Since the launch of its Ryzen CPUs, AMD released a string of BIOS updates which significantly improved the platform’s memory support and performance. The newest AGESA 126.96.36.199 protocol brings yet more settings for tweaking and overclocking memory.
AMD announced AGESA 188.8.131.52 at the end of May, which is now supported by nearly every motherboard vendor. Meaning, the new options should apply to all motherboards with the current firmware revisions. AMD itself tested with ASUS Crosshair VI and Ryzen 7 1700 CPU to find the optimal settings for games.
Let’s start with the impact of the Geardown Mode (GDM) which is enabled by default for memory speeds greater than DDR4-2667. GDM allows the working memory to only use half the DRAM frequency for “laching,” making it potentially possible to achieve higher frequencies and better stability.
At the same time, AMD recommends that most gamers should disable Geardown Mode if the memory overclock is already stable with a 1T command rate. Users can achieve up to 3 percent better performance with GDM disabled.
Next up, AMD analyzed a complicated subject: memory timings. Timings have a significant impact on Ryzen’s performance and stability. While some board vendors support easy-to-use profiles, such as XMP, for pre-defined settings, AMD’s testings found that manual tuning can yield incredible performance gains. The process may be time-consuming, but it’s worth it.
What’s more interesting, AMD dives into finding the effect of frequency versus DDR4 timings. The results show that tighter timings have a greater impact on gaming performance than higher clock speeds.
Last but not least, Team Red tested single rank versus dual rank memory modules. It found that dual rank memory is faster than single rank for the purposes of PC gaming. But, when it comes to overclocking memory, DR may become unstable.
Below are the results when we put it all together, showing how that might impact gaming on the Ryzen AM4 platform.
You can find all results and other recommendations in AMD’s blog post here. The company points out that the optimal settings always depend on your own system configuration and should be determined for a specific use case.