Ultimate? Performance? Balance? Picking a power setting shouldn’t feel like deciding between the character stats of the latest RPG. What’s the difference between these Ryzen power plans anyway?
Ryzen offers three basic power plans: Balanced, High Performance, and Ultimate. Balanced works on saving energy and lowering heat, High Performance opens up the clock speed for faster processing, and Ultimate builds on high performance to deliver even faster speeds. The “best” power plan is the one that helps you achieve your definition of “good” performance whether that’s power savings or max speed.
Let’s get your PC working with the optimal power setting for your needs!
What Are The Different Ryzen Power Plans?
Let’s quickly run through the difference between the three Ryzen power plans that you’ll find on your Windows PC.
Ryzen High Performance Power Plan
The Ryzen High Performance power plan is the old-school approach to delivering more power for people using demanding software. This power plan works by having all of your cores working at their maximum clock speed.
This is an ideal power solution for people who need constant, high-power for extremely demanding software.
Ryzen Balanced Power Plan
The Ryzen balanced power plan focuses on saving energy. This plan is still fully capable of playing video games and using high-end software, but it’s not going to deliver the raw power that the other options on this list are capable of achieving.
The Ryzen balanced power plan is the perfect choice for people who want to keep the noise, heat, and power consumption down.
Ryzen Ultimate Power Plan
The Ryzen ultimate power plan is the experimental, new addition to the rising power plan family. This power plan works to eliminate some of the smallest and efficiencies in your computer to deliver the fastest possible response times across the board.
You might not even notice the subtlety of the performance gains from the Ryzen ultimate power setting. That makes this setting an ideal choice for people who use software that has a very high level of demand. Even most modern gaming isn’t demanding enough to justify the Ryzen ultimate power plan on many PCs.
Which Ryzen Power Plans Are Default On Windows
Only a few of the Ryzen Power Plans will be default on your Windows PC. It all depends on your specific PC build, but Ryzen Balanced and Ryzen Performance are often available by default on Windows computers. You can use the command prompt to enable Ryzen Ultimate if it is not otherwise available.
You might also need to download the right drivers for your chipset to get these power settings working properly on your PC. We’ll cover these how-to tutorials later in the article.
Does Intel Also Offer Power Plans?
Intel offers various power plan options just like Ryzen and other CPU manufacturers. In fact, Windows computers used to favor Intel plans to the point where they would incidentally limit the overall power efficiency of AMD technology. The long rivalry between these companies is well-known, but it does appear that everyone seems to let other power plans work as intended these days.
Which Ryzen Power Plan Is “Best”
Whether you’re using Ryzen or Intel, the best power plan for you is going to depend entirely on the type of performance you’re looking to improve on.
The balanced power setting is going to be ideal for people who value energy-savings and thermal efficiency more than anything else. You’ll still be able to do some top-tier gaming on the balanced setting as well as video and music editing.
Performance and Ultimate power settings are ideal for people who want to squeeze out every bit of performance they can while disregarding any concern for battery life, energy use, or thermal efficiency. These modes can be great especially when it comes to using demanding software such as video editing.
We do need to talk about how all of these Windows settings can impact gaming. While the Performance and Ultimate settings can definitely get a few more frames per second going, you might not even notice much of an overall difference while playing your favorite games.
Picking the best power plan all comes down to how you want to measure the efficiency of your PC.
Ryzen High Performance Power Plan
The Ryzen High Performance Power Plan is now the middle child between the balanced and ultimate options. It’s not quite the highest, but it certainly isn’t a “energy saving” choice. This is a solid option for people who always want to be on a high-power setting, but who also don’t have a need for the Ultimate Power Plan.
The Ryzen High Performance Power Plan is also a bit odd. It keeps your clock speeds high, but how that translates into better performance is very case dependent. You may or may not even notice that you have this high-powered setting on.
- Clock speeds are alway high and ready to go
- Improves latency and allows you to jump into high-demand processing faster
- Generates lots of heat
- Hard to notice the performance gains
- A bit of an awkward community reception
Ryzen Balanced Power Plan
The balanced power plan tries to level off power with energy consumption. This is ideal for people who don’t always need maximum power, but also want to be able to shift into high gear at a moment’s notice.
Ryzen’s Balanced Power Plan has a bit of a mixed reception owing to its awkward history. However, it is still a contender even though it has a dodgy past.
- When you need to save on energy, but still be ready to pick up the pace
- Often better than Windows default and balance plans
- Uses your CPU cores better than the default Windows balanced plan
- Not always better than the default Windows balanced plan
- History of bugs (even though they are typically fixed quickly)
Ryzen Ultimate Power Plan
This is the pinnacle of Ryzen’s power plans. This gives your machine as much power as it needs the exact moment that it needs it. However, all this power does come at a cost.
- Works to reduce or eliminate micro latencies caused by hardware polling
- Offers the most power to your machine
- Will show notable improvement while running high-demand software
- Your system will go through considerable power drain
- Can kill batteries faster (if it’s a laptop)
- Not enabled on every device
- Gaming gets the least from this type of power optimization
How Do You Enable The Ryzen High Or Balanced Plan?
There is a fairly straightforward way to enable any of the Ryzen power plans on your PC. It turns out that they all live in your settings and you can freely toggle between them.
Here’s how you can quickly access the different Ryzen power plans.
- Open Settings
- Select System
- Click on Power & Sleep
- Select Additional Power Settings (see below)
- Select your power plan of choice
- Click on “Show Additional Plans” to see even more options
What should you do if the Ryzen power plans don’t appear in this settings menu? Well, all that means is that your hardware doesn’t have the right drivers to have these settings displayed.
Here’s how you can get Ryzen power plans to appear on your Windows PC.
- Head over to the AMD Drivers and Support web page
- Use the drop down menus to find your chipset
- Select your chipset
- Download the drivers for your chipset
- Run the ADM drive installer
- Make sure to check the box next to “AMD Ryzen Power Plan”
- Click Install
- Restart your computer
- Follow the regular steps for adjusting your Power Plan listed above
Why Isn’t The Ultimate Power Plan Appearing?
Not every device has Ultimate Power enabled by default. In fact, this setting was really only ever meant for high-end PCs. This means that you might not even see the Ultimate Power option when you try to change your power settings.
It’s mostly laptops and other battery-powered devices that don’t have access to the Ultimate Power Plan, but even some PC builds lack this option. However, there’s good news if you wanted to get the Ultimate Power Plan even though the option doesn’t appear.
All you need to do is to open the command prompt and run it with administrator privileges. Then, you enter a quick command and your setting should appear the next time you open the menu.
Here’s how it’s done.
- Click Start
- Type “cmd” into the search bar
- Right click on Command Prompt
- Select “Run as Administrator” (see below)
- Copy, Paste, and Enter: powercfg -duplicatescheme e9a42b02-d5df-448d-aa00-03f14749eb61 (see below)
- Ultimate Power should now appear as an option
To run command prompt as administrator:
The exact command is below, which then adds the “Ultimate” power plan once you close and re-open the Windows “power plan” window: