SFF self-assembly on Ryzen APU Renoir and Picasso. Fine small

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How can you get rid of buying a discrete graphics card? That’s right – to build a computer without the ability to use dGPU in the SFF form factor! Miners bypass the APU, because a measly 3 MH/s@ETH will not allow you to earn, so everyone can repeat the practical experience.

SFF-dump truck

This article will look at two options based on AMD Ryzen 5 3400G, as well as Ryzen 3 PRO 4350G in a 2L case with a 120W power supply.

Test benches and methodology

Beautiful Picasso (FM-P):

  • processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3400G;
  • cooling: Noctua NH-L9a-AM4;
  • thermal interface: Arctic Cooling MX-4;
  • motherboard: MSI B450I Gaming Plus AC (UEFI A.F3, AGESA 1.2.0.0);
  • memory: HyperX Predator HX441C19PB3/8 x2 (2×8 GB, 4133 MHz, CL19-26-26-45-2T);
  • video card: AMD Radeon Vega 11;
  • system storage: Kingston KC2000 250GB (SKC2000M8250G, M.2 NVMe);
  • game drive: Kingston A400 1.92 TB (SA400S37/1920G), USB 3.1 connection via external pocket;
  • power supply: ADP120-1210 (12 V, 10 A).

Fainyi Malyi Renoir (FM-R):

  • processor: AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 4350G;
  • cooling: Noctua NH-L9a-AM4;
  • thermal interface: Arctic Cooling MX-4;
  • motherboard: MSI B450I Gaming Plus AC (UEFI A.F3, AGESA 1.2.0.0);
  • memory: HyperX Predator HX441C19PB3/8 x2 (2×8 GB, 4133 MHz, CL 19-26-26-45-2T);
  • graphics card: AMD Radeon Graphics Renoir (6 Compute Units);
  • system storage: Kingston KC2000 250GB (SKC2000M8250G, M.2 NVMe);
  • game drive: Kingston A400 1.92 TB (SA400S37/1920G), USB 3.1 connection via external pocket;
  • power supply: ADP120-1210 (12 V, 10 A).

SFF-dump truck

Testing was carried out in factory default modes with memory frequencies of 2933 MHz for FM-P, and 3200 MHz for FM-R. Overclocked options were:

  • FM-P OC: R5 3400G@3.8GHz all-core, FCLK=1700MHz, DDR4-3400, CL16-16-16-32 1T, IGP@1500MHz, 2GB video buffer.
  • FM-R OC: R5 PRO 4350G@4.0GHz all-core, FCLK=2000MHz, DDR4-4000, CL16-18-16-32 1T, IGP@2200MHz, 2GB video buffer.

The room temperature was 20 degrees Celsius. The power consumption of the platform was measured using the Feron TM55 energy meter for 10 minutes in load mode (LinX AMD Edition run) and idle. Fan speed control – automatic at default settings, in overclocking the algorithm is redefined in favor of less noise. Each benchmark was run five times, the results indicate the arithmetic mean, the same goes for games. The games recorded telemetry (1% low fps + average fps) using Riva Tuner Statistics Server. Further methods are different from the standard ones. In CS:GO, a test on the FPS Benchmark workshop map. In DOTA 2, a replay of the final game OG vs Liquid at The International 2019, 19:45–21:15 on an automatic camera. In Cyberpunk 2077, a car ride with Dexter Deshawn until the wood chip is inserted. In GTA V, a recording of the last benchmark from a waterfall to a black screen after an SUV explodes a fuel truck. RAW Gameplay symbolizes pure gameplay, such tests were done once, and are not similar to each other, so the accuracy is relative.

If anyone is interested in more subtle as well as detailed settings, watch the video:

About Assembly

Probably, it is not worth mentioning why at all to collect everything in such a tight form factor, because the fact of reading these lines already symbolizes interest on the part of the reader.

The photos above save the author from having to write a thousand lines. The result is a case with dimensions of 200x55x200 mm. Here’s what it looks like against a typical ATX case:

And now in more detail, and let’s start with the power supply. Due to the miniaturization of the assembly, it cannot be placed in the case, and we do not need an additional heating source. An external power supply with a power of 120 W (12 V, 10 A) is used, as well as a pico-PSU module for converting 12 V into the 5 V and 3.3 V required by the motherboard.

