Articles

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Overclocking

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Friday , August 31, 2018

We have spent a lot of time understanding the new Threadripper 2950X and how it overclocks. We have put it through the paces using a chiller system, water cooling, and air cooling. We show you what Precision Boost Overdrive and what Precision Boost 2 can push the processor to in terms of stable performance as well as manual overclocking.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs

AMD recently launched its 2990WX and 2950X Threadripper processors. We reviewed both of those here. We did a little video that shows you the new packaging and how those will arrive when you purchase one.

The 2990WX (32C/64T) is already for sale below its MSRP of $1799, carrying a street price of $1749.99 with Prime Shipping. The 2950X (16C/32T) is scheduled for retail availability today (August 31st) and is now listed at Amazon for $899 with Prime Shipping.

Before we get into overclocking, we would suggest giving our Threadripper install video a look before you start to install your new CPU. It is not rocket science, but it is likely that you have not used anything like it before.

If you follow our steps, you should not have any issues. One issue that some folks have with installation is getting the #1 screw to thread easily. Don't be afraid to push down hard on that screw in order to get it to start to thread. The Torx head wrench that is supplied with the Threadripper will not easily slide off the head of the screw. Also, we would suggest that you install the CPU before you put the motherboard in the case giving you more room to work. We would also suggest that you install the cooler as well is that is possible.

The video above also covers TIM installation. We would highly suggest you check that out if you are using a custom TIM material. The Threadripper IHS is so big that it requires a bit more attention depending on what TIM you are using.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Overclocking

We have talked extensively about AMD's Precision Boost 2 technology previously and how it works with Ryzen processors. The quick and dirty explanation is that PB2 monitors your processors temperature, SoC Power, and motherboard's VRM current, and scales the Ryzen processor's clock and vCore to give you the fastest core clocks it can while keeping your in "safe" territory. Think of Precision Boost 2 as automated overclocking with a warranty. In the article above, you will see that PB2 can do a better job with scaling clocks on lightly threaded loads than we reach by hand overclocking across all cores. The trade off with PB2, is that in heavily threaded loads, hand overclocking shows to be advantageous. The slide below shows how you should expect PB2 to scale your 2950X clocks.

The second generation Threadripper CPUs now supports Precision Boost Overdrive. Using PBO techncially voids your warranty. The best way to think about PBO, is that it is PB2 on steroids. AMD's Robert Hallock has done a full write up on PBO over at the AMD community site, so we are not going to fully go over that here. The gist of PBO is that the lower you keep your CPU temperature, the higher PBO will boost you Threadripper's core clock and power depending if the motherboard can deliver the needed power.

For this 2950X overclocking review, we wanted to see how far we could push AMD's PBO on the 2950X. To do this, we put together a rudimentary chiller system using a wort chiller used in homebrewing from Amazon a XSPC D5 Photon reservoir and pump unit, and a XSPC Raystorm Neo Waterblock. (You can hit up our latest TR4 water block review to see how all our Threadripper water blocks have performed.)

Once we got our cooling loop assembled, we used an ice chest and 50lbs of ice to keep our system cool. Even under fully threaded loads we never saw our coolant temperature get above 54F/12C.

We did all of this because we wanted to see if Precision Boost Overdrive would perform as AMD stated it would. Self Contained chiller systems are fairly expensive, as well as phase change systems and quite frankly we did not want to spend the money on one to use it for such a short duration. Also it is important to note, as you can see in the pictures above, we are dealing with condensation through the system as well as condensation down on the TR4 socket itself. This is not the safe way to do things, but we babysitting the system throughout the testing to make sure we kept everything dry that needed to be dry. Should you want to do something like this at home, you would need to do a lot of insulation work in and around the motherboard socket to make sure you would not have condensation down on the board.