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  • Writer's pictureFred

Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho lets make a Ryzen Blow!

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

So while I was doing all the case and motherboard fiddles and general futzing I was doing with my two Ryzen 9 boxen I use for my day job in my home office, I happened to notice that the new AMD Ryzen Master software could actually make your CPU do all sorts of unnatural acts.

It took me a fair while to clock on to the fact that Ryzen Master is making direct, live changes to the BIOS as it goes.

This Ryzen Master software is fairly infuriating by the way, the Auto Overclock thing does bizarre shit like tuning one CCD and not both which does defy logic somewhat.

I realized this while perusing the results of my core load and noticed only CCD0 was active.

Turns out all that fine tuning I had done was only for half of the 5900X?? Grrrrrr...

I went to curve optimizer as a result and let it do it's own thang for CCD0 and CCD1.

This process takes one hour and 12 minutes from beginning to end.

This has also made me wonder if an AMD Ryzen 5900X CPU is just a 4 core CPU and AMD Double thread magic per core they were talking about a few years back is doing the rest?

4 + 4 + 4 = ?? Mmnnnnnnnema!

When I last worked on making silicon CPU thingamabobs for Telkom labs and HP Labs, we used temperature thresholds to cease all CPU operations and execute an immediate shutdown if certain temperature thresholds were breached as a matter of self-preservation for the CPU thingamabob thangs we were building in various projects.

Intel i7 and i9 CPU do this at between 110-115 degrees Centigrade. They are designed to run exceedingly hot.

AMD Ryzen CPU are supposed to do it between 90-95 Degrees C, depending on which one you happen to have but I have yet to see a Ryzen shut itself down but then I never took any past 94 degrees C either...

I read the Microprocessor guide from AMD on the Ryzen 5000 series tuning with Ryzen Master recently and could fortunately understand it, though some of the quips that sprang forth from said tome had the ancient oracles embedded inside my sole surviving synapse during my years of being a microprocessor engineer protesting at said claims and views as they contradicted my understanding of the laws of thermodynamics to quite an egregious level.

So I watched me a good dozen or so Videos on people doing this Maximum threshold futzing crap with Ryzen Master and was astonished to learn you can very easily blow up your CPU if you do not know what you are doing.

My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw what people were doing in attempts to overclock their CPU, often by fractions of a degree centigrade and MHz clocks.

Now at this juncture you need to understand a few things about mass produced silicon wafers as it's not quite the precision most folks think it is.

What you get is what we call the silicon lottery, some are better and some are worse than the others but one thing you can be assured of is they are not all the same at all.

This is why the badge they print on them that qualifies them as a 5600, 5800, 5900 or 5950 platform is based on the testing they do with them after these FRED's are built.

Even within the range of all things that are 5900X CPU chips there is a vast range of performance differences, and each chip is basically a unique individual with better or worse capabilities than the baseline expectations for that chip you are now attempting to tune.

With this Ryzen Master tool, you are further honing in on your particular chip's best operating settings and to enable this you can increase CPU base voltage settings from 1.1995v all the way through to 1.5v and you can also fiddle with lots of various other power and current settings to help you dial it in better.

There are quite a few options in Ryzen Master that range from Default, PBO, Auto OC, Curve Optimized and Manual to play with but I did notice that once you set the settings for anything in Manual mode the BIOS treats this as the new baseline standard with immediate effect, so be careful.

The other settings have test and apply.

As stated earlier, Ryzen Master is setting all those advanced overclocking settings for you in your computers BIOS.

If you go look at the values and settings before Ryzen Master applies and tests you will see Ryzen Master is changing everything, it is in fact an extension of the BIOS advanced features screen - for Windows only.

There is as of yet no Ryzen Master for Linux yet.

You can boot a Windows OS on a USB or another NVMe SSD and have it set the BIOS for Curve Optimized settings though...Saving and applying them before swapping to the Linux boot SSD..

This all means you need to open a Spreadsheet to keep track of what settings you made with what values as you go.

Do not be wishy washy, willy nilly about this stuff if you do decide to get dragged into this overclock whirlpool bollocks!

I have spoken!

In any event, I managed to get my two target 5900X CPU all stable at 58-65 degrees C but when I used Auto-OC, the CPU clock was at a nice high 4.287 GHz but the temperature was at a rather unattractive 84.87 Degrees C running at that clock.

The CPU seemed to love it and was actually computing Pretty Darn Swell (PDS), it was me that went "Me no Like" (MnL)....It was the darn temps I did not like, to be exact about it all.

