How To Overclock AMD Ryzen CPUs

Unless you've been living under a rock, then you already know that Ryzen is AMD's newest brand that now covers eight-, six-, and four-core desktop-oriented CPUs. In the months to come, we'll also see Ryzen-branded APUs.

For now, though, we're interested in how receptive the available host processors are to overclocking. After all, AMD arms the entire portfolio with adjustable ratio multipliers, practically inviting enthusiasts to throw their skill and cooling budgets up against the company's first 14nm CPUs.

Is Ryzen an overclocker's dream, then? We did some preliminary tuning for our launch coverage using early firmware. And as AMD fills in its Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 families, we revisit the architecture's headroom using fairly high-end air and closed-loop liquid cooling. But so far we've seen a common ceiling in the 3.9 to 4 GHz range.

We've already done quite a bit to explore Ryzen's performance in stock and overclocked form. For more, check out our:

Today's story goes a step further. We're tweaking the BIOS in every direction using an eight-core model to gauge the impact of various settings on your overclocking experience. For cooling, we're going with water-cooling, though liquid nitrogen will follow as the platform matures. And we'll test the influence of memory speed and reference clock rate.

Test Configuration

Some of our labs got their CPUs from AMD, some received processors from motherboard manufacturers, and others had to buy retail chips when AMD's supply ran out. Tom's Hardware France was fortunate enough to receive all three launch models, Ryzen 7 1700, 1700X, and 1800X, from the source. To torture them, we surrounded ourselves with some of the best hardware available.

For cooling, we chose the Silent Loop 280 liquid cooling kit from be quiet! Although our various offices are using different motherboards, we went with Asus' Crosshair VI Hero for this story. We're arming it with two memory modules from a G.Skill Flare X kit, which was developed specifically for Ryzen. In fact, the kit employs Samsung B-die ICs, considered some of the best for overclocking. Is this a perfect combination? We'll see. To avoid graphics bottlenecks, we're using an Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080. To finish, our faithful Cooler Master MasterWatt Maker 1200 is tasked with providing clean power to our platform.

MORE: Best CPUs

MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

MORE: CPU Overclocking Guide: How (and Why) to Tweak Your Processor

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33 comments
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  • drinkingcola86
    Page 4 third paragraph.

    "Also, we observed that this this offset of 20°C is a loose approximation,"

    Needs correcting. One "this."
  • ykki
    Power consumption benchmarks?
  • jkhoward
    Dang-it guys. The 1080 doesn't freaking work well with the new AMD CPU. You know this. Why would you not choose an AMD card? Trying to make AMD look bad again?

    <edited for language>
  • popatim
    What evidence do you have for that statement jkhoward?
  • MeanMachine41
    612443 said:
    Dang-it guys. The 1080 doesn't freaking work well with the new AMD CPU. You know this. Why would you not choose an AMD card? Trying to make AMD look bad again? <edited for language>


    I have evidence to the contrary and the GTX-1080 works well with new Ryzen 7 1800X.

  • Kenneth_72
    AMD's is missing it's opportunities. They better start hitting the ground running if they want to compete AND WE NEED THEM TO COMPETE!
  • CountMike
    Problems are more of BIOS oriented, AGESA being main culprit.
  • Akindabigdeal
    My 1080 works great with my 1700x
  • mike3456
    I look forward to more articles like this as Ryzen matures. Great job!
  • JamesSneed
    For anyone looking to OC Ryzen this video from an AMD engineer is pretty interesting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZgpHTaQ10k
  • It is horrible overclocker. I have 6900k running 4.4@1.25V and on Load temperature doesn't go over 52C, idles ~24-30C.
  • gdmaclew
    I noticed the BIOS screen shots were dated March 7th. Which version of the BIOS was used?
  • JamesSneed
    2164959 said:
    It is horrible overclocker. I have 6900k running 4.4@1.25V and on Load temperature doesn't go over 52C, idles ~24-30C.


    Ryzen doesn't OC great but that 6900k is a $1000 CPU. From a value perspective a 1700 OC'ed to 3.9-4.0Ghz is only a few percent behind the 6900k and we are talking 3x less cost vs the 6900k so there is that.
  • elbert
    That was a great review Wizerty. Will we see the same tests for the 6 core and quad's? I would guess the 8 core has the best possible settings but there is always the chance they dont.
  • techy1966
    Very nice write up it sounds like you had a lot of fun doing all of this. It is always great to learn something new and what better way than to do that on a completely new platform. Where you kind of have to go back to the basics and find what the limits are and what the settings you apply to the system effect overall performance.

    I have bookmarked this write up because I plan to get a Ryzen based system down the road and most likely will be the R7 1700 it makes the most sense. I hope that if there is a big batch of bug updates or added features to the bios that you will do a follow up of this to show the gains if any. Thank You
  • rwinches
    Just make sure you don't overclock your i7 7700K as per Intels instructions

    http://wccftech.com/intel-i7-7700k-owners-flood-forums-with-overheating-complaints/


  • JamesSneed
    ^ Seriously, wtf is Intel thinking.
  • BulkZerker
    310904 said:
    What evidence do you have for that statement jkhoward?


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLRCK7RfbUg

    for one. . . there's some stuff on the L T T forums as well. It's over a month old, dunno if the issue has been addressed by nVidia or not. They certainly have not acknowledged it publicly. Otherwise you'd probably have heard of it.

    But not on Tom's, they'd never slander big green.
  • Plumboby
    intel is dead in the water once amd fixes the bugs in the new set ups. Mixed results so far atm but things are getting better seen the video hand having amd being so open when intel arnt w8 till the end of the year for the 2nd gen rysens processors & motherboards always the 1st gen or anything is buggy usually technology wise i be upgrading soon from intel usually an intel fan but over the way intel have been stacking their prices & push on the skylake series boards kaby lake shows no intrest to me i rather pay the diffrence & w8 for amd to sort the rest the issues then i be going amd & do some testing. Come on AMD give intel the scare they need as the next lot of video cards are going be worth the wait
  • __Isomorph__
    wizerty, what are those other boards you mentioned in passing that have an external clock and allow increase of ref clk above 100Mhz? does the Taichi x370 allow this?
  • JamesSneed
    2449301 said:
    wizerty, what are those other boards you mentioned in passing that have an external clock and allow increase of ref clk above 100Mhz? does the Taichi x370 allow this?


    The are the ones I know of that have an external clock generator.

    Asus Crosshair 6 Hero, Asrock Taichi, Gigabyte Aorus Gaming K7
  • Logic-Elliven
    NB: G.Skill's Flare line are just rebadged Ripjaws with $ 30 tacked onto the price.

    I note that there was no mention of bus termination impedance/resistance setting tweaking in the writeup..?!?

    There is a piece of software called 'Project Mercury' that avoids inter CCX thread hopping and SMT until more threads than cores per CCX and allows the switching off of SMT without a reboot.
    CPU utilization: ~0% ie: Bloody good software!
    The site and name need work and some anti virus packages take offence to the compression used in the software>
    Virustotal shows 'UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic' for 3 out of 60 AV scans = false positive to me.

    Project Mercury:
    https://techcenterdk.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/project-mercury-v1-2-8-0-released/

    If it had been used for this review it would have saved tonnes of time in reboots...
  • __Isomorph__
    @Logic-Elliven: thanks, awesome resource. hope it doesn't rootkit my PC.
  • 0ldsch00l
    Hell nof if virustotal flags it I dont care if you think its a false positive, I wont install that.