Subject: Motherboards | July 25, 2017 - 12:16 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ryzen, RGB LED, overclocking, e-atx, asus, AM4
Asus recently took the wraps off of its X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme E-ATX motherboard which is the company’s new flagship motherboard for the AMD Ryzen platform. The new board is packed with features and is aimed at extreme overclockers and gaming enthusiasts.
The massive board surrounds the AMD AM4 socket with four DDR4 DIMM slots, a 12 phase Digi+ VRM, and a plethora of expansion and storage connections including two PCI-E 3.0 x16, one PCI-E 2.0 x16, three PCI-E 2.0 x1, two M.2 slots, and 8 SATA 6Gbps ports. One of the M.2 slots sits under the passive PCH heatsink and connects directly to the CPU while the other M.2 slot does not benefit from the passive heatsink and shares bandwidth with the PCI-E 2.0 lanes coming from the chipset.
The board has a massive VRM heatsink that can also be swapped out for a monoblock that can be integrated into a custom water cooling loop with ASUS partnering with Bitspower for a monoblock that will be sold separately (the board will also work with monoblocks from other manufacturers) and will include sensors to measure flow rate, temperature, and leak detection. The board also has a header that will allow you to attach those same sensors to another point in your loop with all the sensor data being available through ASUS’ Fan Xpert 4 software. There are 13 fans headers on board (16 with fan extension card) with one dedicated pump header and two groups of four fan headers that are placed closed together to make wiring up radiators a bit cleaner. The X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme also sports multiple RGB LED lighting zones and two headers that will allow users to extend the lighting to RGB LED strips, fans, and cases (one header is for addressable LEDs and the other is for standard LED strips up to 3A). The on board lighting zones include the IO and VRM cooler, the two SafeSlot (metal-reinforced) PCI-E x16 slots, the chipset heatsink, and the right edge of the board. The audio jacks are also LED color coded which is actually kind of cool since it can be hard to see what colors the jacks are when the case is under a desk! Other useful features include an ROG backplate and a right angle 24-pin power connector to make cable management a bit easier. There are also the usual overclocker friendly error code display, power and reset buttons, and voltage read points for multimeters. Further, the board features a dedicated base clock generator and a “TPU” (TurboV Processing Unit) that helps manage voltage to the VRMs and controls the clock generator. The external clock generator is important when overclocking Ryzen and hitting extremely high memory frequencies.
Asus is using an Intel I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet controller for the wired networking and there is also support for Intel 8265-powered 802.11 ac Wi-Fi. Sound is handled by a SupremeFX S122 codec paired with ES9023P ESS Sabre DAC with high end capacitors and TI op-amps for a 113 dB line in (for recording) and 120 dB output.
Rear I/O is where the Extreme board is a bit wanting with:
- 2 x Antenna connectors
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
- 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 5 x Gold plated 3.5mm jacks
- 1 x S/PDIF (Optical)
- 2 x Clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons
On one hand, I am not sure what else they could have included (Thunderbolt is really the only missing thing and not strictly needed), but it does look a bit barren even compared to the Crosshair VI Hero.
Asus’ flagship AMD AM4 motherboard will be available in early August with an MSRP of $349.
I am interested to see if the X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme really does up the ante especially in the overclocking department versus the ROG Crosshair VI Hero which seems to be a popular choice for overclockers aiming to break records. I am looking forward to reviews to see whether the $100 premium is worth it (the Crosshair VI Hero is $245 or $270 with AC Wi-Fi).
Personally, I think I would rather go with a cheaper motherboard and better graphics card or SSD, but for those not on a budget I can see them opting for the board with all the bells and whistles (and RGB)!
Subject: Memory | June 29, 2017 - 02:03 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x299, trident z, samsung 8Gb, overclocking, G.Skill, ddr4
G.Skill recently announced new DDR4 memory kits for the Intel X299 HEDT platform. The new kits include a dual channel DDR4 4400 MHz kit for Kaby Lake X and a quad channel DDR4 4200 MHz kit for Skylake X. The dual channel kit is available under the company’s Trident Z RGB and Trident Z Black brands depending on whether you want RGB lighting or simple black heatspreaders. The quad channel DDR4-4200 kit is only available in non-RGB Trident Z modules.
