Overclocker and hardware reviewer Der8auer, widely known for his Intel delidding tools and overclocking videos, has released the results of a survey he conducted late last month concerning Ryzen 3000's ability to reach its advertised boost clocks. Only 5.6% of respondents reported that their Ryzen 9 3900X is reaching its rated boost speed. The results are somewhat better with other SKUs, but still indicate that the majority of Ryzen 3000 series processors are not hitting their rated boost speeds.
Users and reviewers alike have been questioning whether or not AMD's new CPUs are always able to boost to the advertised clock speeds. We recently published an analysis on the 3600X detailing Ryzen 3000's new boosting behavior, and AMD confirmed that only one core on any given CPU is guaranteed to hit the rated boost clock. However, according to the survey, more users aren't even reaching the advertised frequency on any core.
Der8auer's survey obtained the performance data of 2,700 systems from users who were asked to run the single threaded benchmark on Cinebench R15 and record the maximum clock speed using HWInfo (which was recommended by AMD). Most users reported that they were not able to hit the advertised boost clock, though many were within 25 MHz.
At AMD's best, about half of Ryzen 5 3600 users reported their CPU was boosting correctly, and at worst, only 5.6% of Ryzen 9 3900X users reported that their CPU was boosting correctly. Most users were within 100 MHz of the advertised boost clock, but there was still a significant number who were more than 100 MHz away.
Der8auer does make it clear that the survey was not perfectly scientific, however. Firstly, not all users used the exact same hardware, but that is to be expected, and Der8auer says he went through every single result over three days to make sure BIOS version, AGESA version, and everything else was consistent and labeled. He also discarded some results: outliers, systems using unusual setups like chillers, and users who reported that they used PBO.
He does admit that users who weren't getting the rated boost clocks would be more likely to submit their result than users who had no issues, something which could skew results, and that he could not ensure whether or not users applied the Windows 10 update that ensures the Windows scheduler would be using the fastest core for single-threaded workloads.
On the other hand, though, the data more or less demonstrates that most users are not getting the experience promised by AMD and Der8auer says if a specific Windows version or something is required to achieve the rated boost, AMD should make that clear to its users.
There also doesn't seem to be a trend of certain motherboards and certain BIOSes being able to boost more reliably than others, something that earlier testing from reviewers like Hardware Unboxed thought may be the case when testing a much smaller sample of motherboards and just one 3900X. Der8auer states there might be something to Hardware Unboxed's findings, but also that it's not quite as simple as picking a motherboard and getting the clock speeds AMD promised.
Despite the controversy over AMD's advertised boost clocks, Der8auer still says he recommends all the Ryzen 3000 CPUs; however, he also states that the results in his survey were much worse than he expected and is worried about whether or not AMD can solve this issue in a timely manner. He concludes his findings wondering why AMD would advertise these clock speeds.
"Why did AMD feel that it is necessary to advertise the boost or give the people false expectations and false hope for something that they cannot get? Why did they have to do the 3900X at 4.6 [GHz] when they probably clearly know that most of those CPUs would never maintain this speed? It was clearly never necessary to do this; it's completely unnecessary. The CPUs are good enough the way they are. They deliver, and they're good. But those frequency values are just completely wrong." - Der8auer
AMD hasn't yet made a statement on whether or not this is the intended behavior of Ryzen 3000 CPUs, or if there is a fix in the works.