Last Updated: Feb 28, 2018
In this beginner-friendly guide you'll learn the basics of how to overclock your AMD CPU using Ryzen Master; the free and easy to use overclocking software tool from AMD themselves.
Previously, AMD fans wanting to avoid the BIOS would use the Overdrive program to overclock, but with the release of the latest Ryzen chips AMD also introduced this new tool to enthusiasts.
Like Intel’s XTU, it aims to simplify CPU overclocking, and whilst not giving you as much control and potential results as heading into your BIOS, it can work quite well.
All Ryzen chips are unlocked, meaning they can all be overclocked, but you will need Windows 10 and a suitable motherboard.
Specifically, to overclock your Ryzen processor you’ll require a motherboard with a X370, X300 or B350 chipset.
The following are the basic steps to get started using Ryzen Master to overclock your shiny new AMD CPU:
Step 1: Run Base Benchmark
Download and install Ryzen Master from the official site if you haven’t already. First thing you’ll want to do is some testing of your system as it is now, so you can compare the results with your post-overclock results.
Unlike Intel's XTU tool, Ryzen Master doesn’t have a built-in benchmark feature, so you’ll need to get some other software to do your pre-overclock testing to see how your CPU performs at its base settings (to compare with the results you get post-overclock).
CineBench R15 is a good, free stress-test program that includes a CPU test that’s massively popular across the enthusiast community. Geekbench is another good, free and popular program. Prime95 is yet another, and will really push your CPU to its limit and utilizes all cores.
These stress-test/benchmarking programs aren’t just good to gauge system performance before and after your overclock, but they’re also handy to monitor whether your system remains stable under intense load (by seeing if the tests do not fail). Download 1, 2 or all 3 and run the automated tests, making sure to close any background applications first so nothing interferes with the tests.
As for temperature monitoring, Ryzen Master has that built-in so you don’t need a separate program for that but you may want to download one anyway to double check your temperatures.
It’s generally a good idea to cross-check temperatures (and even speeds) across multiple programs just in case. HWInfo64, CPU-Z, RealTemp, HWMonitor and Open Hardware Monitor are all good (and free) options.
Step 2: Understanding Ryzen Master Basics
Unlike Intel XTU which doesn’t have a good, user-friendly manual, Ryzen Master actually does and it’s worth reading and keeping handy as you use Ryzen Master. You can access it by clicking on the Help button within Ryzen Master, or download it directly from AMD’s site.
The manual covers much of what you need to know as a beginner, but here we’ll cover the important bits that you need to know as well as add our own thoughts and interpretation to clarify some things and (hopefully) make it even simpler for you.
It’s also worth point out that Ryzen processors run in one of two main modes: Normal Mode, and OC Mode. When you apply new settings in Ryzen Master, your chip will automatically go from the default Normal Mode to OC Mode.
When your chip goes into OC Mode, the CPU’s Precision Power and XFR (Extended Frequency Range) features become disabled.
There is a potential downside to these features being disabled in OC Mode that you want to keep in mind. If you don’t overclock your Ryzen to its particular top XFR state or higher (each chip is different; for the Ryzen 7 1800X the top XFR is 4.1GHz) there is a chance that single-threaded performance will go slightly down whereas programs that use multiple cores will see a boost.
In other words, when overclocking a Ryzen you will of course get better overall performance, but if you can’t get your OC to at least 4.1GHz then technically using the XFR feature (that is enabled when NOT overclocking) could give you slightly faster single-threaded performance.
Another thing to note is that in the manual it says Ryzen Master requires that the “Fast Boot” setting within the “Power Button” mode in your Windows 10 power options be disabled. This allows all your Ryzen CPU cores to be enabled after a system power cycle. To disable this, go to your Windows 10 Power Options under System Settings and uncheck the “turn on fast startup” box.
Also, for discerning readers who read in the manual that you need to have HPET enabled run Ryzen Master properly; don’t worry about it as recent updates to Ryzen master have removed the need to have HPET enabled for overclocking (and AMD hasn’t updated the manual to reflect this change yet).
Other important tidbits from the manual worth mentioning are as follows:
* A system restart is needed when changing profiles in Ryzen Master that change enabled cores.
