AMD Releases Ryzen Balanced Power Plan – Test Results Inside
AMD has published Community Update #3 to their blog. This update details a new Power Plan that should yield improved gaming performance for those who were previously using the Windows default Balanced Power Profile. There has been lots of speculation on reasons for performance differences when gaming in various power modes and even on different Operating Systems. With this new Ryzen Balanced profile also came some info that should help us clear up some of the other misconceptions out there.
After we determined that the Windows 10 Scheduler was not at fault for the Ryzen performance issues we were seeing in some applications, we received some testing feedback from those who had noted performance differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10. While many believed that to be confirmation of scheduler differences between both Operating Systems, the actual cause was down to how Windows 7 and Windows 10 park their cores, as demonstrated by the points AMD sent us earlier today:
- Windows 7 only parks SMT cores, keeping all physical cores awake.
- Windows 10 keeps the first core awake (logical core 0 + 1 on a HT system) and parks the remainder when possible.
- Windows 10 disables core parking by default on Intel CPUs (Speed Shift support).
Since Windows power management (not the scheduler) is not yet Ryzen aware, its default settings result in overly aggressive core parking when driving a Ryzen CPU. Until a lower level change can take place, AMD has released a custom Ryzen Balanced Power Plan that tweaks some of the P-state transition values and a few other settings to help realize the performance gains previously seen by folks shifting to the High Performance mode while keeping idle power consumption much closer to that of the Balanced plan. Here are AMD’s claimed performance gains (vs. Balanced) with their new Ryzen Balanced Power Plan:
AMD provided claimed gains for Ryzen Balanced profile vs. default Windows Balanced profile.
Realize these gains are all going to be nearly identical to any prior comparison showing Balanced vs. High Performance profile deltas, but this profile retains most of the idle power savings accomplished by the Balanced plan. We’ve been doing some testing with the tool and can partially confirm the above results, while adding in some more of our own that were not included in AMD’s data:
The blue highlighted bars denote the overlapping titles tested. A few other titles we tested showed lesser (or no) gains, but that’s not necessarily the fault of this new profile as those same titles saw similar results with a switch to High Performance mode when tested previously.
I did a bit of digging into exactly which power profile parameters are being tweaked and how. Laymen poking around in Windows Power Management will only find this single difference:
However, deconstructing the actual profile data reveals more changes that do not appear in the Windows GUI. Here are the low-level changes we discovered, including the ‘Minimum processor state’ previously noted above:
Note: Units differ varying by parameter in this chart – compare within each set of 3 bars.
As you can see, changes were made to help minimize the parking of Ryzen cores, and to also speed up their waking when required. It may not be a perfect solution as it is another step that the user must perform to get good ‘out of the box’ Ryzen performance, but it does help alleviate the dilemma of running your desktop machine at full tilt 24/7 or having to switch power modes on either end of your gaming sessions. This is a solid stop-gap until native Ryzen support makes its way into Windows, so all of you Ryzen users out there, run over to the AMD Blog and grab/install the Ryzen Balanced Power Plan!