AMD Ryzen Windows Power Plan Disables Core Parking

Earlier this morning we were surprised with an e-mail from AMD offering a preview of a new Ryzen Balanced power plan for Windows that is said to improve performance on Ryzen processors. We pushed some of the things we were working on today off the agenda and started testing the new Ryzen Power Plan to see what performance gains were to be had. So, with a clean install of Windows 10 you get three plans from Microsoft, but you have the ability to create and add a custom power plan if you want to. Windows 10 Power Plan AMD came up with their own power plan and packaged it as a standalone installer (ppkg) that you can download and use right now. To install it on our Windows 10 system we just needed to allow the package to run on our system due Windows UAC alert and that was it. AMD Ryzen 7 Windows Custom Power Plan Once we went back into the Power Options on our test system there was a new AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan to choose from and it was automatically selected by default. This is nice as once it is installed you can just clock the power plan you want and quickly test the differences between the AMD Ryzen Balanced power plan and the default Balanced and High Performance plans. AMD Ryzen Windows 10 Custom Power Plan AMD informed Legit Reviews that they will be placing this power plan into the AMD chipset driver package shortly. They said that it will replace the Balanced plan that comes with Windows, and be set as the new setting for users with AMD Ryzen CPUs. What makes this power plan so special? Here are the two big changes that AMD did, but you can get more details from their blog post. Why does this matter? On Windows 7 the OS keeps all physical cores awake, and parks SMT cores. Those running Windows 10 will find that the OS keeps one physical and one logical core away (Core0+1), then parks the rest as often as possible. This difference alone is what’s responsible for the cases online where some sites and users have said Windows 7 was faster than Windows 10 with regards to gaming performance. It was not the scheduler as the community thought at first. It should also be noted that Intel fully disables core parking in their own custom Balanced power plan. So, the secret sauce with this new power plan is disabling core parking! AMD sent over the following benchmark results that they came up with internally and the results look pretty damn impressive as you can see in the table below.
GAME RES Uplift of AMD Plan vs. Balanced (Win10 Default)
Battlefield One: Ultra (DX12) 1920x1080x32 10.77%
Battlefield One: Ultra (DX11) 1920x1080x32 5.66%
Mafia 3:  High (DX11) 1920x1080x32 5.26%
Gears of War 4 Ultra 1920x1080x32 16.50%
Rise of the Tomb Raider: Veryhigh (DX12) 1920x1080x32 4.10%
Total War Warhammer: Ultra (DX12) 1920x1080x32 5.34%
Total War Warhammer: Ultra (DX11) 1920x1080x32 3.33%
Mirrors Edge Catalyst: Ultra 1920x1080x32 4.81%
Dota 2: Ultra (DX11) 1920x1080x32 6.33%
Batman Arkham Knight 1920x1080x32 4.61%
Overwatch: Epic (Russia) 1920x1080x32 5.10%
Overwatch: Epic (Hollywood) 1920x1080x32 4.45%
Overwatch: Epic (Numbani) 1920x1080x32 4.71%
Battlefield 4 (Airfield) 1920x1080x32 3.41%
Battlefield 4 (Dam) 1920x1080x32 8.75%
Battlefield 4 (Naval) 1920x1080x32 10.07%
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare 1920x1080x32 7.11%
Murdered Soul Suspect: High 1920x1080x32 14.83%
Watch Dogs: Ultra 1920x1080x32 11.89%
Watch Dogs: High 1920x1080x32 12.12%
Thief: Preset Very High 1920x1080x32 3.68%
Thief: Preset Normal 1920x1080x32 7.96%
Shadows of Mordor: Very High 1920x1080x32 6.08%
GTA V: Max 1920x1080x32 4.44%
Far Cry 4: Ultra 1920x1080x32 3.72%
Project Cars: Ultra 1920x1080x32 9.03%
Alien Isolation 1920x1080x32 8.52%
Crysis 3 (Jailbreak) 1920x1080x32 21.56%
Bioshock Infinite: Ultra (DX11 DDOF) 1920x1080x32 4.27%
Bioshock Infinite: Ultra (DX11) 1920x1080x32 7.87%
AMD internal benchmark results are always fun to look at, but we like doing on our testing and that is exactly what we did today.   That said, let's look at the test systems and then jump into our independent benchmark results.

