There are a lot of positive things that can be said about AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processors. Based on the 7nm process, they are more efficient than Intel’s 9th Gen Coffee Lake chips and most certainly than the upcoming Comet Lake lineup too. They’re aggressively priced and offer almost the same level of single-threaded performance as the competing Intel processors while being substantially faster in multi-threaded workloads. However, there’s one aspect that has left enthusiasts with a tinge of disappointment. When you try overclocking the Ryzen 3000 (Matisse) CPUs, there’s very little headroom for improvement. Furthermore, due to unexpectedly high sensitivity to ambient temperature, these chips don’t run at the advertised boost clocks more often than not. To the average user, all this probably comes off as some technical rubbish. So, to make overclocking simpler for the very beginners, we’ve compiled this overclocking guide for the Ryzen 3000 CPUs. It should work with all the Zen 2 chips, including the Ryzen 5 3600, the Ryzen 7 3700X, the 3800X as well as the Ryzen 9 3900X but it’s tailor-made for the mid-range and upper mid-range Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 offerings.
Overclocking the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and the Ryzen 7 3700X CPUs
Since this is an elementary guide, we’ll stick to the Ryzen Master Overclocking utility instead of the system BIOS which tends to intimidate most people. Download the application and install it. If you don’t have the AMD chipset drivers, get them too. Fire up Ryzen Master and you’ll be greeted by a warning, click yes.
Ryzen 5 3600 CPU Core Overclocking: For the Ryzen 5 and the Ryzen 7, I suggest you focus more on overclocking the memory and the Infinity Fabric, as there’s very little headroom for overclocking the cores and even if you do manage to, there’s a good chance that they’ll spend very little time at the boost frequencies. You need a higher-end Ryzen 9 or a Ryzen 7 3800X with a liquid cooler if you want any meaningful gains here. For the Ryzen 5 3600 and the 3700X, I suggest simply setting it to auto-overclock and keeping your thermals in check:
Select Game Mode, and then click on the Auto Overclocking option. Make sure the Cores Section and Voltage Control are set to “Included” and Simultaneous Multi-threading is switched on. Those of you who still want to try your luck with manual overclocking, fret not, we’ll have another advanced guide for you up soon.
AMD Ryzen 3000 Memory and Infinity Fabric Overclocking: Scroll down to Memory Control and turn Coupled Mode off.
- Next set your memory speed to half of your manufacturer’s rating. For example, if you have a 3000MHz DIMM, set the memory to 1500MHz.
- This is DDR RAM, so the resultant speed will be 3000. Don’t mess with the Infinity Fabric Clock just yet. We’ll get to that in a bit.
- Now, increase the memory clock by 100MHz and click on “Apply and Test”. Your system will restart, after which it’ll run a small stress test, and tell you whether your memory is stable at this frequency. If all goes well, you’ll be greeted by everything in green.
- Repeat the above step until your system becomes unstable. When this happens, your PC most likely won’t boot but don’t worry. Just turn it off and power back on and it’ll boot up after a couple of failed attempts, resetting the overclock.
- Go back to your last stable clock. This is your highest stable memory clock. AMD recommends 3600MHz as the ideal frequency for the Ryzen 3000 chips. That means till this mark, you’ll keep seeing notable gains but thereafter only minor improvements.
- Time to overclock the Infinity Fabric. Just like you did with memory, increase the Fabric Clock in 100MHz steps, till your system refuses to boot. Power off and on, then go back to your last stable clock.
- In an ideal world, the IF clock and the memory clock should be identical, if not then the IF clock should be set to half of the memory clock. Experiment with this setting and see whether a faster memory with slower IF or equally clocked IF and RAM offer better performance in your workloads. This will vary from application to application.
The higher the memory speed the higher the performance. Faster memory means lower latency, ignoring the infinity fabric.
The Ryzen 5 chips are 3+3, meaning unlike the 4+4 Ryzen 7 chips, you get one less core in each CCX. So, technically a higher IF speed would result in more performance, especially in games that use more than 3 cores. Higher memory speed comes with lower minimum fps and higher maximum fps.
I suggest keeping the memory timings and voltages on default for now. We’ll address them in another guide later on. We’ll also have a benchmark up soon, demonstrating the effect of memory and IF speeds on gaming performance. Cheers!