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AMD Ryzen 3000 "Zen 2" BIOS Analysis Reveals New Options for Overclocking & Tweaking

AMD will launch its 3rd generation Ryzen 3000 Socket AM4 desktop processors in 2019, with a product unveiling expected mid-year, likely on the sidelines of Computex 2019. AMD is keeping its promise of making these chips backwards compatible with existing Socket AM4 motherboards. To that effect, motherboard vendors such as ASUS and MSI began rolling out BIOS updates with AGESA-Combo 0.0.7.x microcode, which adds initial support for the platform to run and validate engineering samples of the upcoming "Zen 2" chips.

At CES 2019, AMD unveiled more technical details and a prototype of a 3rd generation Ryzen socket AM4 processor. The company confirmed that it will implement a multi-chip module (MCM) design even for their mainstream-desktop processor, in which it will use one or two 7 nm "Zen 2" CPU core chiplets, which talk to a 14 nm I/O controller die over Infinity Fabric. The two biggest components of the IO die are the PCI-Express root complex, and the all-important dual-channel DDR4 memory controller. We bring you never before reported details of this memory controller.

MSI Rolls Out AMD 400-series BIOS Updates with "Zen 2" Microcode

MSI mid-March began quietly rolling out BIOS updates for its socket AM4 motherboards based on AMD 400-series chipset, with a very ominous BIOS change-log entry: "Support new upcoming AMD CPU." At first, we dismissed this for being the company's follow-up to its 6th March announcement of support for some of the newer Athlon processor models, namely the 220GE and 240GE. After updating our MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC with one of these BIOSes, however, we discovered a very interesting microcode string - AGESA COMBO-AM4 0.0.7.2.

Such a major change in AGESA shouldn't be warranted to add support for two new chips based on existing "Raven Ridge" architecture that both AGESA "Summit Ridge" and AGESA PiR (Pinnacle Ridge) series microcodes should be able to comfortably run. We spoke with sources familiar with AMD microcode, who revealed that this AGESA COMBO-AM4 0.0.7.2 is designed for the upcoming "Zen 2" microarchitecture, and its first socket AM4 implementation, codenamed "Matisse." AMD internal versions of AGESA with Matisse support begin with the version sequence 0.0.7.x., and as we head closer to formal launch of these chips, AMD could release a 1.0.0.0 version of "AGESA COMBO-AM4." For our B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, the BIOS version packing this new AGESA is v1.60, and we wager this board should now be able to run Ryzen "Matisse" engineering samples. Now, if we can only get our hands on one.

MSI Goofup Unlocks Overclocking on AMD Athlon 200GE

MSI late November released BIOS updates for its entire range of socket AM4 motherboards, mainly to include AGESA 1.0.0.6, which improves memory compatibility. The updates also pack various motherboard model-specific fixes. Apparently there has been a goof-up with this update (not in a bad way, though). The latest BIOS updates "accidentally" unlock the otherwise locked Athlon 200GE dual-core processor with integrated graphics.

No, you won't get more cores or iGPU stream processors, but the base-clock multiplier letting you easily overclock the processor is now unlocked. This adds value to the $55 processor, given that competing Celeron and Pentium Gold SKUs are overpriced in the market these days. In their overclocking adventures with the 200GE paired with a MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard, TechSpot observed that the chip (which is clocked at 3.2 GHz by default) wouldn't POST beyond 3.90 GHz, and that you need vCore at 1.4 V to sustain even 3.90 GHz. They found 3.80 GHz at 1.35 V to be 100% stable (an 18.75% overclock). The memory clocks are still restricted to DDR4-2666, although you can still play with timings.

AMD Second-generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" Confirmed to Support AM4

AMD, in an interview with Overclockers UK (OCUK), confirmed that its second-generation Ryzen desktop processors will support the existing AM4 socket, so current Ryzen platform users can seamlessly upgrade to the new processors, with a BIOS update. Most current AM4 socket motherboards will require BIOS updates to support Ryzen "Raven Ridge" desktop APUs, and Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs, as the two require an update to the latest AGESA 1.0.0.7 version. In the interview, AMD representative James Prior confirmed that the company plans to keep AM4 its mainstream-desktop processor socket all the way up to 2020, which means at least another two to three generations of processors for it.