I started looking at water coolers online again while musing the unattractive to me alternatives to my Dark Pro 4 setup.

Due to the egregious $ and acoustical penalties involved in that game, I started to mull shite over and this was a rather good thing, actually.

This allowed me to draw on my theoretical skills with computing and electronics experience in relation to power, voltage, heat and temperatures and I engaged the sole surviving synapse and partook in some thermal overload dynamics of my very own.

I even hauled out my old HP42S RPN Calculator I had over used when building chips and found my electronic design module I had so lovingly written the code for so long ago and I rapidly brought myself up to speed with my evil plan to control this beast at the highest clock rate possible, at the lowest temps possible....on Air, NOT water...

It struck me that one needed a rather exotic open cooling loop setup to get CPU clocks near the advertised 4.8 GHz levels these Ryzen 9 CPU could theoretically attain and that there was a commensurate cost involved with getting it there.

Of course there was!! Nothing in life is ever free, right?

For me I value stability so running at 4.8 GHz is not for me but I do not want to run at 3.7 GHz either!

So how much clock does one need anyways was the salient question of the moment I am mulling over in a semi serious manner when I get a free moment in my busy schedule while peering at the numbers on my trusty old HP 42S RPN calculator.

As usual, the answer is "it depends"....and it actually depends on a whole raft of different things too!

The fact of the matter is there is actually no cheap way to do all of this Max CPU performance thang sans compromise, unless you have a very large bank account.

Everything in this computing performance respect is a combination of compromises, as in fact is any life lived on this planet.

You can get your CPU to run at moderate clocks on moderate voltage settings with the default out the box settings and for general desktop computing purposes this is AOK.

However, if you are running an AI, Serious Desktop Gaming Apps or doing something that pushes the CPU for all it can do, water cooling is for you.

Air cooling has it's limits but this is the envelope I am exploring for my setup that I will repeat on all my other X570 based machines when I get the time to do it.

The shortcut for this is to select curve optimized and set it for all cores, then set it to run and it will spend the next 72 minutes finding the best settings for all cores in both CCD's....

After some considerable manual testing I have concluded this is the best strategy as there are literally a zillion thangs that makes the whole thing feel like chasing a blob of Mercury across a superconductor highway.....

As I am not blessed the finer details of operating my organic Quantum computer between my ears to that degree of dexterity with all these settings the auto option is better for moi after the three days I invested in tuning CCD0......Nuff said..

One Last tweak saw me get this....

Then there is the matter of the PSU you will need for these sorts of high-performance workloads and oh, don't bother with a Cheapie motherboard either...

The starting point here is knowing what your particular motherboard can deliver on a reliable operating basis.

There are reasons why serious motherboards can cost as much as $2K and the cheapies start at $89. You get what you pay for.

And yes, The intel Asus Godlike Z690 motherboard is actually a ball hair over $2K!

Set your expectations on your overclocking gains based on your motherboard and PSU quality as well as your cooling components.

A general rule of thumb here is the more you spend, the better the results on the high end side of computing things.

Few of us have limitless budgets for these compute playthings and we all need them for one or other general purpose we are building them for.

I need my computers for watching video training content, electronic design work, printed circuit board design CAD work and lots of Visio creation and assorted computer coding for AI projects.

I only play chess on my computers but they can in fact all play most of the popular games like Diablo or Assassins Creed even though I don't.

I do actually test my GPU with Assassins creed software.

As such, I myself used to go for the older but powerful Graphics cards like the 1080 Ti or the 1070 Ti.

For what I do these GPU were perfect.

I recently went back to AMD Radeon with the 6800 XT 12 GB model.

When it comes to Chess based AI, I am in need of a fairly powerful GPU/CPU combo but it doesn't need to be anything that insane.

The Pricing on the 6800 XT got sane for a brief moment and I bought them at $367 each.

The AMD Ryzen 5900X CPU is perfect for all my general compute requirements but I can explore the envelope of the CPU capability if I care to fritter away the time to do it, which is where I am now.

I also play with NVIDIA CUDA core dev but I have one rig for that purpose and it ain't any of these I am futzing with here.

I recently standardized all PSU on the Gamestop 850W units.

Obviously, you already know all my Motherboards were Aorus X570 Elite version 1.0 or 1.1 motherboards. They are now all Asus X570 TUF Gaming rigs.

I also have two Threadripper rigs with TRX40 motherboards, also with Aorus TRX offerings suitable for my requirements.

