In this article our resident AMD Ryzen memory and overclocking guru Yuri "1usmus" Bubliy will dive deep into the dozens of new settings introduced with third-generation Ryzen Threadripper processors, so they become accessible both for platform beginners and enthusiast overclockers wanting to climb benchmark leaderboards. Special attention is given to memory settings, one of the most important dials to maximize overclocking performance on AMD's new third-generation Threadrippers.
After comprehensively beating Intel in the desktop space with its third-generation Ryzen processor family, AMD turned its attention to the high-end desktop (HEDT) market with the third-generation Ryzen Threadripper 3000 "Castle Peak" processors. Designed for the new Socket sTRX4 and AMD TRX40 chipsets, these processors come in core counts ranging from 24 to 64 and are essentially client-segment implementations of the company's "Rome" EPYC multi-chip module (MCM).
Besides the performance uplift from the "Zen 2" microarchitecture and increased clock-speeds because of the 7 nm silicon fabrication process, third-generation Threadrippers benefit from the centralization of I/O to the new 12 nm I/O controller die. This results in a new monolithic quad-channel memory interface in which each CPU core has equal access to all available memory bandwidth. For previous-generation Threadripper WX processors, half the cores would have indirect memory access, resulting in severe performance bottlenecks. The I/O controller also nucleates the processor's PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex, and other platform I/O. AMD also quadrupled the chipset-bus bandwidth by implementing PCI-Express 4.0 x8 between the sTRX4 processor and TRX40 chipset.
HEDT platforms are targeted at the gray area between desktops and workstations. The ideal HEDT users game in their free time, but use their PC for serious money-making through content creation. Due to the increased complexity of the silicon and the platform itself, HEDT processors typically have several more performance-tuning options than mainstream desktop chips, such as the Ryzen 9 3950X.
All testing in this article features a Ryzen Threadripper 3960X processor and an ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme motherboard. The Zenith II comes with a treasure chest of BIOS settings, including direct access to AMD CBS. It also has 70 A power stages that provide plenty of power for overclocking our Threadripper chip, along with full readiness for the upcoming 64-core 3990X processor.