The next generation is "Pinnacle Ridge," which is rumored to be an optical-shrink of the "Summit Ridge" silicon to the 12 nm process, enabling higher clock speeds. The decision to keep AM4 doesn't mean the company's 300-series chipset will be made to stretch over 3 years. The company could release newer chipsets, particularly to address 300-series chipset's main shortcoming, just 6-8 older PCI-Express gen 2.0 general purpose lanes (while Intel chipsets put out up to 24 gen 3.0 lanes).

ASUS BIOS Change-log Reveals New Ryzen Processors Incoming

ASUS recently released BIOS updates for its socket AM4 motherboards based on AMD X370 and B350 chipsets, which implement AGESA 1.0.0.7, which as you'll recall, paves the way for implementing support for upcoming processors, based on AMD's Vega-infused "Raven Ridge" APU silicon, and the 12 nm refreshed Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon due for February 2018. ASUS published, and later withdrew the BIOS updates as the media got whiff of them.

The next parts for AMD's mainstream-desktop socket AM4 platform will be Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs, which let you finally use the HDMI and DisplayPorts on your motherboards. "Raven Ridge" combines a quad-core "Zen" CPU with a 640-stream processor integrated graphics based on the "Vega" graphics architecture. The "late-2017 or early-2018" time-line for these chips still appears to stand. RedGamingTech suggests that AMD's answer to Intel "Coffee Lake" processors, the 12 nm Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, could be out by as early (or late) as February 2018. These chips could be previewed or teased at the company's events held on the sidelines of the 2018 International CES.

AMD Readies AGESA 1.0.0.7 Update Enabling "Raven Ridge" APUs

AMD is readying an update to its AGESA micro-code. AGESA is an essential component of AMD platform motherboard BIOSes responsible for starting the processor at system start-up. Updates to it improve the motherboards' memory and CPU compatibility. Following its all-important AGESA 1.0.0.6 update that vastly improves memory compatibility of AMD Ryzen processors, the company is readying an even newer version. The new AGESA 1.0.0.7 update prompts significant changes to the structure of motherboard BIOSes, making it easy to implement support for upcoming socket AM4 chips, such as the "Raven Ridge" APUs, and the 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs.

Professional overclocker elmor, who is currently associated with ASUS ROG, responding to an Overclockers.net forums question about the Crosshair VI series motherboard, mentioned that AGESA 1.0.0.7 significantly changes the BIOS structure of AMD motherboards, which will make it easier implement support for future processors. "AGESA 1007 comes with support for Raven Ridge APUs. AMD has also changed the entire BIOS base structure so we have to do a lot of work to port everything to the new version, which may result in further bugs. The advantage is that it makes it easier to support future CPUs (Raven Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge)," he said. Updates to AGESA are distributed by motherboard manufacturers as BIOS updates.

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #10

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have the latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

In this release, we have several new betas, mostly all consisting of fresh AGESA 1.0.0.6a code.

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #9

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have the latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

In this release, we have several betas graduating to final release, mostly all consisting of AGESA 1.0.0.6 code.

New DDR4 Record on AMD Ryzen Platform: DDR4-4079.2 MHz

A new DDR4 overclocking record was achieved by Australian overclocker "newlife", breathing new life towards Ryzen's memory frequency support. Don't just count your fireworks right now, though: while impressive the result came with some caveats in the form of the user's Ryzen 5 1400 CPU: it was down-locked to a paltry, performance-murdering 800 MHz.

After shipping with what could be considered by some as broken DDR4 memory support, AMD's Ryzen platform has in the meantime received the proper amount of care such a pivoting product for AMD should. A series of AGESA updates which improved AMD's performance in gaming, as well as DDR4 memory support have been under distribution since the platform's launch, and those updates have surely worked towards achieving this record today. The score was achieved with a single 8 GB G.Skill Trident Z E-die memory kit, which is usually rated for 3600 MHz frequencies (F4-3600C17-4GTZ), using 18-20-20-58-93-1 timings. This module was seated on a GIGABYTE AORUS AX370-Gaming K7 motherboard (F4 BIOS).

AMD Broadens Compatibility List of DDR4 Memory for Ryzen

AMD today posted an updated compatibility list of DDR4 memory kits for Ryzen processors. While just about any DDR4 memory kit will run on socket AM4 motherboards, a limited few have been tested by AMD to run reliably at speeds such as DDR4-3200, DDR4-2933, DDR4-2667, and DDR4-2400. AMD's new compatibility list contains a wider selection of DDR4 memory modules that have been tested by AMD to work reliably on Ryzen processors.

