HWInfo has identified an issue where certain motherboard vendors – including two of the largest motherboard manufacturers in the world – can fool AMD Ryzen CPUs to run at a higher power than they should.
This can result in the processor’s lifespan being reduced significantly, as the chip draws more power and generates more heat than it should.
The method is used to boost performance on X570 motherboards, HWInfo said.
“In short: Some motherboard manufacturers intentionally declare an incorrect (too small) motherboard specific reference value,” HWInfo explained on its forum.
Since these Ryzen CPUs rely on data sourced from the motherboard’s voltage regulator module (VRM) to determine their power consumption, declaring an incorrect reference value will affect the power consumption the CPU believes is taking place.
“For instance, if the motherboard manufacturer would declare 50% of the correct value, the CPU would think it consumes half the power than it actually does. In this case, the CPU would allow itself to consume twice the power of its set power limits, even when at stock.”
Intel vs AMD
It is fairly common for motherboard vendors to adjust the power limits of a chip to increase performance.
Intel, for example, actively approves of this and encourages motherboard vendors to do so.
This is done within a controlled, sanctioned environment, however, and does not impact either the longevity of the chip or the validity of the warranty period.
The difference with AMD Ryzen processors is that AMD does not support this practice.
For this reason, unlike Intel, manipulating the power consumption data can, in fact, mean the lifespan of the processor is shortened without the user’s knowledge.
To assist users, HWInfo developed a Power Reporting Deviation tool which monitors the difference between the data seen by the AMD Ryzen CPU and real-world data.
“Since at least two of the largest motherboard manufacturers still insist on using this exploit to gain an advantage over their competitors despite being constantly asked and told not to, we thought it would be only fair to allow the consumers to see if their boards are doing something they’re not supposed to do,” said HWInfo.