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AMD's New AGESA Update Promises Increased Memory Support And Overclocking

AMD announced via a community update that its new v1.0.0.6 AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated System Architecture) is available for motherboard vendors. AGESA is a bootstrap protocol that initializes processor cores, memory, and the HyperTransport (now Infinity Fabric) controller. Motherboard vendors build firmware upon the AGESA bedrock, so improvements to the underlying code allow manufacturers to provide more options through their own firmware.

Like most new chipsets based on entirely new processor architectures, the initial wave of AM4 motherboards were a bit rough in the firmware department. That improved quickly as motherboard vendors issued a flurry of updates in the early weeks after launch, but Ryzen's memory overclocking and compatibility updates lagged behind some of the more important issues. We have seen compatibility improve over time, but we've eagerly awaited AMD's promised AGESA update that unlocks more memory settings.

The new AEGSA code adds 26 new memory parameters that should improve memory compatibility and overclocking. Overclocking memory above the default settings is of particular importance for Ryzen processors. The new CPUs feature two four-core CCX (Core Complex) that communicate via AMD's Infinity Fabric. As we've seen in our testing, increasing the memory transfer rates reduces the Infinity Fabric's latency, which in turn increases performance.

Recent firmware updates already exposed the ProcODT setting (a memory signal termination value), and we've found that altering this setting between 40-60Ω helps memory overclocking tremendously. The new AGESA update unlocks even more granular controls that should allow us to surpass the 3200 MT/s barrier without adjusting the BCLK frequency. As Wizerty demonstrated in our How To Overclock AMD Ryzen CPUs article, manipulating the BCLK frequency can provide unexpected results, such as rolling the motherboard back to PCIe 2.0. The new memory multipliers now allow up to DDR4-4000 without adjusting the BCLK frequency.

Gigabyte and ASUS have already entered the public beta stage with firmware based on the new AGESA code (GA-AX370-Gaming 5 and Crosshair VI, respectively).

The update also brings improved virtualization capabilities:

If you’re the kind of user that just needs (or loves!) virtualization every day, then AGESA 1.0.0.6-based firmware will be a blessing for you thanks to fresh support for PCI Express Access Control Services (ACS). ACS primarily enables support for manual assignment of PCIe graphics cards within logical containers called “IOMMU groups.” The hardware resources of an IOMMU group can then be dedicated to a virtual machine.This capability is especially useful for users that want 3D-accelerated graphics inside a virtual machine. With ACS support, it is possible to split a 2-GPU system such that a host Linux® OS and a Windows VM both have a dedicated graphics cards. The virtual machine can access all the capabilities of the dedicated GPU, and run games inside the virtual machine at near-native performance.

Ryzen's gaming performance has been a moving target as a wave of new firmware and chipset drivers, not to mention game patches and the new power plan, have steadily improved the outlook. That's led to a lot of late-night re-testing in our labs, but performance is definitely headed in the right direction.

AMD expects validated BIOS based on the newest AGESA code to arrive in mid to late June, depending upon the qualification requirements of the respective vendors.

  • dudmont
    Is this going to improve overclocking of the CPUs themselves? It, appears to me at least, to be the biggest single weakness of Ryzen. Without serious improvements to the overclocking, single and lightly threaded(relatively speaking to the resources, i.e. games......) operations are where the chips lag the most.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    19738633 said:
    Is this going to improve overclocking of the CPUs themselves? It, appears to me at least, to be the biggest single weakness of Ryzen. Without serious improvements to the overclocking, single and lightly threaded(relatively speaking to the resources, i.e. games......) operations are where the chips lag the most.

    It should just improve memory OC not CPU OC's. However 4000Mhz memory may make an impact-full performance gain. Maybe toms can get gskill and Asus to hook them up with a 4000Mhz capable kit to test out?
    Reply
  • hannibal
    It should been soon possible to make full Ryzen memory speed vs. Over all speed test. 4000Mhz is near what best memories can achieve. It would be nice to see what is the sweet spot for Ryzen considering the memory speeds!
    How much to pay and how much you can gain...
    Reply
  • ammaross
    19738633 said:
    Is this going to improve overclocking of the CPUs themselves? It, appears to me at least, to be the biggest single weakness of Ryzen. Without serious improvements to the overclocking, single and lightly threaded(relatively speaking to the resources, i.e. games......) operations are where the chips lag the most.

