Question Component compatibility and upgrade advice

Jun 25, 2020
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Hey community,

Been a little disappointed with overall performance of my PC as of late and have considered upgrading a few components.

Current Specs:

AMD Ryzen 5 1600
Gigabyte AB350 Gaming motherboard
Nvidia Geforce GTX970
M12IIBronze EvoEdition Power Supply
Windows 10 64 bit
G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
Acer S0 Series S220HQL ET.WS0HP.A01 21.5" Full HD 1920 x 1080 5 ms 60 Hz D-Sub, DVI LCD Monitor
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Need a little help with compatibility and utilizing any current hardware. Considered a Ryzen 3600 (not exactly sure which model is necessary), but wanted to know if I would need to upgrade my MOBO, powersupply, etc. I do know that I find the Gigabyte mobo driver update site difficult to navigate, so I would be open to other manufactures.

I catch my Disk space at 100% occasionally so need to find a remedy for that also.

Open minded but with an appropriate budget. Not looking to stream, but would like to run most simulator games on highest specs with great FPS.

Any Advice? I can do basic functions on the pc, but it has gotten slower over the last year. Startup and game loading can be lengthy at times (SSD possibly?).

A lot going on here I know, but I was hoping to get away with keeping GPU and any other components, but I understand the give and take. Like to have a few options for budget ranges ( $300-500, or $500+)

Please feel free to express opinions, I don't mind.

Thanks for any suggestions.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
At 100%? That's a BIG problem. What is your drive model and how many drives do you have?

What speed is your memory currently ACTUALLY configured for? Because I know it's not running at 3200mhz like the memory in the link you provided. They might be 3200mhz sticks, but with a 1st Gen Ryzen CPU they aren't running at that speed I guarantee you. Your CPU only supports up to 2666mhz, and you'd probably have to configure that manually, so there's a good chance you are currently only running at 2133mhz and may not even be in dual channel if you don't have them in the correct slots. They SHOULD be installed in the 2nd and 4th slots over from the CPU, the A2 and B2 slots.

Anyhow, there are clearly some areas of the build where improvement is probably really needed. You have a rather slow CPU actually. You have a drive that (Presumably) is full and is probably REALLY slowing down performance on top of likely being a mechanical hard drive and not a fast SSD.

How much can you afford to put towards updates and what country are you in so we can make recommendations on hardware that's actually available in your region?
 
Jun 25, 2020
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At 100%? That's a BIG problem. What is your drive model and how many drives do you have?

What speed is your memory currently ACTUALLY configured for? Because I know it's not running at 3200mhz like the memory in the link you provided. They might be 3200mhz sticks, but with a 1st Gen Ryzen CPU they aren't running at that speed I guarantee you. Your CPU only supports up to 2666mhz, and you'd probably have to configure that manually, so there's a good chance you are currently only running at 2133mhz and may not even be in dual channel if you don't have them in the correct slots. They SHOULD be installed in the 2nd and 4th slots over from the CPU, the A2 and B2 slots.

Anyhow, there are clearly some areas of the build where improvement is probably really needed. You have a rather slow CPU actually. You have a drive that (Presumably) is full and is probably REALLY slowing down performance on top of likely being a mechanical hard drive and not a fast SSD.

How much can you afford to put towards updates and what country are you in so we can make recommendations on hardware that's actually available in your region?
I have a seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 RPM Sata 3GB Hard Drive (Only drive I have)

Memory Speed 2133 MHZ
Slots 2 and 4
Memory in use=3.9 MB

United States residency
Budget roughly $250-$350 (Could go higher but must be necessary).

I like options. Again, novice pc assembler but would be open to suggestions if needed to improve beyond budget. I am not a full time gamer or video watcher, but I do want to run max settings when I do.

Helpful? Thanks for taking the time here.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
This would be my "budget" recommendation.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial MX500 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($55.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $245.98
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-05 23:57 EST-0500


and then after doing that (OS and applications on the SSD, then wipe the HDD and put your games on the HDD) if you are still not where you think you need to be, then maybe think about a GX card upgrade or faster memory kit.
 
