Overclocking, Cooling & Temperature
The Right Cooling Solution
AMD uses solder between Threadripper's dies and its heat spreader. This plays a critical role in aiding our overclocking efforts, helping us achieve the highest clock rate we've seen from a Ryzen CPU. We made significant changes to our cooling setup to avoid a few issues with the standard mounting mechanism.
Our Threadripper 1950X sample overclocked to 3.9 GHz at 1.35V, and the 1920X hit 4.1 GHz with 1.42V. The all-in-one water-cooler in our kit couldn't keep the CPU stable at that level, though. This was due to processor power consumption exceeding 250W during our rendering test.
And so we went back to our higher-end Chiller for a better comparison data. This way, there’s one true constant to our measurements: a water temperature of approximately 20°C that can be held constant, even subjected to more than 300W of waste heat.
For everyday use, a normal water-cooling solution will definitely suffice thanks to AMD's soldered heat spreader, which makes Threadripper less of a challenge than Intel's Core i9-7900X. Our approach simply allows us a bit more thermal headroom.
Using the Chiller, AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 1920X went even higher, reaching 4.2 GHz at 1.45V and 4.3 GHz at 1.5V. At that point, the Chiller started falling behind Threadripper's thermal output as temperatures crept too high for comfort. We dialed in a more reasonable 4.1 GHz for our benchmarks.
Maximum Temperatures: Stock Clock Rate
For our baseline results, we used the 360mm closed-loop cooler that AMD provided. As a spoiler, the motherboard limits both Threadripper chips to ~180W. You can’t exceed this upper boundary for even short periods using normal settings.
The 1920X’s curves look almost identical to those of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, except for a few insignificant Tctl and Tdie jumps. This is hardly surprising, seeing that the load is similar as well.
The CPU temperature values reported by HWiNFO64 through Asus' separate sensor loop are between 6°C and 12°C lower than the Tctl values, and they rise more slowly. Even without additional cooling, the voltage converter temperatures are almost perfect at just under 60°C.
Maximum Temperatures: Overclocked
Increasing voltages to guarantee stable operation pushes the processors past their sweet spot. Consequently, power consumption goes through the roof. Operating well beyond 300W poses a challenge for any cooling solution. That's why we're using the Chiller. We did try a normal water-cooling loop though, resulting in the Tctl and Tdie values going up by ~10°C to 15°C. This is well within an acceptable range.
The overclocked 1950X peaks at 320 to 325W. Using the Chiller, this level of power consumption is accompanied by Tctl values of 87°C. That’s actually not as severe as it seems once the offset and Tdie values are taken into account. A real temperature of approximately 60°C serves as a great demonstration of why solder is superior to thermal paste.
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