According to G.Skill, all of the new memory kits use Samsung 8Gb dies and feature CAS latencies of 19-19-19-39. The quad channel 4200 MHz DDR4 modules need 1.40V to hit those specifications, and while it is not yet known what the higher clocked dual channel DDR4 4400 MHz kits need to hit CL19 timings I would presume they need a bit more.
The new kits will be available in an 8GB x 2 (16GB) 4400 MHz kit and up to 64 GB (8GB x 8) 4200 MHz kits. Pricing has not yet been announced, but the new RAM kits should be available soon. While Intel processors do not get as much of a boost from increased memory speeds as AMD’s APUs and Ryzen CPUs do, there are still noticeable gains to be had with faster memory though gamers should still prioritize graphics cards and processors over memory when picking parts for a budget build.
Note that since these kits are using Samsung 8Gb ICs, they also have a good chance of working with Ryzen, but check with your motherboard manufacturer and reviews before ponying up the cash.
Subject: Memory | June 7, 2017 - 08:49 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: G.Skill, overclocking, ddr4, x299, liquid nitrogen, computex
Amidst the flood of new product announcements at Computex, G.Skill was busy hosting an overclocking competition where its memory was used to in a record breaking overclock that saw DDR4 memory clocked at an impressive 5,500 MHz. Professional overclocker Toppc broke his 5,000 MHz record from last year with the new overclock that was accomplished on Intel’s X299 platform.
Toppc used a MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard, Intel Core X-series processor, G.Skill DDR4 memory built using Samsung 8Gb ICs, and, of course, copious amounts of liquid nitrogen! Looking at the HWBot page, it appears Toppc specifically used an Intel Core i7-7740K (Kaby Lake X) processor and 8GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB RAM (CL 14-14-14-14 stock). Both the CPU and memory modules were cooled with liquid nitrogen for the overclock. The CPU-Z screenshot shows the processor running 1 cores / 2 threads with a 133.06 bus speed. It also shows an 8x multiplier and core speed of 1064.46 but I am questioning whether or not it is accurately reading the Kaby Lake X part correctly as running at those speeds wouldn’t need such exotic cooling – perhaps it is needed to run at the 133.06 bus speed and to keep the memory controller from overheating (or melting hehe).
G.Skill is currently pushing the envelope on standard air cooled DIMMs with a prototype kit hitting 4,800 MHz. The company's CVP Tequila Huang stated in a press release:
“We are seeing amazing overclocking potential for these newly released hardware and we believe that more overclocking benchmark records will be achieved very soon by professional overclockers worldwide."
I am interested to see if it will have any additional headroom in the memory overclocking department and if so how long the 5.5 GHz world record will stand.
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 04:22 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: hyperx, kingston, ddr4, ryzen, x299, overclocking
Kingston’s high-performance division HyperX recently announced the availability of a slew of new Predator DDR4 memory kits based on DIMMs capable of reaching 4,000 MHz at 1.35 volts.
HyperX has added six new speed tiers to the lineup made up of individual DIMMs as well as kits of multiple sticks. Voltage is rated at 1.35V across the lineup. The kits and DIMMs being added to the lineup are listed below along with their rated CAS latencies. They reportedly all support built-in XMP profiles.
- 2,400 MHz at CL12
- 2,666 MHz at CL13
- 3,000 MHz at CL15
- 3,333 MHz at CL16
- 3,600 MHz at CL17
- 4,000 MHz at CL19
The majority of kits top out at 64GB, but HyperX did add a 128GB (eight DIMM) kit running at 3,000 MHz and CL15. At the high end is a single 4,000 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kit (HX440C19PB3K2/16) running at CL19.
The Tech Report reports that the new kits are available now, but looking around online they do not appear to be listed at retailers quite yet so pricing information is unknown. I would expect the high capacity and high-speed kits to carry a decent premium though!
In any case, if you are in the market for a high-end Ryzen, ThreadRipper, or Skylake-X build these may be worth checking out.
AMD AGESA Update 22.214.171.124 Will Support Configurable Memory Sub Timings And Clockspeeds Up To 4,000 MHz
Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2017 - 04:05 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x370, ryzen, overclocking, ddr4, bios, b350, amd, agesa
AMD recently announced a new AGESA update that will improve memory compatibility and add new memory and virtualization features that have been sorely missing from AMD’s new Ryzen platforms. The new AGESA 126.96.36.199 update has been distributed to its motherboard partners and will be part of updated BIOSes that should be out by the middle of June.
The AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture) code is used as part of the BIOS responsible for initializing the Ryzen CPU cores, memory controller, and Infinity Fabric. With the 188.8.131.52 update, AMD is adding 26 configurable memory options (including subtimings!) that were previously locked out or limited in the range of values users could set. The biggest change is in clockspeeds where AMD will now allow memory clocks up to 4,000 MHz without needing to adjust the CPU base clock (only the very high-end motherboards had external clock generators that allowed hitting higher than 3200 MHz easily before this update). Additionally, when overclocking and setting clockspeeds above 2667 MHz, users can adjust the clockspeeds in increments of 133 MT/s rather than the currently supported 266 MT/s increments. Also important is that AMD will allow 2T command rates with the new update (previously it was locked at 1T) which improves memory kit compatibility when pushing clockspeeds and/or when running in a four DIMM configuration rather than 2 stick configurations (2T is less aggressive). These changes are especially important for overclocking and, in addition to all the other knobs that will become available, dialing in the highest possible stable clockspeeds. Reportedly, the updated AGESA code does improve on memory kit compatibility and support for more XMP profiles, but the Ryzen platform still heavily favors Samsung B-die based single rank kits. In all, it sounds like there is still more to be done but the 184.108.40.206 update is going to be a huge step in the right direction.
Beyond the memory improvements AMD is also adding support for PCI Express Access Control Services which will improve virtualization support and allow users with multiple graphics cards to dedicate a card to the host and another card to the virtual machine.
ASUS and Gigabyte have already rolled out beta BIOSes for their high-end boards, and other manufacturers and motherboards should be getting beta update’s shortly with the stable releases based on the new AMD code being available next month. I am very interested to see Ryzen paired with 4GHz memory and how that will help gaming and everyday performance and improve things in the Infinity Fabric and CCX to CCX latency department!
Subject: Processors | April 27, 2017 - 06:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rockit, risky business, overclocking, kaby lake, delidding, core i7 7700k, aqua computer
Delidding a Kaby Lake processor such as the i7-7700k does not offer the same overclocking advantages as with previous generations when replacing the TIM gave you more headroom. Instead of being able to push your CPU past 5GHz, popping the lid off of a Kaby Lake reduces operating temperatures and likely extends the life of the processor ... or immediately ends it. If you don't have a 3D printer handy to make your own delidder, then take a peek at this review from TechPowerUp. They try out two delidding tools, one from Aqua Computer and one from Rockit which Morry has used; do be aware that any CPUs killed as a result of reading their review is the responsibility of the one who delidded.
"Intel mainstream CPUs have had a bottleneck in cooling due to poor heat transfer from the CPU die to the integrated heat spreader. Thanks to new de-lidding friendly tools released recently, it is now easier than ever before to handle this yourself and get a cooler running CPU. We examine two such solutions from Rockit Cool and Aqua Computer today, both of which promise fool-proof de-lidding and re-lidding"
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Ryzen For The Masses: A Look At AMD’s Ryzen 5 1600X & 1500X Processors @ Techgage
- AMD Ryzen R5 1600X @ eTeknix
- AMD Ryzen R5 1500X @ Kitguru
- An In-depth Look At AMD’s Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X & 1700 Processors @ Techgage
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 24, 2017 - 06:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, RX 580, amd, overclocking, Polaris
Phoronix have had a chance to test out the refreshed Polaris RX 580 on the Linux 4.11 kernel and Mesa 17.1-devel, initially the AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 driver update was not included thanks to interesting timing. The performance deltas are as you would expect, a slight increase in performance that is relative to the increased clock speeds, just as when run on Windows. They also had a chance to try overclocking the new card, AMD added support for overclocking GCN 1.2 and newer cards on their proprietary Linux driver in 2016. They managed to increase the core by 6% without running into stability issues however when they overclocked the memory, they saw serious performance decreases. Check out the steps they tried along with the results from the overlocked GPU here.