To make the most of these modules, however, AMD asks you to look out for and install motherboard BIOS updates which contain the AGESA 1.0.0.6 micro-code update. This should be prominently displayed in the change-logs of BIOS updates from motherboard manufacturers, and the latest batches of motherboards should come with AGESA 1.0.0.6 pre-installed.
The revised DDR4 compatibility list can be accessed here.

AMD Readies B2 Stepping of the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" Silicon

AMD is readying a new stepping of its 14 nm "Summit Ridge" eight-core CPU silicon, which powers its socket AM4 Ryzen processors, according to Canard PC. The new B2 stepping reportedly addresses a lot of hardware-level errata which cannot be fixed merely by AGESA updates. According to Canard PC, the changes seem to be focused on the uncore components of "Summit Ridge." Typically, uncore refers to the integrated northbridge, which includes components such as the memory controllers, PCI-Express root complex, etc.

If the B2 stepping is mostly focused on uncore-level errata, it could mean improved PCI-Express device support, and perhaps even memory support improvements beyond even what AGESA 1.0.0.6 brings to the table. Canard PC reports that it hasn't come across any CPU core-specific errata being addressed with the B2 stepping. The glaring FMA3-related bug has been patched through BIOS updates, and most newer batches of socket AM4 motherboards come with the patch pre-installed.

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #8

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have the latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

GeIL Unveils AMD Edition Variants of its Entire DDR4 Memory Lineup

It turns out that the EVO X AMD Edition isn't GeIL's only AMD Ryzen-optimized DDR4 memory, with the company unveiling AMD Edition variants of pretty much all its DDR4 memory brands. This includes the EVO Potenza, EVO Spear, EVO Forza, Super Luce, Pristine, and DragonRAM series. Each of these "AMD Edition" branded memory kits has been stability-tested with AMD Ryzen processors, at their advertised clock speeds and timings. They come in a variety of speeds, including DDR4-2400, DDR4-2666, DDR4-2933, DDR4-3200, and DDR4-3466; in densities of 8 GB and 16 GB, making up 16 GB and 32 GB dual-channel kits, respectively.

It's not known if all of these are based on Samsung b-die DRAM chips. AMD spokespersons have publicly stated that Samsung b-die isn't the only DRAM chip needed for high memory clocks on Ryzen processors, and that even with older versions of AGESA, certain memory kits with SK Hynix and Micron DRAM chips are having some success in achieving high memory clocks. AMD is working to improve support for faster DDR4 memory kits through updates to AGESA, which will be dispensed through motherboard vendors to end-users, as motherboard BIOS updates.

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #7

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have the latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

We have now moved to a "rolling-release" model for our digest to better track releases as they happen. Today we have some releases and betas from a broad range of manufacturers.

Special shout out to @nemesis.ie for tipping our local news editor off to some stealthy ASRock betas. Please note that although I have included those betas, they have a german zip self-extractor, so some language-fu may be required to extract them.

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #6

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have last week's latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

We have now moved to a "rolling-release" model for our digest to better track releases as they happen. Today we have some Gigabyte betas bringing AGESA 1006.

Special shout out to @toilet pepper for tipping our local news editor off to this release set.

AMD Announces AGESA Update 1.0.0.6 - Supports up to 4000 MHz Memory Clocks

You've probably heard of AMD's AGESA updates by now - the firmware updates that are ironing out the remaining kinks in AMD's Ryzen platform, which really could have used a little more time in the oven before release. However, kinks have been disappearing, the platform has been maturing and evolving, and AMD has been working hard in improving the experience for consumers and enthusiasts alike. As a brief primer, AGESA is responsible for initializing AMD x86-64 processors during boot time, acting as something of a "nucleus" for the BIOS of your motherboard. Motherboard vendors take the core capabilities of AGESA updates and build on them with their own "secret sauce" to create the BIOS that ultimately populate your motherboard of choice. The process of cooking up BIOS updates built on the new AGESA will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but AMD's Robert Hallock says you should be seeing BIOSes based on this version halfway through the month of June - if your vendor isn't already providing a Beta version of some kind.

This new AGESA update code, version 1.0.0.6, should be just up the alley of enthusiasts, however, in that it adds a grand total of 26 new parameters for memory configuration, improving the compatibility and reliability of DRAM, especially for memory that does not follow the industry-standard JEDEC specifications (e.g. faster than 2667, manual overclocking, or XMP2 profiles). Below you'll find the 26 parameters that were introduced.
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