Ryzen 3000-series CPU owners hyper-aware of niche issues uncovered in the CPU since launch can today perhaps breathe a gentle sigh of relief. In a follow-up to ongoing feedback and conversations through multiple channels, AMD Senior Technical Marketing Manager Robert Hallock has posted a long-awaited Community Update that addresses some of the pressing concerns regarding the new generation CPUs. Touching on higher than expected reported 'idle' voltages by various monitoring applications, 'background' applications pushing the CPU to higher than expected core clock speeds, and the Destiny 2 band-aid chipset driver we reported on yesterday, Hallock details the steps platforms owners can now take to mitigate inconsistencies and outlines a plan for more comprehensive solutions.
A primary concern for many early adopters (and no small number of reviewers) has been the higher than expected frequencies and voltages in assumed 'idle' states reported by a wide range of software monitoring tools. In identifying the culprit, AMD have fingered many 'background' applications which 'frequently make indirect requests for the highest performance and power state from the processor', ranging from chat apps to software as innocuous as AIO controllers.
Over the course of ~0.3 seconds (A to B) processor voltage oscillates rapidly between 1.072V and 1.464V due to rapid
boost and idle requests from 'background' apps
Zen 2 CPUs are able to transition between frequency levels very quickly (as fast as every millisecond), and so are abnormally sensitive to requests such as these. With many low-load/background applications running together at the same time the processor may perceive a need to operate at boosted frequencies, raising the power state accordingly. Unfortunately, third-party monitoring software couldn't properly assess the frequency/voltage of a core bouncing quickly between low and high power states, leading to erroneous (or difficult to interpret) results.
AMD's immediate solution is to readjust the Ryzen Balanced power plan, which is introduced through an updated chipset driver listed as version 1.07.29. The revised plan slows down the transition rate between frequency levels to 15ms when assessed to be at idle or low load, letting processor cores run dormant for longer and reducing the likelihood that the processor will perceive a need to boost due to background processes alone. Additionally, when the processor is in an idle or low power state, the primary active core will operate at 99% of Base Clock and be ready to boost at a moment's notice. Combined, the changes should allow this plan to more reasonably cope with operating in low-load states with temperamental background processes.
Reflecting these changes, the latest version of Ryzen Master (Version 126.96.36.1993) is updated with new temperature and voltage reporting methodologies, allowing more representative readings to be taken. The temperature recorded in this tool is a 'rolling average across all cores, caches and bus interfaces', and reported frequencies account for brief pauses in load which have opportunistically allowed the CPU to reduce operating frequency over a core or package on a millisecond basis. These methodologies may be unique to Ryzen Master, and so not immediately correlate to results from 3rd party apps.
The updated chipset driver should also fix the Destiny 2 start-up issues seen by owners since launch, but this is very much a band-aid; other applications suffering from problems with the same root cause are not necessarily fixed. AGESA 1003ABB, rolled out as part of BIOS updates, is a more comprehensive solution that's currently being tested by motherboard manufacturers, a process which should take between two and four weeks.
Finally, Hallock also stated that AGESA 1003ABB-based BIOSes will resolve the “Event 17, WHEA-Logger” warnings appearing in the Windows Event Log, which AMD have put down to an overly sensitive error reporting mechanism that would normally suppress trivial warnings. The update and associated reddit thread leaves open the topic of developing better 3rd party tools for monitoring CPU temperature, frequency voltage and voltage that can take into account the means by which modern CPUs aggressively leverage power saving states in fractions of a second.
A more detailed explanation of the above, including a breakdown of how users can expect their CPU to behave after the updates are applied, can be found in a companion piece to the Community Update here.
SOURCE: AMD Community Update #5