AMD Precision Boost: How To Disable It & What Else To Check

Setting your own clock speed has gotten easier than ever thanks to performance tools like AMD Radeon, but what happens when you want to disable some of these built-in performance boosting presets?

You can disable AMD Precision Boost by entering into your BIOS menu and disabling this feature in the Advanced menu. You can also set a manual clock speed in your BIOS or in the AMD Radeon Software performance tuning settings. AMD Precision Boost is often disabled by people looking to do advanced overclocks or people who want energy, heat, and noise savings.

Here’s how you can take full control over your AMD clock speed.

What is AMD Precision Boost?

A Ryzen 5900X installed in my Asus motherboard with Noctua CPU cooler brackets installed
A 5000 series AMD Ryzen CPU, that has the latest AMD Precision Boost 2 features.

AMD Precision Boost is an automated overclocking system found in AMD hardware. Precision Boost is very similar to traditional overclocking. However, AMD Precision Boost will make sure that your PC’s Hardware stays within acceptable safety ranges and doesn’t push things too far beyond their normal operating limits.

There is also a feature known as Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO), that is different to Precision Boost: PBO sends more electrical power through the VRM for the Ryzen CPU to use, allowing for an additional performance boost. Both of these settings can be disabled in the BIOS, as we explore later.

In a sense, AMD Precision Boost is the factory option for overclocking that doesn’t run too much risk of damaging your PC.

Alright, But What Does AMD Precision Boost Do?

There are plenty of reasons to activate AMD Precision Boost or do another type of overclocking for your CPU. Let’s look at a few common reasons people choose to turn on AMD Precision Boost:

  1. The first thing to think about is what overclocking does. Overclocking removes the throttling that typically happens when a CPU reaches its upper limit. This allows you to get more performance and processing power by pushing your machine beyond its safe operating limits.
  2. Overclocking is often done by people looking to get the most performance possible. This could be someone working with demanding software, editing large amounts of video, or even looking to get the most performance possible out of gaming.
  3. Overclocking is also a great way to buy some more time with your current CPU. If you overclock an old CPU, you might be able to get performance numbers similar to the latest models.

How to Disable AMD Precision Boost

Turning off AMD Precision Boost is usually a straightforward process – all you need to do is enter into your system’s BIOS menu and change a few settings. The only annoyance is that different motherboard manufacturers sometimes call settings by different names.

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process, to at least disable Performance Boost Overdrive (but maybe Performance Boost as well):

  1. Enter BIOS by pressing F2, F10, F12, or DEL when your PC boots up. The key you press will depend on your specific hardware
  2. Navigate to your Advanced settings
  3. Located a setting called Performance or AMD Overclocking
  4. Select AMD Performance Boost (or AMD Performance Boost Overdrive)
  5. Change the setting to “Disabled” or “Auto”
  6. Save
  7. Exit your BIOS and reboot
The option for disabling Precision Boost Overide in the Asus B550M Plus BIOS
The option for disabling Precision Boost Overide in the Asus B550M Plus BIOS

One thing to keep in mind is that some BIOS setups have an “auto” option instead of “disabled” for AMD Performance Boost. On these PC setups, you’ll have to use “auto” instead of disabled.

If you don’t see an explicit option for “AMD Performance Boost”, this might mean that it will automatically kick in unless you set a manual clock speed. Therefore you can only ‘disable’ performance boost by enabling a manual clock speed. Let’s look at that in the next section.

How to set a Manual Clock Speed

There are two ways to set a manual clock speed with AMD hardware. There’s the easy way using AMD Radeon software the hard way using your system’s BIOS menu.

Well, it’s not really the hard way. It’s only harder in that it takes maybe ten extra keystrokes and a few extra reboots. Let’s start with the easy way to set a manual clock speed on AMD machines and work our way up from there.

  1. Right click on your desktop
  2. Open AMD Radeon Software
  3. Select Performance and Tuning from the menu
  4. You might need to accept an EULA if you haven’t already
  5. Navigate to the CPU or GPU menu depending on which you want to overclock
  6. Set your manual clock speeds
  7. Save and exit
The Overclock CPU option within AMD tuning software
The Overclock CPU option within AMD tuning software

It’s important to note that you only ever want to make small changes to your clock speed at a time. Big changes can cause serious damage if they push your PC too far. Take small steps and see how your system reacts to its new clock speed before upping the number.

Our next way of setting a manual clock speed involves entering into the BIOS. Here you will be able to alter your CPU’s clock speed by changing either the base clock speed or the multiplier.

You can change either number, but remember they stack multiplicatively. That means even small changes have big impacts on your CPU’s max clock speed.

  1. Enter your BIOS using the same steps we mentioned above
  2. Navigate to a menu title CPU Multiplier, CPU Clock, CPU Ratio, or CPU Performance. This will usually be under the Advanced settings and typically in or near Performance
  3. Increase the multiplier by one or two for starters. Remember, make small, incremental changes when overclocking
  4. Save and exit

Some other BIOS systems have an “Ai Overclock” setting that does something similar, requiring you to set the value to “Manual” before specifying the individual CPU frequencies (under the BCLK Frequency option):

Setting manual CPU clock frequency in the Asus BIOS by changing the Ai Overclock value from Auto to Manual
Setting manual CPU clock frequency in the Asus BIOS by changing the Ai Overclock value from Auto to Manual

You’ll now have a manual clock rate, AKA a DIY overlock on your system. Alternatively, you can also follow these same steps to underclock your CPU.