These machines have high end Radeon RX 7950 GPU in them but this is just for my Racal Redak and P-CAD software etc.

These are only used for specific tasks and are off when not in use.

The Threadrippers are also both Air cooled by Dark Pro 4 Air coolers but that was because AMD told me not to bother with water cooling them and I saw this in the lab for myself when benchmarking with Cinebench.

I had thought the 5900X was in the same boat as the new Threadripper Pro 5995WX CPU but this is in fact not the case at all.

It seems that the Ryzen 5900X has a very wide range of settings you can tune it to and a great many ways to do it as well.

The standard MO is to set it to performance settings in the middle for the tuning range and go up and down until it blue-screens while testing with Cine-bench for 10 minutes at a time.

Remember not all chips are the same so starting in the middle of the range is my set MO here.

The idea being when it does blue-screen you dial it down a notch until you are on the edge and then try find the reliability and performance sweet spot, by degrees of down notching and re-testing.

This is a tedious and time-consuming affair by the way, so learn to be meticulous and patient when you get into this water or air cooling malarkey.

And do not jump ten steps ahead either, you need to do it in very small incremental steps because if you do not you can blow up the CPU in one shot.

My first tuning attempt

You may find you need more and more capable water coolers and bigger radiators as you get into this on the water cooling side and on the air cooling side I am already at the max system you can buy with the Dark Pro 4.

I already tested with the Noctua units 18 months ago.

You can easily waste $2K on all the exotic bits and pieces that come with pandering to the water cooling drug by the way.

I suggest you set a budget for all the components and what you are willing to spend and do not step outside of the bounds of what you set for yourself here.

I build a spreadsheet for each rig I mess with and this is usually quite the eye opener when I peruse it, BEFORE jumping into it all.

By the time I was almost done with my tuning..

Another thing not to do with this is looking at what buying a whole computer from Dell or HP is in comparison to building your own rig, you should not be at this stage of Self build rig futzing if you have not done this for yourself already.

The standard off the shelf computer boxen have almost zero upgrade capabilities and these will make your warranty a moot point if you go there anyways.

I myself went down this road many times and I ended up throwing most of the components away because they are mostly all cheap and dire crap.

It is therefore, in my experience far cheaper to just build your own rig.

Now don't get me wrong, for most people off the shelf is AOK, but if you are like me, it never will be, so understand yourself before getting into this build your own computer malarkey game, it be costing many, many beans.

Oh, and it consumes a great deal of time as well.

Lemme give you some rough ideas by looking at the costs of the components involved here, so we will go with the Ryzen 9 5900X CPU which these days is going for $341 less taxes.

A mid range X570 series Motherboard is between $325-$387, also less taxes.

Then you need a 850W to 1000W PSU and these also range in price from $169-$497.

Corsair Dominator RAM will run you $139 for two 16 GB sticks which is a good place to start and you can spend up to $600 for RAM on the top end of the range but I do not recommend this for any scenario option based on what I have seen for the return on investment.

Stable RAM is not negotiable in any computing platform in my engineering world view.

The next component to dither over is the case.

This one is important as if you are going to get into Open loop water cooling, sooner or later (and you will) there is never "too much" space for radiators in a single computer case.

Just so you know, it is not just the CPU that gets cooled in these sorts of rigs, it's the GPU, the Chip-sets as well as maybe a second GPU if you are going that way, though if you are, up your PSU to 1600W.

Bear in mind the new AM5 stuff needs a different PSU to the AM4 stuff so you will not be using the former PSU with the latter Motherboard system.

So in any event, a decent case will run you $700 in the form of the Cooler Master HAF 700 EVO E-ATX case on the top end of the spectrum and $259 for a decent mid range Lian-Li number.

Next up is the GPU, which are presently available for $329 for the RX 6700 XT or $429 for the RX 6800 XT.

Then you will need one big 49" 240 Hz curved screen Samsung monitor for $999.99.

I went from 2 monitors to one 49" Curved screen monitor on all my rigs and this is far better than dual monitor gubbins IMHO.

Other accessories like keyboards and mice will run you another $500.

Sure, you can buy cheap crap for $49-$129 a pop and try a few dozen of those but I have found getting outrageous keyboards and mice from the outset is a far better option out the gate that will be far cheaper in the long run.

I have spent near $2500 on keyboards and mice over the last three years to back up my views on that piece of the equation.

Then there is the matter of suitable storage.

Ideal is 2 x 2TB NVMe 4.0 SSD from Samsung or WD. These will run you $320 each sans taxes though I did clock the new SN850 X 2TB NVMe 4.0 SSD selling for $179 per on Amazon today.

