AMD's third-generation Ryzen 3000 processors based on 7nm Zen 2 architecture have been an absolute hit for the company. Not only are the processors providing significant boosts in single-threaded app performance, but the 7nm process tech allows the chips to run cooler than their Intel counterparts while ramping up the core counts to as high as 16 cores with the incoming Ryzen 9 3950X.
However, now that Ryzen 3000 chips are in the hands of enthusiasts all over the world, there have been some concerns raised about max boost frequencies for the processors. Needless to say, AMD has been watching all of this activity in the enthusiast community very closely and it responded in a tweet this morning to state that it is aware of the discrepancies with respect to Ryzen 3000 processors hitting their rated boost frequencies. The company issued the following statement:
AMD is pleased with the strong momentum of 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen processors in the PC enthusiast and gaming communities. We closely monitor community feedback on our products and understand that some 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen users are reporting boost clock speeds below the expected processor boost frequency
While processor boost frequency is dependent on many variables including workload, system design, and cooling solution, we have closely reviewed the feedback from our customers and have identified an issue in our firmware that reduces boost frequency in some situations. We are in the process of preparing a BIOS update for our motherboard partners that addresses that issue and includes additional boost performance optimizations. We will provide an update on September 10th to the community regarding the availability of the BIOS.
The folks over at Tom's Hardware were among the first to notice that Ryzen 3000 processors were not hitting their spec'd boost frequencies. Then, overclocking phenom Roman "der8auer" Hartung commissioned a survey to see how many Ryzen 3000 owners were actually hitting the advertised boost frequencies of their processors after he was unable to reach rated frequencies with his own chips.
Over 2,700 people responded to his survey, and many reported that their processors never hit their advertised maximum boost frequency (although some came within 25MHz) when running the Cinebench R20. Cinebench R20 is a rigorous enough benchmark that should allow a processor to max out its frequency in the single-core test.
When all was said and done, the low-end Ryzen 5 3600 was the most likely to hit its maximum boost frequency (49.8 percent), while the current flagship Ryzen 9 3900X only hit its top-end 5.6 percent of the time. We should mention that that AMD's spec'd max boost frequencies only apply to a single core, and even when a processor hits that speed, it may only do so for an extremely brief period of time. However, knowing how fervent the enthusiast community is, AMD is sensitive to the fact that at least some Ryzen 3000 owners may be upset with the fact that their chips aren't able to hit those frequencies at all under load.
But the big takeaway here is that AMD has listened to the community feedback, it has identified the problem on its end, and is working to make a fix available that will be pushed to its hardware [motherboard] partners. Once AMD gets this fix pushed out, the next big item on its agenda will be to release the 12-core/32-thread Ryzen 3950X which we were promised would launch in September. And while they’re at it, maybe AMD could work a bit on dumping more Ryzen 9 3900X processors into the channel, which has been hard to come by ever since its July 7th launch.