AMD's Latest Chipset Driver Optimizes Game Performance On Ryzen 7000X3D V-Cache CPUs

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Once upon a time chipset drivers were just as vital as graphics drivers. In fact, you'd usually install them first, immediately after setting up Windows itself. That practice has fallen by the wayside as more and more parts of the "chipset" have been standardized, but you'd better make sure to grab the new AMD chipset driver if you snag an "X3D" CPU, because it has significant optimizations for those chips.

To take a step back for a moment, what we're talking about are the Ryzen 9 7000X3D processors that release tomorrow. We've just posted a review of them, so go and read that for additional details and insight if you are on the fence about buying one.

ryzen 7 7950x3d delid

These two processors, the Ryzen 9 7900X3D and Ryzen 9 7950X3D, are constructed in the same way as Ryzen 9 processors of the past: two six- or eight-core Core Complex Dice (CCDs) along with a single cIOD, or "I/O chiplet." The difference with the "X3D" processors is that one of the CCDs carries a 3D V-Cache chiplet on top. This is simply a package of 64MB of SRAM, tripling the L3 cache capacity of that CCD alone. The mismatched configuration means that one of the CCDs can clock to the full turbo clock rate, while the one with the extra cache doesn't clock quite as high, yet benefits from having triple the cache.

tomb ryzen 9 7950x3d performance
Fast, but it doesn't always come out this way. From our review.

What this difference means in practice is that some applications will perform better on one chiplet or the other. The cache-boosted chiplet will likely offer better performance in most games, but productivity applications and other client tasks, like web browsing, are more likely to benefit from the higher clock rate of the CCD without the extra cache. That sounds like a pain, right?

performance driver
From AMD's press deck accompanying the new CPUs.

Well, AMD wants to make sure that users don't have to worry about managing this manually. AMD has two drivers ready to help schedule applications onto the correct CCD: the 3D V-Cache Performance Optimizer and the PPM Provisioning File Driver. The former will dynamically modify the preferred cores based on workload preference for either the high-clocking die or the cache-heavy chiplet. Meanwhile, the latter will restrict games to running on one CCX or the other, which in theory should boost performance while reducing power consumption.

ppm provisioning

You'll be able to snag the new chipset driver from AMD's website, but note that the driver package will only actually install the necessary software devices if you have the X3D CPU installed at the time of driver setup. Otherwise, you'll have to install the driver package again after you swap to the new CPU. We've reported this as a possible problem with AMD, and that may change in the future, but for now, you might as well hold off on the driver update until you've got your shiny new V-Cache processor nestled in place.