AMD & Intel Test Systems

AMD Ryzen Test System The AMD AM4 platform that we used to test the Ryzen 7 1700 was running the MSI X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium motherboard with UEFI 1.30. The processor was overclocked to 4.00 GHz on all cores with 1.3875V set for the CPU Core voltage. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 2933MHz with 14-14-14-28 1T memory timings as we wanted to test with one of the most popular clock frequencies sold today. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Founders Edition video card with GeForce 378.78 WHQL drivers. We also used the Corsair AX860i digital power supply, Corsair Hydro Series H110i water cooler and Corsair Force MP500 480GB PCIe SSD on the system.
AMD AM4 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

AMD Ryzen 7 1700

Motherboard

MSI X370 XPower Titanium Click Here

Memory

16GB Vengeance 3000MHz DDR4 Click Here

Video Card

GeForce GTX 1080 FE Click Here

Hard Drive

Corsair MP500 480GB Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H110i Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K70 RGB Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M65 Pro Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i Click Here

Monitor

ASUS PB287Q 4K Click Here

Operating System

Windows 10 64-Bit Click Here
Core i7-7700K Test System Picture The Intel Z270 platform that we used to test the Intel 1151 processors was running the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming 5 with UEFI F5e that came out on 12/28/2016. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 4000MHz DDR4 dual channel memory kit was manually set to 3000MHz with 15-15-15-36 1T memory timings as we wanted to test with one of the most popular clock frequencies sold today. We used an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Founders Edition video card with GeForce 378.78 WHQL drivers.  We also used the Corsair AX860i digital power supply, Corsair Hydro Series H105 water cooler and Crucial MX300 1050GB SSDs on the system.
Intel LGA1151 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-7700K

Motherboard

Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 5 Click Here

Memory

16GB Vengeance 3000MHz DDR4 Click Here

Video Card

GeForce GTX 1080 FE Click Here

Hard Drive

Crucial MX300 1050GB Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H105 Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K70 RGB Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M65 Pro Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i Click Here

Monitor

ASUS PB287Q 4K Click Here

Operating System

Windows 10 64-Bit Click Here
Another thing to note is that we will be testing on 3DMark Fire Strike and five game titles. The games selected were done at random and from our own picking based on release dates. Thief: February 25, 2014 Grand Theft Auto V: April 14, 2015 Fallout 4: November 10th, 2015 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: August 23rd, 2016 Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands: March 7, 2017 These five game titles span the past three years and use both DX11 and DX12 API's. We wanted to show CPU/GPU performance on new and old game titles, so we think these covers do that well.

3DMark Fire Strike and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Futuremark 3DMark Fire Strike

3DMark Fire Strike is the new showcase DirectX 11 benchmark for high-performance gaming PCs. Using a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine, Fire Strike includes two graphics tests, a physics test and a combined test designed to stress the CPU and GPU at the same time. 3DMark Advanced and Professional Editions include an additional Extreme preset for highend systems with multiple GPUs. Fire Strike is only available in the Windows editions of 3DMark initially. 3DMark Fire Strike Physics test benchmarks the hardware’s ability to run gameplay physics simulations on the CPU. The GPU load is kept as low as possible to ensure that only the CPU is stressed. The Bullet Open Source Physics Library is used as the physics library for the test. The test has 32 simulated worlds. One thread per available CPU core is used to run simulations. All physics are computed on CPU with soft body vertex data updated to GPU each frame.
Results: The GPU and Physics score with the AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan look solid, but the overall score took a bit of a dive. The one score we didn't chart (combined) fell from over 7,900 points to under 6,400 points with the new power plan, so something might be off with this benchmark and the new power plan. We aren't sure why we are seeing a 19% performance drop in the combined benchmark test workload, but we've brought it up with AMD as that is lowering the overall score in this synthetic game benchmark. 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an action role-playing stealth video game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. Set in a cyberpunk-themed dystopian world in 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution, Mankind Divided features the return of Adam Jensen from the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with new technology and body augmentations. The game was released on August 23rd, 2016 for PC users.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Train Station

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided uses a heavily modified version of the Glacier 2 engine that has been tweaked so much that they are now calling it the Dawn game engine.
We took a look at GPU performance using the DX12 API setting paired with the ‘Medium’ image quality preset with MSAA and VSync turned off. We picked to run just ‘Medium’ image quality settings due to how tough this game title is to render and we feel that most gamers will use this setting. Benchmark Results: In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided when moving from the standard Windows Balanced Power Plan to the new AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan we got 1.6% gains at 1080P, 0.6% gains at 1440P and no gain at all when gaming at 4K. 

