Why it matters to you
AMD’s new Ryzen chips based on the company’s Zen CPU architecture are winning some accolades for providing good performance at competitive pricing. The high-end Ryzen 7 series were the first to ship, and the midrange Ryzen 5 series chips have also hit the market.
Anyone looking to optimize a Ryzen-based system is likely keeping up with the latest driver and software updates. With just such people in mind, AMD released its latest AMD Ryzen chipset drivers with an eye on improving performance — at least for Windows 10 64-bit users.
According to AMD, version 17.10 of the drivers is aimed specifically at maximizing the performance of Ryzen-based systems by adjusting for how Windows 10 manages power states. By default, Windows 10 is configured for its “Balanced” power profile, even on desktops, as opposed to the “High Performance” power plan that’s been demonstrated to show significant performance benefits.
The new Ryzen drivers get around the Windows 10 default by installing a new “AMD Ryzen Balanced” power plan. The primary advantage is that while the Windows 10 power plan imposes a 30 millisecond delay in switching power states, the AMD power plan takes advantage of the Ryzen chipset’s ability to switch power states within 1 millisecond when the chip itself is in control. An additional benefit is that the new drivers avoid “parking” cores, which create additional latency costs.
The new drivers enable PCs to take full advantage of the processors’ AMD SenseMI technology, which enables such rapid adjustments to voltages and frequencies and can thus optimize performance. The new AMD Ryzen Balanced power plan is meant to provide the same performance benefits as the Windows 10 High Performance power plan, and indeed it does, as the following chart attests.
To enable the new AMD Ryzen Balanced power plan, first install the latest AMD chipset drivers on your Windows 10 64-bit machine. Then, open the Control Panel, click on Power Options, and then select the plan from the list of options.
Once the new power plan is in effect, you should see improved performance in a variety of games and power-hungry applications. Again, the update is only for Windows 10 64-bit machines.