Precision Boost Overdrive and XFR Enhanced Confusion

We wanted to put together a quick overview about what Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 are NOT about. It seems that slides leaked, and faked, earlier in the 2nd generation Ryzen's development have clouded some people's understanding on what features are included, but more important which features are not.

AMD Precision Boost 2 Overdrive and XFR Enhanced Confusion

We have been finding a lot of folks around the internet that are a bit confused about the 2nd generation Ryzen's feature set, and we just wanted to make sure everyone was clear on what is included and what is not included.

We have seen many folks asking about "Precision Boost Overdrive" and "XFR Enhanced" features on the new Ryzen 2000 series. The current feature sets supported are "Precision Boost 2" and "XFR2." You can see both of these features fully covered in our "AMD Precision Boost 2 and Wraith Prism Deep Dive." To put it in a nutshell, XFR2 monitors Ryzen's temperature, power, and clock speed limitations in relation to each other and will allow the CPU to boost frequencies if there is headroom to do so. Precision Boost 2 is the algorithm that uses data from XFR2 to scale the clocks across all cores.

To put it simply, "Precision Boost Overdrive" and "XFR Enhanced" are not currently supported features. Yes, you may have seen rumors and leaked slides (and possibly faked slides) on these two features, but these are not currently active. It is possible that we see Overdrive and XFR Enhanced sometime in the future.

What is Precision Boost Overdrive?

The framework for Overdrive is currently present in the Ryzen Zen+ CPUs and X470 platform. Overdrive is a feature that will likely be implemented at a future date. Everything that XFR2 and Precision Boost 2 currently do, underlie Overdrive. Think of Overdrive as a more aggressive Precision Boost 2. What Overdrive can do "extra" is look at VRM utilization on the motherboard and figure out if any headroom is left in terms of supplying power. (This VRM headroom monitoring feature is exposed in the new Ryzen Master software.) If the headroom is identified as being there, Precision Boost Overdrive can then relax the vCore limiter (allowing higher vCore voltages) on the CPU. This will allow the CPU to operate beyond the specifications and factory settings, but also outside of the processor's warranty scope.

In the slide below, which was part of the official Zen+ launch last week, you can see that Overdrive is noted as being a "future feature." You can also see where Ryzen Master is now able to see values such as socket power capacity and VRM capacities, which dovetail perfectly with Precision Boost Overdrive.

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XFR Enhanced?

Little official information is known on XFR Enhanced, but we do know have been faked slides passed around on this, so take what you read with a grain of salt. This is what AMD would say to us on XFR Enhanced.

XFR Enhanced was something that we were looking at, but are not marketing as a part of the 2nd Generation AMD Ryzen or X470 platforms at this point.

Motherboard Builder Implementation

Now this where it gets a bit more confusing. You may see reference to these naming conventions by motherboard companies in the EFI, as some of these options were explored during Zen+ and X470 development, and might be utilized in production motherboards. That however will be the ODM's design and implementation and is not an official AMD feature. What this comes down to, like we saw on the Crosshairs VII Hero, are other levels of "Precision Boost 2" implemented that are not inside the AMD PB2 rules set. So those are still officially "overclocking" the processor.

The Bottom Line

AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive is not yet an available feature, but we hope it will be soon. XFR Enhanced is not a current feature, and may or may not be in the future. Your motherboard maker might be implementing overclocking with similar naming conventions, but these features are not officially supported by AMD.