AMD Raven Ridge Thermal/Power Analysis: Ryzen CPUs With Vega

Combined Stress Testing: Benchmarks & Results

Extreme Stress Test with the Stock Cooler

The individual CPU and GPU stress tests pushed AMD's stock thermal solution to its limit. So what happens when we tax both sides of Raven Ridge simultaneously? How well are the two blocks balanced, what does maximum power consumption look like, and how much heat is generated?

Once again, this represents an extreme scenario that doesn’t have much to do with either processor's everyday operation. One way or another, though, both chips have to survive the gauntlet.

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

After ~6 minutes, AMD’s Ryzen 3 2200G hits 95°C. That's well above its thermal limit. And the result doesn't change, even when we push the fan to its fastest rotational speed. With that said, the processor doesn't falter; it keeps going, albeit at an uncomfortably high temperature.

The hottest voltage converters toe the 80°C mark. Average power consumption is close to 88W, while peak power use falls just shy of the 100W threshold.

Plotting frequency over time shows us that the Zen cores slow down slightly once the processor exceeds 94.5W. However, Ryzen does balance this demanding workload well; the missing 100 MHz toward the end of our test is no big deal, particularly since Radeon Vega Graphics isn't affected at all.

In the end, AMD's stock cooler passes our test in a photo finish, with the Zen cores dialing back just a touch.

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

The higher-end Ryzen 5 2400G enjoys greater utilization via simultaneous multi-threading and features more Stream processors. Surely it'll hit a wall when we push it hard, right? An average power consumption measurement of ~99W over 15 minutes and peaks close to 128W just can't be dealt with using a small aluminum sink.

Sure enough, after about three minutes, the CPU starts throttling to protect itself. After that, temperatures peak around 92°C, and the voltage converters run at 80°C.

Our corresponding frequency curve shows the throttling kick in even more clearly. The controller tries to maintain balance by frantically bumping clock rates up and back down. After two minutes of failing to rein in thermals, the temperature hits 95°C and AMD's Ryzen 5 2400G pulls the emergency brake. A small frequency dip affects the CPU and GPU, bringing voltage and current down a bit.

After the processor frantically changes the CPU’s frequency (near its thermal limit), it can achieve the original higher clock rate again after a short cooling-off period without a load. However, as soon as the graphics engine throttles, it takes a reboot to recover full functionality. Even a prolonged idle period doesn't help. AMD couldn't (or wouldn't) explain the cause of this behavior.

Extreme Stress Test with the Chiller

Enough of that diminutive stock heat sink and fan. We’re switching to our chiller and a good CPU water block to eliminate thermal bottlenecks. Even under full load, the liquid stays at a constant 20°C, while the air-conditioned room provides 22°C to the blower running at full-blast.

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Cooling the Ryzen 3 2200G wasn't a challenge for our massive thermal solution. Consequently, we never had an issue with heat. Average power consumption through our 15-minute run was ~90W, with peaks approaching ~101W. In spite of this, the processor's temperature never exceeded 57°C, and the voltage converters peaked at ~62°C.

The CPU and GPU frequencies remain stable. This means it's possible to circumvent AMD's throttling mechanism on the lower-end 2200G, even under brutal loads, by using an ample cooler. You just need something better than the Wraith Stealth.

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

But what's this? Ryzen 5 2400G shows us that the chip's throttling behaviors can't be attributable to thermal limits. CPU and GPU temperatures in the 60°C range don't require corrective action by the processor's telemetry. And yet, we again see Ryzen 5 pull its emergency chute, dropping average power consumption from just over 114W (with up to 131W peaks) to ~100W. The voltage converters were at a mere 64°C before the processor started throttling.

Clock rates plotted over time illustrate the drop as well, though they're not as pronounced as our thermal readings. Both the CPU and GPU lose ~100 MHz. And again, it takes a reboot for Ryzen 5 2400G’s frequencies to hit their ceilings once this behavior starts. Simply giving the chip a break to cool off doesn't restore full functionality.

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  • Combat_Medic
    The prices you chose to use here are bogus - the $99 and $169 MSRP are what they're actually going for.
  • AgentLozen
    Combat_Medic said:

    The prices you chose to use here are bogus - the $99 and $169 MSRP are what they're actually going for.