So we are at $4,692 plus taxes for a moderate slightly better than middle of the road to this juncture and we are still missing a major piece at this juncture.

The cooling piece.

Here you can spend from $200-$2000+.

I advise Noobs to start with the 360 AIO cooling gear at the outset and to buy the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 A-RGB unit which will run you $215, more or less.

For arguments sake lets say a cool $5K for all the basic goodies plus taxes.

I myself went with the new PCI-e 4.O GPU at 4K and promptly went back to 2K screens and older GPU. I also cut back from two 29" screens to one big 49 inch one which I run at 2K, mostly.

My Threadripper rigs have a rather more exotic GPU and 65" 8K monitor setup but for the X570 stuff, I do not believe 4K is worth the time or effort for what you get.

PCI-e 4.0 GPU vs PCI-e 3.0 GPU is also very disappointing for what you are getting here and I advise to get the best PCI-e 3 GPU instead.

The Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Founders edition GPU card is in my opinion still the best value GPU money can buy and it is plenty powerful for GPU Offloading antics if you are needing one for light scientific research purposes.

If I was a billionaire I would run an A40 in my Threadripper Pro rigs and an A16 in my others.

Video, compute, CAD and near 99.9% of applications are just fine at 1920 or 2150 resolution settings.

4K Monitors also require some exotic HDMI cables and I have a blog about that rabbit hole on this blog site that you should read to get an eye opener there.

One HDMI active cable cost $4,995! This is almost as much as a base X570 rig!

If you work for Pixar or some movie studio, this is a must have, for the rest of us there are less expensive options but note that good cables for your monitor and sound systems are not in the $19.95 category of cheap Chinese cable available from Amazon.

Your new cable staple is made by a company called AudioQuest and the entry level is the 4K Cinnamon cable that starts at $69. The modern high end graphics cables for 8K monitors start at $139.99 for a 2.5 ft 8K-10K cable.

This seems like a lot of money but it will in fact save you a ton of money.

I myself spent thousands buying cheap Chinese cables that did not do what their packaging claims made, thinking I was saving me some of that green money stuff.

I eventually ended up buying a very exotic piece of Philips cable testing equipment that tests these cables as I build custom rigs for folks in the special effects cinematic business who are pals of mine and the cables these folks use are worth far more than their entire computing rig is.

That all started as a BBQ talking point one day in 2008 and one of the Lucas guys challenged me to build him some exotic Intel Workstation hardware and it switched into the AMD world big time from when the Ryzen 2000 series got launched.

These guys are now all running Threadripper rigs like I am.

AudioQuest also made 4K cables that are like Gold and if you can find these grab them.

Make sure you do not go over 10 foot of HDMI cable either by the way, these types of cables require active cable variants and these start at $2995 for 5 foot variants and are $4,495 for the 10 foot cables.

A good mechanical keyboard is also an area I have come to find is an item not to cut costs on. Right now the best Keyboard ever made in my humble opinion runs $147 clams (Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 SE).

I myself have over 100 keyboards in my collection and I spent way over $7K on them all as well, I also once had over 200 of the bastard thangs...

My wife has been having a grand ol time inviting the Got Junk people to carry swathes of the bastard things to Keyboard heaven every other month.

I even had to say goodbye to my Trusty DEC rtVAX 3800 machine the other day but I gave it to a winery in Lodi that has a good few of the things.

The only thing better real time wise is the HP1000 series and I still have some of them lying about in good working order down at the farm.

If you are an Audiophile, cables to speakers and speakers themselves can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars.

This will in fact make your computer rig look like chump change in comparison to the bits required for that sort of shenanigan.

I am obviously not building low end machines for my own use but I am also not going high end either but I do have a good few of them instead of one mighty one....(Excluding the two Threadripper Pro rigs from the conversation here, those are a tad exotic, but these are specialized custom workstations, not Desktop computers).

Apple CPU that combine CPU and GPU function are actually showing a lot of promise and the costs involved in getting into that way of doing this compute stuff at first glance looks high but actually they are not but there are few customization and upgrade options on that ARM SoC stuff.

I have some of their gear I have been playing with and it is much better than HPE or Dell desktop computing devices, but they are still not in the modular expand with what you can afford kind of approach to computing.

The software for Apple rigs is also PDE (Pretty Darn Expensive) so in terms of bang for your buck, there is, in the final analysis, little to chose from either path of bleeding edge exotic compute platforms you chose to take as they seem to cost about the same all in.

