Value and ConclusionThe results of our clock-speed analysis and performance tests bode well for AMD, beginning with the CPU tests. In applications that don't scale across cores, such as a single process of web-rendering as tested in Google Octane, we see a significant 6 percent increase. Other web-renderers, such as Mozilla Kraken and WebXprt, post 2 percent gains, each. SuperPi is a good example of a test that doesn't scale beyond a single core and posts roughly a 2.5 percent gain. Similar gains of 0.5 to 2 percent were noticed across the board—with a few notable exceptions, where performance was reduced.
Cinebench 1T is a surprise here as performance remains flat and is in fact reduced by a fraction of a percent. Same goes for 7-zip decompress and Photogrammetry. Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop posted performance losses ranging between 3-4 percent. Overall, AGESA 126.96.36.199ABBA belts out a net performance gain of 0.88 percent and has a marginally positive impact on performance in CPU tests.
Gaming presents a different set of results. In the academically important resolution for CPU testing, 720p, which highlights CPU bottlenecks, we see 6 out of 10 games post frame-rate gains ranging between 1.5-2.25 percent, and none of the games losing any performance, leaving the average at a positive 1.1 percent. The popular Full HD (1080p) sees 2 out of 10 titles lose performance by 1 percent, one of the titles gain 2 percent, while the rest stay mostly flat, giving us an average of 0.36 percent for this resolution. 1440p remains dead flat with no performance losses posted and a net gain of 0.44 percent. This is a resolution where the RTX 2080 Ti is still in its element. At 4K Ultra HD, where the RTX 2080 Ti is pushed to the wall, performance is mostly flat with no performance losses, averaging +0.62 percent.
Power-consumption of the Ryzen 9 3900X with the new AGESA 188.8.131.52ABBA comes as a pleasant surprise. For the kind of clock-speed and performance gains we're seeing, small as they are, they do not come at significant cost of power. Idle power draw is cut by 1 W, and single-threaded tests, which is where we were expecting the most deviation in power, post a mere 1 W gain in power draw (from 92 W to 93 W for the whole system). Multi-threaded power-draw increases by 7 W for the whole system, which is probably because all 24 threads on this chip are being boosted slightly higher, which add up. There's a similar 13 W increase in gaming power draw. This is probably because games tend to tell the processor to stay on its toes and be ready to boost all cores. Under a stress test, where the processor has reached its thermal and electrical limits, the new BIOS makes no difference, which reflects in the power draw staying the same.
AMD has succeeded in delivering on the advertised maximum boost frequencies with elevated clock speeds across all cores, which results in tiny performance gains at negligible increases in power draw. We do recommend AGESA 184.108.40.206ABBA over your existing BIOS provided you know how to update your motherboard BIOS and are willing to do it at your own risk. We appreciate AMD constantly listening to PC enthusiasts and coming out with solutions, rather than basing their customer feedback on some passive data-collection program that's been pushed down users' throats by OEMs.