back to article AMD confirms Ryzen chips' stuttering performance on Windows 10, 11

AMD has confirmed there is a performance problem with some of its Zen-family processors and Microsoft's operating systems. Reports of stuttering performance under Windows 10 and 11 on some Ryzen systems have been rumbling for a while now and it appears the problem is lurking within Firmware Trusted Platform Module (fTPM) used …

  1. badflorist

    Everything must lock, ask for the key.

    I don't believe baking in TMP anything into a CPU should be a requirement, seems more like a feature I wouldn't pay for.

    There's so much you don't control over a modern CPU that maybe the point is to force everyone to the "cloud" so you don't have to worry about control.

    1. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: Everything must lock, ask for the key.

      @badflorist “I don't believe baking in TMP anything into a CPU should be a requirement”

      As far as I can see it is not a requirement for Windows 10 or 11 that TMP is on the CPU. Windows 11 does require TMP 2, but there are multiple ways to implement it not just on the CPU. One way is a Discrete TPM (dedicated chip), I have a TMP 2 one plugged into the motherboard of my PC running Windows 11.

      So, unless I am missing something there is no need to bake it into the CPU when the latest motherboards support Discrete TPM 2. Surely it would be preferable not to when it can be a chip on the motherboard, leaving the choice of having TMP up to us.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Everything must lock, ask for the key.

        A cost issue, of course. Allows the system to be made cheaper if a separate TPM chip is not needed. Now that Windows 11 requires it, it is an easy prediction that within a year or two, all x86 CPU:s will have built-in TPM.

  2. gerryg

    If you ever needed to understand the importance of "open"

    TPM might be advertised or even intended to ward off miscreants (sic) but the effective consequences are that you have even less control of your "stuff" than previously.

    It really depends on your definition of miscreant to decide if TPM is a good idea.

    1. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: If you ever needed to understand the importance of "open"

      Is this the 'feature' that can be used to lock a CPU to a system and render it unusable in anything else ever again. Because I was reading recently how either Dell/Lenovo/HP were doing exactly this with their systems regardless of it was asked for or required by the purchaser.

      1. RedeemRed

        Re: If you ever needed to understand the importance of "open"

        What you’re thinking of is the similarly named PSB “Platform Secure Boot” which locks a CPU to the motherboard. TPM is used to store disk encryption secrets so that you don’t have to fill in any extra prompts for passwords as far as I’m aware.

        1. The Dogs Meevonks

          Re: If you ever needed to understand the importance of "open"

          Cheers, I'm slowly losing touch with some tech terms as I'm moving away from the industry and looking to move to somewhere more rural.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    For my education

    is the TPM supported/available/required in Linux systems? Or do they just ignore it?

    1. gerryg

      Re: For my education

      https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Trusted_Platform_Module

    2. Tomato42

      Re: For my education

      Unless you take explicit steps to use it, TPM is simply ignored by Linux and Linux software.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: For my education

      The TPM can be accessed, but it is not required by anything and no distro I know of uses it by default. You can always add software that's going to use it subject to compatibility, but otherwise it will be ignored.

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: For my education

      Might be useful in throttling the CPU should it get too hot?

    5. JamesTGrant

      Re: For my education

      If you’re doing something that requires key generation and key storage then it’s pretty handy (ie; encryption). Assuming that you and your customers trust it more than the alternative (which is HDD based)

      1. Tomato42

        Re: For my education

        except the only thing it's good for is binding the HDD/SSD to the mainboard

        dunno about you, but I find the possibility of the whole computer being stolen far higher than just the HDDs being nicked

  4. Daniel von Asmuth

    Yuck.

    How could you run real-time software on a CPU that is likely to stall for milliseconds and more?

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Yuck.

      Obviously you can't.

    2. Jim Mitchell

      Re: Yuck.

      You are probably not running real-time software on Windows in the first place.

      1. 502 bad gateway

        Re: Yuck.

        Does pro-audio stuff on windows require a

        real time kernel? I know on Linux a real time kernel is recommended for such workloads

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Yuck.

        Some audio / video related workloads would count as real time. Mac is very popular in that space, but people also use Windows.

