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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Linux AMD Ryzen PC Builds: Part 1

Thanksgiving is almost here and I just saw that AMD's Ryzen chips dropped in price ahead of Black Friday. However, I noticed there is very little info on the web about complete Ryzen builds based on GNU+Linux. 

I have built three Ryzen builds since June of this year. I will talk about the hits and misses in my 4 part post. Since I am a GNU/Linux user I build with ASRock motherboards. We are able to update the BIOS via USB flash drive by locating the BIOS flash file inside of the BIOS itself. GNU/Linux users can also BIOS flash updates via the Internet on an ASRock board. No OS needed. I only use B350 chipsets because I get more for my money. Most of you will be fine with B350, and would only need X370 for multi-GPU setups. A320 does not allow overclocking where B350 and X370 do. 

No matter which motherboard chipset you choose, it should last you a nice long time. Intel tends to change chipsets every other CPU generation but AMD is planning to support the AM4 platform through 2020.

Build 1

ASRock AB350 Pro4 (BIOS 2.60  6/9/2017) 
G.SKILL Flare X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) (F4-3200C14D-16GFX) 

Build 2

ASRock AB350M Pro4  (BIOS 3.00  7/18/2017)  
Patriot Viper Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 2400MHz (PVE48G240C5KRD) 

Build 3 

ASRock AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac (BIOS 3.10 9/6/2017)
Patriot Viper Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 2400MHz (PVE48G240C5KRD)

CPU/APUs I used were: (all with stocked coolers)

AMD RYZEN 7 1700 8-cores,16-threads
AMD RYZEN 5 1600 6-core,12-threads 
AMD RYZEN 3 1200 4-core,4-threads
AMD Excavator v2 (Non-RYZEN) A12-9800 2-core,2-threads 8 GPU 1108 MHz Radeon R7 Series

Note: The AMD Ryzen 3 1200 comes with a bundled AMD Wraith Stealth cooler. This is a lower-end and lower-performance cooler.  The Wraith Spire that comes with the Ryzen 5 1600 and 7 1700.

My personal build (Build 2) uses a relatively budget motherboard, low-end CPU, and a cheap case, opting to spend money on the best (budget) options in the SSD category. It will boot up and load web browsers and productivity programs quickly, and perform well enough in the Steam games I play like Dreamfall chapters and Left 4 Dead 2. Now my build will not let me play games in 1440p or 2160p, but my upgrade options in the future are unlimited. AMD is planning to support the AM4 platform through 2020.

CPU AMD RYZEN 3 1200 4-Core 3.1 GHz (3.4 GHz Turbo) 
GPU Sapphire Radeon PULSE RX 560 4GB video card
RAM Patriot Viper Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 2400MHz  (PVE48G240C5KRD) 
MOTHERBOARD ASRock AB350M Pro4  (BIOS 3.00 7/18/2017)
STORAGE  Intel 545s Series 2.5" 256GB (SSDSC2K W256G8X1)+WB Blue 1TB 7200 RPM (WD10EZEX)
SOUND Onboard
NETWORK  Onboard (wired gigabit Ethernet)
PSU    EVGA 450 B3, 80 Plus BRONZE 450W, Fully Modular 
CASE   MasterBox Lite 3 (MCW-L3S2-KN5N)
Case fan 2 be quiet! BL070 SILENTWINGS 3 PWM

Note: I am not against Intel builds. I have an Intel Pentium G4560 (Kaby Lake) system plus a prebuilt HP ProDesk 400 G1 MT Intel Core i7 (Haswell) 4770 based system.

Distros that worked with my AMD Ryzen builds in no particular order:

Ubuntu 17.10
Kubuntu 17.10
Ubuntu 16.04.3
Debian 9.2
Debian sid
Fedora 27
openSUSE Tumbleweed
SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Beta 1
SteamOS Brewmaster release 2.121 
Arch Linux
Void Linux
Zorin OS
KDE neon


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