Overclocking: 4.0 GHz for 500W

Who said that a 250W processor should not be overclocked? AMD prides itself as being a processor manufacturer that offers every consumer processor as a multiplier unlocked part, as well as using a soldered thermal interface material to assist with thermal dissipation performance. This 2990WX has an X in the same, so let the overclocking begin!

Actually, confession time. We did not have much time to do overclocking by any stretch. This processor has a 3.0 GHz base frequency and a 4.2 GHz turbo frequency, and in an air-conditioned room using the 500W Enermax Liqtech cooler, when running all cores under POV-Ray, we observed each core running around 3150 MHz, which is barely above the turbo frequency. The first thing I did was set the all-core turbo to 4.2 GHz, the same as the single core turbo frequency. That was a bust.

However, the next stage of my overclocking escapades surprised me. I set the CPU to a 40x multiplier in the BIOS, for 4.0 GHz on all the cores, all the time. I did not adjust the voltage, it was kept at auto, and I was leaving the ASUS motherboard to figure it out. Lo and behold, it performed flawlessly through our testing suite at 4.0 GHz. I was shocked.

All I did for this overclock was turn a setting from ‘auto’ to ‘40’, and it breezed through almost every test I threw at it. I say almost every test – our Prime95 power testing failed. But our POV-Ray power testing, which draws more power, worked. Every benchmark in the suite worked. Thermals were high (in the 70s), but the cooler could take it, and with good reason too.

At full load in our POV-Ray test, the processor was listed as consuming 500W. The cooler is rated for 500W. At one point we saw 511W. This was split between 440W for the cores (or 13.8W per core) and 63W for the non-core (IF, IO, IMC) which equates to only 12.5% of the full power consumption. It answers the question from our Infinity Fabric power page - if you want the interconnect to be less of the overall power draw, overclock!

We also tried 4.1 GHz, and that seemed to work as well, although we did not get a full benchmark run out of it before having to pack the system up. As stated above, 4.2 GHz was a no-go, even when increasing the voltage. With tweaking (and the right cooling), it could be possible. For anyone wanting to push here, chilled water might be the way to go.

Performance at 4.0 GHz

So if the all-core frequency was 3125 MHz, an overclock to 4000 MHz all-core should give a 28% performance increase, right? Here are some of the key tests from our suite.

AppTimer: GIMP 2.10.4 (copy)Blender 2.79b bmw27_cpu Benchmark (copy)POV-Ray 3.7.1 Benchmark (copy)WinRAR 5.60b3 (copy)PCMark10 Extended Score (copy)Agisoft Photoscan 1.3.3, Complex Test (copy)

Overclocking the 2990WX is a mixed bag, because of how it does really well in some tests, and how it still sits behind the 2950X in others due to the bi-modal nature of the cores. In the tests were it already wins, it pushes out a lot more: Blender is up 19% in throughput, POV-Ray is up 19%, 3DPM is up 19%. The other tests, is catches back up to the 2950X (Photoscan), or still lags behind (app loading, WinRAR).

Overclocking is not the cure-all for the performance issues on the 2990WX, but it certainly does help.

Power Consumption, TDP, and Prime95 vs POV-Ray Thermal Comparisons and XFR2: Remember to Remove the CPU Cooler Plastic!
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  • HStewart - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    "I highly highly doubt that Intel would postpone 10nm just to “shut down AMD""

    Probably right - AMD is not that big of threat in the real world - just go in to BestBuy - yes they have some game machines. a very few laptops including older generations
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - link

    That is some impressive goalpost moving that you just did *on your own claim*.

    Intel's issues have nothing to do with AMD, but they will allow a resurgent AMD to become more competitive over time. Pointing to how little of a threat AMD are *right now* and/or making up weird conspiracy theories that place Intel as the only mover and shaker in the entire industry won't change that.
    Reply
  • Relic74 - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Consumer based computers is but a small portion of the market. Servers, millions of them needed every year to fill the demand needed by, well, everyone who hosts a site, government, networking farms a mile long, etc. The server market is huge and is growing almost faster than tech companies can provide. It's why I always thought Apple getting out if the server market was kind of a stupid ideal. All of the servers they ever created were sold before they were even created. I guess the margains were to small for them, greedy bastards. Why only make double the profits when you make 5x with consumer products. Seriously, an iPhone X costs less than $200 to make now, it used to be $250 but now its $200, greedy bastards. Oh, did you know it costs Apple less than $3 to go from 64GB to 128GB, ugh. Reply
  • Ozymankos - Sunday, January 27, 2019 - link

    it matters what you consider as costs
    do you calculate the shipping costs,the marketing costs,the salaries of everyone involved,the making of new facilities?
    Reply
  • Eastman - Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - link

    Intel isn't finished. They are still king of single thread performance. We will see if Zen 2 will surpass Intel's single thread performance. Reply
  • seanlivingstone - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    Do you know that Jensen Huang is Lisa Su's uncle? Intel is done. Reply
  • f1nalpr1m3 - Thursday, October 25, 2018 - link

    Expected Results vs Actual:
    Stats Expected Q3 2018 Results Actual Q3 2018 Results
    Revenue($B) $18.1 $19.2
    EPS $1.15 $1.40
    Reply
  • UnNameless - Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - link

    Sadly this is true. AMD tries hard and in the most part succeeds. Intel frankly showed some kind of panic for the niche market of top end processors with that chilled fiasco of a 5 GHz CPU. This means AMD puts quite some pressure onto them Reply
  • Outlander_04 - Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - link

    AMD have bounced back very quickly . Mostly because people are starting to accept how over priced intel have been
    https://wccftech.com/intel-coffee-lake-amd-ryzen-c...
    Reply
  • twtech - Wednesday, August 15, 2018 - link

    I don't think branding issues is going to stop purchases of AMD chips when they are the best fit for a particular use-case, but the lack of direct access to memory for half of the cores in the 2990wx is going to keep it from being the knockout punch for HEDT that it could have been.

    Looking at these benchmark results, that has seriously gimped the performance of the 32-core TR to the point where it is slower than the 16 core in some threaded workloads.

    Sure, you can just go ahead and buy the 16-core 2950x instead, but then you're reduced back to being in 7980xe territory - albeit at a cheaper price point - but the point is, it's not the clear win that a relatively high clocked 32-core CPU probably could have been without the memory access issue.
    Reply

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