For a very long time, Intel was considered a “people’s” company, the services of which were used by a huge number of users, not only for top-end, but also for budget assemblies. That said, things have changed with the release of AMD’s Ryzen line! Fast, multi-core, multi-threaded and affordable – what more could you want from a gem for your PC?
In addition, many Ryzen processors have excellent overclocking potential, especially the 1000 and 2000 series processors. In today’s article, we’ll show you how to properly overclock Ryzen without ruining your motherboard, power supply, and other components of your computer.
What you need to overclock: hardware
Unlike Intel, which allows only a few of its chips to be overclocked, absolutely all Ryzen processors can be overclocked from the very beginning. The main thing is to have a suitable motherboard and cooling system in stock.
- A motherboard that supports overclocking. B350, X370, B450, X470, B550 and X570 are chipsets that have support for overclocking AMD processors. Simply put, it is only important not to buy a motherboard with an “A” series chipset, and everything will be fine. In this article, many examples will be provided on the MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon, but most of the customization should be available on boards from other manufacturers as well.
- Competent cooling system. AMD stock coolers are powerful enough to cool Ryzen processors well, but only if they are running at factory frequencies. It is worth pushing the gas a little – the temperature rises, and quite strongly. If you want to start overclocking your processor, we strongly recommend getting a cooler from a third-party manufacturer.
What you need to overclock: benchmarks and monitoring
When overclocking the processor, you need to have a utility that can monitor not only the frequencies you dial, but also the voltage and operating temperature of the iron. Every overclocking enthusiast uses something different, but we advise you to take a closer look at OCCT. This program can monitor the current parameters of the processor, including the temperature, plus it has useful stress tests on board that will make it clear if your overclocking is stable or not.
Of course, many of you will say that it is better to give preference to Ryzen Master or HWiNFO, but for beginner “overclockers” who do not want to squeeze all the juices out of their CPU, OCCT will do. However, it all comes down to personal preference, so don’t bother too much about it. Frequencies, temperatures and stress tests are all you need.
In addition, it would be nice if you prepared a notebook for yourself, where you can record the results of your overclocking experiments. Believe me, such an elementary trifle will provide you with invaluable help.
What you need to know before overclocking Ryzen
There is no guarantee that you will be able to overclock your CPU to the frequencies you want. If someone out there on the Internet managed to overclock your chip to a certain level, then this does not mean that you will be able to achieve the same results. Different frequencies can be squeezed out of each processor of the same model. No, you read everything correctly …
Some users are lucky and they buy extremely successful chips that have tremendous overclocking potential, while others … should be content with what they have purchased. Is it possible to somehow understand whether the CPU will overclock well or badly before buying it? No, as silicon decides, it will. For example, one Ryzen 2600 will run up to 4.2 GHz, and the other up to 4 GHz, and you won’t do anything here.
If you do decide to do overclocking, then it is a great idea to thoroughly study the available information on your motherboard and processor. Pay special attention to the materials on overclocking the CPU you want from other users on the network. Your stone may differ slightly in one direction or another, but you always need to have at least a general idea of what you want to achieve from it.
Experienced overclockers do not recommend using the auto overclocking features found on many modern motherboards, but this is a good start for the greenest users in this regard. For example, Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) technology will temporarily increase the frequency of processor cores during a variety of workloads, but not higher than the frequencies indicated on the packaging of the processor itself.
Auto-overclocking is useful primarily for those users who do not want to take particular risks trying to select frequencies and voltage with their own hands. Auto-overclocking is a safe way to squeeze extra performance out of your CPU without going beyond the parameters that have been set by AMD themselves. Based on this, auto-overclocking is not technically considered overclocking as such.
Now let’s talk about real overclocking …
Step # 1 Reset motherboard BIOS
You probably can’t wait to get started, but in such cases you should not rush. To get started, we recommend that you go into the BIOS of your motherboard and take a good look around. To enter the BIOS, you need to restart your computer and press the appropriate button – this could be Delete, F2, F9, and so on. In general, follow the prompts on the screen and you will succeed. If you simply do not have time to spy out the button, we google your motherboard and look for the necessary information.
So, in BIOS, you need to do the following two things:
- load BIOS default settings (Load Optimized Defaults);
- disable any functions responsible for automatic overclocking of the processor (Precision Boost Overdrive, Game Boost, etc.).
Once you are done doing the above, save your BIOS settings, restart your computer and enter Windows.
Step # 2 Initial stress test
It would be nice if you could stress test your processor at stock frequencies. You will be surprised, but some chips – albeit extremely rare – can behave unstable even at the factory settings. After the test, it will become clear to you whether it is worth overclocking at all if the stone has some problems already in stock.
