Question Budget build, impressed but aprehensive

Sep 28, 2018
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Good evening all,

I had a proper old budget desktop system that's done the family donkey work for about 6 years (Pentium G860 proc with 4gb 1333 DDR3) but it gave up the ghost last week.

After building my son a system at Christmas and spunking about £1500 on that all in, the wife told me to cool my jets on thinking I was getting a nice big tower too.

So with £500 as my limit I set about best bang for buck. Had to be small as the space was limited, I ended up with;

AMD Ryzen 3 2200G (£80)
MSI B450 Gaming Plus AC mITX (£115)
8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 2667 (£55)
MSI Radeon RX570 8GB OC (£140)
Kolink Satellite Plus mini cube case (£40)

I had an old PSU but it wasn't up to the job so went Corsair CXM450 (£40) and its definitely snug inside the case.

I also wanted to overclock the 2200G to get more from it so opted for a Noctua N-9x65 cooler (£55) as it got superb review.

Hard drives I already had, a 120GB SSD for boot and a 1TB Seagate HDD so no cost.

So all in it was about £530 inc delivery.

Now, I have the Ryzen clocked to 3.9GHz totally stable with nice temps.
It seems to run Fortnite and Tom Clancy Wildlands at decent frames at 1080 (I don't need Ultra or 4K) and the GPU seems ok despite it being a bit hokey.

Am I in for a nasty surprise or is this actually a decent budget rig? Its certainly surprised me but that's left me with a nasty suspicion that it is too good to be true...
 
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Darkbreeze

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So long as it does what you need it to do and you are happy with it, who's to dispute that? Truthfully, that memory is a bit slow for a Ryzen platform, you really want 3000-3200mhz sticks for Ryzen as it really picks up the CPU performance due to the way the architecture is designed.

I'd also really recommend about 16GB of memory for most systems these days if they are to be used for gaming or productivity/professional applications. But if it works as is, then it does, and no bones about it.

I think the rest of the components, while obviously not being high end, all complement each other fairly well.
 

punkncat

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Wouldn't concern myself at all over the few frames you will pick up for getting this "higher frequency" memory that everyone here harps on. Watch some videos and see that it's a small fraction of performance. Your use of a discrete video card makes is a mostly non issue anyway.
I will say that keeping 16GB in mind for the future is worthwhile, however that has much to do with your use scenario. Even with the performance hit, I am hoping your choice was a 1x8 such that you still have an open slot to upgrade to. 2x4 is such a waste in regards to money spent to then have to ditch for moving up.

I personally feel like for the budget you were allotted that this was a brilliant build.
 
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TerryLaze

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Darkbreeze

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Wouldn't concern myself at all over the few frames you will pick up for getting this "higher frequency" memory that everyone here harps on. Watch some videos and see that it's a small fraction of performance. Your use of a discrete video card makes is a mostly non issue anyway.
I will say that keeping 16GB in mind for the future is worthwhile, however that has much to do with your use scenario. Even with the performance hit, I am hoping your choice was a 1x8 such that you still have an open slot to upgrade to. 2x4 is such a waste in regards to money spent to then have to ditch for moving up.

I personally feel like for the budget you were allotted that this was a brilliant build. Wouldn't worry too much about the elitist opinion that some here tend to have if it is working well for you.

There's nothing "elitist" about making recommendations that are based on empirical evidence and fact, and are in the best interests of the person the advice is being offered to. Considering the fact that there is very little difference, or in some cases, no difference in price between a higher speed memory kit and a low speed kit, it makes no sense to NOT recommend faster memory in just about EVERY instance, unless of course like this OP they've already purchased the memory.

I'm not sure who you think you are to come in here and start calling people elitist, but you can take that attitude someplace else in a real fast hurry.
 
Sep 28, 2018
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Chaps, chaps put the purses away please.

The memory kit was about £40 cheaper than the equivalent 3000mhz kit. So budgetwise I kept within my target (wife imposed target).

The point @TerryLaze makes is valid, however I should point out I bought the 2200G first, then realised I would be best to OC it. The stock cooler didnt perform too well and it was the late addition of the Noctua that bust the budget. The wife hasn't figured that out yet.

Overall, it seems to be doing its job rather well for my limited use case of a game here and there. Can't grumble and maybe later in the year when funds free up I will jump up to the 2600 or 2600X if I need it.
 

Darkbreeze

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Nah, later in the year those models will probably be moot, because the 3000 series CPUs are coming and an update later in the year would be better served by one of those models in all probability but of course cost comparison at the time of purchase will obviously be a factor you may have to consider as well if there are significant differences. There may not be as AMD has indicated a willingness to drop prices across the board to increase market share.

