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Budget Ryzen 3 Cube (Initial Build)

by FatBoyJD

7
23 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

April 17, 2018

Date Built

April 14, 2018

CPU Clock Rate

3.5 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

35.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

49.0° C

Description

This is my very first desktop/tower build with a full AMD setup in mind. I'm no fan of Crossfire/SLI, nor do I care for large towers due to lack of space. I've always wanted a budget-friendly ($450-$600) AMD build and the recent release of 2nd Gen Ryzen piqued my interest enough to finally do a custom build. I plan on gaming with this machine, so low-end capability is a given with the Ryzen 3 with the intent on upgrading in the near future. I recently purchased a GIGABYTE RX 560 4GB OC (rev 2.0), so I'll install that and make a separate build regarding that.

Installing the parts was smooth and easy, albeit lengthy due to how finicky I am regarding delicate parts. The case was definitely more spacious than I anticipated, so I definitely had an easy time setting everything up. The only issue is keeping the clutter to a minimum due to the placement of pins on this motherboard. Otherwise, the process was pretty straightforward. The only bump I ran across was the fact that the motherboard only has 2 fan headers (1 CPU, 1 System) and I had 3 case fans. Fortunately, the 80mm case fans also have 4-pin molex connectors (both male and female), so you can connect them directly into the PSU if you're lazy. Otherwise, just get a PWM fan splitter. No need for a 3 way splitter as those two fans can be connected to another via the aforementioned molex connectors. Fan control via Smart Fan Control 5 will be universal (no individual control per fan) through this header, but it definitely works wonderfully across the board with a total of .88A out of the 1A limit.

Installing Windows 10 was easy, but I experienced random crashes thanks to the Intel Wireless drivers sorely needing an update. Once I updated my wireless adapter, everything ran smoothly again. I was actually able to play Forza Motorsport 6: Apex on the lowest settings with few hiccups, so I figure mobile games (if that's your thing) run a lot better and prettier than something like Forza. Streaming HD videos on my 32" Vizio SmartCast 1080p TV/display (you may cringe) were child's play, as was running multiple apps alongside Chrome smoothly as well. I did no overclocking on this CPU yet, so I'll see how that goes. I'm also thinking on changing the Wireless hardware to something more stable, this particular wireless card is pretty unstable.

I'm open to any suggestions, recommendations, and some ideas on adding some aesthetic flair to this build. Any feedback will be appreciated.

Edit: I have the upgraded build posted

Part Reviews

CPU

Intrigued by the first generation of Ryzen processors, I decided to look into the 2nd generation based on performance benchmarks I've seen with integrated graphics. This is the little CPU/APU that could. Whether I'm streaming HD videos, running multiple programs, playing games, or all the above, this little guy definitely performed well. Considering the $70 price difference between this 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G, its performance was actually relative to the latter CPU. For that difference in price, I'd recommend this CPU over the 2400G.

Note that the Vega 8 Graphics will take up 0.3GB of RAM by default. After some driver updates, it uses 1GB by default. Changing the Integrated Graphics setting to "Forces" in the BIOS grants access to UMA settings. From there, you can manually choose how much RAM will be allocated to the iGPU. This also means running dual channel will optimize performance, though this ran just fine even on single channel memory. Games like Gears of War 4 can run on mixed settings (2GB-4GB recommended) at around 30FPS at close to 1600x900 resolution. Less-demanding titles fare a lot better, though Gears 4 will pretty much run close to Xbox One consistency on Vega 8. Talk about punching above its weight.

Motherboard

There's a lottery to be had with this motherboard: its BIOS. Some people have an older BIOS that's incompatible with Ryzen. Fortunately, mine came with the F10 BIOS that introduced Ryzen 3 2200G compatibility.

This tiny terror includes 2 RGBW headers, RGB lighting on the motherboard, dual channel DDR4 memory, 2x Gen 2 USB 3.1 Type-A ports, 4x Gen 1 USB 3.1 Type-A, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a P/S2 port, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, ALC1220/RealTek GbE LAN, M.2 Intel Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi+BT Module (3165) with antenna, M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 3 x4 2280 connector, 4 SATA 3 ports, SATA RAID (0,1,10), 2 hybrid fan headers, 2/4/5.1/7.1 channel HD audio support, front panel headers, USB 2.0 header, USB 3.0/3.1 header, and a single PCIe x16 slot. Talk about packing a lot of features into this tiny board. That alone has raised my expectations on larger motherboards.

You get 2 SATA cables, the WiFi antenna, and 2 installation CDs: a drivers and BIOS CD with the other being the Intel WiFi+BT drivers CD. Installation is fairly straightforward. SmartFan5 helps keep an eye on temps and you can customize your fan settings (CPU and System 1).

The limit of 2 fan headers and the BIOS lottery are two reasons I didn't rate this motherboard 5 stars. However, this baby could handle quite a good deal while gaming, so I highly recommend this for Mini ITX builds that pack a punch on a budget.

