9 New Things About Overclocking Ryzen Threadripper 7000
Here are 9 things you need to know before overclocking the Ryzen Threadripper 7000 “Storm Peak” processors.
Table of Contents
Ryzen Threadripper 7000: Introduction
What is “Storm Peak?” Storm Peak is the codename for the brand-new Zen 4-based Ryzen Threadripper 7000 and Ryzen Threadripper PRO 7000 processors. It’s the first new Threadripper platform for high-end desktop since the “Castle Peak” Ryzen Threadripper 3000. For workstations, however, there were overclockable “Chagall” Ryzen Threadripper 5000 processors. Just like its predecessors, the Ryzen Threadripper 7000 series can be overclocked!
From the performance tuning and overclocking perspective, there are only a few differences with the Ryzen 7000 mainstream desktop counterparts. In fact, it is so similar to Ryzen 7000 overclocking that I suggest you check out my Raphael launch content for more details on how AMD Ryzen 7000 overclocking works.
Ryzen Threadripper 7000 Overclocking: What’s New
That said, Threadripper 7000 and its counterparts and predecessors have a couple of essential differences. In this video, I highlight 9 key differences you must be aware of when overclocking Ryzen Threadripper 7000.
Overclocking Leaves a Permanent Mark
All Ryzen Threadripper 7000 processors have overclocking support, including the Precision Boost Overdrive 2 toolkit and OC Mode. In the past, all users implicitly agreed that overclocking the processor would void the warranty. However, that implicit agreement is no more.
On the Ryzen Threadripper 7000 processors, you must explicitly agree to void the warranty if you want to enable the overclocking functions. Accepting this message will permanently fuse a register on the CPU that marks the CPU as used for overclocking. To what extent AMD will refuse warranty claims on such CPUs is unknown.
High-End Desktop Returns
The Ryzen Threadripper 7000 series comes to market for two distinct segments: high-end desktop and workstation. On the Workstation side, it’s the logical successor to the Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5000 series, headlined by the 64-core 5995WX processor. On the high-end desktop side, it is the successor to the Ryzen Threadripper 3000 series launched in 2019 and headlined by the 64-core 3990X.
The Ryzen Threadripper PRO 5000 series was unlocked for overclocking, so enthusiasts could still take the chips for a spin. But you needed a workstation motherboard with the WRX80 chipset to make it work.
To the great dislike of the enthusiast community, AMD didn’t release the Threadripper 5000 parts for high-end desktop, even though they were initially planned for a proper launch in late 2021. I took one of those chips for a spin in SkatterBencher #43 and overclocked what was supposed to be the Ryzen Threadripper 5990X to 4.85 GHz.
There are some differences between the high-end desktop and workstation processors, which I’m sure your favorite techtuber will explain in great detail.
For enthusiasts, the main takeaway is that any Threadripper 7000 can run with the HEDT TRX50 chipset. Still, only the Threadripper PRO processors can run with the WS TRX90 chipset.
Different CCDs with Different Fmax
A hot topic among Ryzen 7000 overclockers and performance enthusiasts has been the large variety in CCD maximum frequency.
At the Ryzen 7000 launch, I observed that AMD had seemingly three bins for its Zen 4 CCDs: a top-bin with CCDs that could reach maximum peak frequency, a mid-bin with CCDs that could achieve moderate peak frequency, and a final bottom-bin with CCDs that struggled to reach high frequencies.
The CCDs were allocated accordingly to the Ryzen 9, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 5 product lines. However, the dual-CCD Ryzen 9 processors didn’t get 2 top-bin CCDs. Instead, you got a mix of one top-bin and one not-top-bin CCD.
It seems something similar is going on with the Ryzen Threadripper 7000 processors. However, things are not as straightforward as they may seem. Let’s look at the AMD specifications. It seems like Threadripper 7000 and Threadripper Pro 7000 have similar specifications when it comes to maximum boost frequency: CPUs with more than 32 cores have a maximum boost frequency of 5.1 GHz, and CPUs with 32 or fewer cores have a maximum boost frequency of 5.3 GHz.