"Yesterday I posted the initial Radeon RX 580 Linux benchmarks while now with having more time with this "Polaris Evolved" card I've been able to try out a bit more, like the AMDGPU Linux overclocking support. Here are the ups and downs of overclocking the Radeon graphics card under Linux."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 570 4GB @ eTeknix
- PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 570 4GB @ eTeknix
- XFX RX 460 4GB Slim Single Review @ OCC
- Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium 11 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X PLUS 8G @ Guru of 3D
- MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X Plus 11 Gbps 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11GB @ Kitguru
- Phanteks Glacier 1080 GPU Waterblock @ techPowerUp
- PNY GTX 1070 XLR8 OC Gaming 8GB @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 Mini ITX OC 6GB @ eTeknix
The right angle
While many in the media and enthusiast communities are still trying to fully grasp the importance and impact of the recent AMD Ryzen 7 processor release, I have been trying to complete my review of the 1700X and 1700 processors, in between testing the upcoming GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and preparing for more hardware to show up at the offices very soon. There is still much to learn and understand about the first new architecture from AMD in nearly a decade, including analysis of the memory hierarchy, power consumption, overclocking, gaming performance, etc.
During my Ryzen 7 1700 testing, I went through some overclocking evaluation and thought the results might be worth sharing earlier than later. This quick article is just a preview of what we are working on so don’t expect to find the answers to Ryzen power management here, only a recounting of how I was able to get stellar performance from the lowest priced Ryzen part on the market today.
The system specifications for this overclocking test were identical to our original Ryzen 7 processor review.
|Test System Setup|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Intel Core i7-7700K
Intel Core i5-7600K
Intel Core i7-6700K
Intel Core i7-6950X
Intel Core i7-6900K
Intel Core i7-6800K
|Motherboard||ASUS Crosshair VI Hero (Ryzen)
ASUS Prime Z270-A (Kaby Lake, Skylake)
ASUS X99-Deluxe II (Broadwell-E)
|Storage||Corsair Force GS 240 SSD|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB|
|Graphics Drivers||NVIDIA 378.49|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX1000|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro x64|
Of note is that I am still utilizing the Noctua U12S cooler that AMD provided for our initial testing – all of the overclocking and temperature reporting in this story is air cooled.
First, let’s start with the motherboard. All of this testing was done on the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero with the latest 5704 BIOS installed. As I began to discover the different overclocking capabilities (BCLK adjustment, multipliers, voltage) I came across one of the ASUS presets. These presets offer pre-defined collections of settings that ASUS feels will offer simple overclocking capabilities. An option for higher BCLK existed but the one that caught my eye was straight forward – 4.0 GHz.
With the Ryzen 1700 installed, I thought I would give it a shot. Keep in mind that this processor has a base clock of 3.0 GHz, a rated maximum boost clock of 3.7 GHz, and is the only 65-watt TDP variant of the three Ryzen 7 processors released last week. Because of that, I didn’t expect the overclocking capability for it to match what the 1700X and 1800X could offer. Based on previous processor experience, when a chip is binned at a lower power draw than the rest of a family it will often have properties that make it disadvantageous for running at HIGHER power. Based on my results here, that doesn’t seem to the case.
By simply enabling that option in the ASUS UEFI and rebooting, our Ryzen 1700 processor was running at 4.0 GHz on all cores! For this piece, I won’t be going into the drudge and debate on what settings ASUS changed to get to this setting or if the voltages are overly aggressive – the point is that it just works out of the box.
Subject: Memory | March 8, 2017 - 12:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ryzen, overclocking, gskill, ddr4, AM4
G.Skill recently announced two new series of DDR4 memory geared towards AMD’s new AM4 platform and Ryzen CPUs. The FORTIS series comes in kits up to 64 GB at 2400 MHz while the Flare X series features kits up to 32 GB at 3466 MHz.
The FORTIS series come in black with graphics on the sides. At launch, there will be kits in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB capacities clocked at 2,133 and 2,400 MHz. These kits run at 1.2V.
Flare X reportedly uses “carefully selected” IC chips that have been tested and validated for the AM4 platform and Ryzen processors. These kits run at 1.35V out of the box and come in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB at 3200 MHz with 14-14-14-34 timings or in a 16 GB (2x8GB) kit clocked at 3466 MHz with 16-16-16-36 timings.