    The prices from Amazon or NewEgg (or whatever) are usually inaccurate. I think Tom's should provide us with the MSRP and the internet price. That way, if the internet price is malfunctioning and showing a +50% markup, at least we know what it's SUPPOSED to sell for.

    edit: minor fix
  • FormatC
    When I wrote this review, we had only the official MSRP from AMD. The availability in Germany looks ok and the prices in EUR with VAT are lower :)
  • Ninjawithagun
    The prices (provided via direct link to Amazon.com) are now correct. Unfortunately, they are all sold out...lol.
  • Kennyy Evony
    Best solution to put these in would be your stand alone calculators.
  • JamesSneed
    These seem to be very efficient for the CPU and GPU performance they deliver. Nifty more options for budget PC's.

    I am left wondering if the 14nm process AMD is using, is having issues scaling to higher frequencies as it appears you keep Zen and Vega at lower clocks and they are very efficient.
  • FormatC
    I really like the new power management and it is finally nothing else as efficiency-orientated mobile technology for the desktop.
  • nuclearpowerofattorney
    Maybe the 2400G is so smart and powerful, that when it reaches critical computational capacity, it evolves to become sentient, and thus unruly. Only after it is rebooted, to have the sentience removed, will the system cease its rebellious behavior. (Actually, I don't think this..but it's all I've got).
  • Rookie_MIB
    For the 2400G, bundling the better Wraith Spire could probably avoid the throttling bouncing around by preventing it from hitting the thermal limits under the more taxing loads.

    Eventually though they're going to have to find out what's causing it to get stuck in that loop.
  • 7angrytangerines
    Obviously 2400G wants to protect itself from some poor saps trying to use it for cryptocurrency mining.
  • bennie101
    When was the last generation Intel used solder on there chips? Maybe AMD is following a bad example of a mistake Intel made. Oh well saves money right!
  • FormatC
    This cooler failed only under bad conditions and with a so-called power-virus. I'm sure that the temperatures will not exceed the limits during normal daily utilization.
  • Valantar
    All in all, I'm really impressed with these chips in terms of power draw. Passable Witcher 3 frame rates at <50W? That's crazy impressive!

    Still, for an article titled "thermal/power analysis", I'm a bit disappointed. No power numbers while overclocked, at least for gaming? No full-platform power draw? For an APU like this that's no doubt headed for a bunch of SFF builds, total platform power draw is important (at least for those of us considering PicoPSUs and the like). Sure, this pulls SSD and motherboard power draw into the mix, but that's the whole point! Please give a ballpark number of peak (non-virus) platform power. Does the motherboard+SSD+cooler add 10W? 20? 30?
  • John Freiman
    Well, unless the GPU throttling can be solved by a BIOS or Firmware update, I'm not going to be upgrading my Plex Server with an AMD A10 APU and RX480 any time soon.
    I am so disappointed!!!!!
  • Valantar
    Anonymous said:
    Well, unless the GPU throttling can be solved by a BIOS or Firmware update, I'm not going to be upgrading my Plex Server with an AMD A10 APU and RX480 any time soon.
    I am so disappointed!!!!!


    It would be baffling if this wasn't a patchable bug - a hardware bug this major that wasn't spotted in preliminary hardware testing? Doesn't make sense to me. Probably need a microcode update of some sort, but of course figuring out the source of it might be more of a challenge.

    Still, if you have an RX 480 in the Plex server, any APU would be a downgrade. If you need more CPU power than you APU provides, why not go for a 1200X or 1300?
  • damric
    Perhaps you should test again with a proper motherboard, you know, one with some descent VRMs and sinks. There are some starting around $75. The motherboard used in your test is just pure rubbish, not designed at all for that harsh treatment.
  • gggplaya
    Anonymous said:
    Well, unless the GPU throttling can be solved by a BIOS or Firmware update, I'm not going to be upgrading my Plex Server with an AMD A10 APU and RX480 any time soon.
    I am so disappointed!!!!!


    What's the idle wattage of your plex server, I can't imagine the A10 APU is very good. Also, if you sold your RX480 on ebay right now, the upgrade to a 2200g with a B350 motherboard and 8GB of ram would even out. Depends on how much graphics power you need on your server.

    I use a NAS, but I use Apple TV 4's with the Infuse app, so there's no need for me to transcode. My ARM NAS only uses about 6watts in HDD standby mode.
  • Ninjawithagun
    Interestingly enough, my 1700X (@ stock 3.5Ghz) achieves the exact same temps under full load Prime95 ;-)
  • FormatC
    I delidded it, with interesting findings after comparing the original TM with high-end grease and liquid metal. Stay tuned, it must be translated now.

  • djekna
    i have 120 w PSU external LC power
    Would i be ok to put 2400G and make a RIG ?