Tuesday, September 10th 2019

AMD AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA Detailed, Fixes Zen2 Boost Issues

AMD is giving final touches to an AGESA microcode update that fixes the issue of underwhelming Precision Boost behavior on its 3rd generation Ryzen processors. Version ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ABBA is being pushed to motherboard manufacturers to integrate with their UEFI firmware, and one such dispatch to MSI got leaked to the web on ChipHell. Tom's Hardware grabbed the BIOS as it was compatible with the MEG X570 Creator motherboard they have, and tested the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X with it.

In its testing, posted in a mini-review article, Tom's Hardware observed that with AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA, their 3700X sample was correctly hitting 4.40 GHz across the board at stock settings. With the older 1.0.0.3AB, it would touch 4.375 GHz. The Ryzen 9 3900X behaves slightly differently with this microcode. Tom's Hardware was able to raise its peak boost frequency from 4.575 GHz to 4.625 GHz (above the 4.60 GHz specification), but in certain tests such as POV-Ray and Cinebench, its boost frequency decays down to 4.250 GHz. Overall, the reviewer tabulated improved performance on the chips with the new microcode. The new microcode also apparently changes the processor's thermal thresholds.

Update (10/9) AMD posted an elaborate release detailing the AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA update.

Hello, everyone! We're delighted by your support and the strong momentum of 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen processors in the marketplace, and we continue to watch your feedback closely. Today we have some important updates for you concerning processor boost behavior, desktop idle behavior, and a new monitoring SDK. The first two changes will be arriving in BIOSes based on AGESA 1003ABBA, and we are planning to make the SDK public on developer.amd.com with a target release date of September 30.

Boost Changes
Starting with our commitment to provide you an update on processor boost, our analysis indicates that the processor boost algorithm was affected by an issue that could cause target frequencies to be lower than expected. This has been resolved. We've also been exploring other opportunities to optimize performance, which can further enhance the frequency. These changes are now being implemented in flashable BIOSes from our motherboard partners. Across the stack of 3rd Gen Ryzen Processors, our internal testing shows that these changes can add approximately 25-50 MHz to the current boost frequencies under various workloads.

Our estimation of the benefit is broadly based on workloads like PCMark 10 and Kraken JavaScript Benchmark. The actual improvement may be lower or higher depending on the workload, system configuration, and thermal/cooling solution implemented in the PC. We used the following test system in our analysis:
  • AMD Reference Motherboard (AGESA 1003ABBA beta BIOS)
  • 2x8GB DDR4-3600C16
  • AMD Wraith Prism and Noctua NH-D15S coolers
  • Windows 10 May 2019 Update
  • 22°C ambient test lab
  • Streacom BC1 Open Benchtable
  • AMD Chipset Driver 1.8.19.xxx
  • AMD Ryzen Balanced power plan
  • BIOS defaults (except memory OC)
These improvements will be available in final BIOSes starting in about three weeks' time, depending on the testing and implementation schedule of your motherboard manufacturer. Additional information on boost frequency in the 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Processors can also be obtained from this separate blog update.

Going forward, it's important to understand how our boost technology operates. Our processors perform intelligent real-time analysis of the CPU temperature, motherboard voltage regulator current (amps), socket power (watts), loaded cores, and workload intensity to maximize performance from millisecond to millisecond. Ensuring your system has adequate thermal paste; reliable system cooling; the latest motherboard BIOS; reliable BIOS settings/configuration; the latest AMD chipset driver; and the latest operating system can enhance your experience.

Following the installation of the latest BIOS update, a consumer running a bursty, single threaded application on a PC with the latest software updates and adequate voltage and thermal headroom should see the maximum boost frequency of their processor. PCMark 10 is a good proxy for a user to test the maximum boost frequency of the processor in their system. It is fully expected that if users run a workload like Cinebench, which runs for an extended period of time, the operating frequencies may be lower than maximum throughout the run.

In addition, we do want to address recent questions about reliability. We perform extensive engineering analysis to develop reliability models and to model the lifetime of our processors before entering mass production. While AGESA 1003AB contained changes to improve system stability and performance for users, changes were not made for product longevity reasons. We do not expect that the improvements that have been made in boost frequency for AGESA 1003ABBA will have any impact on the lifetime of your Ryzen processor.

Revisiting Calmer Idle
In late July, we implemented a series of software changes that would help the processor ignore requests for voltage/frequency boost from lightweight applications. The goal was to make the processor more relaxed at the desktop, but poised to react for serious workloads. While many of you were happy with the effect of the software changes, some of you were still grappling with cases where the CPU was a bit overzealous with boost. We wanted to smooth those out, too.