When checking the actual CPUs, this specification holds for the Threadripper Pro parts but not for the Threadripper parts. For example, on the 64-core Threadripper 7980X processor I have on hand, all cores can boost to 5.3 GHz, and the cores in one CCD can even boost beyond 5.6 GHz! What’s going on?
It looks similar to the dual-CCD Ryzen 7000X3D processors, where different CCDs have a different programmed Fmax limit. So, even though you may have 8 CCDs on the 64-core Threadripper 7980X, only one of the CCDs has a high maximum boost frequency, and the others have a lower maximum boost frequency.
You can still extend the Fmax limit by up to 200 MHz using the Precision Boost 2 Boost Clock Override, or Fmax Override, tool. So, the one CCD will be able to boost to 5.85 GHz and the others to 5.55 GHz.
We can only speculate why AMD does this. However, from a business perspective, it kind of makes sense. It’s all about increasing the perceived value to, ultimately, increase the selling price.
It’s pretty straightforward for AMD to charge a premium for top-bin CCDs. After all, the target customer highly values those peak boost frequencies. But it’s a lot tougher to charge the premium for mid- or bottom-bin CCDs, which lack the performance associated with high peak frequency.
An easy way to increase the market perceived value for the mid- and bottom-bin CCDs is by repurposing them for processor SKUs where peak frequency is not the primary value driver. For example, for many-core processor SKUs like the 7980X, the CCDs value-add is increasing the core count. Or, for X3D processors, where the lack of performance due to the lower frequency is compensated by the additional 3D V-Cache.
Double VDDCR_CPU Voltage Rails
The change that will undoubtedly have the most significant impact on overclockers is that the Storm Peak processor cores are powered by not one but two VDDCR_CPU voltage rails! That means the CCD power delivery is split between two power rails.
The main advantage of adding an extra voltage plane is that it’s much less taxing on the VRM. In case you missed my SkatterBencher #43 overclocking guide with the Ryzen Threadripper 5990X processor, a key limiting issue for reaching maximum performance on the previous generation was that, under overclocked conditions, the EDC (or Electrical Design Current) would peak over 800 amps. That would trigger the VRM OCP and shut down the system.
With the current draw now split across two power planes, the current draw per power plane halves. As a result, there’s no VRM limitation when overclocking … even if you push all 64 cores to their limit.
C-State Boost Limit is Back
Like the Ryzen 7000, Storm Peak’s multi-core performance is restricted by the Precision Boost C-State Boost Limiter. I spoke about this limiter in a standalone article post-Ryzen 7000 launch.
The C-State Boost limiter is one of the many performance limiters that impact the Precision Boost 2 algorithm. Effectively, C-State Boost limits the maximum frequency when a certain number of cores are active. For the 16-core 7950X, the C-State Boost limit would force the CPU to run at 5.5 GHz when more than four cores are active, even though the advertised maximum boost frequency is 5.7 GHz. On the 64-core Ryzen Threadripper 7980X, the C-State Boost limiter restricts the CPU core frequency to 4.8 GHz when more than 8 cores are active.
For Ryzen 7000, the C-State boost limiter was enabled on the launch AGESA code. However, the ASUS ROG team developed a Medium Load Boostit feature to work around this problem. I explain how this feature works in a YouTube video titled “WHY Your Ryzen 7000 Doesn’t Boost Past 5.5 GHz (anymore).” On later AGESA versions, it appears AMD disabled the C-State Boost Limit.
Unfortunately, on Ryzen Threadripper 7000, the C-State Boost limit is enabled once again. To make matters worse, the Medium Load Boostit workaround feature has also been patched by AMD. So, for now, we’re stuck with this performance limiter regarding multi-threaded performance.
You can offset this C-State boost limiter by using the Clock Boost Override. So, you can boost to 5 GHz when 8 or more cores are active.
Per CCD Curve Optimizer
With the introduction of the Precision Boost Overdrive 2 Curve Optimizer tuning tool, enthusiasts obtained the capability to finetune the dynamic boost algorithm on a per-core basis. Ever since “Curve Optimizing” has been the most common approach to overclocking Ryzen processors.
