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ASRock AB350 Pro4: A Decent, Linux-Friendly Ryzen Motherboard For As Low As $69 USD

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  • #21
    Originally posted by thebear View Post
    Does ECC work out of the box on this MB under linux?
    An answer to that question on superuser suggests that the support is "partial":
    https://superuser.com/questions/1208...rking-properly

    (the answer references this article: http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...deep-dive.html)
    Unfortunately, the hardwarecanucks article is spreading misinformation about how the Linux MCE handler behaves in case of uncorrectable memory errors. Default is to send SIGBUS to the affected process, and only panic if kernel memory is affected.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by thebear View Post
      Thank you all for your input on ECC. I might just make the plunge.
      I'm not interested in overclocking, quite on the contrary: I would be interested in underclokcking & undervolting to keep power usage down.
      Does anybody have any experience with that? What kind of total system power usage would one expect? (Or I'll just go with WOL to keep the electric bill reasonable).
      All Ryzen motherboards give terribly high voltages to CPUs by default, so undervolting is most definitely possible, even while overclocking.
      For instance the AB350M Pro4 set the voltage at 1,375V for 3,6GHz for my 1600X, while the CPU is stable at 1,3V and 4GHz, so you get the picture.

      The best way to go about it is to use custom Pstates, so you can lower the voltages for each performance level separately. This is desirable because Pstates 0 and 1 (the high performance ones) suffer the most from bad stock overvolting, while on lower power Pstates you already get pretty low voltages, and I think 400MHz clockspeed on the CPU for Pstates 3(or 4?)-7. Therefore i also think it is only worth modifying the higher-power Pstates, because you won't be able to save a lot of energy in the already low-power idling modes.

      You can find the Pstates under AMD CBS (Common Bios Settings)/Zen Common/Custom Pstates&Throttling
      You need to input the desired CPU multiplier(FID) and voltage(VID) values for the different Pstates as hexadecimal values. There is a calculator available for this in .xlsx and .xml formats here.

      I would advise you to only edit one Pstate at a time and disable all Pstates above it, so you can test the stability of your settings. If you do not plan on going for the absolute lowest voltages then this might not seem necessary, but it is still very advisable for stability reasons.
      Last edited by OneBitUser; 08-24-2017, 07:43 AM.

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      • #23
        I realize that Michael uses 19 inch racks in his basement test lab, so full size ATX motherboards are no problem for him. For home use, where space is normally more limited, a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboard is often preferred (I only buy these nowadays). Could there be AMD Ryzen testing and recommendations for these size motherboards as well please.

        When a motherboard model is available in different form factors, other than the number of RAM slots and PCIe slots, is there much variation in support chips used or performance between the different form factors (and why do mini-itx seem to be always more expensive for less features)?

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        • #24
          I have the ASRock AB350 Gaming K4, which is the same motherboard with a few small additions. They are 100% identical layouts. It has been pretty flawless in linux since Ryzen launched, which is when I got it. I would have gotten the Pro4 since I don't care about the small features the K4 adds, but at the time only the K4 was available.

          If you care about RGB lighting (my case is windowless and this feature is not yet controllable from linux), having a steel reinforced PCIE-x16 slot, or want extra shielding on your audio and don't mind paying a few dollars more, the K4 is also a great linux compatible option.

          Many Ryzen motherboards require a very recent kernel. This works well with 4.10+, while similar motherboards may require something much newer for things like ALC1220 audio support (these motherboards use ALC892). Ubuntu 16.04.3 and 17.04 work great.
          Last edited by existensil; 08-25-2017, 04:01 AM.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by Ray54 View Post
            When a motherboard model is available in different form factors, other than the number of RAM slots and PCIe slots, is there much variation in support chips used or performance between the different form factors (and why do mini-itx seem to be always more expensive for less features)?
            AB350M Pro4: http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/AB350M%20Pro4/index.us.asp

            Sometimes the different form factors of a given model can vary greatly. In this specific example there is very little variation as the MicroATX version maintains a very similar layout, for the most part, and even retains one of the key features of this board (IMHO): the two M.2 slots. It appears to have the same power phase design, audio codec, LAN, etc, as it's bigger brother so it's behavior in overclocking and linux should be identical. This MicroATX board will probably be in my next build.

            I wish MiniITX was cheaper. Maybe when the APUs arrive and volume of MiniITX increases then we'll have cheaper ITX options.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Ray54 View Post
              For home use, where space is normally more limited, a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboard is often preferred (I only buy these nowadays). Could there be AMD Ryzen testing and recommendations for these size motherboards as well please.
              I second that! ATX is sometimes nice to have (mostly just to look at...), but completely overkill.

              When a motherboard model is available in different form factors, other than the number of RAM slots and PCIe slots, is there much variation in support chips used or performance between the different form factors (and why do mini-itx seem to be always more expensive for less features)?
              ATX and mATX sizes of a certain model usually share quite a lot of features.

              By the way, I think it's a lot harder to design an ITX PCB than an ATX or even mATX board. The latter two can in fact share the design as their layout is so similar, only differing in "height", with the same depth in both form factors. You "just" have to "cut down" some expansion slots and you get a mATX board.

              In ITX size, however, you need to design a completely new layout, with very little available space. This increases design costs compared to ATX & mATX, which already are more cost effective since they can share a design (at least partially), which lowers per unit cost for the manufacturer.
              Add to that the fact that less people want an ITX board than the cheaper to design bigger ones, which makes per unit design cost even higher compared to bigger boards.

              Also, manufacturers played this ITX-thing a bit dirty, so to speak: they charge you a price premium because you definitely want to go small, and have no other alternatives... most people would just buy ATX instead of mATX (or vica versa), if the latter was more expensive for the features it offered. After all, they are not that different in sizes, whereas ITX is in a league of its own. There is also the "cool-factor" of ITX size computers that marketing has played up nicely ("Look how small you can make your powerful computer!!! Ain't it cool, bruh?").

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              • #27
                Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
                Marvell eth is great (they also make 10GBit chips), but afaik it is only found in embedded devices, especially if the SoC is Marvell (from Kirkwood onwards all their SoC have at least 2 controllers onboard).
                Um, then you probably did not yet have to "joy" to deal with their SATA chips. And even a support request requires signing of an NDA. (wtf?)
                Stop TCPA, stupid software patents and corrupt politicians!

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                • #28
                  Hi,

                  I would be interested to know from anyone who has used this board;-
                  What memory did you use, and what memory speed was obtained? Especially if using 16Gb or more.

                  Regards,
                  Peter

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Adarion View Post
                    Um, then you probably did not yet have to "joy" to deal with their SATA chips. And even a support request requires signing of an NDA. (wtf?)
                    Their pcie-Sata chips are cheap crap, especially the RAID ones, can confirm. (and I'm talking of Windows too)
                    JMicron is another that I won't touch with a barge pole.
                    But in general pcie sata chips suck, especially if they have any kind of RAID functionality, where you can be sure they will drop disks at the most inappropriate moment. I always use SAS pcie controllers, as SAS controllers can operate Sata disks fine.

                    The sata controllers in Marvell embedded stuff are fine though (used in NAS and similar).

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Ray54 View Post
                      (and why do mini-itx seem to be always more expensive for less features)?
                      Miniaturization costs more.

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