Underclocking saves energy, battery life, and reduces heat. Underclocking can improve performance if those three stats are the key metrics you’re using to measure the always vague “good performance” of your PC.

Why You Might Want to Disable AMD Precision Boost

You’ve heard us mention safety a few times already in this article. This might have tipped you off that there are actually a few reasons why you would want to disable AMD Precision Boost and other overclocks.

Here are a few reasons why you need to turn off AMD Precision Boost.

Optimizing Performance

The graphical quality and max FPS settings on a PC game Serious Sam 4
Setting the max FPS to “Unlimited” after overclocking always feels good!

This is one of the most compelling, and most surprising, reasons to turn off AMD Performance Boost. Whether you actually get that performance boost will depend on your PC, what software you’re running, and several other factors like the age of your hardware.

AMD Performance Boost can increase the overall efficiency of your system, but it could also hold back your performance. It all depends on what your goals are. Extra CPU power might not translate to things like higher frame rates in video games or better performance for demanding software. In fact, it could lower your performance.

The extra CPU power also creates more energy drain and higher heat. This can cause some performance problems in systems with heat mitigation issues or high energy demands. It’s worth taking a closer look at both of these issues.

Saving Power (and Lowering Heat)

The one major cost of all this boosted performance is that your PC is going to be using a lot more power and generating a lot more heat. Whether this represents a problem all depends on the specifics of your machine.

The extra energy drain probably won’t be causing too many problems for your system. However, it could be causing a problem for your energy bill at the end of every month.

The addition of heat generated by performance boost could be a major issue. Modern PCs generate far more heat than they used to. This pushes heat mitigation to its limits.

Additional heat can quickly lead to performance drops if your system isn’t ready to mitigate these higher temperatures. Disabling performance boost can help save energy and cool off an overheating PC.

Making Way for Much Bigger Overclocks

An overclocking illustration
An overclocking illustration

There is another great reason for disabling the performance boost that comes with your CPU. This onboard performance boosting is built within a few factory specifications of whatever processor you are using. In a sense, it’s not really acting as a performance boost as much as it just unlocks the max factory specs for your CPU.

This is a problem for people looking to achieve old-school overclocks. You can really push a PC past its limits with traditional overclocking. Factory-built performance boosts only open things up a little bit.

AMD Performance Boost is a little like taking the training wheels off of your PC. There’s good reason to have them on, but taking them off doesn’t necessarily make your PC ready for the races.

If you disable AMD Performance Boost, you’ll get to do your own overclocking after that. This lets you really turn up the power and push your PC well beyond its factory specifications.

DIY overclocking does come with some risks. You can easily burn out your CPU, GPU, or other components while DIY overclocking, but you also stand to see some real power gains.

What to Do When You Can’t Disable AMD Precision Boost

With certain AMD products, it’s actually impossible to fully disable AMD Precision Boost. This leads us to a problem of how we can manually control our CPU clock when we can’t turn off AMD’s built-in solutions.

The answer to this is a little complicated, but it starts with setting a manual clock speed. If you’re looking to have the net effect of disabling AMD Precision boost, you can always manually lower your clock speed by a few multiplier points. This will give the net effect of shutting it down performance boost.

What to Do After Disabling AMD Precision Boost

Now that you’ve disabled AMD Performance Boost, and maybe set your own manual clock speed, there’s a few things we need to do to ensure that our system is working safely and as intended.

Check these three things every time you make a change to your CPU clock speed.

Check Your Heat Monitor

Asus armory crate showing CPU temp at 62 degrees celsius
Asus armory crate showing CPU temp at 62 degrees celsius

The first thing you want to do is check your keep monitoring software to make sure that your CPU isn’t going overboard. Heat monitoring is critical for regular pc builds and gets more important when you start making changes like overclocking.

Keep an eye on your heat monitor as your computer idles, runs demanding software like gaming or video editing, or while running programs that are known to randomly spike RAM usage like the Chrome web browser.

Watch Your CPU Usage

You’re also going to want to keep an eye on the CPU usage. This is especially the case if you’ve underclock your CPU. Your CPU is designed to run at 100% usage, but that can cause problems for gaming and other software.

If your CPU is topping out too often, you might want to make changes to your overclock.

Check the Settings on Your Software

Another thing you can do is drop the settings on your software. This includes running fewer programs at once or lowering the settings on video games. This can ease the burden on your CPU if it turns out that your manual clock speed is too much for your system to handle.

cropped A picture of me Tristan
About Tristan Perry

Tristan has been interested in computer hardware and software since he was 10 years old. He has built loads of computers over the years, along with installing, modifying and writing software (he's a backend software developer 'by trade').

Tristan also has an academic background in technology (in Math and Computer Science), so he enjoys drilling into the deeper aspects of technology.

Tristan is also an avid PC gamer, with FFX and Rocket League being his favorite games.

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