Today we're announcing that AGESA 1003ABBA carries firmware-level changes designed to do just that. The changes primarily arrive in the form of an "activity filter" that empowers the CPU boost algorithm itself to disregard intermittent OS and application background noise. Example test cases might include: video playback, game launchers, monitoring utilities, and peripheral utilities. These cases tend to make regular requests for a higher boost state, but their intermittent nature would fall below the threshold of the activity filter.

Net-net, we expect you'll see lower desktop voltages, around 1.2 V, for the core(s) actively handling such tasks. We believe this solution will be even more effective than the July changes for an even wider range of applications.

Please keep in mind, however, that this firmware change is not a cap. The processor must still be free to boost if active workload(s) seriously require it, so you should still expect occasions where the processor will explore its designed and tested voltage range of 0.2 V to 1.5 V.

New Monitoring SDK
Obtaining reliable data about the operating behavior of a processor is important to enthusiasts such as myself. There are many monitoring utilities on the market, and we work with many of them to ensure they're accessing telemetry data in a sensible manner. Regardless of the utility, however, it's common sense that all the tools should roughly correlate when you ask a simple question like "what's my CPU temperature?"

Enabling a consistent experience across monitoring utilities is important to us. That's why we're announcing the September 30 release of the AMD Monitoring SDK that will allow anyone to build a public monitoring utility that can reliably report a range of key processor metrics in a consistent manner. Altogether, there are 30+ API calls within the first SDK release, but we've highlighted a few of the more important or interesting ones below:
  • Current Operating Temperature: Reports the average temperature of the CPU cores over a short sample period. By design, this metric filters transient spikes that can skew temperature reporting.
  • Peak Core(s) Voltage (PCV): Reports the Voltage Identification (VID) requested by the CPU package of the motherboard voltage regulators. This voltage is set to service the needs of the cores under active load, but isn't necessarily the final voltage experienced by all of the CPU cores.
  • Average Core Voltage (ACV): Reports the average voltages experienced by all processor cores over a short sample period, factoring in active power management, sleep states, Vdroop, and idle time.
  • EDC (A), TDC (A), PPT (W): The current and power limits for your motherboard VRMs and processor socket.
  • Peak Speed: The maximum frequency of the fastest core during the sample period.
  • Effective Frequency: The frequency of the processor cores after factoring in time spent in sleep states (e.g. cc6 core sleep or pc6 package sleep). Example: One processor core is running at 4 GHz while awake, but in cc6 core sleep for 50% of the sample period. The effective frequency of this core would be 2 GHz. This value can give you a feel for how often the cores are using aggressive power management capabilities that aren't immediately obvious (e.g. clock or voltage changes).
  • Various voltages and clocks, including: SoC voltage, DRAM voltage, fabric clock, memory clock, etc.
A Preview in Action
This SDK will be available for public download on developer.amd.com on September 30. As a preview of what the new SDK can enable, AMD Ryzen Master (version 2.0.2.1271) has already been updated with the new Average Core Voltage API for 3rd Gen Ryzen Processors. It's ready for download today!

As noted above, Average Core Voltage shows you average voltages that all CPU cores are experiencing over a short sample period after you factor in sleep states, idle states, active power management, and Vdroop. Depending on the load on the processor, this value might be quite different from Peak Core(s) Voltage.

For example: if the processor is lightly loaded on a few cores, the overall activity level of all the CPU cores will be relatively low and, therefore, the Average Core Voltage will be low as well. But the active cores still need intermittently higher voltages to power boost frequencies, which will be reflected in the Peak Core Voltage. As the CPU comes under full load, these two values will eventually converge representing that all cores are active at approximately the same intensity. The overall goal of these two values is to show you what's happening moment-to-moment the most loaded cores (Peak), and what's happening more generally to the CPU cores over time (Average).

We hope new APIs like Average Core Voltage give you a better understanding of how our processors behave, and we can't wait to see more tools make use of the new monitoring SDK. Visit amd.com on September 30 for the first public release!

What to Expect Next
AGESA 1003ABBA has now been released to our motherboard partners. Now they will perform additional testing, QA, and implementation work on their specific hardware (versus our reference motherboard). Final BIOSes based on AGESA 1003ABBA will begin to arrive in approximately three weeks, depending on the testing time of your vendor and motherboard.

Going forward, we'll continue providing updates in this format as the updates are being prepped for release. Sources: Tom's Hardware, ChipHell
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110 Comments on AMD AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA Detailed, Fixes Zen2 Boost Issues

#2
The Quim Reaper
Will be interesting to see if this is a geniune fix or AMD just relaxing the restrictions they thought were necessary to protect the CPU's lifespan.

Hope its the former because if its the latter, it could come back to bite them down the road.
Posted on Reply
#3
sutyi
It's the AGESA 1.0.0.3...