Jun 25, 2020
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This would be my "budget" recommendation.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6 GHz 6-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial MX500 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($55.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $245.98
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-05 23:57 EST-0500


and then after doing that (OS and applications on the SSD, then wipe the HDD and put your games on the HDD) if you are still not where you think you need to be, then maybe think about a GX card upgrade or faster memory kit.
I will get these ordered. I was also thinking about upgrading my 8GB Ram to 16GB. any opinions/preference in regards to brand or compatibility?

also Cooling fan needed for CPU? Also I see i must update my bios before installing 3600? Is this relatively easy process?

Appreciate your time.
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The problem with upgrading your memory, especially on Ryzen platforms (And the problem is increasingly worse the further back you go in the age of the chipset, so B350 being more problematic than B450, being more problematic than B550, etc.), but to some extent with ANY platform, is that if you ADD memory you are rolling the dice on the idea that what you get, even if it's the exact same model, is going to play nice with the existing stick and unfortunately (Especially for kits that are above 2666mhz) that's not always the case. Adding a different or even same model stick to one existing stick may not work at all, but it also may. It's chancy and while it does work sometimes, there are also a good many times where it either doesn't work and they won't play nice together at all, or they will play together, but not nicely, with various problems, or they may work fine and you never have any issues at all.

If your intention was to add another 2 sticks to your existing two sticks, I'd highly recommend and suggest that you do not want to do that and I can just about guarantee that with four DIMMs installed it's either not going to play nice (Due to trying to run two separate memory kits together) or it's going to reduce the speed to something much lower than 3200mhz because there are speed limitations on Ryzen platforms when using four DIMMs as compared to running only two.

My advice if you want to bump up from 8 to 16GB would be to get a NEW 2 x8GB kit, and sell the old kit or keep it around for a backup or for another system at some point. Maybe build yourself an HTPC with parts like the existing CPU etc. if you could use something like that. Whatever you want to do, but that is my recommendation as far as just buy a new kit and avoid any problems from memory.

These would be a good choice and are compatible with your motherboard.

PCPartPicker Part List

Memory: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory ($87.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $87.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-07 16:46 EST-0500



These show as compatible as well, and are less expensive, but being upfront I'll tell you that Ryzen platforms really don't like Corsair LPX kits and often have problems running them.

PCPartPicker Part List

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $62.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-07 16:47 EST-0500
 
Jun 25, 2020
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The problem with upgrading your memory, especially on Ryzen platforms (And the problem is increasingly worse the further back you go in the age of the chipset, so B350 being more problematic than B450, being more problematic than B550, etc.), but to some extent with ANY platform, is that if you ADD memory you are rolling the dice on the idea that what you get, even if it's the exact same model, is going to play nice with the existing stick and unfortunately (Especially for kits that are above 2666mhz) that's not always the case. Adding a different or even same model stick to one existing stick may not work at all, but it also may. It's chancy and while it does work sometimes, there are also a good many times where it either doesn't work and they won't play nice together at all, or they will play together, but not nicely, with various problems, or they may work fine and you never have any issues at all.

If your intention was to add another 2 sticks to your existing two sticks, I'd highly recommend and suggest that you do not want to do that and I can just about guarantee that with four DIMMs installed it's either not going to play nice (Due to trying to run two separate memory kits together) or it's going to reduce the speed to something much lower than 3200mhz because there are speed limitations on Ryzen platforms when using four DIMMs as compared to running only two.

My advice if you want to bump up from 8 to 16GB would be to get a NEW 2 x8GB kit, and sell the old kit or keep it around for a backup or for another system at some point. Maybe build yourself an HTPC with parts like the existing CPU etc. if you could use something like that. Whatever you want to do, but that is my recommendation as far as just buy a new kit and avoid any problems from memory.

These would be a good choice and are compatible with your motherboard.

PCPartPicker Part List

Memory: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory ($87.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $87.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-07 16:46 EST-0500



These show as compatible as well, and are less expensive, but being upfront I'll tell you that Ryzen platforms really don't like Corsair LPX kits and often have problems running them.

PCPartPicker Part List

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $62.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-07 16:47 EST-0500
Again, appreciate the help. Seems like a lot of risk for only $25 cost difference. I will just add the G Kill Trident and hopefully have no issues. I am going to get things ordered and might have a few questions regarding updating bios for new CPU. Other than that, thanks for all the help.

