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GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Linux AMD Ryzen PC Builds: Part 3

Part 3 is going to be a little bit longer than part one and part two. I am just trying to fully document my journey because when I was researching the process, there just aren’t many YouTubers or websites out there that discuss building GNU/ Linux systems.

Build 1: Is a PC I build for a friend back in like July. So I didn't get a chance to work with it for more than a few days. It is also a Dual boot system running Manjaro Deepin 17 Linux alongside Windows 10.

Manjaro Linux is an Arch Linux-based desktop distribution. Like its Arch, Manjaro features a rolling release approach to software updates which provides its users with the most up to date applications. The main advantage with a dual-boot setup on your computer is that enables you to run two different operating systems without affecting each installation configurations. Make sure you install Linux on your system after Windows is already installed. So, if you have an empty hard drive/partition, install Windows first, then Linux. If you already have Windows installed, you’re clear to install Linux. When you install Windows after Linux, Windows ignores Linux, doesn’t know how to resize its partitions, and overwrites the Linux boot loader with its own. Linux gives you easy access to your Windows files, and you should see your Windows partition appear in your Linux desktop’s file manager so you can easily browse and access your Windows files. Windows don’t provide easy access to Linux file systems. Most Linux distributions use the ext4 file system, so you’ll need a third-party utility that supports ext4 file systems on Windows if you want to access your Linux file system from Windows.

The Ryzen 7 1700 is a little bit different than the Ryzen 3 1200. Because of the number of logical cores on the CPU, the Ryzen R7 series is a multitasking monster. Because there are 8 cores and 16 threads, 3D modeling and rendering programs like AutoCAD and Solidworks, Photo and video editing apps Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premier and iMovie or Scientific simulation software like MATLAB do really well with as many cores as you can give them. So if your some kind of content creator, you need a Ryzen 7. If not the Ryzen 3 1200 is by far the best value for money. It is far beyond adequate for the everyday routine of checking emails, browsing the web, gaming and watching a video.

Build 1

CPU AMD Ryzen 7 1700 8 Cores & 16 Threads 3.0 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo)
GPU GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1050ti GV-N105TD5-4GD 4GB
RAM G.SKILL Flare X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) (F4-3200C14D-16GFX)
MOTHERBOARD ASRock AB350 Pro4 (BIOS 2.60  6/9/2017)
SOUND Onboard
NETWORK Onboard (wired gigabit Ethernet)
PSU EVGA 650 B3, 80 Plus BRONZE 650W, Fully Modular PSU
CASE    Cooler Master N400 NSE-400-KKN2 N-Series Mid Tower

Should you overclock?

For most people, the answer is no. However, I ran some test on a Ryzen 1200 build and 1700 just to see how far I could push the CPU on a stock cooler. AMD's Ryzen CPUs were designed to be overclocked. Most Ryzen CPUs can even overclock a few hundred MHz using their stock cooler. Depending on your board, you may have a whole array of different voltage settings available to you. For CPU overclocking, you only need the VCore(sometimes CPU core). Windows users got a convenient graphical tool to overclock Ryzen when it launched. Linux users can still overclock Ryzen, but they need to do it the old way, through the BIOS. All my test was done on Asrock B350 motherboards.

Note: Do NOT go over 1.45v. 1.4v would be the maximum safe voltage for regular daily use. 1.45v setting will be dangerous. Keep in mind voltage generates heat, and heat kills components.

Note: I replaced the CPU factory thermal paste with ARCTIC MX-4 Thermal Compound Paste.

In my Build 2, I am running a Ryzen 3 1200+Wraith Stealth cooler. So I started out around 1.29v. Always keep in mind that you need a CPU cooler to match the voltage settings. Never try to hit 1.4v with the stock cooler. That chip is going to heat up way too fast. You will need a high-end air cooler or an AIO. I pushed the chip up to 3.9GHz at 1.35v with the Wraith Stealth CPU cooler set at maximum fan speed.

Next, I overclocked the ram. The computer booted fine, but the PatriotSeriesViper DDR4 2400 RAM speed defaulted to 2133MHZ. I had to enter the motherboard bios, set XMP then rebooted. Upon next boot, RAM was at 2400MHZ. The PatriotSeriesViper memory kit overclocked nicely.I got the kit up to 2933MHZ 18-17-17-39 CR1 @1.4v on my ASRock AB350M Pro4 board.

Overclocking RAM can be harder than CPUs because you need to keep RAM timings in mind. They will determine the stability of the clock. As you raise the clock speed, you may need to bump up the timings too.

Build 1 running a Ryzen 7 1700+Wraith Spire cooler. The Ryzen 7 chip overclocked very well. (Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 motherboard)

1700 is stable for all of the following:

3.7 all cores @ 1.25V
3.8 all cores @ 1.275V
3.9 all cores @ 1.395V

G.SKILLSeriesFlare X SeriesModelF4-3200C14D-16GFX  Easily runs rated XMP profile settings (3200 MHz @ C14, 1.35v) out of the box the ASRock AB350 Pro4 board.

Now one thing to keep in mind. There are some features that on AMD motherboards that might be good for making your system more energy efficient but get in the way of a stable overclock. There are some features need to "turn off" in order to make you overclock as stable as possible. Also, remember mothers are different so it is hard to say exactly what features your motherboard has, but these are some of the more common: AMD Cool N' Quiet, Core Performance Boost, C States/C6, or Spread Spectrum.

Without being able to monitor the CPU core temperature under Linux, I didn't push the Ryzen 1200 or 1700 past 3.8 or 3.9 GHz due to cooling concerns.

I read some were that Guenter Roeck's hwmon Linux 4.15 updates will give us the temp hardware monitoring kernel code. It's unfortunate its taken so long after the original Zen processor debut, but better late than never for those of us concerned about CPU core temperature reporting under Linux.

For most users, a Zen thermal driver isn't necessary unless you plan on overclocking your system.


At 6:53 AM, Blogger JV Computers said...

very interesting

At 6:21 AM, Blogger rebelsaid said...

I admit this post is super-niche. This post was for the developers who run GNU+Linux and who wanted to build their own computer.I looked at System 76 and a few other places, and they really do make some excellent Ubuntu systems. However, they like everyone else is not building AMD Rysen Based systems. But I do believe most of my build info can be useful for those building Windows-based systems as well.

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who can afford to build a PC ?!?! Cryptocurrency has created a persistent shortage of graphics cards. It's bad for gamers like me who have to pay inflated prices for GPUs, if we can even find them at all. But card makers Nvidia and AMD or still getting rich.


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