        1. gunshit

          Re: Yuck.

          LeL, please read below comments in order to understand real time OS's

          Regards

      3. Wayland

        Re: Yuck.

        Any computer where the user is sitting in front of it making it do things is real time. The alternative is batch processing where the job gets done when it gets done. I really hate any delay when I'm using my computer. Obviously gaming is real time as is CNC and audio work. However even typing should be considered real time because any perceptible delay between hitting the key and the character appearing is irritating.

        1. tip pc Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Yuck.

          @wayland I'm not sure you understand what a real-time operating system is.

          Any computer where the user is sitting in front of it making it do things is real time. The alternative is batch processing where the job gets done when it gets done. I really hate any delay when I'm using my computer. Obviously gaming is real time as is CNC and audio work. However even typing should be considered real time because any perceptible delay between hitting the key and the character appearing is irritating.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_operating_system

          A real-time operating system (RTOS) is an operating system (OS) for real-time applications that processes data and events that have critically defined time constraints. An RTOS is distinct from a time sharing operating system, such as Unix, which manages the sharing of system resources with a scheduler, data buffers, or fixed task prioritization in a multitasking or multiprogramming environment. Processing time requirements need to be fully understood and bound rather than just kept as a minimum. All processing must occur within the defined constraints. Real-time operating systems are event-driven and preemptive, meaning the OS is capable of monitoring the relevant priority of completing tasks, and make changes to the task priority. Event-driven systems switch between tasks based on their priorities, while time-sharing systems switch the task based on clock interrupts.

          1. ewanm89

            Re: Yuck.

            Should also be noted, to be truly realtime, x86 is not the right architecture as it has certain interrupts and such that can cause time bound violations. There are dedicated architectures for true realtime systems.

        2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: Yuck.

          A real-time system does not necessarily have to be fast but timing has to be bounded and predictable. So a system can be real-time but still to slow for gaming.

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: Yuck.

            I recall being told that a payroll system has all the attributes of a real time system, though the actual schedule is relatively slow.

        3. Jim Mitchell

          Re: Yuck.

          You mean "interactive", not "real time". Batch processing is a non-interactive workload, processing based on user input while running is interactive. Neither is necessarily real-time.

          One could argue that a system that guarantees a defined set of batch workload will be done within a certain window of time is a real-time system, but that is not how the term is usually used.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Yuck.

      If you need real time software, you use a real time OS. Windows and Linux aren't that. This objection is not new to this CPU or this version of Windows or this TPM bit. Run your RTOS where you need its behavior.

      1. JassMan Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Yuck.

        "If you need real time software, you use a real time OS. Windows and Linux aren't that. "

        Is not exactly true. While there is no Real Time Windows, there is certainly a Real Time version of Linux called RTLinux

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Yuck.

          Valid, but that is still a distinct version and chosen particularly by people who require the behavior. Normal Linux is not an RTOS and anyone who requires one should know or learn about the distinction.

        2. ewanm89

          Re: Yuck.

          It is as close as Linux can get, it is still not quite truly a RTOS and the x86 can not run a true realtime system. An RTLinux developers haa a linuxconf.au talk which said this in the introduction a few years ago.

    4. FuzzyTheBear

      Re: Yuck. : a real paper

      to those who'd like to understand :

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/216505807_Low-Latency_Audio_on_Linux_by_Means_of_Real-Time_Scheduling I use this in my studio setup. It makes all the difference on the planet. Main computer audio workstation is a Ryzen .

    5. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Yuck.

      "How could you run real-time software on a CPU that is likely to stall for milliseconds and more?"

      How could you run real time software reliably on any Windows system? We've tried (hard) and it's never really real time. Bare metal is the only real option.

      1. ewanm89

        Re: Yuck.

        Realtime means something different in computer science, it is more about predictability. I know that for x records it will take y seconds to process, a network packet coming in will not trigger an interupt that changes that. Paging will not change that....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make the bios read-only without a specific key and password. You set the password when you set it up stored it the bios correctly. No backdoors and no cheat sheets. Reset yes but get that to reinstall the initial bios. Adjust the OS to use some of the security measures now in place such as containers.

