The Minimal 2200G Build – First video, and how it was created

I feel bad calling this series ‘The Minimal 2200G Build’, now that I’ve added another 4GB RAM, but I’ll continue with the name for consistency’s stake. πŸ™‚ I do plan to test the 4GB configuration.

My first video is up. It’s a test for creating videos, so isn’t all I wanted to show, but any start is a good start. It shows the system running the Metro: Last Light Redux benchmark at default (low) settings at 1080p, with system power shown as measured by my cheapowatt (that’s my power meter’s nickname).

For those who are interested in making videos, or are interested in telling me how to make them better, here’s how this one was made.

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The Minimal 2200G Build – 2x4GB is better (and power options do work)

Yeah, we all know that. I installed the new 4GB stick and ran Metro, FurMark and Prime95. Both Metro and FurMark ran about twice as fast, but they also took more power. Metro ran about 95-105W, vs. 80-90W with 4GB.

FurMark + Prime95 started at 125W but then dropped to 105W, same as the 4GB power consumption, and stayed there. FurMark went up from around 12 FPS to about the full speed of 23 FPS, stayed there a while and then dropped back. Now it’s running at 19 FPS. I’m not sure what the deal is there. I can imagine that the drop in power has to do with the CPU getting throttled (not sure why it took time), but the FPS switch is stranger.

I installed Ryzen Master and saw that the CPU cores are running about 3100Mhz (+-25MHz). Ryzen Master claimed that the CPU was taking around 20W. It then crossed my mind that perhaps the power options in the BIOS simply didn’t kick in because power wasn’t high enough with only 4GB of RAM.

So I went to the BIOS and switched the power from 45W to Auto. Power when running FurMark + Prime95 jumped to 135-140W. FurMark didn’t go up in frame rate. In fact, it continues its strange behaviour of jumping between frame rates and staying there fore a while. GPU clock is significantly (around 150MHz) higher, but it makes no difference. I’m assuming that RAM is the bottleneck here. If that’s the case, it means that power use could be improved by dropping the GPU clock when it’s bottlenecked anyway.

The Minimal 2200G Build – Some Things I’ve Learned

Just a little update. I haven’t spent that much time working on the system or the posts, but figured it’s worth making sure you know that I’m not dead yet, and neither is this series of posts.

According to DHL, the A8-9600 should have reached AMD on the 29th of March. But on the 3rd of April I got an e-mail warning me that if the CPU wasn’t returned within 15 days I might lose the privilege of future RMAs. Made me wonder if that penalty is worth it, and I should have kept the A8-9600. Wouldn’t have done it, but considering I’ve never had a CPU fail, there’s some temptation there.

On the 4th of April I got a message that AMD has received the CPU.

I did some testing, running Metro: Last Light Redux, FurMark and Prime95. Metro: Last Light Redux is a much better stress test than the games I ran on the A8-9600, taking 80-90W of system power at the wall, not 60-70W like the rest. Made me even sorrier I forgot to test the A8-9600 with it.

Prime95 took system power was 100W, and Prime95 + FurMark 105W (which cut FurMark’s frame rate in half). I forgot by now how much FurMark took alone. Will retest. Oh, and the system was stable throughout the testing. I’m not using it for everyday use, so can tell if everything else works fine, but for a few hours of testing it was fine.

I tried playing with the power limit option in the BIOS (System Configuration, under Advanced / AMD CBS / NBIO Common Options). There are options for 35W, 45W and 65W, but they did nothing, unfortunately. I’m disappointed, because low power use is something I’m interested in and I want to see how it affects performance. I guess I’ll have to install Ryzen Master and try to achieve results with it.

I said before that the 2200G ran fine with the 18.2.1 drivers installed with the A8-9600, except that MSI Afterburner didn’t show GPU utilisation. When I later booted the PC and ran some tests, I found out that Windows installed a newer Raven Ridge specific driver, 17.40.3735, which is newer than the one AMD has on its site (17.40.3701).

These are all the updates I can think of for now. Well, except that I ordered another 4GB DIMM from Amazon, this time a white one (it was cheaper than the red). Got it today.

The Minimal 2200G Build – Adding Images

I added some images to the BIOS Blues post. At first I didn’t remember how to add custom HTML, which made arranging the images hard (I wanted a table). So I glued them side by side in Paint, and that seemed to produce the effect I wanted.

Once I found the HTML tab (hidden in plain site), I decided I was too lazy to try to change what already looks okay, so left it that way.

Many of the images I have are low quality anyway. I took them with my Galaxy 4 Mini phone, which does a bad job in low light conditions.

I will add images to the It’s Aliiiive post later, and will try to use custom HTML if I think it’s necessary.

The Minimal 2200G Build – It’s Aliiiive!

DHL picked up the A8-9600 yesterday to get it back to AMD. Goodbye, Bristol Ridge APU, I hardly knew you.

The board now has the Ryzen 3 2200G installed in it, and it’s working. I got the 2200G fully settled in its new home, or rather, the old case, after taking out the AM2 motherboard + Athlon X2 240 which was its previous resident, and had enjoyed its gothic environment of dust, cobwebs and the ghosts of DDR2 RAM.

Now that everything is working, I will relax a little, try to get some photos added to the existing posts (like this one), learn how to edit videos so I can post some captures on YouTube, and start playing around with it.

In the meantime, here’s a little more about the process of installing and testing the A8-9600. It’s pretty boring stuff, and expert builders might scoff at this, but perhaps some noobs might find helpful tidbits here.

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The Minimal 2200G Build – BIOS Blues

I knew going in that there’s a good chance that the Ryzen 3 2200G won’t work out of the box with the motherboard I ordered. Many boards on the market come with older BIOSes, which aren’t compatible with Ryzen APUs, even though newer, compatible BIOSes are available for download.

So it wasn’t a real surprise that when I got the AB350M-HDV board there wasn’t a ‘AMD Ryzen Desktop 2000 Ready’ sticker on the box, which signifies that the board is compatible with the new APUs. I checked the BIOS sticker on the motherboard (following instructions on ASrock’s site) and saw that it was 3.10, a BIOS from July 2017, and certainly not compatible.

bios-version-cropped.jpg

I also knew up front that AMD was offering boot kits to solve the issue. It’s possible to contact AMD and it will send a low end older APU, guaranteed to be compatible, which would enable the BIOS to be updated. The APU is then sent back, at AMD’s expense.

What I didn’t know was that it wasn’t really that easy.

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The Minimal 2200G Build – Introduction

I’m building a Ryzen 3 2200G PC. It may be a PC that every enthusiast will look down at, but hey, there’s a reason this blog is called Lowendia. I love the low end and seeing what can be done there. I’m planning to test this PC and see what it’s worth and how to make the most of it.

Here’s what the build includes:

  • CPU: Ryzen 3 2200G
  • Motherboard: ASRock AB350M-HDV
  • RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 4GB DDR4-2666
  • HDD: 4TB Seagate BarraCuda (which I won from TechSpot / Hardware Unboxed)
  • Old generic case and PSU

For now, here’s a short introduction about how I ended up buying this configuration.

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