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Faster Than Threadripper: How I Overclocked Ryzen 9 5950X to 6 GHz and a World Record
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[Image: FLEAV7rNZCmBwYDAFoRNsC-970-80.jpg]

With LN2, AMD's new flagship chip can hit 6.05 GHz on all 16 cores.

The Ryzen 5000 series CPUs from AMD landed a few weeks ago, and after I’ve had about two dozen liquid nitrogen (LN2) overclocking sessions with chips with various core counts, the records are starting to fall. These chips are just flying! 

I would go as far as to say the marketing hype and multi-day-info-trickle that was the release actually undersold how good these processors are. I'm not just comparing Team Red vs Team Blue here, but Team Red mainstream vs Team Red high end desktop (HEDT) processors. In fact, the Ryzen 9 5950x on liquid nitrogen competes with water-cooled 64-core Threadrippers in the GPUPI benchmark for CPU 1B! This is jaw dropping and helps make it one of the best CPUs you can buy. More on this later. Let’s see how these Ryzen 9 5950x’s perform from an extreme overclocker’s perspective. 

Sytem Specs
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16 Core
Motherboard ASRock X570 Taichi
RAM G.SKILL 4000C16 RIPJaws
CPU Cooler Enermax Aquafusion 360 AIO
Power Supply Enermax Maxtytan 1250W PSU
Thermal Paste Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Extreme

TIMI used the Enermax Aquafusion 360 for binning the chips. It kept the Ryzen 9 5950X in the 80C range at 1.35V and a 4.8 GHz clock rate while still managing to maintain low fan speeds. It handled the 5950X’s 16 cores, which hit around 300 watts under load, without a blink of an eye. As you would imagine, the lower core-count Ryzen models are also not a problem. The Aquafusion’s three fans definitely help to maintain better temps over a long period of time, and they don't allow the loop to get saturated with heat. Also, my son loves the RGB. 

I was lucky enough to test half a dozen Ryzen 9 5950X’s, and they all fell within a 100 MHz range of 4.75 to 4.85 GHz for Cinebench R15 on the Enermax water cooler. That’s with a fixed-ratio overclock with no power savings enabled. 

I used the new Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Extreme thermal interface material (TIM) for all of my testing, and will continue to use it for the time being. The company uses extra machine grinding to make the metallic particles smaller and more uniform. That provides the thinnest possible spread while still maintaining a crazy W/mK value. It’s expensive stuff, but, naturally, the extra processing time leads to higher production costs. 

For Vermeer, aka Zen 3 Ryzen 5000, we now have a grouping of eight cores per CCX, instead of a four-core grouping like the previous-gen Matisse chips. The Ryzen 9 5950X has two CCDs that each contain one eight-core CCX. In contrast, a previous-gen Ryzen 9 3950X has two CDDs with two CCXes apiece, each containing four cores. 

The new unified eight-core CCX alone is an efficiency boost because those threads all need efficient communication with the L3 cache, and each other. So now you don't have to worry as much about an application spilling threads across multiple CCXes as much. Since the chips now have six to eight active cores in a CCX, there isn’t a need to traverse the Infinity Fabric link quite as much. Now core-to-core communication can occur without going out to the IO die if the chip only uses a single CCD (6/8C CPU), which helps in a myriad of ways.

What does this mean for us overclockers? With only two CCXes to manage instead of four, this also streamlines per-CCX independent overclocking. I have found that CCD 0 will always overclock better than CCD 1, by as much as 125 MHz in some cases. I would assume this is by design, which makes perfect sense. 

If you think about PBO and AMD’s other features that boost clock speed, they will use the higher-binned chiplet CCD 0 for high frequency, and if more threads are called, the processor will drop frequency a bit and load the CCD 1 threads while maintaining the power envelope figures. This technique gives you the benefit of very fast single and low core count performance, and the ability to just throw a ton of threads at greedy programs that require over eight. 

The benefit to overclocking is I can set, say, CCD 0 to an overclock of 4850 MHz and dial in a 4800 MHz overclock on CCD 1. This increases my Cinebench R15 score by 100 points instead of being limited to the max of CCD 1, which is 4800 MHz. At 4850 MHz on CCD 0 and 4800 MHz on CCD 1, we reach a score of 5470 marks in Cinebench R15. The Enermax Aquafusion 360 keeps the processor around 80C with 1.34V to the core, which is pretty solid.
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