Then again, reviews of those upcoming models might tell a different story, you never know. It wouldn't be the first disappointing release we've seen over the years, but I halfway expect it to be fairly decent and of course they will be compatible with the motherboard you already have so no other hardware changes would be required.
 

punkncat

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Well, Darkbreese, I had taken a moment to reply to your post and it appears my reply was taken down. I will guess that you can see it anyway...even though ti wasn't really for you, alone.

I hate that you feel that way about my reply to the OP.
 
Sep 28, 2018
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So just an update on this, been running for about a week now and got the CPU OC'd to 3.9GHz (running the case without side panels on to help airflow) and OC'd the 2666MHz Corsair RAM to 2997MHz and just finished a 2 hour session playing Ghost Recon Wildlands at 1080p nice and smooth. I don't think I could ask for much more for a smidge over £500.

Will wait and see what the 3k series looks like before thinking about upgrading.
 

Darkbreeze

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Testing your memory configuration to verify stability

Before you decide that this section is not worth your time or get lazy thinking you don't need to test because you you're system "seems" fine, with no obvious blue screens, freezing or restarting, let me make one thing VERY, VERY CLEAR.

ANY amount of instability in your memory configuration is enough to cause what are known as micro errors. This is a very miniscule error which, if it only happened one time might not ever be a factor but when it happens incrementally over time, can result in complete and total corruption of your operating system, documents, game files, applications, music, movies, everything, to the point of being a complete and total loss with no chance of recovery.

Memory configurations that are not as close to 100% stable as possible are not a joke. They WILL eventually cause widespread corruption of the entire file system. Don't cut corners because it's simply not worth it. If you are unwilling to do the testing necessary to make sure the system is stable you should simply leave the memory at the default configuration and that includes NOT setting the memory to the XMP profile if the profile of the memory is beyond what the system automatically configures the memory speed and timings to by default. Do the testing. One day out of your life is not going to kill you but not doing it might make you wish you had died if you lose a lot of very important information and personal files that can't be replaced.



Memtest86


Go to the Passmark software website and download the USB Memtest86 free version. You can do the optical disk version too if for some reason you cannot use a bootable USB flash drive.

Create bootable media using the downloaded Memtest86 (NOT Memtest86+, that is a different, older version and is outdated). Once you have done that, go into your BIOS and configure the system to boot to the USB drive that contains the Memtest86 USB media or the optical drive if using that option.


Click here to download Memtest86 USB package

Create a bootable USB Flash drive:


1. Download the Windows MemTest86 USB image.

2. Right click on the downloaded file and select the "Extract to Here" option. This places the USB image and imaging tool into the current folder.

3. Run the included imageUSB tool, it should already have the image file selected and you just need to choose which connected USB drive to turn into a bootable drive. Note that this will erase all data on the drive.



No memory should ever fail to pass Memtest86 when it is at the default configuration that the system sets it at when you start out or do a clear CMOS by removing the CMOS battery for five minutes.

Best method for testing memory is to first run four passes of Memtest86, all 11 tests, WITH the memory at the default configuration. This should be done BEFORE setting the memory to the XMP profile settings. The paid version has 13 tests but the free version only has tests 1-10 and test 13. So run full passes of all 11 tests. Be sure to download the latest version of Memtest86. Memtest86+ has not been updated in MANY years. It is NO-WISE as good as regular Memtest86 from Passmark software.

If there are ANY errors, at all, then the memory configuration is not stable. Bumping the DRAM voltage up slightly may resolve that OR you may need to make adjustments to the primary timings. There are very few secondary or tertiary timings that should be altered. I can tell you about those if you are trying to tighten your memory timings.

If you cannot pass Memtest86 with the memory at the XMP configuration settings then I would recommend restoring the memory to the default JEDEC SPD of 1333/2133mhz (Depending on your platform and memory type) with everything left on the auto/default configuration and running Memtest86 over again. If it completes the four full passes without error you can try again with the XMP settings but first try bumping the DRAM voltage up once again by whatever small increment the motherboard will allow you to increase it by. If it passes, great, move on to the Prime95 testing.

If it still fails, try once again bumping the voltage if you are still within the maximum allowable voltage for your memory type and test again. If it still fails, you are likely going to need more advanced help with configuring your primary timings and should return the memory to the default configuration until you can sort it out.

If the memory will not pass Memtest86 for four passes when it IS at the stock default non-XMP configuration, even after a minor bump in voltage, then there is likely something physically wrong with one or more of the memory modules and I'd recommend running Memtest on each individual module, separately, to determine which module is causing the issue. If you find a single module that is faulty you should contact the seller or the memory manufacturer and have them replace the memory as a SET. Memory comes matched for a reason as I made clear earlier and if you let them replace only one module rather than the entire set you are back to using unmatched memory which is an open door for problems with incompatible memory.

