Ryzen 2700x on Asus B350 Prime
This is my experience on using Ryzen 2700x on Asus B350 Prime motherboard. It’s been a bit over a year since I built my AMD workstation. This machine has been my everyday tool for creating 3D graphics, doing video and photo editing, and also some gaming.
Actually it was not my intention to use this motherboard. My Asus B350 Prime was emergency replacement to my Asrock X470 board which died due to a power surge. I just grabbed first cheap AM4 board that I could find so that I could test if my other components were okay (they werent, my m.2 drive also got fried, ouch). But I was able to get my system back up.
However the question has been in my mind, is a petty B350 Asus board limiting a Ryzen 2700x somehow? Am I bottlenecking my processor? Am I missing out? Now I am quite sure the answer is no, but read on.
There are couple of things I have learned over the year. One is that it is best to check and BIOS settings one by one. I had set PBO to “Auto” in BIOS assuming that it defaults to ON as well; who wouldn’t want to enable it, right? Well in ASUS B350 Prime case, that was not the case. Changing the setting to Enable, now I actually can see PBO in action. My Cinebench 20 score is now over 4000. I remember reading somewhere that PBO is considered as a warranty voiding overclock so that’s why ”auto” means it’s turned off. With water cooling I try to think this is not an issue though but maybe only a time will tell.
The other one is about memory. My 2x 8GB G.Skill TridentZ CL16 kit was never stable over 2800Mhz even though it was rated at 3200. As I was very much in need of more memory as I often work with memory intensive graphics files, I replaced my kit with Sniper X 16×2 kit which runs in it’s native 3000Mhz speed. I got really nice deal on that actually, which is the reason why I settled with ”just” 3000Mhz.
I also noticed is that I can quite happily undervolt the processor. Before Windows 2019 May update I kept the processor at -0.08 volts from BIOS setting which resulted over ten degree less in CPU tdie temperatures. It had no impact on performance at all. For reasons unknown, May update didn’t accept this value, but demanded me to up the voltage to -0.05. When I tried to update, the video signal got lost. Quite confusing really.
I don’t know the reason for this, it might be something to do with the fact that Windows is now aware of Ryzen topology.
I use Up Here AIO cooling, it’s a kind of Japanese brand it seems. It is quiet and slightly more powerful than the default CPU cooler that came with the processor. I also have a several case fans and also side panel fan which I modded to the case by myself to cool down the motherboard, VRM. Overkill, you might say, having so many fans. But the fans I use are modern and quiet ones, I don’t even notice them for the most part.
Other components I use are Samsung EVO 970 500GB m.2 drive as a boot drive and Asus GTX 1070ti.
I have had no issues whatsoever with this system. This has been a great work machine. Maya LT, Substance Designer & Painter, Blender, and other apps all run fast, as fast as a latest and greatest Intel machine with RTX 2080 I used in the company I used to work.
Memory compatibility is still what it is with Ryzen, but definitely the situation is better than it was a year ago, and with right kit you can definitely get satisfying memory speeds.
I know that X470 and then X570 boards would enable upgrades such as XFR2, although I don’t know exactly how that differs from XFR1. Comparing my benchmarks with 2700x systems in X470 boards I can’t see any difference.
What comes to other motherboard features, I can’t think of what I would be missing. I use my Blue YETI as my audio mostly and I haven’t ever even plugged anything to the case audio jacks. When I need audio things I always use external sound cards. StoreMI would be interesting feature but I can’t think of using it. I am glad the board has m.2 slot, and one is most certainly enough for me.
It also appears that Asus B350 Prime will happily accept 3700x processor; even 3900x(!). In the case of the latter some attention should be paid to the VRM cooling, it seems. I definitely like to keep my side panel fan mounted for this possible future upgrade.
However, for now I am not having any issues related to the performance or stability of the machine; and I don’t like the idea of upgrading my machine just for the satisfaction of getting higher performance numbers. 3700x is attractive processor but costs a lot here in Japan; it’s just the way how it is with buying PC parts in Japan.
Now that new generation of Ryzen processors are out, it might be possible to find good deals on earlier CPUs such as 2700x. Pairing these with boards like the Asus Prime might offer excellent value.
Note about AIO in Zalman Z9 case; I used a hand saw to get rid of the plastic shell on top of the case, exposing the radiator fully. This improved temperatures more than five degrees, more closer to ten. Zalman had removable transparent plastic rim that helped a bit but not enough in my opinion. Without it, dust will get in, but heat gets out.
Also make sure you get the latest chipset drivers from AMD.