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AMD Announces BIOS Fix for Ryzen 3000 Boost Clocks, Update Comes September 10

(Image credit: AMD)

After an extended period of silence, AMD has finally publicly acknowledged that "some" of its customers aren't receiving the expected boost frequencies with AMD Ryzen 3000-series processors.

As you can read in the statement below, the company simultaneously announced that it would issue a fix for the BIOS issues. The company will update the community on September 10, 2019 about the availability of the fix.

“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 10 to the community regarding the availability of the BIOS.”

The statement comes amidst a growing chorus of complaints from Ryzen 3000 owners on forums, Reddit and other social media that their chips aren't reaching the advertised boost clocks. In response to the growing number of complaints, YouTuber Der8aeur recently conducted a survey that garnered 2,700 respondents, of which only 5.6% were able to reach the advertised boost clocks for AMD's flagship Ryzen 9 3900X CPU.

Our own investigation of AMD's new boost clock behavior also found that only one core on any given Ryzen 3000 CPU can hit the rated boost clock, which AMD confirmed. That means the Ryzen 3000-series processors contain a mix of faster and slower cores, which is a departure from how AMD and its competitors have traditionally spec'd processors. Unfortunately, users must have the latest version of Windows 10 to use the Ryzen-aware scheduler, which targets the fastest cores with lightly-threaded applications, further complicating matters for frustrated customers trying to attain the advertised boost frequencies.

In either case, even with the presence of the necessary BIOS, driver and Windows 10 scheduler, most customers have been unable to attain Ryzen 3000's advertised speeds with any of the models.

We don't expect the new BIOS fix to change the requirement for Windows 10 or AMD's driver, or to change the new binning tactic of using a mix of faster and slower cores. Hopefully, the new BIOS fix will expose the best performance possible from the fastest core, but we'll have to wait until September 10 to find out.

For reference, here are the clock speeds of the existing models, with the boost clock speed highlighted:

SEP (USD)Cores / ThreadsTDP (Watts)Base / Boost Frequency (GHz)L3 Cache (MB)PCIe 4.0 Lanes
Ryzen 9 3950X$74916 / 32105W3.5 / 4.76424
Ryzen 9 3900X$49912 / 24105W3.8 / 4.66424
Ryzen 7 3800X$3998 / 16105W3.9 / 4.53224
Ryzen 7 3700X$3298 / 1665W3.6 / 4.43224
Ryzen 5 3600X$2496 / 1295W3.8 / 4.43224
Ryzen 5 3600$1996 / 1265W3.6 / 4.23224
Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.