Posted on Reply
#4
ZoneDymo
The Quim Reaper
Will be interesting to see if this is a geniune fix or AMD just relaxing the restrictions they thought were necessary to protect the CPU's lifespan.

Hope its the former because if its the latter, it could come back to bite them down the road.
I doubt anyone would care if someone mentions their cpu died after 6+ years of use tbh.
Posted on Reply
#5
Aldain
Going by amd reddit, it FIXED it completely and then some.. People are reporting 50+ MHZ over the boost clock.
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#6
GeorgeMan
I'll be glad to see my 3600 hit the advertised 4200MHz. Because right now it doesn't even boost higher than 4100. Not even for one second in completely single threaded task.
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#7
Ed_1
Is that 1.5v Vcore higher than before?
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#8
xkm1948
Wonder what all those “This is fine” AMD fanboiz gonna say now.
Posted on Reply
#9
TheLostSwede
Ed_1
Is that 1.5v Vcore higher than before?
In my case? No.
Looks like I've even hit 4,600MHz for a fraction of a second... :roll:

Posted on Reply
#10
GeorgeMan
Ed_1
Is that 1.5v Vcore higher than before?
This is not a problem if it's "auto" (aka stock) behavior, because of warranty and design. The product is designed to boost and it needs those volts to boost so. Actually 1,5v doesn't damage the processor, because the current is low. On the other hand, some people throw 1.4v+ all core, because "it's lower than AMD's 1.5v", but they don't take into account that the current on all core loads is waaay higher than single core temporary boosts, so they actually fry their CPUs...
Posted on Reply
#11
Emu
Ed_1
Is that 1.5v Vcore higher than before?
My 3900x has been hitting up to 1.5V on light loads ever since I installed it. I currently have the ABBA BIOS from MSI for my x570 Gaming Pro Carbon and it looks like it is actually working properly which is nice because the last few BIOSes from MSI have left a lot to be desired.
Posted on Reply
#12
TheinsanegamerN
ZoneDymo
I doubt anyone would care if someone mentions their cpu died after 6+ years of use tbh.
If haswell CPUs started falling like flies this year, people would be hooting and hollering about planned obsolescence and faulty hardware, and you bet there would be a class action lawsuit over it.

A properly designed CPU will not die at stock settings. Just because this is AMD doesnt make a lick of difference. At stock settings, CPUs shouldnt die, period. If they do, the stock settings are pushing the chip too far. There are plenty of pentium IV CPUs that are still running after 15+ years of service without issue, same with core 2 CPUs running after 12+ years of constant use, ece.
Posted on Reply
#13
GeorgeMan
TheinsanegamerN
If haswell CPUs started falling like flies this year, people would be hooting and hollering about planned obsolescence and faulty hardware, and you bet there would be a class action lawsuit over it.

A properly designed CPU will not die at stock settings. Just because this is AMD doesnt make a lick of difference. At stock settings, CPUs shouldnt die, period. If they do, the stock settings are pushing the chip too far. There are plenty of pentium IV CPUs that are still running after 15+ years of service without issue, same with core 2 CPUs running after 12+ years of constant use, ece.
Agreed, but do we have any clue that the spikes up to 1.5v are causing the Ryzen 3000 to fail? I don't think so and I bet there won't be an issue, as AMD_Robert has many times thoroughly explained on reddit. The voltage is completely design relevant and should not be compared to Intel's.
Posted on Reply
#14
AnarchoPrimitiv
In spite of everything, at least AMD acknowledged the issue (yes, after being forced to) and is working to fix it. Compared to Intel, I see this as a plus (though I'll be the first to state that some other entity's guilty actions are never an excuse for your own). Perhaps in a few more weeks they'll have it ironed out even more.

When considering the totality of all this though, it doesn't profoundly affect the value of AMD's processors and I seriously doubt that any human being would be able to notice a 100mhz dip in performance. Nonetheless, I can still understand why owners would like to get every ounce of performance for which they paid.
Posted on Reply
#15
techmagnet
Dunno what kind of workload people are doing that would benefit for that second or two boosts clock.
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#16
Aerpoweron
That is interesting, Asus has the bios updated on its X370 board first. Nothing on my X370 from Gigabyte and Asrock, or B350 from Gigabyte. When Gigabyte was usually very quick adopting the newer bios versions with Ryzen 3k in the last few weeks :D

Oh, and the Asus Bios removes PCI-E 4.0 support again. Just to make sure it seems
Posted on Reply
#17
Oberon
techmagnet
Dunno what kind of workload people are doing that would benefit for that second or two boosts clock.
Nothing, but people aren't happy unless they're complaining. I'm sure they'll move on to picking apart margin of error level performance differences now that it seems like most CPUs are hitting their boost clocks and then some under normal circumstances.
Posted on Reply
#18
ShurikN
TheLostSwede

Isn't that 1.5V a bit on the high side?
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#19
Chrispy_
Clockspeeds are up slightly but boost degrades faster because temperature limits are hit faster.

