Hey folks, I’m a bit green on the gpu pass-through part, but I’m alright in the linux department.
I am currently looking to purchase a PC built around the Ryzen 5 3600 & Sapphire rx 5600xt. I understand we are months away from the next zen generation, but I have a use for the r5 3600 later down the road. That said, I would like to ask for help regarding what motherboard to purchase. Use cases:
Running Debian for development and gaming in my free time
upgrade to next gen CPU in 2021-2022 in case I need more processing power for work
in the future add a second GPU for looking-glass with VFIO pass-through.
I would need advice especially in the third point, as I do not follow recent developments, IOMMU group yays & nays. I’m looking at the MSI x570-A PRO motherboard, but I’ve found some older reddit threads that discuss issues with dual GPU setups due to AMD Core issues (no idea what that entails, besides bios patches).
I’d like to stay in the 170 euro range, give or take. Future proofing is key, I’m fine replacing the CPU but I’d rather have a mobo that lasts me a long time. I expect the 7nm CPUs to be good with power efficiency, and I do not plan on using high-end CPUs, mid range desktop parts are good enough for the type of work I do. Hell, I’m writing this from a Thinkpad with an i5-5300U, remoting to other Thinkpads around the household to offload workloads where necessary.
For future proofing, the X570 is pretty limited these days. AMD will most probably move to a new socket soon, and I would expect them to remain on the AM4 platform with, at most, 5xxx ryzen series, but more probably 4xxx will be end of the line for the AM4 socket. Whether the successor is AM4+ or AM5 remains to be seen.
In other words, your upgrade options will be somewhat limited with the X570, but might serve you well enough. Going from a 3600 to, say, a discounted 4900X when the 5900X is out for a new socket is not a bad move.
With that said, going B550 is a better move in almost all respects for your money; No chipset fan is a huge plus, same quality builds for cheaper (for instance, you can get the B550-A PRO for around 20-30€ less than the X570-A PRO, it’s pretty much the same board, and for your use cases the B550 is even better).
And as for the PCIe, a socket-only PCIe 4.0 still provides 20 lanes. 8x PCIe 4.0 will last you a long time since not even the 2080 TI is close to saturating 16x PCIe 3.0 lanes yet, so that is 8x + 8x for gpus + 4x for your NVMe boot drive - You will not be able to max that for a looooooooooong time.
Finally, as for recommendations, how about the Aorus B550 Elite? Decent VRMs, around the proper price range, comes with reflash button, only real drawback is that it does not have x8/x8 (and actually, none of them do at that price point), but there are ways around that limitation.
I haven’t looked at B550 boards, but the limitations for socket you mentioned are true for those boards as well. I don’t see why I should go with the budget chipset with the PCIE limitations you mentioned before. This seems to go against what I mentioned as my use case, which is a dual gpu setup in the long run. For saturating the lanes, I take your word for that, however, if next gen cards come requiting PCIE 4 for full utilisation, then a B550 board might be a dead end, no? I’m not trying to be difficult here, I’m happy to hear people’s opinions. I just don’t see the benefit of going with B550 besides saving a trivial amount of money.
As for the chipset fan, I’m buying a purebase 500 case that will be sitting under my desk. I do not expect to hear the chipset fan through the noise dampening of the case. Or my headphones. Or my tinnitus, for that matter.
There basically isn’t really such a thing as future proofing in tech.
Now in the case of X570, it’s very likely that in the next one or two years,
the am4 platform will likely be EOL.
It’s not really clear yet ¨if¨ the upcoming RYzen 4000 series cpu’s,
are even going to be on am4 even.
So all in all, if you are really in the need for a new system right now,
then i would suggest to just pay the best cpu you can afford right now.
And keep that running as long as possible untill the time you feel,
that you are trully getting held back by the performance of the said platform.
That way you basically get the best efficiency out of the said hardware.
Now in terms to aswer your question in regards to which x570 board is good.
Well that really depends on your pesonal needs and upgrade plans.
The Msi X570-A Pro board is not a great board in the sense of the vrm implementation.
The vrm implementation is pretty god awfull, and only really great for like Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 cpu’s.
But that particular board won’t be great for cpu’s like the Ryzen 9 series.
Because the vrm is simply too weak.
In terms of VFio or pci-e passtrough i think that there are a couple of topics,
about that on the forum.
And a few other users with more experience in this field will be likely better to help.
But if you are looking for a X570 board with a decent connectivity feature set,
and a good vrm to eventually upgrade to like a 3900X or 3950X lateron.
Then i can help you with recommending some boards that have a good enough vrm.
They have confirmed Ryzen 4000 to work on X570, B550 and B450, but it is expected that Ryzen 5000 and on will be on a new socket, there was a massive uproar a few months back because they initially said B450 would not be compatible with Ryzen 4000.