SlyGuy
 
Jun 25, 2020
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Was wondering if you could help me with my MOBO prior to upgrading my CPU? I received my SSD and RAM, along with 3600 and I know there is a MOBO driver I need to upgrade to allow me to replace my 1600? I have never updated my MOBO (per reading forums on here) and I have no idea what I need to do to get everything installed safely and properly. I know it may be more than you signed up for, but would you have any help with the process on this? I worry about damaging components on my PC. I know there are a bunch of drivers on the gigabyte website for my mobo and have no idea what to install. all I know is I was always told (on the forum) not to update drivers unless you have a known issue. Right or Wrong. PCPartPicker indicated an important driver must be updated with my setup to allow the 3600.

Again, thanks.

slyguy
 
Jun 25, 2020
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Are you talking about upgrading the BIOS firmware version?
Correct. Unless I am getting any automatic BIOS updates (I doubt it), I have never updated my MOBO drivers. Again, not sure if that is right or wrong, but I see a lot of claims on this forum about not updating unless absolutely necessary. Thoughts? I thought about using the Gigabyte APP, but it too has mediocre reviews.

Thanks for help

slyguy
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The BIOS can't be "updated automatically". It can only be done manually.

Motherboard drivers and motherboard BIOS, are ENTIRELY different things.

Most comments or recommendations about not updating the BIOS that you will run into are from very old sources, or from people who don't actually have a clue what they are talking about. Not only is updating the BIOS these days almost a given as a requirement that you are going to have to do at some point, it is in fact almost a given that you will have to do it on multiple occasions because unlike in the distant past it is VERY common for there to be problems or incompatibilities that can ONLY be corrected or accommodated for by the release of a new BIOS. These days, updating the BIOS might actually to some degree be considered as likely to be needed to be done as updating the chipset or other drivers in years past and probably MORE so, since usually if a chipset driver worked in the past there was little need to have to update it later unless you changed CPUs or motherboards.

These days, every time new hardware gets released, there is a good chance you might have to update the BIOS, which is the software that makes everything that is hardware, able to work within the structure of an operating system. Drivers, the operating system, software applications, the hardware itself, none of this works without the BIOS, which is a set of instructions hard coded onto a ROM chip that the motherboard looks to in order to configure a basic context in which the operating system can then configure itself so that it will work properly with all of the various pieces of hardware.

BIOS:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS

Drivers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_driver

Do NOT use any automatic utilities for updating drivers OR for updating the BIOS. Both of these things should be done manually and you should only EVER use those drivers or BIOS updates that are available from the product page for your motherboard unless you REALLY know and understand what you are doing by getting custom BIOS or device drivers from someplace else. It's a good way to brick your system or introduce vulnerabilities into your system.

Once you've read those and understand what the differences are, then you can move on and I'll help you with that as well.
 
Jun 25, 2020
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The BIOS can't be "updated automatically". It can only be done manually.

Motherboard drivers and motherboard BIOS, are ENTIRELY different things.

Most comments or recommendations about not updating the BIOS that you will run into are from very old sources, or from people who don't actually have a clue what they are talking about. Not only is updating the BIOS these days almost a given as a requirement that you are going to have to do at some point, it is in fact almost a given that you will have to do it on multiple occasions because unlike in the distant past it is VERY common for there to be problems or incompatibilities that can ONLY be corrected or accommodated for by the release of a new BIOS. These days, updating the BIOS might actually to some degree be considered as likely to be needed to be done as updating the chipset or other drivers in years past and probably MORE so, since usually if a chipset driver worked in the past there was little need to have to update it later unless you changed CPUs or motherboards.

These days, every time new hardware gets released, there is a good chance you might have to update the BIOS, which is the software that makes everything that is hardware, able to work within the structure of an operating system. Drivers, the operating system, software applications, the hardware itself, none of this works without the BIOS, which is a set of instructions hard coded onto a ROM chip that the motherboard looks to in order to configure a basic context in which the operating system can then configure itself so that it will work properly with all of the various pieces of hardware.

BIOS:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS

Drivers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_driver

Do NOT use any automatic utilities for updating drivers OR for updating the BIOS. Both of these things should be done manually and you should only EVER use those drivers or BIOS updates that are available from the product page for your motherboard unless you REALLY know and understand what you are doing by getting custom BIOS or device drivers from someplace else. It's a good way to brick your system or introduce vulnerabilities into your system.

Once you've read those and understand what the differences are, then you can move on and I'll help you with that as well.

