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ASRock AB350 ITX + AMD Ryzen 2400G

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MikeBE View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 Mar 2018 at 3:28am
I built this to replace an aging but still functioning computer (Athlon II X3 with 8GB DDR3 1333 RAM).

This computer is to be used primarily for light gaming and streaming Netflix. It is connected only to a television.

Here's what's in this build:

  • AB350 ITX
  • AMD Ryzen 5 2400G with stock AMD cooler
  • 8GB Ballistix DDR4 2666 RAM (2 x 4GB)
  • PNY 120GB SSD for the boot drive and Windows 10 installation
  • Fractal Design Core 5 case

From the old computer:

  • 500GB Seagate 7200 RPM drive for programs and file storage
  • Thermaltake 450 watt power supply (non-modular)

 THE REASON FOR THE BUILD

I built this computer, because the old Athlon II had pretty much run its course. While it's still a solid computer, it falls short for gaming. Gaming isn't just about video performance, and newer games would stutter while the CPU and slow RAM struggled to keep up.

I decided on a mini build because this computer would sit behind the television. Plus, I wanted something quieter. I went with the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, because gaming video card prices are ridiculous at this moment (February 2018). In September 2017, I purchased an XFX Radeon RX 580 GB card for US$230. Five months later, the cost of that card, if you could find it, had risen to about US$500.

The Ryzen 5 2400G cost about US$170.

Although I read that the Ryzen 3 2200G is the real sleeper, the cost difference was only $70, so I went with the more powerful APU.

I purchased all of my parts from Newegg. There is a Newegg distribution center about 15 miles from me, and they offer same-day delivery for $10. This means that someone from Newegg gets in their car and brings your items to you.

The AB350 ITX motherboard is solidly built with one small exception. The locking nuts on the WiFi coax terminals weren't tightened down. I had some tools, so I tightened them. The build went smoothly.

This motherboard came with BIOS v4.40, which recognized the Ryzen APU out of the box. Be sure that the motherboard that you purchase can recognize a Ryzen APU, which is known as Raven Ridge. Otherwise, you'll need a compatible CPU to flash the BIOS before you can use the Ryzen APU.

FRACTAL DESIGN CASE

This case is slightly more expensive than other cases, but I like the minimalist approach of Fractal Design. Plus, the company fits its cases with filters, which helps to reduce the amount of dust that enters the case. The bottom filter fell off about 20 times (really, it did), so I used the all-American fix: duct tape!



Everything fits in the case, although you do need to bind cables together and push things around. There is an extender for the power supply, because the power supply sits just behind the front panel.

Some people have complained that they are unable to manually turn off the power supply. For me, it's not a big deal.

Also, this case has a reset switch, two USB 3.0 ports and separate jacks for headphones/speakers and a microphone.

M.2 SSD WOES

The M.2 SSD slot is on the bottom of the motherboard, and my first attempt at installing Windows 10 failed, because the drive wasn't recognized - even though it was listed as being compatible. I then purchased a PNY 120GB SSD. I decided to remove the M.2 SSD, which meant removing the motherboard, and that meant pulling most of the cables.

Although it still wasn't recognized in the BIOS, it was recognized by the Windows 10 installation process.

After booting into Windows 10, the drive was marked as a removable USB drive.

I completed the installation, which included installing all of the ASRock drivers, as well as the AMD APU driver.

I added my secondary drive, a traditional 500 GB Seagate 7200 RPM drive, which also wasn't recognized in the BIOS but was in Windows. Something definitely was off.

RYZEN 5 2400G PERFORMANCE UNDERWHELMS ... AT FIRST

With the build completed, I ran a couple of benchmarking tests and was disappointed with the results. Several benchmarks reported slideshow-like performance of about 11 frames per second. This didn't sound like anything near what this APU reportedly could do.

Even with "slower" 2666 Mhz RAM, I should be getting better video performance from this APU. Yes, something was amiss with this setup.

BIOS UPDATE = ESSENTIAL


Time for investigation, which meant running some Google searches.

That brought me to the ASRock forums, where several people strongly suggested that I flash the BIOS to v4.43 (beta). I did as instructed, and the increase in performance improved immediately.

To flash the BIOS, I have a spare 2GB USB drive. I have two folders - one for AB350 BIOS upgrades and the other for my primary computer. When you use the BIOS flash utility, it searches the USB drive and correctly identifies the correct BIOS and shows you a list, if you have more than one BIOS on the drive.

After flashing the BIOS, both drives were now recognized correctly. More importantly, however, video performance was where it was supposed to be.

To repeat what others have said, you can game at 1920x1080, but it won't be nearly as much fun as it will be if you dial it down to 1280x720. For the most part, frame rates double and stay in that desirable 60fps range.

VIDEO RENDERING TEST

I make videos here and there for my photography site. I don't plan on using this computer for that purpose, but what if I wanted to?

I rendered a 33-minute video, which took 18 minutes, using Sony Movie Studio 13.

The file output was 1280x720 with a bit rate of 2 million BPS and using the APU's CUDA abilities. The final file was 198MB.

I am now overclocking the system to 3.75 Ghz, and it runs very stable.

While rendering, you could see the APU GFX clock cycle between 400 and 1,240 Mhz. Using the Ryzen Master software, I could see the APU cycle off and on every three to four seconds.

When the APU cycled to 1,240 GHZ, the temperature peaked at about 68繙C/154繙F.

After the rendering was completed, the CPU temperature fell to 33繙C/91繙F within 30 seconds and to its idle temperature of about 27繙C/81繙F within a minute.

CONCLUSION

My total investment:

    $263 - AB350 ITX + AMD Ryzen 5 2400G (combo package from Newegg)
    $50 - 120GB PNY SSD
    $117 - Ballistix 8GB DDR4 2666 RAM
    $59 - Fractal Core 5 case
    $489 - Total

I reused my 500GB Seagate drive and the power supply, so that saved me about $100.

