MSI's Kombo Strike BIOS Feature Boosts Ryzen 7 5800X3D Performance But There's A Catch

amd processor includes 3d v cache
We're fans of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D around here. Sure, it's pricey for what it is; that much is inarguable. Still, the fact that you can slap a brand-new processor into a two- or three-year-old motherboard and immediately get chart-topping gaming performance is extremely cool. Your author here threw one into his ASRock X570 Taichi and saw immediate improvements in a few games—even though he was coming from a higher-clocked Ryzen 7 5800X.

Still, gaming performance aside, AMD's 3D V-Cache wunderkind does fall down a bit in general performance due to its lower clock rate. Don't get us wrong—any Zen 3 processor at over 4 GHz is still a lightning-fast CPU in the broader scheme of things. The standard-issue 5800X can scrape the edge of 5 GHz without any manual OC, though, and that's a lot of clock rate to make up, particularly considering that the 5800X3D is locked for overclocking.

MSI motherboard list
List of MSI motherboards with Kombo Strike beta BIOS updates available.

Owners of certain MSI motherboards might be in luck, if they want to try bumping the clock rate of their AMD stacked-cache CPU. The company just released beta BIOS files for a handful of B550 and X570 motherboards that add a feature known as "Kombo Strike". This oddly-named function has three settings, cryptically labeled 1, 2, and 3 (as well as "Disabled", of course.)

MSI says Kombo Strike will boost the performance of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D by as much as 5% at the maximum level, but that you should "make sure CPU Cooler is strong enough to handle the heat." Going by that description and what we know of the lockdown on the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, we suspect MSI's figured out a way to bump the power limit for the chip, which would allow it to boost higher.

wccftech kombo strike cinebench

This expectation is corroborated by some testing performed over at WCCFTech. Those fellas tested Cinebench in both ST and MT forms on the 5800X3D at all of the possible Kombo Strike settings, and found that the higher the number, the more it improved multi-threaded scores—indeed by about 5% at the highest level. Single-threaded results were essentially unaffected by Kombo Strike, which is consistent with what we'd expect assuming that it is a tweak to the power limit.

However, these beta BIOS files also enable under-volting for the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. See, along with the overclocking lockdown, AMD also disabled all voltage controls on its newest baby. That means no Curve Optimizer, or any undervolting at all—unless you have a board that supports it.

ASUS has apparently offered undervolting control for this CPU on some of its boards, and now we see MSI following suit. If you're wondering why undervolting might improve single-threaded performance, it's because it can significantly reduce the amount of current drawn and heat produced by the CPU, allowing it to boost higher.

If you have one of the above-listed MSI motherboards, you can head over to the forum moderators' Google Drive to grab the file.