Be aware that you SHOULD run Memtest86 to test the memory at the default, non-XMP or custom profile settings BEFORE ever making any changes to the memory configuration so that you will know if the problem is a setting or is a physical problem with the memory.

After your memory will pass Memtest for 4 full passes, it is still not necessarily stable, but it is a good start and you should move on the the last phase of testing using Prime95. See, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.




Final testing with Prime95

It is highly advisable that you do a final test using Prime95 version 26.6 (And ONLY version 26.6 except as noted below) choosing the Custom test. You can also use the Blend mode option but after a fair amount of personal testing, asking questions from some long time members with engineering level degrees that have forgotten more about memory architectures than you or I will ever know, and gathering opinions from a wide array of memory enthusiasts around the web, I'm pretty confident that the custom option is a lot more likely to find errors with the memory configuration, and faster, if there are any to be found.

Please note as this is rather important, if you prefer, or have problems running version 26.6 because you have a newer platform that doesn't want to play nice with version 26.6, you can use the latest version of Prime95 with the Custom test selected but you will need to make the following change.

If you wish to use a newer version than 26.6 make the following edit to the "local.txt" file located in the Prime95 folder.

Find the line value that specifies CpuSupportsAVX=1, and change it to CpuSupportsAVX=0

Then click File-->Save, and then close the document.

Now open Prime95.

Click on "Custom". Input a value of 512k in the minimum FFT size field. Leave the maximum FFT size field at 4096k. In the "Memory to use" field you should take a look at your current memory allocation in either HWinfo or system resource monitor. Whatever "free" memory is available, input approximately 75% of that amount. So if you currently have 16GB of installed memory, and approximately 3GB are in use or reserved leaving somewhere in the neighborhood of 13GB free, then enter something close to 75% of that amount.

So if you have 13GB free, or something reasonably close to that, then 75% of THAT would be 9.75GB, which, when multiplies times 1024 will roughly equal about 9984MB. You can average things out by simply selecting the closest multiple of 1024 to that amount just to keep it simple, so we'll say 10 x 1024= 10240mb and enter that amount in the field for "Memory to use (MB)". We are still well within the 13GB of unused memory BUT we have left enough memory unused so that if Windows decides to load some other process or background program, or an already loaded one suddenly needs more, we won't run into a situation where the system errors out due to lack of memory because we've dedicated it all to testing.

I've experienced false errors and system freezes during this test from over allocating memory, so stick to the method above and you should be ok.


Moving right along, do not change the time to run each FFT size.Leave that set to 15 minutes.

Click run and run the Custom test for 8 hours. If it passed Memtest86 and it passes 8 hours of the Custom test, the memory is 100% stable, or as close to it as you are ever likely to get but a lot of experts in the area of memory configuration suggest that running the extended Windows memory diagnostic test is also a pretty good idea too.

If you get errors, (and you will want to run HWinfo alongside Prime95 so you can periodically monitor each thread as Prime will not stop running just because one worker drops out, so you need to watch HWinfo to see if there are any threads not showing 100% usage which means one of the workers errored and was dropped) then you need to either change the timings, change the DRAM voltage or change the DRAM termination voltage, which should be approximately half of the full DRAM voltage.

There are also other bios settings that can affect the memory configuration AND stability, such as the VCCIO and system agent voltages, so if you have problems with stability at higher clock speeds you might want to look at increasing those slightly. Usually, for Intel at least, something in the neighborhood of 1.1v on both those is pretty safe. There are a substantial number of guides out there covering those two settings, but most of them are found within CPU overclocking guides so look there in guides relevant to your platform.

As a further measure of assurance that your WHOLE configuration is stable, you can download and run Realbench for 8 hours. If the system freezes or fails when running Realbench with your full memory amount set, try running it again but select only half your amount of installed memory.

Hopefully by now you have memory that is working correctly, in the full amount you purchased, and at the advertised speed and timings. I am certainly no expert in the area of memory architectures or very advanced configurations, but hopefully this has helped you to some degree and if there are questions I might be able to answer that were not addressed here, feel free to start a thread and PM me with a link to your question. Good luck and happy gaming, or whatever it is you do on your machine.
 

mdd1963

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why choose a CPU with integrated graphics if also getting a discrete GPU? (If intending gaming, I'd fight hard for more than 4c/4t in initially choosing a CPU)

Any way to catch an R5-1600 on sale? (I've heard of them on sale for $99 or less recently...)
 

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