Friday, July 12th 2019

Reports of Ryzen 3000 High Idle Voltage Exaggerated, a Case of the "Observer Effect"

With AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processors finally falling into the hands of PC enthusiasts, many early-adopters are taking to tech communities such as ours, to share their experiences with others. A trend appears to be emerging of users reporting higher-than-usual voltages for these processors when idling. AMD investigated this phenomenon, and declared this to be a non-issue. Apparently, most modern CPU monitoring utilities cause what is known as "the observer effect:" the process of measuring the processor's load itself causes load on the processor.

In case of the Ryzen "Matisse" processors, monitoring software appear to be polling each processor core for load by sending it instruction at a high rate of speed - sending them a workload of 20 ms every 200 ms. This causes the processor's embedded firmware to think that the cores are being subjected to workload, and it responds by increasing the clock-speeds, and proportionately voltages of all CPU cores. Monitoring software poll each CPU core, and so core voltages are raised across the chip.
"We have determined that many popular monitoring tools are quite aggressive in how they monitor the behavior of a core. Some of them wake every core in the system for 20 ms, and do this as often as every 200 ms. From the perspective of the processor firmware, this is interpreted as a workload that's asking for sustained performance from the core(s). The firmware is designed to respond to such a pattern by boosting: higher clocks, higher voltages," stated Robert Hallock, AMD's head of technical marketing for processors. "So, if you're sitting there staring at your monitoring tool, the tool is constantly instructing all the cores to wake up and boost. This will keep the clock-speeds high, and the corresponding voltages will be elevated to support that boost. This is a classic case of observer effect: you're expecting the tool to give valid data, but it's actually producing invalid data by virtue of how it's measuring," he added.

Hallock recommended CPU-Z to be most accurate at measuring CPU voltages without causing the observer effect. In a screenshot shared on Reddit, Hallock showed that when twiddling its thumbs, a Ryzen 9 3900X can drop its voltages well below 0.4 V. To demonstrate his use-case, Hallock configured his machine with the latest Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903), which has greater awareness of AMD "Zen" processor multi-core topology; the latest BIOS on his ASUS Crosshair VIII Hero motherboard, and AMD Chipset drivers 1.07.07, which include the latest version of the "Ryzen Balanced" Windows power-plan.

AMD highly recommends Ryzen 3000 users to use the latest version of Chipset drivers, and enable the Ryzen Balanced power-plan, which adjusts the rate at which the processor and the OS talk to each other on performance-output from the processor. With Ryzen Balanced, this is set at 1 ms, whereas the default "Balanced" power-plan provided by Microsoft polls the processor only once in 15 ms, giving users the illusion of processor voltages having "settled down." This is a sub-optimal scenario for Ryzen processors, which like to tweak their clock-speeds every 1 ms, responding to workloads better.

Hallock also prescribed a few tips to measure voltages correctly: 1, to not run multiple monitoring utilities simultaneously, which amplifies the observer effect; 2. close apps such as your motherboard's "command center" utility, Corsair iCue, NZXT CAM, etc., which too are monitoring tools; 3. Set BIOS voltages to their default or Auto values, except those voltage domains that are adjusted by your memory's XMP profile; 4. keep your chipset software, Windows version (1903 recommended), and motherboard BIOS version up to date; and 5. don't worry if you don't see <0.5 V values, <1 V is the desired idle range. Source: Robert Hallock (Reddit)
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42 Comments on Reports of Ryzen 3000 High Idle Voltage Exaggerated, a Case of the "Observer Effect"

#26
ZoneDymo
Frick, post: 4079731, member: 23907"
Ah yes, Big CPU bought monitoring software devs ages ago. A stripclub was blown up a few weeks ago, but up to that point it wasn't blown up. It's all connected man.
What you just said makes no sense at all, I never said anything was connected.
I just remembered how software that was meant to just measure something, influenced the results and now its happening here with the cpu.

Its a simple comparison/bit if recent history of similar concept and you seem to get all worked up over not getting it.
Posted on Reply
#27
Slizzo
TheGuruStud, post: 4079744, member: 42692"
I have C6Hs and they're fine until you enable PBO. So....
C6H isn't a C8H is it?
Posted on Reply
#28
TheGuruStud
Slizzo, post: 4079860, member: 97498"
C6H isn't a C8H is it?
i.e. it's not universal or anywhere close to it. Asus is incompetent, what else is new? Yet, the V works fine. I don't buy them anymore, b/c of said incompetence, but these were cheap refurbs (it's so bad that their rgb control app hard freezes the PC).

