Overclocking Ryzen 3000

Experience with the MSI MEG X570 Ace

It's no secret that the general consensus of overclocking with the Ryzen 3000 series has been so far disappointing. Whether it be the limitations of the new 7 nm silicon or the insane temperatures that these processors run at when overclocked, or even at stock settings with the stock cooler, to unlock the full potential of these chips, better cooling methods such as premium AIOs and custom water cooling is needed. 

Overclocking with the MSI MEG X570 Ace motherboard, there are three ways this can be achieved; within the firmware, with the simple, albeit effective tools inside the MSI Dragon Center application or with the comprehensive AMD Ryzen Master overclocking software. For the purpose of this review, we used the MSI Click BIOS 5 firmware which is very intuitive to use, and although this model was quite laggy, it still worked without issues. While the most commonly changed settings to overclock the processor include the CPU ratio which increases the frequency in increments of 100 MHz and the CPU VCore which increases the voltage pumped into the processor which not only generates extra heat but also increases power consumption.

In addition to the boost feature of the Ryzen 3000 processors, another AMD specific feature is called Precision Boost Overdrive or PBO. The three main variables that PBO works from including package power tracking (PPT), thermal design current (TDC), and the electrical design current (EDC). All three of these can be set within the firmware under the advanced section of the Precision Boost Overdrive menu, although MSI has included four different PBO profiles for users to select from. In addition to these are seven different Game Boost CPU overclocking profiles with each profile ranging from 4.0 GHz all cores up to 4.3 GHz all cores; these go up in increments of 50 MHz.

Overclocking Methodology

Our standard overclocking methodology is as follows. We select the automatic overclock options and test for stability with POV-Ray and OCCT to simulate high-end workloads. These stability tests aim to catch any immediate causes for memory or CPU errors.

For manual overclocks, based on the information gathered from the previous testing, starts off at a nominal voltage and CPU multiplier, and the multiplier is increased until the stability tests are failed. The CPU voltage is increased gradually until the stability tests are passed, and the process repeated until the motherboard reduces the multiplier automatically (due to safety protocol) or the CPU temperature reaches a stupidly high level (105ºC+). Our test bed is not in a case, which should push overclocks higher with fresher (cooler) air.

Overclocking Results

The 12+2 power delivery of the MSI MEG X570 Ace is one of the best we have seen from MSI in recent years and as a result, allowed us to manually overclock our Ryzen 7 3700X sample to 4.3 GHz with a set voltage of 1.375 V. Using the default load line calibration setting, this resulted in a load CPU VCore of 1.340 V which gives us a VDroop of 0.035 V in total. Of course, this can be alleviated by using a more aggressive LLC profile, but for the purposes of our testing, we leave this setting at auto. More voltage pumped into the CPU not only results in higher operating temperatures, but this also increases the overall power consumption.

Testing out each of MSI's seven Game Boost profiles did yield some interesting findings. First of all, each profile overvolted our Ryzen 3700X by a massive margin when you factor in what we achieved by using manual settings. Secondly, the three highest Game Boost profiles pumped insane amounts of CPU VCore in which in turn, made our 240mm AIO closed-loop cooler go into overdrive with temperatures in the triple digits. Outside of extreme overclocking, no Ryzen 3000 processor should be subjected to voltages of 1.562 V for a 4.3 GHz overclock on ambient cooling. Performance however was consistently higher with each of the profiles in our POV-Ray benchmark and by default with the Game Boost profiles, thermal throttling is disabled meaning that there is a trade-off between heat and performance. We also tested with PBO and found that performance was actually worse than the default settings, with MSI's four PBO profiles not really having much of an effect on performance; this leads us to believe for the most part, that PBO on Ryzen 3000 could do with a rework to make it more effective.

Gaming Performance Power Delivery Thermal Analysis
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  • DanNeely - Friday, July 19, 2019 - link

    The chipset IO lanes that could have powered 4 more sata ports would end up being shared with either the 3rd m.2 slot or the 3rd PCIe slot and that the cost of support tickets from people who got confused about using feature A disables feature B is higher than profit from the handful of people trying to use a near flagship level consumer motherboard to build a storage server. Reply
  • pavag - Saturday, July 20, 2019 - link

    I have a large collection of SATA drives which I want to keep running. Each time I replaced one HDD with SSD, I moved the disk to my desktop, so I care a lot for the quantity of SATA ports. Reply
  • Qasar - Friday, July 19, 2019 - link

    um.. is everyone that is complaining about the prices of X570 boards, aware that there could be a B570 chipset still yet to come to target the lower price points of boards ? or has AMD stated that X570 is the only chipset for zen 2 ? Reply
  • haukionkannel - Friday, July 19, 2019 - link

    Yes 550 is coming next year!
    But most b450 boards Are just fine for ryzen3000. Just check out the vrm and you will be fine.
    Reply
  • Irata - Friday, July 19, 2019 - link

    Also, the MSI MEG Ace's LGA1151 version is not really much cheaper Reply
  • rocky12345 - Friday, July 19, 2019 - link

    I am not sure about this "all at a fairly reasonable price." Since when is $369USD considered a reasonable price for a mid tier board? For us Canadians that translates to $483CAD and then if you factor in the retailers increase it becomes over $500CAD. Great review though thank you. Reply
  • peevee - Friday, July 19, 2019 - link

    Exactly. The price is totally unreasonable. It's a price for server MBs. Reply
  • rocky12345 - Friday, July 19, 2019 - link

    I made another post on this but since there is no edit function I am posting again on the post times for these new boards. 18-31 seconds before it even starts to boot to Windows ouch that is a long time. My current board form power press to Windows desktop only takes up to about 11-12 seconds and it also has a lot of features to setup after it posts to the screen. I have not been on an AMD platform for a very long time so maybe it is just an AMD thing and they take longer to get everything ready I am not sure. Maybe it is the same with the new Intel stuff as well.

    By the time these new boards get you to Windows on my current system I would have either had YT open and already playing a video or Netflix logged in and picking a movie or already reading an article from Anandtech site.
    Reply
  • pavag - Saturday, July 20, 2019 - link

    +1 Reply
  • Daveteauk - Thursday, April 9, 2020 - link

    Rocky - my ACE posts to DT in 14 seconds, and the OS is loaded. You must have done something wrong in BIOS or your setup. Reply

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