SFF-dump truck

The 12 V power supply is used precisely in order to reduce the heating of the assembly, because if its output voltage was 19 V or 24 V, they would have to be converted to those same 12, 5 and 3.3 volts. This would be done by the internal pico-PSU module, creating excess heat. The only advantage of using such blocks is the ability to raise the power to 200-250 W, for example, if you want to cram some 8-core processor with overclocking capability into these dimensions, but then you have to declare war on the heat inside the case, and this will lead to absolutely uncomfortable noise, like from some 1U server under load.

SFF-dump truckSFF-dump truck

Due to the fact that the “background temperature” in the case at maximum load within half an hour can reach all 60 degrees without optimizations in the case of FM-P and 51 in the case of FM-R (and this summer has not yet come, if that) – with something needs to be done with this, because the RAM loses its overclocking potential, and I would like to cool the components inside. To do this, a 40 mm blowing fan was added to the assembly, just to cool the chokes of the pico-PSU module, as well as the RAM. With almost zero effect on noise, the “background temperature” can be dropped to 49 degrees in the case of FM-R and 42 in the case of FM-R. Incredible for some 40mm fan, right? However, we have the appropriate dimensions.

SFF-dump truck

The assembly uses only one system NVMe drive, which is displayed on the back of the motherboard. This begs the question – why not use the case itself to dissipate heat? No sooner said than done! Thermal padding at the location of it solves this issue. Although it decides how to say, it rather absorbs the heating rate of the controller and flash memory chips (there are no instant temperature jumps up to 70 degrees), additionally dropping a couple of degrees.

SFF-dump truck

The issue of cooling the power subsystem, fortunately, is solved automatically, because we do not have a tower cooler. If someone already perceives the cooling of the processor as a “tower” so ordinary, the author will explain that the air flow goes to the sides, and if the RAM may not appreciate such courtesy, then the VRM is guaranteed to say thanks. At the output, even with the factory Ryzen 5 3400G, the power subsystem did not warm up above 79 degrees during a long load, and with the Ryzen 3 4350G it was 55 degrees at all. Excellent results for such a small case, you will agree.

But with memory, everything is equally mediocre in all cases, and this puts certain spokes in the wheels. The fact is that Samsung B-die chips scale not so much from the SPECIAL parameter pumped in – the enthusiast’s luck, but precisely the ability to master the highest voltage without glitches, say 1.8+ V. Of course, this is more about sports overclocking, but still some chips are capable of increase their potential even after a voltage of 2 V, while others have a peak of 1.75 V. For the latter, the conditional 1.775 V is an overvoltage, and they give indicators equivalent to supplying, say, 1.7 V, and if they are supplied with 1.8 V they will be completely blown away to the civilian level of 1.5 V. In general, this is not only about “lucky”, but also about the temperature regime. The overclocking potential of B-die chips at a peak temperature of 40 degrees is very different from chips with a peak temperature of 65 degrees, let alone negative temperatures. Due to the design of the case, the possibility of using a frame with a fan to blow the memory, high-profile heatsinks, and even more so the use of a cooling system is excluded. The issue can only be solved by another 40mm fan, but there is simply nowhere to place it, judge for yourself:

SFF-dump truck

So no matter how regrettable it may sound, you will have to make the life of the RAM easier with the help of subtle optimizations and lower voltages. Of course, it was possible to squeeze out all 4400 MHz CL16-18-16-32-1T at 1.5 V DRAM Voltage, but this mode would be stable, say, 20 minutes before warming up the insides, which means it would be unstable in a particular assembly. Therefore, we will focus on the 4000 MHz CL16-18-16-32-1T mode with 1.4 V, which remains stable regardless of the duration of the peak load.

You should not worry about heating the external power supply. In idle, almost room temperature of the case, and in the load 46 degrees. Suppose the insides are heated to 65 degrees. For the rest of the nodes there is nothing interesting for the story.

SFF-dump truck

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