Right on schedule, AMD has released updated information concerning Ryzen boost clocks, and the forthcoming AGESA update which will bring fixes to consumers. As we covered yesterday, this new AGESA is versioned 1003ABBA, and you’re all lucky that I am not that familiar with the pop band, or else this post would be relentlessly pun-filled. I would like to think some engineer at AMD has a great sense of humor, though, and that this isn’t just coincidental naming.
When this boost clock saga began, we didn’t think it’d turn into somewhat of a debacle. AMD’s response today is about three times larger than I personally expected it to be. A lot of information is appreciated, but this much makes it feel like it’s a bigger issue than it actually is.
Nonetheless, AMD highlights the fact that its processors monitor many things in real-time, from CPU temperature to voltage regulator current, and even workload intensity – all to maximize overall performance from one millisecond to the next. When AMD specs its CPUs, it’s tested with specific voltage and temperatures to ensure they behave as expected.
That of course doesn’t negate the fact that many people were not able to see their expected boost clocks even with sufficient components and cooling. That said, AMD expects this issue to be resolved as it’s found a bug that directly relates to 25~50MHz being chopped off the boost. As soon as your motherboard has an EFI equipped with the new AGESA, your monitoring results should look better.
AMD is keen to highlight the fact that not all workloads are built alike, and oftentimes, monitoring tools don’t do their job properly enough. Even more often, it’s not the fault of the application, but the fact that a lot of guesstimates have to be made, since companies don’t always expose every critical detail through an API. This is another problem AMD will be fixing.
With a new monitoring SDK, AMD will be adding 30+ API calls for developers to take advantage of, in order to relay accurate information as the CPU records it. That includes values like current temperature, peak and average core voltage, peak speed, effective frequency, and so forth. A preview of this SDK will be made available on September 30, so it will likely be a couple of months before third-party tools will reflect the updates (unless some developers are really keen on implementing the new API calls as quickly as possible).
In our post yesterday, we alluded to the fact that some have been questioning Zen 2 longevity, which is something AMD wanted to tackle in its latest update:
We perform extensive engineering analysis to develop reliability models and to model the lifetime of our processors before entering mass production. While AGESA 1003AB contained changes to improve system stability and performance for users, changes were not made for product longevity reasons. We do not expect that the improvements that have been made in boost frequency for AGESA 1003ABBA will have any impact on the lifetime of your Ryzen processor.
At this point, it’s up to the motherboard vendors to take the latest AGESA and inject it into another EFI release. While MSI EFIs have been floating around, we still haven’t spotted them posted to official sources, so if you want to be safe, you should just hold off until the companies themselves give the a-OK.
From a benchmarking standpoint, we wouldn’t expect the new AGESA to change anything notable in the performance picture. Some single-threaded scenarios might see a new peak, depending on how the CPU thinks it’s being used. For all-core, the peak clocks are (seemingly) unchanged, so multi-threaded workloads should not show much of a difference at all. Unless something comes up, we’re currently planning to retest our CPU stack in time for next month’s launch of some Intel CPUs, but will wait as long as possible before beginning, because all of this retesting gets old fast!