Memory

This RAM runs beautifully. Vega 8 Graphics take up a dedicated 0.3GB of memory, yet run well. Ryzen runs well on dual channel, but even in single channel it ran well.. It's also a stunner with its red aluminum plating that dissipates heat very well. Aluminum is a great metal for heat dissipation as its thermal retention is poor. Also, 2,400MHz is decent for gaming applications.

Storage

I thought I purchased a 7200RPM WD Blue 1TB. Turns out my tired self ordered the 5400RPM. Slower speeds notwithstanding, this HDD holds up fairly well with data transfers and storage. As a boot drive I could've done a lot worse, though I'm planning on using this for raw storage.

Case

Hello, beautiful! This Mini ITX case may not hold the longest graphics card (255mm with the front grill on, 285mm without), but it's probably the most voluminous case of its class. Cable management is easy given its spacious volume and included zip ties with holes to anchor cables down. Included is a 200mm case fan at the front (and a foam filter), 2 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, separate mic and headphone jacks, a power button, reset button, power LED, and HDD LED.

The rear sports two 80mm "slots" for additional case fans, the rear motherboard panel, and the slots for the PCIe expansion (most definitely for my graphics card). Bottom panel comes with a filter for the power supply, with the rear panel including the slot where you'd access the switches and plug. ATX power supplies are compatible with this case; 2 rubber bumpers are included with 3 pairs of slots to fit into for different size PSUs. The bottom is basically a dedicated space for the PSU.

Top panel comes with a glass/plastic window to see the motherboard (which sits horizontally) in all its glory. While the rest of the case is pretty much grill and metal. There are black hand screws holding the panels in place, as well as the 2 HDD caddies included. The front panel is removable only from the inside, with the rest of the panels being interchangeable. The top window is removable for those who want to install a grill/filter for even more airflow.

Small, compact, and stunning in white is what this cube is all about. It's spacious, yet compact and can definitely do what you need it to. Its airy interior also helps with airflow and maintaining lower temps. Its motherboard and PSU orientation definitely contribute to a beautiful interior.

Power Supply

I've been told this PSU will go nuclear if you reach/exceed its wattage limit. Considering my build is a Mini ITX build, there's little need to worry. If I slapped a Ryzen 7 and RX 580 into this build, I'd still be roughly 140W shy of reaching its limit.

Eco Mode is a neat little switch on the back that throttles power to the computer. It's a neat little thing to use if you're conscious about power consumption (i.e, running electronics on a surge protector near its threshold). Keep in mind it will throttle performance as well, so keep off if performance is a must. Otherwise, this unit supplies power without fuss. Its fan definitely keeps the unit cool, too. Eco Mode throttles the fan, too.

Fully Modular with three 6-pin connectors (2 SATA, 1 peripheral), 1 VGA 6+2, 8-pin CPU, and 24-pin ATX MB connector is exactly what's needed for smaller builds. The SATA cables have splitters, there are molex cables and adapters, too. This is excellent for smaller cases that require meticulous cable management.

Comments Sorted by:

Squidward-Chan 2 points 12 months ago

Maybe in the future you could get a used gpu, ex a used 980 (or ti), and a used risen 7 cpu. But I personally think you could've spent a few more dollars and gotten a WD Blue 1TB 7200prm HDD. My friend built one with a 5400 rpm and when he upgraded to a 7200rpm he said it was like night and day.

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 12 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion. I realized after the purchase that I ordered the Blue and not the Caviar-Blue (7200RPM model). They were the same price, too. Either way, I'm looking to getting an M.2 2280 SSD to use as the boot drive. I do have an RX 560 4GB OC I bought used for $121.50, I'll post that soon, I just completed the entire build now. As for that Ryzen 7, I'm looking towards the 2nd Gen so it'll be awhile before I do that kind of upgrade. Possibly once I get an RX 570/580 at a fair price.

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 1 month ago

I had upgraded to a Ryzen 7 2700X and Vega 64 a few months back, so that build is posted.

Fishboy9449 9 Builds 2 points 12 months ago

Beautiful system! The cable management is pretty good too just like you said! It looks pretty easy to build in! With all that space, does it hold up to a micro atx board in there? Again nice build!

