Description

For Linux gaming, running Fedora.

Got the graphics card used and in great condition. Found a great deal on the CPU; I otherwise would have waited for the Ryzen 3000s to come out so the 2000s would become cheaper.

Update Jun 18, 2019: no problems with benchmarks. Memtest86 showed that the 2*8 GB G.Skill Aegis RAM was faulty when run at its advertised 3000 MHz, so I replaced it with G.Skill Ripjaws V at 3200 MHz, which was on sale anyway. I'll test that and see how it goes.

Update: the new RAM functions flawlessly. Running Cinebench several times in a row showed that the CPU could run up to 81 °C, so I'm going to get some more cooling in there.

Update Jun 26, 2019: Installed two more case fans. Now there are two intakes at the front, one exhaust at the top, and the built-in exhaust fan at the back. Fedora is installed and Borderlands 2, as one of the most graphically intense games I have, ran very well. That probably shows how much my old computer used to suck.

Part Reviews

CPU

The absolute legend. I was going to wait for the Ryzen 3000s to come out so the 2000s would get cheaper, but I got a good deal on this 2600 before then. $209 CAD and some free games sounded fine to me. It's not like the 3600's existence will make this CPU's performance worse, so I'll be very happy with its performance for the next bunch of years.

I've streamed games with this just fine, without having games chug. My previous PC, a laptop with a dual core (lol) processor would chug a bit, even on basic 2D games while I streamed.

Motherboard

A solid choice for a microATX AM4 board. It's basically one of the few in this size with BIOS flashback, and according to that VRM tier list that floats around the web, this one isn't bad, but not amazing either. All the headers are clearly labelled. The price is pretty good, too.

All in all, it's not the most exciting motherboard, but it does the important things properly.

Memory

Yep. It's RAM. It's "ready for Intel XMP," but clocks to the advertised speed just fine with a Ryzen 2600. I tested the stability of my RAM sticks in Passmark memtest86 and saw no problems.

Storage

I was going to just buy a M.2-shaped drive that uses SATA, but found this one on sale. I wanted the M.2 form factor to make the wiring in my PC simpler.

As you'd expect from an SSD, it's fast. Is the upgrade from SATA speeds to NVMe speeds noticeable or worth it? I don't think I'd be able to tell.

Also, keep in mind that this model is DRAMless, so the performance may be worse compared to a model with DRAM. See the Anandtech article if this matters to you.

Video Card

Good card. I got mine used and in great condition. It has no problems running games at 1080p, and plenty of games at 1440p and still at 60 fps. Haven't noticed any issues with heat or noise.

Case

Decent case with a remarkably low price. The side window is edge-to-edge tempered glass, though it's not perfectly flush with the edge of the front panel. Good opportunities for airflow, and its looks aren't too bad. There are removeable dust filters for the top and PSU vents. I took off the top filter and hid it on the bottom of the case using its magnets, since I'm using the top vent as an exhaust and so I want more air leaving the case and don't really need to protect my room from the dust inside the PC.

It's a bit annoying that the front panel and the I/O PCB are stuck together, so cracking open the front means also dragging out the I/O cables.

Although the case can fit 140 mm fans at the front, you need to install them at the front of the case interior, not inside the front panel, since a 140 mm fan positioned midway up will get in the way of the I/O. I think 120 mm fans wouldn't have any clearance problems, but I don't have any to test this.

One quirk of this case is that there's no power LED, so don't try looking for its cable. It has an LED strip at the front of the case that has a molex connector, which you need to connect straight to the power supply.

Power Supply

Yep. It's a power supply. It works. If you're in Canada, check out the price history for Canada Computers. They alternate between two weeks with this on sale and two weeks not on sale. Make sure to buy when CC has it on sale, since it's a good amount cheaper than elsewhere during that time.

The manual says the package includes a sticker, but mine didn't have one. What a scam!

Wireless Network Adapter

Works quite well. Not a bad price for 5 GHz/802.11ac.

WikiDevi says that this uses an Intel 8260 chipset, so expect it to work very well under up-to-date operating systems based on Linux. I'm currently using it on Fedora 30. The non-B1 variant of this card has an older Intel chipset but should still work great on GNU/Linux.

Be careful with the antenna's cable, since it's really delicate. You don't want the wires to rip themselves out of the card's sockets.

Case Fan

Great PWM fan. It's not that noisy and it keeps things cool, as a fan should. At $19 CAD, this is pretty cheap for Noctua.

Comments

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice to see a fellow Fedora user. Have you encountered the Ryzen idle crash bug at any point? It's something I had to sort out on my end.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Interesting. I haven't heard of this issue before. Having had the computer on for less than a total of 24 hours, I haven't seen this problem occur. Do you have any advice on avoiding or fixing this?

And to be honest, I haven't installed Fedora yet. I installed Windows first to redeem the games that were bundled with the processor. I'm benchmarking on Windows while it's still there.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

The bug happens when the MWAIT instruction is called under specific timing conditions, and can be identified by random reboots while doing seemingly nothing, followed by MCE errors being logged upon reboot. It's a hardware bug in Ryzen, and for some people, Linux may happen to step on it occasionally. Not something that you can easily test for either, since it happens during light load and is dependent on hardware timing.

To work around it, you can try setting idle=nomwait in the GRUB boot parameters, or setting the maximum C-state to C5 in either BIOS or in GRUB. There are reasons why these might not solve the issue completely for you, so if they don't, there's a Python script called ZenStates, which you can load on startup to forcibly disable the C6 state in software. That one solved it for me, and I have it loaded on boot via systemd.

I also experienced an unrelated series of crashes and reboots that were due to an invalid BIOS state. The symptoms for this are similar, and I was tearing my hair out on this one for a while. So if none of the above are doing it for you, make sure to try both resetting and reflashing your BIOS to clear out any gunk that might be in there.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Mind you, not everyone runs into this bug - it seems to be dependent on your combination of hardware, etc. So if you're not experiencing anything like this, you're probably fine.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

I've considered using this case a couple times now, but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet. How has it been for you? Any flimsy panels or problems with the build overall? I like how it looks a lot. Anyway, nice build!

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

As my first from-scratch build, I don't have much perspective on cases, but it seems fine to me. This was a good deal at $55 CAD.

No flimsy parts, and at this price, having a glass window is pretty cool. I will note that the glass is not perfectly flush with the front panel.

I'll give a slight warning about putting 140 mm fans in the front. I initially installed the fan inside the front panel, about midway up, but that prevented the panel from closing properly, since the fan got in the way of the front I/O PCB. I had to move the fan into the case itself. A 120 mm fan probably wouldn't have this collision problem.

A last gotcha is that this case lacks a proper power LED. I was searching around for the connector for the front panel headers, but it turns out that it uses a big fat molex that connects to the power supply via adapter.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the heads up. I assume its current power led is that long vertical blue strip I see in a lot of images of this case? I'd definitely find a way to rip that thing out and replace it. Enjoy your new build.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

It is exactly that light strip. But I suppose power lights aren't that important if the interior would have a lot of LEDs anyway.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Does putting 2 140mm fans in front of the case block access to the 2 SSD slots on the feont??

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

If you put them inside the case and not the detachable front cover, it will totally block those spaces. I used an SSD with an M.2 form factor, so that wasn't a problem for me.