How to use Ryzen Master
Ryzen Master is a powerful, yet easy to use tool for overclocking AMD’s processors, writes Thomas Ryan
The long-awaited Ryzen CPUs are finally here and AMD’s new hardware arrived with helpful software in tow. Following in the footsteps of the WattMan overclocking tool for Radeon graphics cards, the Ryzen Master overclocking tool is aimed at giving you complete control over your new Ryzen chip, allowing you to push your processor to the bleeding edge of its potential performance. Want to crank voltage higher, fiddle with clock speeds, monitor temperatures, or even completely disable some of your chip’s cores? AMD’s overclocking software enables all that and more.
Ryzen Master directly replaces AMD’s OverDrive app. That said, it only works with AMD’s new AM4 motherboards and Windows 10, so if you have an older AMD processor and motherboard you’ll need to use OverDrive.
Preparing to master Ryzen
First things first, Ryzen overclocking is only enabled on motherboards with the X370, X300, or B350 chipsets. Assuming you have a compatible motherboard, go to the Ryzen Master landing page (tinyurl. com/zdrgwv6) and download the app to get started on the path to mastering Ryzen. Unlike WattMan, which comes bundled with the Radeon Settings tool alongside AMD’s graphics drivers, Ryzen Master is a standalone application. As such it has its own installer and desktop icon.
In order for it to show you accurate real-time graphs of voltages and clock speeds, you’ll need to run the HPET.bat script in the Ryzen Master install folder to make sure you have HPET (High Precision Event Timers) enabled in Windows 10. If you don’t have HPET enabled you’ll be greeted with an error message when you try to apply your overclocking profile. After running the script and restarting your system, Ryzen Master will work normally.
Windows updates may disable HPET, so if the app starts popping up warnings long after you’ve overclocked your system, run the script again.
Learning the art of Zen
The most important thing to understand when you’re overclocking Ryzen is that the chip has two modes of operation: Normal Mode and OC Mode.
Changing values in Ryzen Master will put your chip into OC Mode, which disables the Precision Power and Extended Frequency Range (XFR) overclocking features native to Ryzen in standard usage. Our Ryzen review (page 54) details those features and other fresh tech found in AMD’s chips.
Although AMD won’t guarantee that your chip will reach specific clock speeds, a company spokesperson told us that most Ryzen chips should be stable at 4.2GHz using 1.45 volts. They also suggested that disabling cores and simultaneous multithreading could enable Ryzen to reach even higher clock speeds – albeit by sacrificing cores and threads. But there’s a life expectancy trade-off that you’ll be making at these voltage levels. According to AMD’s internal modelling, going over 1.35 volts for sustained periods of time can negatively impact the lifespan of your chip.
Using saner voltages, early Ryzen chips mostly seem to have no problem hitting 3.8- or 3.9GHz overclocks, with some hitting 4GHz and a rare few achieving 4.1GHz. AMD’s pushing the high-end £500 Ryzen 7 1800X to the very edge of performance, in other words, the £350 Ryzen 7 1700 looks much more enticing when you consider that the chips can flirt with 1800X’s performance with the help of a decent aftermarket CPU cooler.
One thing to consider is that since Ryzen Master disables Precision Power and XFR, if you don’t overclock your Ryzen at least up to 4.1GHz – the top XFR state for the Ryzen 7 1800X we’re using – you could potentially see performance decline in strictly singlethreaded benchmarks like Cinebench R15. The performance boost in other applications could make up for it, however.
Knowing your Ryzen
The core of becoming a Ryzen Master is knowing exactly what your chip is doing right now. To that end, there’s a real-time graph of per-core clock speeds and the CPU’s temperature at the top of the Ryzen Master interface, accessible by clicking the tiny ‘>’ icon in the upper-left. It’s especially useful
What happens if you try to use Ryzen Master with HPET disabled
You’ll have better success overclocking with a beefier CPU cooler, like this EKWB Predator 240 close-looped liquid cooler
The temperature and clock-speeds graphs at the top of Ryzen Master