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 2 points 12 months ago

Thanks! This case in particular could fit a Micro ATX board in it, but you'd be presented with a problem or two: GPU alignment with the dedicated PCIe slot for a single PCIe motherboard. Two slots would be an absolute nightmare. I saw an ASRock H110M-HDS R3.0 LGA 1151 Micro ATX that looks like it'd fit, but I'd be concerned with aligning the GPU. The ASUS PRIME B250M-K has perfect alignment for the GPU, but its extra width might pose a challenge. There are Micro ATX boards that have screws aligned for Mini ITX solutions like those two, so it's a matter of GPU alignment and additional width. The PCIe slot on the board should align with the first pair of screws/sockets on the left. The ASUS has that alignment, though I wonder if it aligns with the elevated bumpers that you'd place the board on. What I can say is it'll hold an RX 580 like it's nobody's business. I will be posting the updated build with my RX 560 in it soon.

speedslays 2 points 11 months ago

******* Canada and our **** dollar lol nice build

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 11 months ago

Thanks, I've got the updated build posted here as well, take a look at what this little rig can do with an RX 560.

speedslays 2 points 11 months ago

just ordered a 1300x not sure what gpu I wanna get. torn between a 1060 6gb or 1070 ti. also thinking of just being cheap and going 1050ti lol

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 11 months ago

Go 1050Ti or just "bargain" hunt an RX 570. Honestly, my preference is the RX 560 4GB OC (go GIGABYTE or ASUS) dual fan models. You'd get comparable performance for less, plus you wouldn't have to install a whole lot more software given you'd already have Radeon settings. Take a look at my updated build for some ideas. I've since added another 8GB to that build, but it didn't warrant another post.

If you're dead set on Nvidia GPUs, take a look at the GTX 960/970 if you want. That way you'd still get some oomph in that build of yours while not paying through the nose for a 10 series.

speedslays 1 point 11 months ago

how was the 8gb of ram. huge difference when you upgraded?? I picked up a 1050ti the other day. just waitin on my mother board now

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 11 months ago

Starting with the 8GB RAM I had good performance. 2,400MHz isn't the fastest, but their had been no issues whatsoever. Doubling that to 16GB only made processes run that much smoother. I saw the performance boost shine when running a game like Forza Motorsport 6, it ran much happier with the recommended 16GB RAM. That 1050Ti will run great on Med-High settings. My RX 560 4GB ran well, so your GPU should handle it fine.

Nigell 2 points 11 months ago

I just added the motherboard and APU to the list and I get that prompted that BIOS may be incompatible. Did you have any issues?

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 11 months ago

Fortunately, my motherboard had the F10 BIOS pre-installed. That's the BIOS that introduced compatibility with Raven Ridge CPUs. It's a gamble based on reviews, so be cautious. If anything, just get an RMA order if you don't have the BIOS already installed.

From there, it's also a gamble per se: some BIOS updates are unstable on some motherboards, though it's never the exact same BIOS for everyone (except for F23d, that's a beta so far). That would depend on you CPU, I guess. For me, F10 seemed to start fine, but after upgrading to F22 after some Windows 10 resets (I was simply checking off every diagnostic option I had) I found that my F10 BIOS was unstable by comparison. I was getting crashes with that BIOS, so if your APU runs during your intial boot, I recommend having the latest BIOS installed immediately.

Nigell 2 points 11 months ago

Thanks for the patient explanation.

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 11 months ago

No problem. Makre sure you install all drivers immediately, then flash your BIOS. I recommend saving each BIOS past F10 on a bootable flash drive just to be on the safe side.

avidoza 1 point 11 months ago

Did the APU work right out the box with the motherboard? What type of games do you play and how much fps are you getting? Love the build btw! Good stuff!!

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 11 months ago

Yes, it actually did but my BIOS was F10. Let's just say it had some serious stability issues.

This APU is great for eSports games that aren't too demanding. I tested Modern Combat FPS and Asphalt 8 on it with at least 40FPS with mixed settings. This was when the Vega 8 graphics only used up 200MB of RAM. I didn't really pay too much attention at the time, just tested the APU to see if it functioned properly. I think the recent AMD update lets it use 1GB of RAM now, which happened to me a few days back. It's currently paired to an RX 580 8GB GPU right now, but I'm happy to test it out again. I'll let you know later what I'm getting in those kinds of games with the upgrade in memory usage.

avidoza 1 point 11 months ago

Cool dude thank you so much for the reply! Ill definetly send you a link once im done my build!

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 9 months ago

I've set the integrated graphics in the BIOS to Forces and manually set UMA to 4GB. I played Gears of War 4 in both campaign and XBL with mixed settings for 22-30FPS @ 1634x920. It starts to stutter a bit at 1080p and the CPU heats up a lot though. Will post my overclock settings and benchmark data soon.

k3y3 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

I need to know, how’d you get that front span spinning on the motherboard. I have almost the same build as you.

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

Right now I use a Y splitter for the fan header. The rear fans have a 3/4 pin connection so I connect the two molex connectors to each other, then use the 3-pin connector for the Y splitter along with the front case fan.

Before that, you can see the rear fans connected directly to the power supply with a molex cable, so the front fan was simply connected to the system1 fan header.

k3y3 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Right, but once plugged in and powered on, the front fan started to spin?

FatBoyJD submitter 6 Builds 2 points 8 months ago

Yeah. There's a bracket on the fan connector that lines up with a bar on the fan header. Make sure it lines up perfectly. If your fan still doesn't work, then you've got a bad fan or a bad header.