Why is this even news? AMD needs to fix ryzen master to show values better, so dumb dumbs can shut up.
Posted on Reply
#29
danbert2000
It's interesting to me that Intel has had no problem with this but AMD does. Different solutions to the same boosting question I guess. Is Intel doing more work to determine the type of load vs AMD? I have always found the Ryzen Balanced to be odd coming from Intel processors. It doesn't seem to sleep all that much and has these kinds of problems, where speed is usually more important than sleeping the processor. Probably why Ryzen laptop chips still have a way to go before they are as performant and power efficient as the blue chips.
Posted on Reply
#30
R-T-B
Octopuss, post: 4079584, member: 74316"
What cat?
Schrodingers Cat. It is a phenomena/thought experiment (I would hope never attempted, but probably) described here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

Frick, post: 4079731, member: 23907"
Ah yes, Big CPU bought monitoring software devs ages ago. A stripclub was blown up a few weeks ago, but up to that point it wasn't blown up. It's all connected man.
Frick, he made something we call a joke, AKA a funny. Maybe it doesn't translate well but that was the intent.
Posted on Reply
#31
lexluthermiester
Slizzo, post: 4079742, member: 97498"
What do they have to say about this:



Looks like their partners making motherboards aren't helping them at all (ASUS in this particular case commanding WAYYYY too much voltage, stock.)
While the problem Jay talks about is a voltage problem, it is not directly related to the problem discussed in this article. However, if default voltages are out of whack like the ones shown in that video, they will directly affect idle voltages.

R-T-B, post: 4079962, member: 41983"
Schrodingers Cat. It is a phenomena/thought experiment (I would hope never attempted, but probably) described here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat
Ah, the quantum kitty theory.
Posted on Reply
#32
Basard
Slizzo, post: 4079742, member: 97498"
What do they have to say about this:
This was the only think I heard about the issue--the Jayz video. I was wondering what this article was all about.... Apparently it's only about iCUE software, according to some posters.
Posted on Reply
#33
ypsylon
Observer Effect, give me a break. I like the bits of quantum physics, but it's bloody difficult to not observe high voltage without looking at the voltage meter(s).

Voltage is not exactly neutrino or stray electron with unpredictable spin.

Ryzen 3000 series, nothing to shout about it. Was excited for a day, not anymore.
Posted on Reply
#35
Patriot
ypsylon, post: 4080177, member: 101033"
Observer Effect, give me a break. I like the bits of quantum physics, but it's bloody difficult to not observe high voltage without looking at the voltage meter(s).

Voltage is not exactly neutrino or stray electron with unpredictable spin.

Ryzen 3000 series, nothing to shout about it. Was excited for a day, not anymore.
It's about polling rate and which registers to read and how.
Same goes with reading Intel turbos... can't actually read it directly without changing it.
Posted on Reply
#36
shyet
"AMD highly recommends Ryzen 3000 users to use the latest version of Chipset drivers, and enable the Ryzen Balanced power-plan "

I installed the latest chipset drivers and the Ryzen power plan wasn't an option during installation, and I do not see in my Windows power plan options. I did see the option on previous drivers and in my power plan options.

Am I missing something? I am using an older x1600 and C6H x370, could this be the reason?
Posted on Reply
#37
lexluthermiester
shyet, post: 4080501, member: 24305"
I am using an older x1600 and C6H x370, could this be the reason?
Yes.
Posted on Reply
#38
advanced3
TheGuruStud, post: 4079792, member: 42692"
B/c there isn't one except in the case of iCue.
God, ICue is the worst piece of crap software ever created. 90% of the time it doesn't even detect my keyboard, its enough of a POS that I am getting rid of using a Corsair keyboard all together.
Posted on Reply
#39
BorgOvermind
Crackong, post: 4079526, member: 185495"
Where is the cat ?
[IMG]https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1546190255-451a91afc548?ixlib=rb-1.2.1&ixid=eyJhcHBfaWQiOjEyMDd9&w=1000&q=80[/IMG]
There it is. Now you see it...but you don't.

Ontopic: why the pick on idle voltage anyway ? It does not mean much if the CPU is really IDLE.
Posted on Reply
#40
INSTG8R
My Custom Title
Slizzo, post: 4079742, member: 97498"
What do they have to say about this:



Looks like their partners making motherboards aren't helping them at all (ASUS in this particular case commanding WAYYYY too much voltage, stock.)
Sounds like typical ASUS to me. I’ve run negative offsets on my last 2 ASUS boards to keep they heavy handed approach in check. When I say a negative offset I mean the absolute minimum(0.005) it literally changed ASUSs 1.41 to a reasonable 1.35V for my old Sandy and same on my current Haswell it’s 1.35 to 1.26 with just a minimal offset.
Posted on Reply
#41
Slizzo
INSTG8R, post: 4081318, member: 4203"
Sounds like typical ASUS to me. I’ve run negative offsets on my last 2 ASUS boards to keep they heavy handed approach in check. When I say a negative offset I mean the absolute minimum(0.005) it literally changed ASUSs 1.41 to a reasonable 1.35V for my old Sandy and same on my current Haswell it’s 1.35 to 1.26 with just a minimal offset.
Yeah, I too swore off ASUS after my Sandy build. My X99 was MSI and current X299 is Asrock. Very happy with the Asrock board, the MSI board was "meh", but that was probably due to it being one of the lower available models in the stack.
Posted on Reply
#42
Xzibit
INSTG8R, post: 4081318, member: 4203"
Sounds like typical ASUS to me. I’ve run negative offsets on my last 2 ASUS boards to keep they heavy handed approach in check. When I say a negative offset I mean the absolute minimum(0.005) it literally changed ASUSs 1.41 to a reasonable 1.35V for my old Sandy and same on my current Haswell it’s 1.35 to 1.26 with just a minimal offset.
I run a negative offset of -0.150 on my Asus
Posted on Reply
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