Thief and GTAV

Thief

Thief is a series of stealth video games in which the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the Late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix on February 25, 2014. thief This is an older game title, but we wanted to see how an older game title would perform on the latest processors and video cards.
We ran Thief with the image quality settings set at normal with VSYNC disabled. Benchmark Results: In Thief when moving from the standard Windows Balanced Power Plan to the new AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan we got 6.4% gains at 1080P, 5.8% gains at 1440P and a small 2.1% performance gain when gaming at 4K. 

Grand Theft Auto V

GTAV Grand Theft Auto V, currently one of the hottest PC games, was finally released for the PC on April 14, 2015.  Developed by Rockstar, it is set in 2013 and the city of Los Santos.  It utilizes the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) which Rockstar has been using since 2006, with multiple updates for technology improvements. In Grand Theft Auto V we set the game to run with no MSAA with 16x AF and high image quality settings as we didn't want the GPU to bottleneck the system too bad, but wanted a setup that your average gamer would actually play on. We used the games built-in benchmark utility to have at least one game we used that could be compared to your setup at home. We averaged all the five of the default benchmark runs and omitted both the minimum and maximum values as those results are garbage due to major inconsistencies. Benchmark Results: In Grand Theft Auto V when moving from the standard Windows Balanced Power Plan to the new AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan we got 7.4% gains at 1080P, 6..7% gains at 1440P and basically flat performance when gaming at 4K. 

Fallout 4 & Ghost Recon Wildlands

Fallout 4 Fallout4 Fallout 4 is an open world action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Fallout 4 is set in a post-apocalyptic Boston in the year 2287, 210 years after a devastating nuclear war, in which the player character emerges from an underground bunker known as a Vault. Gameplay is similar to Fallout 3.  The title is the fifth major installment in the Fallout series and was released worldwide on November 10th, 2015. fallout4 settings Fallout 4 was benchmarked with ultra image quality settings with TAA and 16x AF. These settings are tough for entry level discrete graphics cards, but are more than playable on high-end gaming graphics cards. V-Sync can't be disabled in the games options, so we edited the necessary INI files and disabled vsync in the driver software as well. We used FRAPS to benchmark Fallout 4 after you emerge from the vault and are in The Commonwealth. Benchmark Results: In Fallout 4 when moving from the standard Windows Balanced Power Plan to the new AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan we got 1.6% gains at 1080P smaller gains at 1440P and a slight loss at 4K.  Ghost Recon Wildlands Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is an open world tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris. It is the tenth installment in the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon franchise and is the first Ghost Recon game to feature an open world environment. The game moves away from the futuristic setting introduced in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and instead feature a setting similar to the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. Ubisoft described it as one of the biggest open world games that they have ever published, with the game world including a wide variety of environments such as mountains, forests, deserts and salt flats. A modified version of the AnvilNext game engine was used.  The game was released on March 7, 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Ghost Recon Wildlands Image Quality Settings Ghost Recon Wildlands Image Quality Settings Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands was benchmarked with high image quality settings with Temporal AA and 4x AF. V-Sync and the framerate limit were both disabled and we used the game titles built-in game benchmark. Benchmark Results: In Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands we found nice scaling as we moved from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 FE to the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FE on both Intel and AMD processors. On the Intel Core i7-7700K processor we got 22% gains at 4K, 18% gains at 1440P and 14% gains at 1080P and on the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processor we got 23% at 4K, 17% at 1440P and a 15% gain at 1080P. AMD Ryzen actually scaled 1% better, but was still behind Intel Kaby Lake by 10% at 1080P, 8% at 1440P and 3% at 4K. 

Final Thoughts & Conclusions

  AMD only gave us a small number of hours to play around with the new Ryzen Balanced Power Plan, but it appears to help out significantly in two of the five game titles that we managed to benchmark today. Those game titles were GTA V and Thief and while they are older games many still play GTA V. We saw 6-7 percent performance gains when gaming at both 1080P and 1440P screen resolutions and that is a nice increase by just loading up a new power plan that disables core parking. AMD Ryzen Windows 10 Custom Power Plan We'll be taking a look at this AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan more in the days to come! Here is a look at AMD's results again and you can download the new AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan here and test it for yourself! More AMD Ryzen Coverage on Legit Reviews: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X and 1700 Processor Reviews AMD Ryzen 7 1700 Processor Overclocking AMD Ryzen 7 DDR4 Memory Scaling Performance Picking The Right AMD AM4 Motherboard For Ryzen Where are all the AMD AM4 Motherboads?