    No TPM needed.

    Maybe I'm missing something but this doesn't seem difficult to me to do that without introducing secret code. Happy to listen to other thoughts on this subject as I'm genuinely curious.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      The TPM is used for more than just locking access to the BIOS. It exists to provide some processing and cryptographic information that is resistant to tampering for multiple levels of firmware and software. It is useful in obtaining that goal, despite having other downsides and many users not needing it. It is more complex than a BIOS lock.

    2. Chris Coles

      Missing Something?

      "Maybe I'm missing something but this doesn't seem difficult to me to do that without introducing secret code. Happy to listen to other thoughts on this subject as I'm genuinely curious."

      Surely that is the most important question of all; why TPM? What is the true function?

      On my part, I grew up with DOS, and as I worked my way forward it became very clear that Microsoft, as others, came to realise that they could do something , no previous business could have done; climb through the window of EVERY previous purchaser, and destroy the previous product that they had sold to the customer. Imagine, every piece of fine china, for example, bought and used in a family setting, one morning . . . suddenly smashed to pieces . . .

      My belief is that the TPM function is to reinforce that function with ANY earlier example of their own software, as well as making it impossible to use ANY software that they have defined as being competitive to their perceived market. That today, they have not one jot of interest in accepting the rules of a free market; that their intent is to use such functions to destroy a free market and replace it with a monopoly.

      1. Wayland

        Re: Missing Something?

        I agree, it's a power grab but they just want the option to smash up all your stuff, not that they will do it yet. Nothing would be as simple as just being a power grab, TPM will perform some vital function that regulatory authorities will insist on. Want to use credit cards in your business, well you must have TPM. They already stiff people for something called PCI where they port scan your router and charge you £40 for the privilege every year.

        This is really quite insidious and although I don't like the EU it will probably be the EU who put a halt to it. Once they realise the power Microsoft are grabbing for themselves they will not want to share their power with MS.

        Microsoft is having to re-invent itself. They are in the process of trying to make themselves essential, not from the perspective that they are wonderful but that they are mandated. Clearly with the Steam Deck their days as gaming PC king are numbered. It's only a few stubborn programs that are keeping them essential.

      2. stewwy

        Also valuable

        It is almost guaranteed that in the near future the UK government will have the brilliant idea of a database of people's secret TPM code, entry into which is required for porn access ''to protect the children''

    3. Jon 37

      One real use of a TPM is whole disk encryption on laptops.

      Used to be, if you encrypted the whole disk, then you had to type a password on boot, and that password would decrypt the disk.

      If you just put that password somewhere, then a hacker would read it from wherever you left it.

      With TPM, you can store the password in the TPM chip, and do "Secure Boot". The TPM chip monitors every step of the boot process, to ensure you're booting your normal BIOS and normal OS. If so, it decrypts the disk for you. If not, then it refuses to give up the key.

      This means that an attacker can't get the key to decrypt the disk easily. I mean, everything is possible if you have enough time and money, or if you have an exploit, or if the OS or software has been configured insecurely. Your security only has to be good enough to defeat a realistic attacker.

      This is clearly not as good as typing in the long memorised password on every boot. But normal people didn't do that. And it's a lot better than an unencrypted disk or a post-it note with the password stuck to the laptop.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Oh. I thought it was Intel's fault ...

    ... that Windows on Ryzen sucked.

    Something about some conspiracy involving Intel and Microsoft, or some such.

    Yeah, also: about that legendary AMD openness. Or something. Trusted Platform Module.

    Please follow-up with some dark conspiracy theory about AMD, NSA and Intel (the corporation, not the activity).

    1. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

      Re: Oh. I thought it was Intel's fault ...

      They did fix the previous sucky issues. One fix was a patch, the other a driver update.

      https://www.amd.com/en/support/kb/faq/pa-400

  7. Robert Grant Silver badge

    > just enough to be slightly irritating for productivity workloads

    For "productivity workloads", read "office work".

    Concepts and reasoning are hard. Make words easy again.