* When in OC Mode (automatically turned on when you overclock any Ryzen) all cores will run at the same frequency and voltage.
* Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing when altering memory settings in Ryzen Master as incorrect or unstable settings could prevent the system from booting up or may fail to load/corrupt your OS. Running a stand-alone memory stability test such as MemTest86 is a good idea to check memory stability BEFORE loading the OS.
Ok, now we’ve layed down some groundwork let’s get into the fun.
Step 3: Increase the Clock Speed
Ryzen Master settings works in profile tabs, with the default profile (ie default stock settings) labelled as “C” which you’ll see in the bottom-left corner. To overclock, you’ll need to click on one of the four other tabs and change the settings in there.
When overclocking your Ryzen the core clock speed is the most important setting. Overclocking the base clock speed (BCLK) isn’t recommended unless you know what you’re doing as it can cause problems like system crashes, graphical artefacts, data corruption, and more.
There are 5 ways you can change the clock speed within Ryzen Master, which can be increased in 25MHz increments:
When you make a change, you have to actually apply the new settings by clicking on the Apply button in the top-right corner. When you get an overclock that you like, you can save it using the “Safe Profile” button. You can save up to 4 overclock profiles in Ryzen Master.
So, what you want to do is make small increments in the core clock speed and then test for stability using your preferred stress-test program/s before increasing your speed any further.
I would increase it by 100Mhz at a time, perhaps 200Mhz on the first increment and then 100Mhz from then on. For the tests, after every Mhz increase I would start with a few runs of CineBench R15, and then a blend test in Prime95.
When you reach an unstable CPU clock where your system doesn’t crash and you can run a 20 minute Prime95 “blend” run and a few different CineBench 95 runs, and your CPU temperatures are not too high under load (less than 80-85 degrees Celcius depending on how good your cooling setup is and your risk tolerance etc) then you can move on to the CPU voltage if you wish to overclock further.
Step 4: Increase the Voltage
Before changing voltages you want to see how far you can go with the stock voltage settings. Just like increasing the speed, you also want to increase the voltage in small increments to see whether more voltage will stabilize your CPU at that new speed.
Ryzen Master allows you to add 0.0065V at a time, and you can do this by typing in a new voltage in the “CPU VID” text box.
The stock voltage for Ryzen chips is around 1.3625V, with the upper limit for systems with high-end dual radiator AIO liquid coolers being around 1.45V.
You don’t want to go any higher than that, as you’re putting your system at too much risk of damage over time; raising CPU voltages is the single most contributing factor to reduced processor life and/or damage due to transistor stress and temperature.
AMD has publically said that going over 1.35 V for long periods of time can negatively impact your chip’s lifespan. In the end the decision is yours and yours alone, but personally I would aim to stay at 1.4V or under.
Also, keep in mind that to change the voltage in Ryzen Master you’ll need a motherboard that supports this as not all will. Plus, some motherboards may apply a voltage offset from the BIOS; if that’s true of your board then it’s a good idea to check the actual voltage level using your motherboard’s monitoring app or BIOS.
After increasing the voltage in small steps you want to run your benchmarking tests like before to check the temperatures and stability of your chip.
AMD doesn’t guarantee you’ll reach specific clock speeds, but it’s been said by AMD that some Ryzens can stay stable at 4.2GHz using 1.45 volts. Using safer voltages, you shouldn’t have a problem getting near the upper end of the 3.5 – 4.0 Ghz range, depending on your model.
A couple last things worth mentioning before we wrap up our introduction to Ryzen Master is that you can also use this handy tool to disable cores to enable your chip to reach higher clock speeds, albeit with the sacrifice of potentially lower chip lifespan.
This could improve overclocking headroom as well for the remaining active cores and could reduce power consumption.
Another thing you can do with the program is overclock your memory speed and voltages. Like changing voltages, you’ll need a motherboard that supports this feature.
As a first-timer tweaking your CPU is all you really need to do to get some solid system speed increases, and memory overclocking won’t really make much noticeable difference in most applications and games (the key word is most), but refer to the Ryzen Master manual if you want to learn more about pushing your memory as there are potential benefits to be gained with certain setups and certain applications.