It is worth noting that Ryzen officially supports memory up to 3200 MHz without needing to overclock the bus speed using one of eight memory straps/dividers (this is apparently a limitation of the UEFI and not Ryzen's memory controllers). In order to take advantage of DDR4 with higher clocks, you will need to overclock the base clock (which is made easier/possible on motherboards with external clock generators). G.Skill showed two examples using a Ryzen 7 1700 and an Asus Crosshair VI Hero motherboard where they got a 4x16GB kit clocked at 3467MHz (16-16-16-36 CR1) by setting a 25.4 x multiplier and 118.16 MHz bus speed. The other example was DDR4 at 3200 MHz with a multiplier of 28.4 and 119.99 MHz bus speed. It is interesting that they were able to push the bus speed that high while maintaining stability. G.Skill posted two CPU-Z validation screen shots on its news announcement.
G.Skill did not announce pricing, but it did state the new memory kits would be available later this month. Looking around on Newegg, it seems some of the lower speed kits with 4GB DIMMs are available right now but the new kits with higher clocks and 8GB and 16GB DIMMs are not available yet. The less exciting Fortis series does appear to be available though with a 2x8GB 16GB DDR4-2400 priced at $124.99. Even the Fortis series isn’t fully launched yet though since the 2x16GB and 4x16GB kits aren’t listed.
Subject: Processors | March 4, 2017 - 06:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xfr, turbo, sensemi, ryzen, overclocking, amd
Following the leaks and official news and reviews of AMD's Ryzen processors there were a few readers asking for clarity on the eXtended Frequency Range (XFR) technology and whether or not it is enabled on all Ryzen CPUs or only the X models. After quite a bit of digging through forums and contradictory articles, I believe I have the facts in hand to answer those questions. In short, XFR is supported on all Ryzen processors (at least all the Ryzen 7 CPUs released so far) including the non-X Ryzen 7 1700; however the X SKUs get a bigger boost from XFR than the non-X model(s).
Specifically, the Ryzen 7 1700X and Ryzen 7 1800X when paired with a high end air or water cooler is able to boost up to an additional 100 MHz over the 4 GHz advertised boost clock while the Ryzen 7 1700 is limited to an XFR boost of up to 50 MHz so long as there is thermal headroom. Interestingly, the Extended Frequency Range boosts are done in 25 MHz increments (and likely achieved by adjusting the multiplier by 0.25x).
How does this all work though? Well, with Ryzen AMD introduced a new suite of technologies it calls "SenseMI" which, despite the questionable name (heh), puts a lot of intelligence into the processor and builds on the paths AMD started down with Carrizo and Excavator designs. The five main technologies are Pure Power, Precision Boost, Extended Frequency Range (XFR), Neural Net Prediction, and Smart Prefetch. The first three are important when talking about XFR.
With Ryzen AMD has embedded a number of sensors throughout the chip that accurately measure temperatures, clock speeds, and voltages within 1°C, 1mA, 1mW, 1mV and it has connected all the sensors together using its Infinity Fabric. Pure Power lets AMD make localized adaptive adjustments to optimize power usage without negatively affecting performance. Precision Boost is AMD's equivalent to Intel's Turbo Boost and it is built on top of Pure Power's sensor network. Precision Boost enables a Ryzen CPU to dynamically clock up beyond the base clock speed across all cores or clock even further across two cores. Lightly threaded workloads will benefit from the latter while workloads using any more than two threads will get the all core boost, so there is not a lot of granularity in number of cores vs allowed boost but there does not really need to be and the Precision Boost is more granular than Intel's Turbo Boost in clock speed bumps of 25MHz increments versus 100 MHz increments up to the maximum allowed Precision Boost clock. As an example, the Ryzen 7 1800X has a base clock of 3.6 GHz and so long as there is thermal headroom it can adjust the clock speed up by 25 MHz steps to 3.7 GHz across all eight cores or up to as much as 4.0 GHz on two cores.