Appreciate the schooling on this. I will work on updating these accordingly now. Should I just update all of the drivers (18+) and all of the BIOS 19+ drivers regardless if they apply to my specific hardware? I found my MOBO, I selected my Operating System, and then there are about 20 updates for BIOS listed. Some of the descriptions are brief and unspecific, but I am assuming it is safe to download anyways? (I.E. "improve Destiny 2 gameplay" is a description for an update). Should not be any harm in updating all of these should there?

I am just downloading and running from the gigabyte site FYI, Should I just be updating from the BIOS screen at startup? Every thing I am finding on how to do it wants be to use a utility program to update or use gigabyte's app. I am not seeing any way around it. App center or "Q flash?"


Thanks,

Slyguy
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
So, USUALLY, the BIOS does not need to have EACH BIOS update installed, only whatever the latest one is. There are some exceptions though and if a certain motherboard requires a certain BIOS update to be installed BEFORE another newer one is installed, it will normally be noted somewhere on the BIOS updates page accordingly. If you don't see any notes to that effect, then you can simply update to the MOST recent one, and disregard all the rest. You don't usually need to install each of them, sequentially.

As far as drivers, the same, if there are multiple versions you NORMALLY only need to install whatever the latest one is unless there is a note saying something to the contrary, and that would be extremely rare, but there are a few AMD display drivers or All in one drivers that are this way so it's worth making sure of anyhow.

For the BIOS, yes, you want to update from within the BIOS. Download the BIOS image to a USB flash drive, power on, go into the BIOS and use the Q-flash update utility found in the BIOS. As seen here (Different board, but basically same identical process):


I would suggest watching that video, and maybe find one or two others on updating Gigabyte B350 or just Gigabyte boards with Q-flash, in general, before attempting to update yourself. That way you are sure to be comfortable with what you are doing and not "guess" about anything. Don't guess, be sure. If you are not sure, do more research first until you ARE sure.
 
Jun 25, 2020
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So, USUALLY, the BIOS does not need to have EACH BIOS update installed, only whatever the latest one is. There are some exceptions though and if a certain motherboard requires a certain BIOS update to be installed BEFORE another newer one is installed, it will normally be noted somewhere on the BIOS updates page accordingly. If you don't see any notes to that effect, then you can simply update to the MOST recent one, and disregard all the rest. You don't usually need to install each of them, sequentially.

As far as drivers, the same, if there are multiple versions you NORMALLY only need to install whatever the latest one is unless there is a note saying something to the contrary, and that would be extremely rare, but there are a few AMD display drivers or All in one drivers that are this way so it's worth making sure of anyhow.

For the BIOS, yes, you want to update from within the BIOS. Download the BIOS image to a USB flash drive, power on, go into the BIOS and use the Q-flash update utility found in the BIOS. As seen here (Different board, but basically same identical process):


I would suggest watching that video, and maybe find one or two others on updating Gigabyte B350 or just Gigabyte boards with Q-flash, in general, before attempting to update yourself. That way you are sure to be comfortable with what you are doing and not "guess" about anything. Don't guess, be sure. If you are not sure, do more research first until you ARE sure.
Well I had to go my own way on this (not much feedback on this), but I got to the latest BIOS version for my MOBO (confirmed with CPUID). Now I am ready to proceed with CPU and SSD. Not sure if order of events matters, but I am planning on installing both CPU and RAM at same time. would love to have a little reassurance if you have time on proper process for this. Then on to SSD.

Thanks,

Slyguy
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
When you get the Trident's, look at the model numbers specifically. Gskill was kind enough to thoroughly test their ram for compatability, but it'll be the model number that says which is more for Intel and which is better for Ryzen. Nobody else differentiates. The models ending in GTZR for instance are for Intels, it'll be the model GTZRX that are for the Ryzens. This alleviates a few compatibility issues. There may be a price difference as a result.

That's not to say either model won't work on the other platform, just that models ending in X have been specified as Ryzen appropriate and the models not ending in X have the same chances as any other ram to be compatible.

