demonstrated excellent overclocking potential in working with memory up to 3733 MHz, problems started when trying to overclock the RX Vega 11 video core.
The only power phase of the SOC was overheating, which led to throttling of the processor and graphics parts at the same time. Normally there were no such problems. But we are overclockers! …ASRock X570M Pro4 had a fairly advanced voltage conversion system, but, like ASUS TUF B450M-Plus Gaming, it did not provide stable high memory overclocking. An MSI B350I Pro AC was brought to light from the depths of our laboratory storage. There were some nuances, with the new version of the microcode that supports third-generation processors, overclocking the graphics core on the previous generation processor, which had worked fine before, turned out to be impossible, changing the values \u200b\u200bin UEFI did not affect the operating frequencies of the graphics core. Rolling back to an older firmware version fixed the issue. Naturally, it does not support Ryzen 5 3400G. But we are overclockers!
With the advent of the third generation of Zen architecture processors, overclocking using ordinary cooling solutions has become ineffective, it is better to resort to more radical measures. So, in a way, we’re lucky to be dealing with a Zen+-based product where the hope is not to easily beat boost frequencies, but to do so for all cores. To change the operating frequencies of hybrid processors, it is necessary to disable the power consumption restrictions, otherwise the processor clamped in the frame will not be able to adequately work during overclocking. As a cooler, we used a liquid cooling circuit of sufficient capacity.
We checked the overclocking capabilities of the computing part depending on the voltage by changing the multiplier with a fixed base frequency. We decided to start with a voltage of 0.9 V to explore the possibility of reducing the standard voltage while maintaining overall performance. The RAM frequency was 2133 MHz with timings according to JEDEC and a fixed SOC-voltage of 1.05 V. The test from OCST 5.5.1 was used to check stability, the test was considered successful after passing 10 minutes of testing. Absolutely stable, perhaps, such a system is not, but you can get an idea of the capabilities of this instance of the CPU. The LLC value of the motherboard was fixed in such a way that the voltage on the processor did not decrease under load. The voltage values are specified according to those set in the UEFI settings of the motherboard.
The maximum frequency of passing the test turned out to be 4275 MHz for all cores, a further increase in voltage to 1.5 V did nothing. Additionally, the stability of the achieved frequency was checked using LinX v0.7.0 for AMD processors. The result obtained is not much, but more than the maximum boost. It is worth noting the ability to operate at voltages below 1.0 V and frequencies above 4.0 GHz with a voltage of about 1.2 V, which is very important for stock cooling systems.
Under the word overclocking, many understand different things, it seems to us that the main goal of this event is to increase productivity. Therefore, we will check how the combination of frequencies and timings affects performance in 3D applications. To do this, we will use the Time Spy, Fire Strike and Night Raid tests from the 3DMark test suite. The frequency of computing and graphics cores was fixed at 3.7 GHz and 1300 MHz, respectively. To select memory delays, we will use the popular among users of the AM4 DRAM Calculator for Ryzen platform, we will start with the Fast preset for SEC b-die memory chips. Let’s take 3200 MHz, which is available in most cases on the vast majority of systems, as the initial one, and we will increase the frequency until it is possible to pass the test. As a stability test, we use TestMem5 with a config from 1usmus. We test the graphic part with 3Dmark 06, and it was it that acted as a limitation in stabilizing high frequencies — if the memory test could safely complete without errors, then launching 3D applications led to driver failure or freezing. The maximum stable frequency can be considered 3533 MHz, while at 3600 MHz the memory test and 3Dmark 06 passed without errors, but from time to time the system could freeze. Playing with settings and voltages did not work. But since our study is of an educational nature, we will test in this mode as well. We will also deliberately apply settings with the Safe preset at a high enough frequency of 3533 MHz to understand how lowering the delays and memory modes can affect performance.
It should be understood that the results were obtained at frequencies close to the standard ones, and during overclocking, the difference can be more significant.
Vega 11 gets the most benefit from the frequency increase, while the CPU component does not receive an asymmetric increase. Changing the preset from Fast to Safe at 3533 MHz causes performance to drop to Fast 3200 MHz.
The situation is similar in the test using DirectX 12. The performance increase is about 5%, still fast memory with more relaxed timings is equal to lower frequency memory, but with an optimized set of delays.
Night Raid responded to the memory subsystem optimization by almost 7%, and this is the first time that Safe has been faster than the lowest frequency tested.
By itself, a high frequency does not bring memory dividends, the combination of tight timings and frequency demonstrates the maximum result.
The grafical part
Similarly with the processor part, we will study the dependence of iGPU frequencies on the supplied voltage. Let’s start with 0.9 V. 3DMark 06 is chosen as a stability test.
For the previous generation of hybrid processors, the corridor of achievable frequencies lay within 1500-1650 MHz, the change in the technical process brought certain improvements, there is an increase in frequencies, although it cannot be called astronomical. Note the strange behavior at frequencies around 1300-1400 MHz, in this range, graphics instability was noted even at relatively high voltages.
When overclocking all components of the hybrid processor, the so-called «swing» appeared, when overclocking one component reduces the potential of another. The final settings that took part in the testing were:
- processor cores: 4.25 GHz at 1.45 V;
- graphics: 1775 MHz at 1.2 V;
- RAM: 3533 MHz at 1.48 V.
To prevent the influence of overheating of components, additional airflow was used in the power circuits and memory modules.
It is possible that in certain scenarios these settings will show instability, but in our case the system passed the stress test and testing in games. I will note several cases of failure to start the system after shutdown, as a result of which the RAM frequency was reset to 2400 MHz. It is likely that on a different system or with better instances you can get better results, but we will be content with what we have.