Others might have gone for a slightly larger SSD and skipped the secondary drive. Or maybe add a CD/DVD drive for $20. Generally, this build will cost you about $500-600, depending on the RAM, case and drives and you select.

I would go for a modular power supply for any build today, particularly for a mini-computer. Fewer cables inside the case is a good thing.



Some people have reported unreliable WiFi with this motherboard, but that hasn't been my experience. It's been very stable for me. It connects and holds my connection. I'm glad that my WiFi has been problem-free, because wonky WiFi is aggravating.

Overall, I think that the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G is a credible platform for all-around computing, as well as 720p gaming. I'm sure that AMD will continue to improve the video driver, which should result in even better performance, possibly allowing 1080p fun near the desirable 60fps mark.

The one thing that I might do in the future, meaning my next paycheck, is add Corsair's H60 water-cooling system. With one chip handling both CPU and GPU duties, a water-cooling system definitely will keep those temperatures from rising too high.

SOME BENCHMARKS
The original Athlon II computer, to which I had added a Radeon RX 550 4GB card. Notice the impressive 3D video performance:



The Ryzen 5 2400G with the original 4.40 BIOS. Look at the dreadful 3D performance:



After flashing the BIOS to 4.43. By the way, overall performance with BIOS 4.50 is identical. 3d video performance still doesn't beat the RX 550, but with faster RAM, maybe it will come close.



For comparison, here's how the Athlon II and the Ryzen 5 2400 G stack up against the Ryzen 7 1700x witth a Radeon RX 580 8GB card:






Edited by MikeBE - 19 Mar 2018 at 6:39pm
-Mike Elek
http://photographytoday.net
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2018 at 9:13pm
Thanks for that comprehensive post!

Out of curiosity I  downloaded and ran the Passmark test, ( my system is in the signature below) and I got 87%.
I have Crucial Ballistix Sport LT, 2x8GB 2400.  I have this at 2933 with XMP.
I was going to tweak this further with Taiphoon and 1usmus, but 1usmus begins at 2666 so nowhere to enter my 2400!  Ah well.     I think the Crucial is underated myself.

ASRock X370-ITX BIOS 4.50
R5 2600    Cryorig C7
EVGA GTX 950 75w
2x8GB Ballistix Sport LT 2933
960Evo M.2 256GB, Firecuda 1TB
Win 10 Pro 64 1803
G-Unique Archdaemon 300 Watt
Lian-li Q21B
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2018 at 10:18pm
Nice score with the update Thumbs Up

It's funny how little this benchmark has changed since I first used it in 2002 LOL



For comparison, here is my system, bare in mind I had 12 Chrome tabs, steam, origin and GoG running in the background Wink :

CPU: Ryzen 5 1600x @3.9ghz 1.28v
Board: X370 Taichi
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16gb DDR4 3600 @3200 CL18 (system doesn't like anything tighter with this kit...)
GPU: GTX 960 Gigabyte G1 Gaming 2gb

It's pretty incredible how much the 2400g brings to the table for an APU!



Edited by Xaltar - 08 Apr 2018 at 10:20pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2018 at 10:36pm
I did not get a screen like that for results, probably because I used the 30 day trial version

ASRock X370-ITX BIOS 4.50
R5 2600    Cryorig C7
EVGA GTX 950 75w
2x8GB Ballistix Sport LT 2933
960Evo M.2 256GB, Firecuda 1TB
Win 10 Pro 64 1803
G-Unique Archdaemon 300 Watt
Lian-li Q21B
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2018 at 10:39pm
Click submit then it should be there (under the submit screen). 30 day trial here too. My old key no longer works. It's about 10 years old so not surprising.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2018 at 11:07pm
a href="https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V9/display.php?id=100610517044"><img src="https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V9/images/100610517044.png" alt="PassMark Rating" border="0" /></a>
ASRock X370-ITX BIOS 4.50
R5 2600    Cryorig C7
EVGA GTX 950 75w
2x8GB Ballistix Sport LT 2933
960Evo M.2 256GB, Firecuda 1TB
Win 10 Pro 64 1803
G-Unique Archdaemon 300 Watt
Lian-li Q21B
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2018 at 11:10pm
not sure what is going on.............I submitted it and have 2 choices to paste results, forum version, which I tried and deleted... a fail. and this above which is also a fail.....
At no time did I see a clock chart like those shown above.

???

This is the forum link to paste............

<a href="https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V9/display.php?id=100610517044"><img src="https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V9/images/100610517044.png" alt="PassMark Rating" border="0" /></a>


Edited by stree - 08 Apr 2018 at 11:12pm
ASRock X370-ITX BIOS 4.50
R5 2600    Cryorig C7
EVGA GTX 950 75w
2x8GB Ballistix Sport LT 2933
960Evo M.2 256GB, Firecuda 1TB
Win 10 Pro 64 1803
G-Unique Archdaemon 300 Watt
Lian-li Q21B
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2018 at 1:11am
This forum is not very friendly with HTML and BBCode. It wouldn't have been my first choice as the basis for a forum but, it is what it is.

https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V9/display.php%3Fid=100610517044

Copy paste 



Image. Not sure why it doesn't work like other forums.


Edited by Xaltar - 09 Apr 2018 at 1:13am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2018 at 5:21pm
got it...............have to get it a bit larger though....




ASRock X370-ITX BIOS 4.50
R5 2600    Cryorig C7
EVGA GTX 950 75w
2x8GB Ballistix Sport LT 2933
960Evo M.2 256GB, Firecuda 1TB
Win 10 Pro 64 1803
G-Unique Archdaemon 300 Watt
Lian-li Q21B
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