    This update wouldn't affect max OC of Ryzen. It will, however, allow faster RAM to increase the inter-CPU communications across Infinity Fabric, which would improve poorly multi-threaded apps (games). As games issue patches for Ryzen, they're performance will improve more significantly than with these updates. If you're stuck on that small FPS increase, you might as well get the new overclockable i3 and crank it up to 5Ghz. If you go ahead and buy the i7 instead, it's that same reasoning that you would want to seriously consider a Ryzen. Yes, there's a small performance delta at high FPS, but doubling your cores will help you out tremendously as your computer ages.
    Reply
  • Antonio_34
    Is this going to improve overclocking of the CPUs themselves? It, appears to me at least, to be the biggest single weakness of Ryzen. Without serious improvements to the overclocking, single and lightly threaded(relatively speaking to the resources, i.e. games......) operations are where the chips lag the most.

    Since there was no comma in front of the "and" in the article title, the overclocking is directly associated with the noun that proceeds it.
    Reply
  • redgarl
    So funny to see people complaining about this. It's getting there, be patient. So far my 1700x rigs is better than my 4770k rigs with the same GPU.

    It's true that I am at 4k, but it deliver and I gain around 5-7 fps in The Witcher 3 which I was really surprised about.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    19738734 said:
    19738633 said:
    Is this going to improve overclocking of the CPUs themselves? It, appears to me at least, to be the biggest single weakness of Ryzen. Without serious improvements to the overclocking, single and lightly threaded(relatively speaking to the resources, i.e. games......) operations are where the chips lag the most.

    It should just improve memory OC not CPU OC's. However 4000Mhz memory may make an impact-full performance gain. Maybe toms can get gskill and Asus to hook them up with a 4000Mhz capable kit to test out?

    I agree with the spirit of what you're saying, but don't get hung up on clock speeds. Latency is equally important. A lower clock can end up being as fast or faster with aggressive timings.
    Reply
  • dusty13
    19738633 said:
    Is this going to improve overclocking of the CPUs themselves? It, appears to me at least, to be the biggest single weakness of Ryzen. Without serious improvements to the overclocking, single and lightly threaded(relatively speaking to the resources, i.e. games......) operations are where the chips lag the most.

    you should not buy ryzen soley for single threaded tasks.

    this cpu in the current version will not be able to clock as high as a core i7, that is just not in the picture. future refinements may tickle out a bit more headroom but easy overclocking to 3.9/4.1ghz right now is the limit and i would be very much surprised if this went beyond 4.5 on ryzen v1 as time goes on.

    ryzen shines when it comes to threaded tasks.

    so if your main or only usecase demands highest possible single thread performance do NOT buy a ryzen cpu. its by no means slow but there are faster offerings out there for this type of workload.

    however you mentioned gaming ... not to put to fine a point on it but most games that are badly optimized for multi thread are older titles. yes they run slower than on i7 ... but whats the difference between 156 and 169 fps on a 1440p/144hz monitor? or 71 and 85 on a 4k/60hz monitor?

    the new games that come out usually are better optimized and should handle the additinal threads appropriately (outliers will always exist). if you are going for high fps my suggestion would be to ignore the overclocking headroom, go for a ryzen 5 and spend the saved money on a more beastly gpu. that will add much more performance than any cpu upgrade could.
    Reply
  • dusty13
    19740137 said:
    So funny to see people complaining about this. It's getting there, be patient. So far my 1700x rigs is better than my 4770k rigs with the same GPU.

    It's true that I am at 4k, but it deliver and I gain around 5-7 fps in The Witcher 3 which I was really surprised about.

    i can definitely second the "its getting there". started out with my gskill 3200/14 ram on 2166, no way to get it to overclock stable.

    one bios release later and i am at 2666 with manual tweaking.
    AGESA 1.0.0.4 out and now i am at 3000 (299... whatever you know how that goes) on XMP profile 1 without any tewaking (XMP2 for 3200 still won't budge)

    ... so lets see what AGESA 1.0.0.6 has in store.

    so far i have seen tangible progress in stability and performance on a monthly basis. for a platform that is a few months old that is excellent progress and so far no major bugs or shortcomings have been seen either. not bad for a completely new system.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    19740856 said:
    19738734 said:
    19738633 said:
    Is this going to improve overclocking of the CPUs themselves? It, appears to me at least, to be the biggest single weakness of Ryzen. Without serious improvements to the overclocking, single and lightly threaded(relatively speaking to the resources, i.e. games......) operations are where the chips lag the most.

    It should just improve memory OC not CPU OC's. However 4000Mhz memory may make an impact-full performance gain. Maybe toms can get gskill and Asus to hook them up with a 4000Mhz capable kit to test out?

    I agree with the spirit of what you're saying, but don't get hung up on clock speeds. Latency is equally important. A lower clock can end up being as fast or faster with aggressive timings.

    I understand how it works, very well. Thats why I'm hoping we see some testing so we can can get some real data on it. The communication between the CCX's run at 1/2 the memory frequency so yes memory latency is important but also the pure Mhz has a nock on effect to reducing the latency of communication between CCX's which is also important.
    Reply