From there XFR allows the processor to clock beyond the 2 core Precision Boost (XFR only works to increase the boost of the two core turbo not the all core turbo) and as temperatures decrease the allowed XFR increases. While initial reports and slides from AMD suggested XFR would scale with the cooler (air, water, LN2, LHe) with no upper limit aside from temperature and other sensor input, it appears AMD has taken a step back and limited X series Ryzen 7 chips to a maximum XFR boost of 100 MHz over the two core Precision Boost and non-X series Ryzen 7 processors to a maximum XFR boost of 50 MHz over the maximum boosted two core clock speed. The Ryzen 7 1700 will have two extra steps above its two core boost so while the chip has a base clock of 3.0 GHz, Precision Boost can take all eight cores to 3.1GHz or two cores to 3.7 GHz. Further, so long as temperatures are still in check XFR can take those two boosted cores to 3.75 GHz.
XFR will be a setting that you are able to toggle on and off via a motherboard setting, and some motherboards may have the feature turned on by default. Unfortunately, if you choose to manually overclock you will lose XFR functionality (and boost). Further, Precision Boost and XFR are connected and you are not able to turn off one but not the other (you either get both or nothing). Note that if you overclock using AMD's "Ryzen Master" software utility, it will also disable Precision Boost and XFR, but the lower power C-states will stay enabled which may be desirable if you want the power bill and room to cool down when not gaming or creating content.
I would expect as yields and the binning processes improve for Ryzen AMD may lift or extend the XFR limits either with a product refresh (not sure if a micro-code update would be possible) or maybe only in the upcoming hexa-core and quad core Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 processors that have less cores and more headroom for overclocking. That is merely speculation however. Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 should support XFR on both X and non-X models, but it is too early to know or say what the XFR boost will be.
XFR is neat though not as big of a deal as I originally thought it to be without limits, and as many expected manual overclocking is still going to be the way to go. This is not all bad news though, because it means that the much cheaper Ryzen 7 1700 just got a lot more attractive. You give up a 50 MHz XFR boost that you can't use anyway because you are going to manually overclock and you gamble a bit on getting a decently binned chip that can hit R7 1800X clock speeds, but you save $170 that you can put towards a better motherboard or a better graphics card (or a second one for CrossFire - even on B350).
I am still waiting on our overclocking results as well as Kyle's overclocking results when it comes to the Ryzen 7 1700, but several other sites are reporting success at hitting at least 4.0 GHz (though not many results over 4.0 or 4.1 GHz which isn't unexpected since these are not the highest binned chips and yields are still young so bins are more real/based on silicon and not just for product segmentation but most can hit the higher speeds at x power, v voltage, and n temperature et al). For example, Legit Reviews reports that they were able to hit manually overclock a R7 1700 to 4.0 GHz on all cores at 1.3875 volts. They were able to keep the non-X Ryzen chip stable with those settings on both aftermarket air and AIO water coolers.
AMD's Ryzen Master overclocking software lets you OC and setup CPU and memory profiles from your OS.
More on overclocking: Tom's Hardware has posted that, according to AMD, the safe voltage ceiling for overclocking is 1.35V if you want the CPU to last, but that up to 1.45V CPU voltage is "sustainable". Further, note that is is recommended not to set the SOC Voltage higher than 1.2 volts. Also, much like Intel's platform, it is possible to adjust the base clock (BCLCK) but you may run into stability problems with the rest of the system if you push this too far outside expected specifications (PC Gamer claims you can set this up to 140 MHz though so AM4/Ryzen may be more forgiving in this area than Intel. Edit: The highest figure I've seen so far is 106.4 MHz being stable before the rest of the system gets too far out of spec and becomes unstable. The main benefit to adjusting this is to support overclocked RAM above 3200 MHz so unless you need that your overclocking efforts are probably better spent adjusting the multiplier. /edit). Finally, when manually overclocking you will be able to turn off SMT and/or turn off cores in 2s (e.g. disable 2 cores or disable 4 cores, you can't disable in single numbers but groups of two).
Hopefully this helps to clear up the XFR confusion. If you do not need guaranteed clocks with a bonus XFR boost for a stable workstation build, saving money and going with the Ryzen 7 1700 and manually overclocking it to at least attempt to reach R7 1700X or 1800X speeds seems like the way to go for enthusiasts that are considering making the jump to AM4 especially if you enjoy tinkering with things like overclocking. There's nothing wrong with going with the higher priced and binned chips if you want to go that route, but don't do it for XFR in my opinion.
What are your thoughts? Are you planning to overclock your Ryzen CPU or do you think the Precision Boost and XFR is enough?