How to Use AMD’s Ryzen Master 2.2 (May 2020 Edition) to Overclock your CPU

The AMD Ryzen microprocessors have become the norm these days. Be it for tech enthusiasts, resident gamers, or simply those who’ve chosen to invest in the latest market trending technology, these chips have become everyone’s choice to provide great performance at a competitive price point. Not many are familiar with the fact, however, that their Ryzen processors are able to go beyond their out-of-the-box capabilities and can be overclocked for the most satisfying output with just a few tweaks. Even easier now, to help you tweak the parameters you feed your Ryzen processor, the AMD Ryzen Master application allows you to make adjustments to the voltage you supply the processor with, the speeds of its individual cores, and the CPU’s memory allocation used in processing, among other things, as well as keep tabs on your processor’s performance and temperature. The Master application is a one-stop gateway to getting even more out of your Ryzen processor, once you understand how to use it.

The Master application essentially allows you to vary these parameters to customize the performance and overclock your AMD Ryzen processor. The AMD Ryzen / Ryzen Threadripper processors are already designed to provide top-notch performance without having to tweak its parameters, but the application can be useful for those who want to try and make optimize the performance further at the risk of lowering it or impacting system stability as well. Hence, it’s paramount that you understand how this application works and take it forward in baby steps to see how your system responds at every point.

Image: AMD

The Game Mode profile is preconfigured in the application for the two processors with 8 or more cores. This can be particularly nifty for legacy games such as ones that run on the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X. This isn’t needed for the Ryzen 3/5/7 processors but on a general note, if the Creator Mode default doesn’t give you the best gaming performance, then this profile can be applied to go beyond the stock settings.

With the May 2020 release of the Ryzen Master 2.2, you have all the features of the previous versions as well as support for the AMD Ryzen 3330X and 3100 processors. Limitations in this release include the inability to disable cores or view relative core rankings on the two newly supported Ryzen processors.

Here’s how you can get started with your customization.

Installation

Before you begin, know that you can only install the Ryzen master on a device that has the AMD Ryzen / Ryzen Threadripper processor and is running the Windows 10 operating system. If you opt to install it on a PC device with a non-OC (Locked CPU- runs on manufacturer dictated stock speeds), your application will launch but will only allow you to monitor the system and won’t let you tweak parameters to better the performance.

To process the installation, first ensure that your BIOS is updated to the latest version available by your motherboard’s manufacturer and that the Windows 10 Virtualization-Based Security (VBS) is switched off. You can download the application from here.

Image: AMD

Using the Ryzen Master 2.2

Once you install the application, it will first create a default backup profile of your system’s current settings in case you choose to revert back to them at any point. If you install it with pre-tweaked parameters, these will be recorded in your default reset point as well.

Some of the features to get acquainted with are:

  • Toggling between the Ryzen Master (OC) and the Windows (OS) core options.
  • Allowing Package Power Tracking (PPT), Electrical Design Current (EDC), and Thermal Design Current (TDC) settings to remain in place even after reboot.
      • Raising the PPT can allow applications with high or heavy thread counts to operate with the increased allowance of socket power consumption.
      • The EDC dictates the maximum current you’re providing based upon the motherboard’s voltage regulator in peak condition.
      • The TDC dictates the maximum current provided given thermal limitations.
  • Eco-Mode lets you lower the power operation mode.
  • Precision Boost Overdrive is a simple auto-overclocking mode that increases the voltage significantly and lets you boost frequency to better your performance. You can use this if you don’t want to go through the hassle of manual overclocking.
  • Peak Core(s) Voltage lets you see the highest voltage of the cores at a particular instant.
  • Average Core Voltage provides the average voltage reading for all cores accounting for their sleep time as well.
  • CPU core clock and voltage adjustments. In case of cores, they can be disabled as well.
  • CPU temperature monitoring.
  • Memory clock and voltage adjustments.
  • In case of setting up multiple devices or sharing settings, you can create your own custom profile and export the configurations to share.
Image: AMD

Manual Overclocking

Before you overclock, have a set frequency in mind that you’d like to overclock till (beyond your current frequency setting) so that you can tweak your settings accordingly. The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, for example, is a sweet 12-core, 24-thread processor with an up to 4.6 GHz rating. Before beginning, you should also have a good stock cooler. AMD has the Wraith Spire cooler which comes along with select Ryzen CPUs. It can deal with a limited extent of overclocking but it’s best to invest in a better one if you intend to really push your processor speeds (which are bound to raise your system temperature). An AIO or any good CPU cooler with at least 180-200W TDP rating should do the trick.