Curve Optimizing on a per-core basis is undoubtedly a tedious and arduous process. Owners of the 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X can attest to that. Now imagine how much longer it will take with the 96-core Ryzen Threadripper Pro 7995WX processor! After “Death by Powerpoint,” there’s now “Death by Curve Optimizer.”
Fortunately, AMD has added a Per CCD Curve Optimizer option to their overclocking menu. That means we now have three ways to tune using Curve Optimizer:
- For all cores,
- For all cores within a CCD, and
- For each core individually.
While the Per CCD Curve Optimizer tuning offers some flexibility, it’s impossible to mix and match with per-core tuning. So, either you tune Per Core or Per CCD, but not some chiplets per CCD and others per core.
A prominent new overclocking feature for Ryzen 7000 processors was Asynchronous Eclk.
In asynchronous mode, the processor uses two distinct external 100MHz reference clocks. One clock provides the 100MHz input for the CPU PLL, which provides the clocks for the CPU cores, and another provides the 100MHz reference clock for the SOC PLLs. That means you can increase the reference clock for the CPU cores independent of your CPU’s other parts.
This gave rise to a new overclocking strategy for the Ryzen 7000s, which I dubbed “supercharging” PBO. The OC Strategy involves offsetting the Precision Boost voltage-frequency curve by increasing the ECLK frequency. I show how this strategy works in most of my Ryzen 7000 overclocking guides, including the one for the Ryzen 7 7800X3D.
While asynchronous Eclk is also available on Ryzen Threadripper 7000 processors, it’s not as neatly implemented as on mainstream desktops. Depending on your motherboard of choice, the external reference clock used for the CPU cores also drives the clock for some other parts inside your CPU, such as the memory, fabric, and PCIe lanes.
So, unlike on the Ryzen 7000 mainstream desktop, there’s no isolated clock for the CPU cores and, thus, impacts your choice of viable overclocking strategies for the Ryzen Threadripper 7000. I hope to cover that in more detail in future SkatterBencher guides.
PCC Performance Limiter
PCC, which stands for Peak Current Control(?), is another critical performance limiter to be aware of when overclocking the Ryzen Threadripper 7000. While this performance limiter was also present on Ryzen 7000 mainstream desktop, it wasn’t that relevant. On Ryzen Threadripper 7000, however, it is.
The PCC limiter essentially governs the maximum current the CPU can draw. Suppose the actual current exceeds the maximum allowed current. In that case, the CPU will clock stretch rather than shutting down the system due to over-current protection. That will result in a lower effective core clock and, thus, lower performance.
An essential difference between PCC and any other performance limiter we’re familiar with is that it’s also active in OC mode. So, when you switch to manual OC mode, you must adjust this parameter to ensure you can reach the highest performance.
You’ll find that the PCC limiter function isn’t available on ASUS motherboards in the BIOS. Instead, they’ve tied the PCC configuration to the VRM OCP auto-rule configuration.
Regarding memory overclocking, the Ryzen Threadripper 7000 also supports AMD EXPO technology. AMD introduced EXPO with the launch of the Ryzen 7000 and its transition from DDR4 to DDR5 memory. Even though the Ryzen Threadripper 7000 is only compatible with RDIMM, it still supports the EXPO specification.
The AMD Extended Profiles for Overclocking, or AMD EXPO, is developed to enable ubiquitous memory overclocking profiles for AMD platforms supporting DDR5 UDIMM or RDIMM memory. Its purpose is to allow memory vendors to program higher-than-JEDEC-performance profiles onto the SPD of the memory sticks. The user can then enable these settings with a single option in the BIOS. The result is that customers can unleash their full memory performance with essentially the click of a single button.
When writing the script for this video, I was unaware of any publicly announced EXPO RDIMM kits. But knowing G.SKILL, keep an eye out for Zeta R5 equivalent EXPO kits.
Ryzen Threadripper 7000: Conclusion
Anyway, that’s all for today! I wish you all the best of luck with your Ryzen Threadripper 7000 overclocking adventures. I’m also preparing a couple of SkatterBencher overclocking guides, so stay tuned for that.
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