As the Apple CPU/GPU platform evolves and gets cheaper this may change the computing business quite a bit but right now I have more enthusiasm for Open Source Linux platforms taking us where we need to go on ARM SoC.

Everyone is evolving with different architectures so in reality you need a slice from each offering if you want to assess and understand them all.

Not all my rigs are running Windows either, I have one Windows laptop and two Windows 11 desktop rigs, two Windows server 2022 Workstations and everything else is running Linux and I have two Apple M1 laptops as well.

The way Apple are taking the ARM concept of a System on a Chip (SoC) is going to win this war and even Microsoft has been porting their OS platforms for ARM SoC chippery machine code.

The ARM M1 or M2 SoC platforms are not chips that you can compare to Intel or AMD who only make Microprocessors and GPU processors by the way and an M1/M2 is not a Microprocessor either, as I stated it is in fact a collection of many types of silicon chips on a single die that include a CPU and GPU plus the other stuff you need for a computer to be a computer.

This SoC approach reduces latency and makes them so fast and so low powered that the combined advantages are pretty massive.

The CPU and GPU are combined and use the same memory and there are other pieces that do signal processing and other specialized functions that all computers do. The only difference is that as they are all on the same silicon die they are much faster than different discrete components plugged into a common PCI-e bus or the motherboard.

Apple is still using PCI-e 3 while AMD are on PCI-e 5 already.

With SoC Apple do not need PCI-e 5 and are holding out for 6.0 before they make a move to change things.

AMD bought Xilinx recently and are also plotting integrated SoC platforms that do mostly everything SoC style.

ARM CPU came from Mobile phones and happen to cover most computing needs but as AMD evolve their SoC's, we will potentially have a vastly more powerful silicon package than what ARM offers today as they come from the computing space.

The SoC Chip manufacturing space is where it is gonna be the next 15-25 years.

This is good news for us, the consumers of this stuff as we will be getting more powerful and more integrated compute platforms down the Pike.

They will be extraordinarily cheap compared to the costs involved today of these things as well.

The downside to SoC is if they get one component of what is on the die wrong, you have to live with that piece of suck that the whole package brings with it.

In the future computer manufacturers will buy the best components to put on their silicon die and there will be many variants of this for many different purposes.

AMD is playing catch up to ARM Firestorm and also to Out of Order Execution (OoOE) technologies but their purchase of Xilinx is delivering some interesting Radeon GPU, AMD Chip Tech with Xilinx combinations on a single die for their lab test beds for what is next in this space.

AMD actually has the best shot at SoC outside of ARM and we do need a strong competitor out there.

Intel themselves are working on their SoC options but they are a long way behind ARM and AMD in this space.

In the final analysis we need to remember that it ain't over till the fat lady sings!

Who would have believed Intel would have found themselves in the position they now find themselves in 15 years ago?

This is what happens when you get complacent, arrogant and conceited all in one shot like Intel did.

Software for these SoC systems is going to be where the bottlenecks are going to be found though and the cost of software needs to get as cheap as the SoC hardware is going to get to.

Right now the Apple M2 Pro Max SoC is pretty impressive, the dollar to fork out for the software to run on it however, is far from attractive.

I would not be calling the race quite yet if I wuz the general public......but Apple are a long way ahead of the game at this juncture, if only they had an OS that did not suck!

In the meantime, I find the AMD 5000 series CPU chippery, motherboards and general compute accessories to be a interesting spot to dabble in right now......

Apple should consider buying Microsoft lock stock and freaking barrel while they have so much cash they do not know what to spend it on.

Then they can rename the apps to Apple Office and get on with things like making an elegant OS.

Windows OS developers have been making compromises since NT 3.11 and I am sure Apple R&D with true Microsoft innovation can fix that gubbins up real good.

FYI I am staying clear of the Ryzen 7000 series stuff because you need to pull off the CPU IHS Metal package and water cool it properly - AMD did a shocking job on the Ryzen 7000 IHS stuff from the cooling component POV.

Some of my pals in Germany have done this with 20 of them and it works real swell but the risk of damaging a CPU is high when you remove its metal case with the cave man process involved in doing this radical deed.

I wonder if we can persuade AMD to sell 7900X and 7950X chips as bare naked ladies for water cooling enthusiasts?

I have seen the temps on a properly water cooled 7950X that had this treatment and it runs at 47 degrees C while clocking in at near 5GHz....

That is impressive!

So anyways that is the state of the Dr EPYC home compute environment.....


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