Select one of the four profiles available within the application and set the “Control Mode” to manual. To speed up your system, you can temper either the base clock or the clock multiplier values. Adjusting the base clock is a trickier process so tweaking the multiplier against the base clock is recommended. Increase each core by a small interval (a slight value beyond the set amount, such as 40 if you’re set at 35) to perform a stress test by clicking “Apply & Test.” This will give you a sense of how far to increase the parameters to avoid crashing the system. Observe the system for 10 minutes to ensure that it doesn’t freeze or run into the Blue Screen of Death.

Image: AMD

After setting the multiplier, set the CPU Core Voltage to manual and adjust your voltage value. This is something you’ll have to find a good value with respect to your own processor by reading up on its manufactured capabilities. Change the value, save your BIOS, and reboot. Wait another 10 minutes to check if your system is able to operate at your set voltage or freezes and runs into a fatal error.

Image: AMD

Note that to maintain a higher processing speed, your system will need more voltage. You will have to keep increasing the voltage as you increase the multiplier by a couple of units as well. Keep doing this until your system freezes or runs into the Blue Screen of Death. At this point, try to adjust values to bring it out of this state after rebooting but if you feel that it won’t optimize any further, this will have to be where you stop.

Keep a notepad by your side to keep track of which tweaks impacted which performance outputs. This is a trial and error process and keeping track of what helped and what didn’t will make this process a lot easier.

As you tweak the parameters, keep your eye on the system temperature and speed. There will be a trade-off as you optimize your performance as the system’s internal temperature will rise. Try to find an agreeable optimum point in which your performance is satisfying and the system is stable as well. You can use a stock cooler as advised earlier to bring down the temperature too (this is recommended). Try to keep the temperature under 85 C ideally. You can look at the manufacturer’s temperature limitations for your processor as well to know what temperature your processor can survive at.

Image: AMD

If you want to boost your performance even further at this point (real performance hunger), you can perform load-line calibration or XMP and RAM overclocking.

In LLC, you avoid a voltage drop below the desired voltage set by your “Vcore” parameter by making your delivery more precise. At higher speeds, LLC can be useful in improving your system’s stability and keeping the temperature from overshooting. Don’t go overboard with this, though, because it can cause your voltage to spike and overheat your system.

In Ryzen processors, the AMD Infinity Fabric architecture lets an increase in your RAM give visible results in your processor’s performance. You can either manually change your RAM’s frequency and voltage or enable XMP which will operate your RAM at its rated speed as opposed to its minimum requirement.

After this, as with after the previous multiplier and voltage adjustment steps, wait and see if your system crashes or runs into an error. If you survive the 10-minute mark, consider yourself safe and go wild with your newly amped up beast performance device!

Final Thoughts

The Ryzen series of processors are built to provide top-notch speeds in performance. Every Ryzen processor has its own speed capacity. The AMD Ryzen 3900X, for example, can be kicked up to 4.6 GHz. Most users run it on the basic 4.2 GHz out-of-the-box and little do they know the potential of their powerful device.

If you’re satisfied with what you’re getting out-of-the-box, that’s great, but if you’re someone who wants to push your hardware beyond the factory-set defaults and tweak your voltage and clock settings to speed it up, the method above is everything you need to do to make that happen. Take it in small increments and keep an eye on the impact of every change you make. This will help you make the right tweaks to speed it up.

Alyssa Arford


Alyssa Arford is an aspiring Electrical & Electronics Engineer with a vested interest in the innovation and design of computer hardware. Her passion for understanding the nitty gritty of how hardware components come together and playing around with the potential of silicon devices puts her in a position to confidently discuss emerging technologies and their implications in advanced computing.
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