AMD’s big New Horizon show last night went a long way to giving people confidence that its upcoming Zen processors will be competitive with Intel’s best. However beyond stock performance, Ryzen CPUs will also be able to take advantage of AMD’s Extended Frequency Range (XFR) feature, which should automatically overclock chips to their maximum potential, based entirely on how good the cooling is.
XFR is why AMD’s new Ryzen chips have frequency ratings like 3.4GHz+, because their eventual clock speed isn’t set in stone. While Intel chips will boost their frequency by switching to ‘Turbo’ when the going gets tough, Ryzen CPUs may do far more or less, depending on how strong your cooling solution is.
As one of the biggest limiting factors for an overclock, it makes sense that as cooling improves, the theoretical maximum clock speed is also increased. Instead of simple letting the user manually clock their chip to higher frequencies, AMD’s XFR system looks to remove much of the leg work and will boost clocks without intervention.
Although we don’t know for sure, there’s also the possibility that the chip could underclock unused cores when running applications that can’t take advantage of them all, in order to give more head room to the ones which are in use.
Going hand in hand with XFR is AMD’s Precision Boost, which will make millisecond, to millisecond adjustments to clock speeds in 25Mhz increments. The idea is to offer the maximum performance possible, without affecting power draw. To keep a handle on that power and the temperature of the chip, Pure Power is a management feature which will monitor those important aspects of the CPU, feeding them back into the system to allow for all the dynamic adjustments.
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KitGuru Says: At this stage we still don’t know how effective a tool XFR will be and the vagueries surrounding its announcement could suggest that it won’t be quite as capable as the marketing suggests, but it’s certainly an interesting feature which would be great for those of us who don’t want to manually find out a chip’s maximum clock potential.