The net result is probably that overall performance is about the same, but people who wanted their round numbers in synthetic benchmarks will stop whining.

For some (probably Intel shill-invoked reason) 4475 MHz peak and 4350MHz averaged over 300 seconds caused uproar because 4475MHz isn't exactly 4.5GHz.
Now we're going to get 4500MHz or even 4525MHz peak and 4250MHz averaged over 300 seconds and everyone is happy.

Same chip, just running a little hotter and a little less efficiently.

Maybe I'm weird but I'd gladly sacrifice some transient peak value for a higher long-term average clockspeed and lower temperatures.
Posted on Reply
#20
TheLostSwede
ShurikN
Isn't that 1.5V a bit on the high side?
For the billionth time, NO. It's within AMD spec. Can people PLEASE stop commenting about the 1.5V already?

And it seems the cores are hitting even higher boosts given a bit of time.



Chrispy_
Clockspeeds are up slightly but boost degrades faster because temperature limits are hit faster.

The net result is probably that overall performance is about the same, but people who wanted their round numbers in synthetic benchmarks will stop whining.
And you base this on running a Xeon rig? Seriously?

So AMD fixes the issue, yet all the Intel Fanboi's are here slinging mud... :banghead:
Posted on Reply
#21
spectatorx
techmagnet
Dunno what kind of workload people are doing that would benefit for that second or two boosts clock.
People are doing various things on their PCs, not just giving away ram to chrome and playing fortnite on 3900x+2080ti in sli but that's not the case. No matter what people do they did purchase products, in some cases they did thought through purchase by analyzing specification of products and they chose the best one fitting their needs or imaginary needs. Said specification was a reason of buying such specific product, not different one. So if product they bought doesn't meet specification which it was designed with then such customers have full right to complain about product not meeting specification and their right is to demand from manufacturer to fix product so it will meet specification. If product is designed to boost up to 4,6GHz (for example) and max it ever boosted was 4369MHz then there is something legitimately wrong because product doesn't meet specification.

Same with ISPs, they offer you connections with speeds up to, for example 100Mb/s (12.5MB/s) on download. If you are using such connection and you've never seen anything downloading with anything at least close said 12.5MB/s and your top download speeds were, say, 1.25MB/s then there are 3 reasons of such situation:
1. Your downloads were too small to even notice and meet download speed or server/other source doesn't keep up with speed
2. Your networking card is ancient 10Mb/s card
3. Problem is on ISP's side.
So if you meet all requirements (have decent mobo, psu and so on) what wouldn't hold down cpu then problem is on cpu or bios and amd has to fix it. Same with networking example, if your infrastructure is ok and meets all requirements to handle 100Mb/s connection then problem is on ISP's side and you have full right to demand from ISP to do anything possible to solve the problem.
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#22
Nordic
Chrispy_
Maybe I'm weird but I'd gladly sacrifice some transient peak value for a higher long-term average clockspeed and lower temperatures.
Then do that with the settings available to you. You can do that. I want the advertised max boost speed I paid for that has been unavailable to me even if it doesn't help performance.
Posted on Reply
#23
Arc1t3ct
TheinsanegamerN
If haswell CPUs started falling like flies this year, people would be hooting and hollering about planned obsolescence and faulty hardware, and you bet there would be a class action lawsuit over it.

A properly designed CPU will not die at stock settings. Just because this is AMD doesnt make a lick of difference. At stock settings, CPUs shouldnt die, period. If they do, the stock settings are pushing the chip too far. There are plenty of pentium IV CPUs that are still running after 15+ years of service without issue, same with core 2 CPUs running after 12+ years of constant use, ece.
My AMD K6-2 @450Mhz still runs fine. What’s your point exactly?

Are you implying that AMD cpus are not as well made?
Posted on Reply
#24
TheLaughingMan
The numbers don't seem like all this was worth it. So you get +50 Mhz and the clock will hold at the spec for a few seconds to net you less than 1% performance. For what?
Posted on Reply
#25
TheLostSwede
TheLaughingMan
The numbers don't seem like all this was worth it. So you get +50 Mhz and the clock will hold at the spec for a few seconds to net you less than 1% performance. For what?
Uhm, you've clearly followed this topic then...
I've gained 200MHz boost on the highest boosting core, but I guess that's not worth it to you...
Not long ago, none of my cores would clock over 4,400MHz, now the slowest ones boost to 4,550MHz, but again, I guess that's not worth it either?
Posted on Reply
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