AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan Benchmarked

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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.

  • Balanced – The default Windows 10 power plan that offers full performance when you need it and saves power when you don’t.
  • Power saver – Saves power by reducing PC performance by lower clock speeds, screen brightness and through additional tweaks.
  • High performance – Doesn’t lower the CPU clock speed when it isn’t being used for maximum performance, keeps other components from entering power-saving mode without worrying about power consumption.
  • Custom power plan – Microsoft allows PC manufacturers (OEM) or anyone that wants to create an additional power plan to create a custom power plan.

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.

  • Maintain residency in CPU P0 or P1 to give Zen full control over clocks and volts.
  • Disable core parking.

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.

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  • RedHoodTwo

    Is there a Ryzen High Quality/Performance plan?

  • gr33nbits

    Is it better to use Ryzen Balanced power plan or High Performance power plan? I got a Ryzen 5 1600 and installed the chipset drivers so i have Ryzen Balanced power plan available and selected, should i keep it or use the Windows 10 High Performance?

  • Billy Williams

    This helps out mostly with general feel of the OS. To me it feels a little snappier. Also I had some pausing while typing in VMs and this seems to resolve that issue.

  • DF86

    I really hope devs start optimizing for Ryzen as the power is there as the Ashes of the Singularity patch has proven, There is no reason other than lack of optimization that at 1440P a 7700K at stock should get 30-40FPS more than an 8C16T Ryzen chip.

  • testing 4 games concludes NOTHING. 20 games concludes something.

  • Greg Bryett

    Wish I could install this. I keep getting provisioning failure!

  • PC Master

    “Plan, but it appears to help out significantly in two of the five game titles that we managed to benchmark today and those titles woult be GTA V and Thief.”

    Time and time again I either see typos, spellings errors or poor grammar from LegitReview articles.

    Do you idiots even proof read before posting your articles?

    • they make a conclusion of benchmarking 5 games and you want them to have a good grammar? i meant cherry picked games, those are the worst games on the first page list compared to battlefield 1 (very played) and crysis 3 (benchmark game of the most powerful engine).

  • H23

    Wish you would use better RAM. Trident Z 3200 14 cast works on almost all Ryzen boards.

  • Nen

    In balanced mode, at idle, the frequency should go down to 2ghz. With the new plan, the idle frequency remain high at p1 of 3.2ghz, just like in the high performance plan. Amd renamed high performance plan to “balanced ryzen” and you fell for it.

    • Bruno_O

      From AMD’s post:
      Finally, if you see a third-party tool reporting “idle” clocks in the range of 3200-3400MHz, you can be virtually certain that the core is actually sleeping and the tool is simply reporting the last known P-State.

  • K1W1Pyro

    Would be interesting to see the results with new MSI 1.3 BIOS loaded as well which increases gaming performance as seen here

    • Nathan Kirsch

      1.3 was used here and no it didn’t increase gaming performance by much at all.

      • ELLAS

        Bios updates increase system stability, memory compatability, more stable over clocks, and overall enhancements and optimizations. Will it increase gaming performance. Probably, but not this early IMO. Game developers can optimize for Ryzen though game patches and updates.

      • That’s your opinion, mine based on more games not just 4 cherry picked ones is it does increase performance.

      • I also wanna point that the 1700 offers better gaming performance. No i’m not looking at average framerate but 1% and 0.1% lows, those are better on ryzen and makes a smoother experience. That is more important for hardcore gaming. Another thing is, as a hardcore gamer, i use, while playing guild wars 2 for example, browser (two of them) many tabs to search info, overwolf, discord app, shadowplay, msi afterburn and some other software. music player sometimes and youtube videos in the background. Many of this actively while playing the game. It’s not something particular, it’s something any hardcore gamer does today. You play and have many things behind running and you use them. Some of this are needed for the game performance itself like searching information about the game, or talking to team mates. Doing all this will have an impact on a 7700k, it wont on ryzen.

        Oh also playing with a gtx 1080 or 1080ti at 1080p doesn’t make sense as having a 7700k with a mid range card doesn’t either.

        Based on all this and what ryzen does in everything else besides gaming, (50% faster than 7700k) yeah, i’m pretty sure Ryzen is something better for gamers than intel.

        My lecture on this case at least is this.

  • Conclusion : even with the new Power Plan that favors Ryzen, AMD is still behind in terms of gaming performance. It is up to developers to bring the optimization for newer games. Hopefully, they wouldn’t mind doing it to bring the balance of the force in PC gaming.

    • Nandiman

      Also, has anyone checked the power consumption with the new power plan? Because if it barely adds performance but significantly decreases efficiency than it’s a double bust (though I doubt it would be significantly affected, but I am curious.

    • ELLAS

      Agreed. But Ryzen gets more than enough playable frame rates. And it guarantees the user smooth game play, regardless of frame rates. That’s where Ryzen is strong at. 7700K looks like a beast, but the in-game micro stuttering that CPU causes in many games would irritate me.

    • behind? lower frames are better on ryzen and makes it have less stutter than a 7700k.