To be honest, I'd go with the cpu and ssd first, the ram can wait a minute. When doing all this upgrading of bios, cpu, motherboard chipset drivers etc, it's best practice to reinstall windows. That cleans out all the old stuff, rewrites the registry for the new stuff and goes a long way to preventing possible conflicts and hiccups. No point in doing it all twice. Throw in the ssd, migrate the OS and essential software, leaving the hdd as mass storage, then update the cpu, bios, windows, drivers and you are done. Replacing the ram changes nothing but some bios settings.
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The models ending in GTZR for instance are for Intels, it'll be the model GTZRX that are for the Ryzens.
Do you have a link or other source evidence that backs this up? Because I've looked at every known breakdown of the G.Skill part number I can find and have emailed G.Skill regarding identifiers for Ryzen specific kits OTHER than those we already know are Ryzen based because they are specifically named as Flare-X or Trident Z Neo, and have been told that there aren't any identifiers because aside from those kits there aren't any specifically intended FOR use with Ryzen. Some are validated for use on some Ryzen boards, but might be equally validated on Intel based boards, and in neither case were they made with timings that were specifically intended to be favorable to either camp.

Since there are kits specifically listed as compatible on the G.Skill memory finder with most every Ryzen chipset based board that exists, which do NOT end in an X, and since there are Trident Z Neo kits that ARE specifically meant for Ryzen that do NOT end an X, I don't think this is a valid identifier. There ARE some Trident Z kits that are Ryzen compatible that end in X, and pretty much all of the Flare X kits end in X, but the Flare X kits are being phased out and the fact that there are so many validated kits that don't end in X makes it kind of wishy washy in my opinion. I don't think it's a hard fast rule unless you have some concrete evidence that says otherwise and if you do, I'd really like to see it so I can add it to my list of reference material.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
I already said as much.

That's not to say either model won't work on the other platform, just that models ending in X have been specified as Ryzen appropriate and the models not ending in X have the same chances as any other ram to be compatible.
And then you run into stuff like :
Series:
TZ = Trident Z
TZRX = Trident Z RGB (for AMD)
From gskill.com listing of ram series. I'm doubting is ever going to be a provable concrete Fact as such, more of a 'the sky is Blue' fact.

As far as the Corsair lpx goes, that all started back with the original Ryzen release, SkHynix ic's had the worst Ryzen compatibility, that's mostly been fixed by Agesa releases, but the lpx is the #1 selling ram worldwide, so has far larger failure numbers even if the % of failure is really no different to any other. But you already know this.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I think the majority of problems with the LPX kits stems not from there being more samples, but from the fact that most of the LPX kits were designed and intended for use with Intel systems which didn't have nearly the problems with certain IC's like Ryzen does AND had timings that were intended to be favorable for Intel systems because the pre-Ryzen AMD platforms were a minor consideration for these types of memory kits.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
You could very well be right, and that makes a lot of sense. I'd not really thought about it from that angle.

Not sure anybody knows the truth, Agesa ppl are probably more in the know than anyone, but confidentiality for various reasons is killing the actual reasons, leaving everyone else subject to rumor and speculation.
 
Jun 25, 2020
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When you get the Trident's, look at the model numbers specifically. Gskill was kind enough to thoroughly test their ram for compatability, but it'll be the model number that says which is more for Intel and which is better for Ryzen. Nobody else differentiates. The models ending in GTZR for instance are for Intels, it'll be the model GTZRX that are for the Ryzens. This alleviates a few compatibility issues. There may be a price difference as a result.

That's not to say either model won't work on the other platform, just that models ending in X have been specified as Ryzen appropriate and the models not ending in X have the same chances as any other ram to be compatible.

To be honest, I'd go with the cpu and ssd first, the ram can wait a minute. When doing all this upgrading of bios, cpu, motherboard chipset drivers etc, it's best practice to reinstall windows. That cleans out all the old stuff, rewrites the registry for the new stuff and goes a long way to preventing possible conflicts and hiccups. No point in doing it all twice. Throw in the ssd, migrate the OS and essential software, leaving the hdd as mass storage, then update the cpu, bios, windows, drivers and you are done. Replacing the ram changes nothing but some bios settings.
Appreciate the feedback. I will plan to install the SSD first, reinstall windows on that SSD, then install CPU. My bios/drivers are at latest version for my MOBO (must be for my MOBO to accept 3600). I will then just replace existing RAM cards. Is the SSD mostly plug and play? And I am assuming reinstalling windows should be relatively painless, just need to be sure to save to SSD?

Also, using the install instructions on the SSD I need a SATA-USB cable for installing?

Thanks for reply,

Slyguy
 
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