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After exchanging notes with a few fellow reviewers, I'm confident I've been able to get the most from these processors. AMD suggests that 4.2GHz with the 1800X should be possible at an incredible 1.45 volts. They don't recommend this voltage for daily use though, as it will reduce the life of the processor. The company suggests 1.35 volts for daily driving but didn't mention the clock speed at that voltage.
My 1800X did not run stable at 4.2GHz using 1.45v. The highest clock I could achieve was 4.1GHz and I was able to leave the voltage on auto, which saw the motherboard boosting it to around 1.35v when under load.
The 1700X didn't make 4.1GHz but I was able to get it up to 3.95GHz. Speaking with Bryan from Tech City, he also found 3.95GHz to be the limit for his 1700X chip and he spent quite a bit more time than I did trying to push it further, so this is the likely end of the road when air-cooling.
Most of my overclocking was done at the BIOS level, however AMD does offer a Windows utility called "AMD Ryzen Master" that also works well and seems easy for novice users to navigate. Adjusting the clock multiplier for all cores or individual cores can be done quickly on the fly, though changing memory settings or disabling cores requires a reset.
The overclock pushed the 1800X to an impressive multi-threaded score of 1771pts, which works out to be a 9% performance bump. The 1700X enjoyed a 10% boost with a score of 1687pts.
Here we see that the 7-Zip performance of the 1800X has been increased by 6% while the 1700X found an additional 9% performance. That puts the overclocked 1700X ahead of the stock 1800X and as you might have expected, well ahead of the 4.9 GHz 7700K in this test.
Excel buffs are going to love an overclocked Ryzen 7 CPU. Prepare to organize and manipulate data at a rate previously unimaginable for $500 or less. Overclocked, the 1700X matches the 5960X while the 1800X completes the workload in nearly two seconds flat.
Overclocked, the 1700X boosts Battlefield 1's minimum frame rate by 6% to match the performance of the stock 1800X, while overclocking the 1800X only increased its minimum frame rate by 4% – albeit an extra 4% on what was already an impressive result, but we still wish the average frame rate was pushed further.