    1. scasey

      For 'office work' read 'just using your computer'.

      I use PCs for CNC, real time audio, CAD, actual 'work' and just personal stuff. I've had issues occasionally through my computer-using life where the mouse pointer briefly freezes and/or the keyboard doesn't respond. Even if this is for a lot less than a second, it's infuriating. Even if just typing an email.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What else is going on?

    Quote: "....Reports of stuttering performance ...."

    (Q1): So.......there is some way of monitoring a multi-gigahertz clocked processor, with multiple CPUs....to find out what is ACTUALLY happening during the "stutter"?

    Could the chip be "phoning home"........as well as choking on some security feature? After all....this happens in M$ code!!

    I think we should be told!!!

    P.S. Q1 is actually a serious question!!

    Another Quote (William Burroughs): "The paranoid is a person who knows a little of what is going on."

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: What else is going on?

      "(Q1): So.......there is some way of monitoring a multi-gigahertz clocked processor, with multiple CPUs....to find out what is ACTUALLY happening during the "stutter"?"

      Yes. There are many ways to do it. I'm sure they have a virtual version that makes it really easy, but they can also do it with testing hardware. Did you expect it to be impossible? Especially for the people who designed the processor? Especially when they want to fix the problem so they can sell more of them? Why does this surprise you?

      "Could the chip be "phoning home"........as well as choking on some security feature? After all....this happens in M$ code!!"

      Well, since you could read what it was and understand it, you could answer that question already. Short version, not what's happening this time.

  9. Rich 2

    Windows, TPM and Cheese

    Amazing that Windows is the only OS in existence (as far as I know) that uses this super-duper ultra-secure thingie….

    …. And yet still remains the pile of steaming insecure Swiss cheese shite that it is - in fact, probably the LEAST secure OS in common use. Every other OS is MORE secure without it! What is the f***ing point?

    The point is probably to implement some DRM or other that someone is cooking up. I can’t think of any useful (or likely) application for it.

    1. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: Windows, TPM and Cheese

      @Rich 2 "Amazing that Windows is the only OS in existence (as far as I know) that uses this super-duper ultra-secure thingie…."

      That's not entirely true Google Chromebooks use a TPM chip as part of their Verified Boot before it will load the Chrome system.

      But I think you are right about DRM I think that is a big reason for implementing TPM.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Windows, TPM and Cheese

      "I can’t think of any useful (or likely) application for it."

      Well, the one that is in use on millions of computers already is full-disk encryption with verification of boot and OS. Which is also available on Linux. Maybe it's useful to know what it is and does before you proclaim that it can't have any legitimate use.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows, TPM and Cheese

      Macs have the secure enclave which has a similar function.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this AMD processor gives my AI assistant a shudder will it qualify for disability benefits?

  11. xyz123 Bronze badge

    TPM can be abused. it's basically Microsoft/Intel's "permanent ID number" fiasco all over again.

    Essentially Intels system could track you based on a serial number ID built INTO the processor. And thus they and Microsoft planned to track everyones web usage on every single website forever.

    They abandoned the idea when there was a massive privacy backlash, but every few years they trot the same spy-tech out.

    Proton and the TPM being mandatory are basically the exact same thing again, as TPM data can be exploited mathematically to ID you whatever website you're on and build up a history which will let people find out who you are.

    Then your data can be quietly sold off.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Mushroom

      CPU s/n

      "Essentially Intels system could track you based on a serial number ID built INTO the processor. And thus they and Microsoft planned to track everyones web usage on every single website forever."

      Also, any references for the Micros~1 part in this grand conspiracy?

      Utter nonsense, except for the fact that Pentium III did have the serial number "feature" available for a while. The feature has now crept back to Intel and AMD CPUs several years ago, and no-one seems to be bothered with it anymore.

      You do know that your computer motherboard has a unique serial number itself which can be very easily retrieved with dmidecode in Linux or with wmic bios get serialnumber in Windows CLI. (along with many other identifying stuff such as storage device serial numbers and such.

  12. pie.slapper

    Just 10 & 11? Cool, I'm still good with my XT setup then.

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