SkatterBencher #8: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Overclocked to 4075 MHz

skatterbencher 8 ryzen 1800

We overclock the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor up to 4075 MHz with the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero motherboard and AIO water cooling.

Welcome to the eighth edition of our SkatterBencher series. This time we refocus our attention back to CPU Overclocking, taking on the freshly launched AMD Ryzen platform. The mission, as ever, is to push the silicon to improve overall performance and see just how much additional performance can be had from these new Zen architecture CPUs. We’ll go through the Overclocking process step by step, running several benchmarks to assess overall performance gains from a platform which is still fairly new in terms of BIOS maturity.

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X: Technology Overview

As well as the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor we will also be using the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero motherboard and a GSKILL Trident Z DDR4 memory kit. First let’s hone in on the Ryzen 7 1800X processor, the flagship model of AMD’s new Ryzen series. The first thing we can note is that the R7 1800X is an octa-core chip with 16 threads that retails for $500 USD. It has a base clock frequency of 3.6GHz which can can boost as high as 4.1GHz thanks to AMD’s XFR (Extended Frequency Range) technology.

Where Intel’s HEDT platform can take advantage of quad-channel memory, AMD Ryzen remains dual-channel. The good news however is that it is the first AMD platform to support DDR4. The default memory frequency for Ryzen is DDR4-2133, however memory ratios of up to DDR4-3200 are available. To move beyond these frequencies we will need to alter the Reference Clock in the BIOS. Other parameters to consider include the somewhat enigmatic Fabric settings that connect CPU cores with available cache and the IMC (integrated memory controller). Using Intel terminology we can perhaps describe Fabric settings as being similar to Ring. Regardless, altering the Fabric frequency is a vital aspect of Ryzen Overclocking with a default of 1066MHz rising to 1600MHz in the case of DDR4-3200. Also note that XMP is not available on AMD platforms, being exclusive to Intel.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the hardware involved in today’s testing:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero
  • Graphics Card: GALAX GeForce GTX 1070 Hall of Fame
  • RAM: 32GB G.SKILL Trident Z DDR4 Kit (F4-3200C14Q-32GTZSW)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Nepton 280L AiO

The cost of the system outlined above is around $1,000USD.

Benchmarking Software

Here’s a list of the benchmarks and software utilities used in this guide, including download links:

Step 1: Ryzen 7 1800X CPU Overclocking

To begin overclocking our Ryzen 7 1800X processor we start by entering the BIOS and navigating to the Ai Tweaker sub-menu where we can find most of the settings related to the CPU. Here we leave the Ai Overclock Tuner set to ‘Auto’, with Custom CPU Core Ratio set to ‘Sync all Cores’ while raising the CPU Core Ratio limit to 40.75. We also configure CPU Core Voltage to ‘Offset Mode’, and increase the voltage offset to 0.1 volts. Press F10 to save settings and reboot the system to enter the OS.

Having pushed the CPU frequency to 4,075MHz, we can now take a look at our performance figures. Below you can find the percentage shifts in scoring after applying the above settings.

  • Y Cruncher 1B: +9%
  • HWBOT x265 1080P: +9%
  • Geekbench 4 Single Core: +2%
  • Geekbench 4 Multi Core: +10%
  • VR Mark Orange Room: +6%
  • 3DMark Time Spy: +1%
  • 3DMark Time Spy Physics: +6%

Most of the benchmarks above experience a significant performance boost. The least dramatic shift is the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark. This is not surprising as it is a largely GPU-bound benchmark affected only slightly by CPU performance.

Step 2: Memory Overclocking

We return to the BIOS and reset the system to default settings. Then we return to the Ai Tweaker section where we can find settings related to memory overclocking. In the Memory Frequency settings area we select DDR4-3200, then in the DRAM Timing Control section we set Primary Timings to – 16, 16, 16, 16 and 32 in the five fields available. Lower down in the DRAM Voltage settings area we set the voltage to 1.5 volts. Press F10 to apply settings and reboot the system. Our memory is now successfully configured at DDR4-3200.

Now we have overclocked our DDR4 memory to 1600 MHz we can return to our benchmark suite where we find the following scores.

  • Y Cruncher 1B: +8%
  • HWBOT x265 1080P: 0%
  • Geekbench 4 Single Core: +4%
  • Geekbench 4 Multi Core: +2%
  • VR Mark Orange Room: +6%
  • 3DMark Time Spy: +1%
  • 3DMark Time Spy Physics: +4%

Overall we can see that although memory overclocking is less impactful than the CPU overclocking, gains in performance are apparent. Let’s see what happens when we apply both memory and CPU overclocks simultaneously.

Step 3: CPU and Memory Overclocking Combined

In this section we return to the BIOS and the Ai Tweaker section and apply the same CPU and memory settings as outlined above. This gives us a CPU frequency of 4,075MHz with memory configured at DDR4-3200. Let’s see how this combined overclock affects our scoring:

  • Y Cruncher 1B: +12%
  • HWBOT x265 1080P: +9%
  • Geekbench 4 Single Core: +6%
  • Geekbench 4 Multi Core: +13%
  • VR Mark Orange Room: +11%
  • 3DMark Time Spy: +1%
  • 3DMark Time Spy Physics: +13%

We can see that by combining both memory and CPU overclocked settings, we are able to achieve even higher benchmark scores. To increase our memory overclock further we need to adjust to the CPU Reference clock. This will be the final step in our AMD Ryzen adventure:

Step 4: Reference Clock Overclocking

Leaving the CPU settings as before we return to the BIOS and the Ai Tweaker section to raise the Reference Clock. Our target is to increase the Reference Clock from 100MHz to 125MHz. To apply this setting we first configure the Ai Overclock Tuner to ‘Manual’, then set the CPU Core ratio to 32.5, the Memory Frequency to DDR4-2666 and the set the CPU Core Voltage to ‘Offset Mode’, and increase the voltage to 0.1 volts. Primary Timings again were set at at 16, 16, 16, 16, 32. After applying these settings by pressing F10, we reboot and re-enter the BIOS. Finally we set the BCLK Frequency to 125MHz.

Once we are back in the OS with our BCLK set at 125MHz, we find the following results:

  • Y Cruncher 1B: 0%
  • HWBOT x265 1080P: +9%
  • Geekbench 4 Single Core: +9%
  • Geekbench 4 Multi Core: +14%
  • VR Mark Orange Room: +14%
  • 3DMark Time Spy: +3%
  • 3DMark Time Spy Physics: +17%

The above results show how further adjusting the memory from DDR-3200 to DDR-3666 can impact performance further. The only anomaly is the Y-Cruncher benchmark which resulted in a performance increase of 0%. This benchmark presents the system with a very heavy load that in fact caused CPU throttling, a situation where the CPU is in danger of overheating, resulting in an automatic lower CPU frequency. Improved CPU cooling could help this resolve this issue.

Thanks for joining us for SkatterBencher #8. Make sure you check out our YouTube channel where you will find many more video guides that show you how to get the most out of your system with the minimum amount of fuss.

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