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Windows 11 may hurt gaming performance on Ryzen chips, says AMD

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 has features that are designed to make it better for gaming than previous versions of Windows.
  • However, the new operating system seems to be struggling with some AMD processors.
  • The issues are expected to be addressed before October 2021 ends, though no hard dates have been provided.

The Windows 11 launch continues to fade further and further away in the rearview mirror. And though some of the first wave of Windows 11's best features are dedicated to gaming, it looks like that won't be enough to counteract the fact that the operating system may also be causing some gaming issues of its own. Specifically with Ryzen chips (though other AMD W11-friendly chips are included; check AMD's documentation).

AMD has a support page outlining the known issues it's willing to discuss at the current juncture. Here are some key bullet points from the page:

  • Applications sensitive to memory subsystem access time may be impacted.
  • Expected performance impact of 3-5% in affected applications, 10-15% outliers possible in games commonly used for eSports.

"Games commonly used for eSports" is a bit vague, but you can imagine the variety. CS:GO, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six: Siege all fit that descriptor. And those aren't the only applications affected by the issues.

  • Applications sensitive to the performance of one or a few CPU threads may exhibit reduced performance.
  • Performance impact may be more detectable in >8-core processors above 65W TDP.

Both AMD and Microsoft are on the case, according to the support page, and fixes for all these issues should be arriving by the end of October. However, exact dates for fixes have not been provided yet. In the event you're on the fence about upgrading and care about maximizing your rig's gaming performance, it may be best to hold off until these issues are resolved.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

25 Comments
  • This is why people were making calls for longer test periods. How is this NOW being acknowledged
  • For what it is worth, performance on my Ryzen 4800H laptop seems the same for games I am playing, scores for 3dmark have actually gone up for me.
  • I'm finding Windows 11 snappier overall. (just annoying interface issues now, like not being able to disable stuff being rammed down my throught, recommended and news for e.g.)
  • Does updating the cpu chipset firmware actually help though?
  • Not much info really. Which processors are impacted? Is it all recent ones or really just 8 core ones? Glad a fix is upcoming
  • in order to improve security performance, you're going to take a performance hit. Now that these security features are standard, CPU and GPU companies can add hardware so that the performance hit goes away. Windows 11 (and also Windows 10!) uses virtualization-based security, or VBS, to isolate parts of system memory from the rest of the system. VBS includes an optional feature called "memory integrity." That's the more user-friendly name for something called Hypervisor-protected code integrity, or HVCI. HVCI can be enabled on any Windows 10 PC that doesn't have driver incompatibility issues, but older computers will incur a significant performance penalty because their processors don't support mode-based execution control, or MBEC. MBEC support is only included in relatively new processors, starting with the Kaby Lake and Skylake-X architectures on Intel's side, and the Zen 2 architecture on AMD's side. It's easiest to think of MBEC as hardware acceleration for the memory integrity feature, sort of like how AES-NI instructions sped up encryption operations a decade or so ago. Computers without AES-NI can still use BitLocker drive encryption, for example, it just comes with a more noticeable performance penalty. The same thing is true of the memory integrity feature and MBEC—PCs without processors that support MBEC rely on software emulation called "Restricted User Mode," which does get you the security benefits but affects performance more. Some users who have tested the HVCI feature in Windows 10 on processors without MBEC support have noticed performance reductions of up to 40 percent, though this will depend on the tasks you're doing and the computer you're using. I don't know if people remember the old days where there was a transition from 16-bit color to 32-bit color with GPUs. the early Nvidia GPUs supported 32-bit but games were massively impacted. but eventually 32-bit color games did not have that massive hit and then companies like 3dfx died. and right now, raytracing have a big impact on performance but eventually, it won't be. same thing as hardware manufacturers develop their CPUs and GPUs to handle these security requirements better.
  • Nope. The VBS and HVCI issue (MBEC actually helps with HVCI) is different from the L3 issue and the UEFI CPPC2 (“preferred core”) to which this post refers.
  • I may have experienced this today. I recently upgraded my desktop system to a Ryzen 7 5800X and a Radeon RX 6700 XT and I've installed a few games on it but only played two so far. I installed Windows 11 a week or so ago, as the machine is in the Insider Release Preview channel and I played Obduction today. I experienced some stuttering, but I've played the same game and also F.E.A.R. since installing Windows 11 without any noticeable issues. Might have been something else at play.
  • So, potential edge cases discovered, fixes in the works for this month... I'd say this is a rather smooth launch. I've been playing Flight Simulator and if anything, it's gotten faster in Windows 11...
  • On the whole, yeah, it hasn't been a rocky launch.
  • None of the three people, that had upgrade pushed to them, complained? I mean, seriously, take a look at the Feedback Hub and see how many issues are *NOT* being addressed since the beginning of the Insider rollout. The only "normal" people exposed to Windows 11 are the ones, who bought new computer yesterday.
  • I think you need to reconsider what "normal" people are...
  • You are absolutely correct -- I need to provide a definition if I am using a generic term. For the purpose of this discussion, I consider "normal" those people who will do major OS upgrade only if it is aggressively pushed to them by the OS vendor. People on the Insider channel, those using media creation tool and even those who will go to Windows Update menu and click on the optional updates are not "normal" for the purpose of this discussion. Before you ask -- I run multiple Insiders' channels and actively provide feedback to Microsoft (for as much good as it does), so, by my own definition I am *NOT* "normal".
  • I noticed my system stability took a hit after the upgrade. Running a Ryzen 5 2600x, had to remove all overclocking to get my games to stop crashing every 10 minutes.
  • Even if it doesn't crash, gaming on Windows 11 is 5-15% slower using AMD hardware, so you should not be upgrading to Windows 11 on any gaming machine. Same for content creators. These people should absolutely no be upgrading to Windows 11.
  • It's not a blanket statement as you're writing it
  • Yes. It is.
  • Windows 11 uses virtualization-based security, or VBS, to isolate parts of system memory from the rest of the system. Older computers will incur a significant performance penalty because their processors don't support MBEC. HVCI can be enabled on any Windows 10 PC that doesn't have driver incompatibility issues.
    Read more: https://animefillerlists.net/
  • What does this have to do with older CPUs? This also affects Ryzen 3/4/5000 CPUs - particularly those with 8 or more Cores. Why do you people even bother posting comments, if you don't even bother to read the referenced documentation describing the issue?
  • Agreed.
    The VBS and HVCI issue (MBEC actually helps with HVCI) is different from the L3 issue and the UEFI CPPC2 (“preferred core”) to which this post refers.
  • On my 4700G I noticed temps are up 20C or so, and it appears there is no more Ryzen power profile even after installing the latest chipset drivers Other than that it's smooth sailing, but that's a pretty big caveat.
  • I have no idea why I keep calling this a 4700G when it's a 5700G but I do, over and over
  • Thanks, Insiders! You guys do such a bang-up job... /s
  • Just out of curiosity... did you check the Feedback Hub for this issue being reported. It would not surprise me if it was.
  • Not noticed any issues personally. I have 5600x and 6800xt