Start the mentioned OCCT and go to monitoring mode. We recommend transferring the monitoring window to a tabular view so that you do not have a headache from all the information that the program offers you. On the CPU Test tab, select the following options:
- the dataset is large;
- mode – normal;
- load – variable;
- instructions – auto;
- streams are auto.
Now click on the start icon at the bottom of the window and wait for the processor testing to end. This procedure takes about 15 minutes. Think a regular test isn’t enough? Well, then select the more essential parameters and run the test again. If nothing happened during OCCT testing (BSoDs or freezes), then you can not worry about the stability of your CPU in stock – you are ready to overclock it.
Step # 3 Increase the CPU multiplier
The clock speed is the result of a combination of two other values: the base clock and the CPU multiplier. 100 MHz is the base frequency for many modern processors. For you to understand better, let’s take the Ryzen 5 2600 as an example. The clock speed of this processor is 3.4 GHz – that’s 100 MHz * 34. The easiest way to overclock is to increase the processor multiplier. To overclock the same Ryzen 5 2600 to 4.1 GHz, it is enough to raise the multiplier to 41.
Of course, the base frequency also lends itself to increasing, but it affects the operation of other components in the system, and therefore, as a rule, they try not to touch it. And we, in fact, recommend that you not try to experiment with the base frequency and concentrate on the multiplier. Given that the BIOS of each motherboard is different, you will have to look for an option to change the CPU Ratio yourself.
One way or another, you will get to the required option – what is the multiplier to set? It all depends solely on your processor, and therefore go in search of useful information on the network. For the same Ryzen 5 2600, a multiplier of 37 (34 by default) will be a good start. Again, don’t try to guess the multiplier! We look at the already conducted experiments of comrades in the network and set SAFE values in our system.
Step # 4 Voltage boost and stress test
Once you have set the correct multiplier, look in your BIOS for an option that allows you to change the processor voltage (Vcore, Core Voltage, etc.). Important: Look online for information regarding the safe voltage for your CPU when overclocking. If you can still make a mistake with the multiplier (the PC will restart and you will get into the BIOS again), then the jokes with the voltage are bad. You can simply burn your stone if you overdo it with tension.
Never, ever set the voltage higher than 1.4 volts! For example, for the Ryzen 5 2600 at 3.7 GHz, the recommended voltage is 1.24 ~ 1.26 volts. We look at the relevant materials on the network and set the appropriate values in our BIOS. All is ready? Great, save your BIOS settings and start your PC as usual. The very first test is whether you can log into the OS normally.
If everything went smoothly, open OCCT and run a normal processor test. Let the program run your CPU for 15 minutes. Nothing happened? Blue screens of death? Hangs? If the tests pass without obvious problems, re-enter BIOS and increase the processor multiplier by one (1), and then repeat the testing process.
At some point, you will either run into an error, your computer will freeze, or a BSoD will appear in front of you. What does it mean? Your CPU does not have enough power to maintain the specified frequencies. Go back to BIOS and increase the CPU voltage by 0.01 volts, then run the OCCT stress test. Be sure to write down the results of your overclocking experiments in a notepad! You don’t need to change the multiplier and voltage at the same time. It is better to raise these parameters slowly but surely.
During stress tests, keep a close eye on the CPU temperature. Remember: the higher the voltage, the higher the temperature. Also, do not forget that prolonged operation at high temperatures significantly reduces the processor’s lifespan. Of course, each CPU has its own maximum temperature, but it would be nice if your maximum CPU temperature did not exceed 80-85 degrees under intense loads.
Step 5 We are satisfied with the results
Repeat the steps above, increasing the multiplier and CPU voltage, until you hit the wall. A wall means too high a temperature or general instability in the system. We remind you once again: each chip has its own overclocking potential, and therefore the results of your overclocking may please or disappoint you. For example, we managed to catch up with our Ryzen 5 2600 up to 4 GHz at a voltage of 1.2625 – this is not the best, but still a good result.
I would like to say that this is where Ryzen overclocking ends, but it is not. We strongly recommend that you also focus on increasing frequencies and adjusting the timings of your RAM. The fact is that the performance of Ryzen processors is very, very dependent on the frequency and timings of the RAM. Again, we google information on our RAM and increase its parameters in the same way as you did with your processor.
We check the stability of our system during stress tests and daily work. If you encounter freezes, BSoDs and other serious problems, then you need to go back to the BIOS and slightly increase the voltage (only if it is safe!) Or lower the frequencies. Experiment until you get a stable computer.
Outcome: CPU overclocking is not difficult, but it takes an insane amount of time. The main thing when overclocking is not to rush and carefully study the materials of other users on the network. If you are careful and scrupulous enough, then you will succeed. Good luck!