HWiNFO Introduces Power Reporting Deviation Metric for Exposing Potential Motherboard Trickery

Image: AMD

The latest beta of HWiNFO (v6.27-4185) includes a new metric for AMD Ryzen processors called Power Reporting Deviation, which will show users how far off their CPUs’ power usage is from baseline. This feature was implemented because certain motherboards have allegedly been leveraging an exploit that tricks Ryzen chips into thinking that they’re consuming less power, which allows them to break spec for extra performance.

This is particularly worrisome because it could have an effect on the longevity of the CPU. “The issue with using this exploit is, that it messes up the power management of the CPU and potentially also decreases its lifespan because it is running the CPU outside the spec, in some cases by a vast margin,” wrote famed overclocker The Stilt, who also provided the following TLDR on the potential behind-the-scenes shenanigans:

Some motherboard manufacturers intentionally declare an incorrect (too small) motherboard specific reference value in AGESA. Since AM4 Ryzen CPUs rely on telemetry sourced from the motherboard VRM to determine their power consumption, declaring an incorrect reference value will affect the power consumption seen by the CPU. For instance, if the motherboard manufacturer would declare 50% of the correct value, the CPU would think it consumes half the power than it actually does. In this case, the CPU would allow itself to consume twice the power of its set power limits, even when at stock. It allows the CPU to clock higher due to the effectively lifted power limits however, it also makes the CPU to run hotter and potentially negatively affects its life-span, same ways as overclocking does. The difference compared to overclocking or using AMD PBO, is that this is done completely clandestine and that in the past, there has been no way for most of the end-users to detect it, or react to it.

Recent News