Although overclocking can yield tremendous benefits, it might not be everyone's cup of tea. However, there is a level of satisfaction you get from unlocking extra performance from a processor that you already own. The AMD Ryzen™ 7 2700X is already an eight-core, sixteen-thread powerhouse in its own right. Nevertheless, each processor still has a little bit of untapped processing power in its veins that many owners don't exploit. Whether you’re intentionally or just landed on this guide out of sheer curiosity, we'll help you squeeze every megahertz of performance out of your Ryzen™ 7 2700X processor.
Overclock with MSI X470 GAMING PRO CARBON
Although the guide is tailored specifically around the Ryzen™ 7 2700X, the procedure is the same for other Ryzen™ 2000-series processors. What we do recommend is that you do your overclocking on a X470 motherboard, which typically comes with a robust voltage regulator module (VRM) to boost your possibility for success. If you need help finding a suitable motherboard for your overclocking adventure, we have an array of X470 motherboards that are built for this specific task. For this guide, we're rolling with the X470 Gaming Pro Carbon.
Apart from the processor itself and the motherboard, cooling is a limiting factor in the overclocking process as well. Even though you might feel tempted to try your luck with AMD’s stock cooler, we would advise against it for the well-being of your processor. The job is better suited for an aftermarket air or All-In-One (AIO) liquid cooler. On this occasion, we've hired Corsair's Hydro Series™ H115i PRO RGB 280mm Liquid CPU Cooler to make sure our Ryzen™ 7 2700X doesn't melt during the overclocking process.
Step 1: Getting To Know Your Processor
Before you can overclock the Ryzen™ 7 2700X, you must understand how it works and why you should overclock it. According to AMD's official specifications, the processor has a 3.7 GHz base clock and a 4.3 GHz boost clock – on paper at least. What many Ryzen™ 7 2700X owners don't know is that the processor only boosts to that frequency on a single core. When all eight cores are active, the all-core boost doesn't get near the 4.3 GHz mark. If you've never really paid much attention to your Ryzen™ 7 2700X when it's under load, here's how you can find your actual all-core boost for your processor.
Programs such as Prime95, IntelBurnTest, OCCT or Cinebench are particularly good at creating a 100 percent load on your processor. On the other hand, you’ll also need specialized software to monitor your processor's vitals during your overclocking endeavor. Popular choices include CPU-Z, HWMonitor, HWiNFO, and AIDA64. However, we prefer our in-house Command Center software since it provides us with all the important information we need in a single package without the hassle of running multiple programs.
▼Run MSI "Command Center" to monitor your processor.
Once you're all set up, proceed to fire up the stress test and the monitoring software of your choice. Take note of your processor's all-core boost clock and voltage necessary to get to that frequency. You can also take this opportunity to evaluate your cooling solution's performance. AMD specifies 85°C as the maximum safe temperature for a Ryzen™ 7 2700X processor. Ideally, you would want to have at least 20°C to 30°C of thermal headroom at stock before thinking of overclocking the chip.
When you got the information you need, restart your system and spam the "Del" key on your keyboard to access your motherboard's BIOS. The real fun starts now.
Step 2: Sprinkling The Magic Dust Inside The BIOS
Adjust CPU Ratio to 42
After you're inside the BIOS, navigate to the CPU Ratio option that's under the OC tab. This option is also commonly known as the CPU multiplier. Since we're aiming for a 4.2 GHz overclock, change the value from Auto to 42. Time for a friendly heads-up. Overclocking potential varies from chip to chip. The average Ryzen™ 7 2700X should be able to attain an overclock in the range of 4.1 GHz to 4.2 GHz, while the really good samples can reach 4.3 GHz to 4.4 GHz. It's a matter of winning the silicon lottery.
▼Navigate to the CPU Ratio option, change the value from Auto to 42.
Change the CPU Load-Line Calibration
Scroll down and enter the DigitALL Power section. We're going to focus on the CPU Load-Line Calibration Control option. In a nutshell, Load-Line Calibration (LLC) basically compensates for voltage drops (Vdroop) when a processor is put under a heavy workload. When your Ryzen™ 7 2700X suddenly goes from idle to load, LLC kicks in and supplies the processor with extra voltage to prevent the Vdroop phenomenon from affecting the processor’s stability. In most scenarios, a medium setting should suffice for an everyday system. So, you can safely change the Auto setting to Mode 3 or 4.
▼Enter the CPU Load-Line Calibration Control option, change the Auto setting to Mode 3 or 4.
Adjust CPU Core Voltage to 1.35V
Return to the main OC tab and scroll down to the CPU Core Voltage option, which controls the amount of voltage that is supplied to the processor. Use the values that you previously obtained from the stock test as a reference. In our case, our sample is stable at 3975 MHz at 1.28V so we know for a fact we’ll need a voltage above that to run a higher frequency. We can use 1.35V as we consider that voltage a very good starting point. Now, 1.35V isn't a magic number by any means, and you can always substitute it for a more conservative value if you desire.
▼Scroll down to the CPU Core Voltage option, enter 1.35V as a good starting point.
Press F10 and Exit
When you're finished modifying the necessary options, hit the F10 key on your keyboard to save and restart the system. Before exiting, you a window pop up showing you a summary of all the changes that you've made up to this point. Now would be a good time to go through the list thoroughly and make you make any mistakes. If you’ve observant, you’ll notice that the AMD Cool’n’Quiet option has been disabled automatically. You can leave that option alone for now.
▼A Summary of the changes you’ve made will pop up before you exit.
Step 3: Putting The Overclock To The Test
If your system fails to boot and/or enter your operating system, it’s an indication that the overclock is unstable, which usually means adding more voltage. Time to make a return to the BIOS. The X470 GAMING PRO CARBON utilizes voltage increments of 0.0125V. So, if you started with a value of 1.35V like we did, the next value should be 1.3625V. You can either type this value manually into the box or just hit the + key to increase it. Here's a word of caution. AMD recommends Ryzen™ 7 2700X owners to not run their processors beyond 1.4V. If you’re a performance chaser, there’s no harm in going as high as 1.45V as long as you have a capable cooling solution that can keep the heat under control.
▼The next value of voltage should be 1.3625V.
Test for stability
If you've made it inside your operating system, the next step is to test the overclock. Stress tests in the likes of Prime95 and IntelBurnTest are a good way to detect quick instability. Nevertheless, they should be taken with a pinch of salt. Although many overclocking enthusiasts swear by the aforementioned software and punish their processors for insanely long hours, the real-world usage is still the best stress test you can run on your processor.
Stress tests generally put unrealistic workloads on your processor. Unless you own a really high-performance cooling system, it's normal to see your temperatures oscillate around the 85°C range. The Ryzen™ 7 2700X starts to thermal throttle at 95°C, and you should avoid hitting that temperature at all costs. Running your processor at that temperature during long periods of time can be detrimental to your processor’s health. If you’re the type of user that work your system heavily on a daily basis, it would be wise to back the multiplier down a notch even if it means losing 100 MHz of performance.
Last but not least, enable AMD Cool'n'Quiet
When you're utterly satisfied that your overclock is stable, go back into the BIOS for one last time. Navigate to the OC and look under the CPU Features section to find the AMD Cool'n'Quiet option. The Cool'n'Quiet feature is responsible for reducing your processor's frequency and voltage when it's idling. This not only helps save power but also keeps your system as quiet as possible since your fans for your cooling solution won't work as hard.