Yeah i know, i also read about that a while ago.
But after that first statement it has been pretty silent around it.
And they just showed some pointless XT cpu’s at the market.
So yeah, i cannot really convincingly say that Ryzen 4000 will be backwards compatible.
Although earlier news in like April or so, kinda stated backwards compatibility for at least X570 / B550.
So yeah i guess it’s a matter of wait and see.
I was actually expecting Ryzen 4000 being introduced around Q4 this year,
as the last cpu range for am4.
Because according to original roadmap, support for am4 will end in 2020.
However that might or might not be extended due to the covid-19 delays.
Edit: nvm: €170,- range sorry i missed that.
i would say in that price range, something like the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite,
or Asus X570 TUF gaming plus are pretty much the best choices,
if you want a decent vrm implementation for future upgrades to like a Ryzen 9 cpu.
Otherwise B550 could be an interesting alternative.
However how flexable those boards are in regards to iommu grouping,
for passtrough is not really that much known about yet i think.
Hey Angel, thanks for chipping in. I feel that when you are saying ‘VRM is awful’ you are talking in absolutes, not relatives. I’m not planning to run ryzen 9 processors, as my original post mentioned, it is well beyond my needs. Maybe probably ryzen 7 at one point in the future, but that is it. So I don’t need the cream of the crop in VRM. IOMMU groupings and a supported thermal sensors is way more important for me.
I’ll check the boards you mentioned, thank you for your time.
Ah i probablly over read the part in terms of not looking for Ryzen 9 cpu’s
Still overall i think the x570 Aorus Elite is a better board in my opinion,
also in terms of features.
It’s pretty much still the best X570 board you could get under 200 euro.
The only downside is that it lacks troubleshooting features like a post code read out.
But at that price point you cannot really have it all unfortunately.
For B550 you might wanne take a look at boards like.
Asrock B550 Steel Legend.
Gigabyte B550 Aorus Pro.
Msi B550 Tomahawk.
The Msi X570-A pro will basically be fine for Ryzen 5 and 7 cpu’s.
Just not suitable for higher core count Ryzen 9’s.
It seems very unlikely this will be the case for a few years, since AMD are the only company which even supports PCIE 4.0 right now. While Intel is hurting, it will be a while before people transition to AMD fully, and you will always have that 25% of the market that will run Intel no matter what.
Even if that happens, you can always shift your RX 5600 XT to the PCIe 3.0 slot and run your new shiny 4080 Ti in the 4.0 slot with a B550. Or even buy a 4700G (non-confirmed 8c16t APU) for your passthrough adventures, rather than 2 discrete GPUs.
The extra 4.0 PCIe lanes X570 brings will not matter for compatibility purposes, so unless you are doing a shitton of IO (as in, a machine that needs to handle tens of terrabytes of data per day), they are pretty redundant. At which point, well, why not just go full Threadripper?
The biggest benefit to dump the chipset fan is to decrease the number of mechanical failure points. It is not uncommon to hear of broken chipset fans, and they are often soldered on cheaper boards, making a swap kinda cumbersome.
The B550 motherboard does not necessarily save you money; rather, you get more features for the same amount of money. The Aorus motherboard I pointed to is around €170, but has more useful features (2.5 GB Ethernet, Flash button) and significantly better VRMs than the MSI x570-A PRO.
I get where you are coming from, but really, a €170 X570 board will be pretty bad compared to a €170 B550 board.
Thanks, I’ll look into it. I have to agree on the mechanical failure point part, although I’m under the impression that it is not an always-on fan to begin with. Then again, wouldn’t want to RMA the whole board.
I’ll check the B550 aorus elite, it all depends on the iommu groupings.
Been running a Gigabyte X570 Pro for just under a year and I’ve only ever heard the fan spin at post. I doubt it will wear out any time soon, maybe the bearing will dry out due to heat from the chipset?
Don’t have any pcie 4 devices though, gpu, sound card and two nvme drives all gen 3. Will see what happens when i put in a gen 4 gpu at the end of the year…
Oh wow, internal soundcard! That’s a blast from the past. I keep my audio gear outside the chassis, keeps things easier to change up too.
Anyway, I’ve found the ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING which is looking alright for me. Lower end B550 board, if I run into problems with IOMMU or expansion I’ll just pass it to the wife and get something for myself. This whole mobo shopping is causing me analysis paralysis and I’m not liking it at all. Takes my energy away from things that really matter.
AMD seems to be following a method here. AM4 and the first RYZEN are a perfect match.
Step 0, get a RYZEN system
Step 1 get a new RYZEN
Step 2 get a new MoBo
Step 3 get a new RYZEN
Step 4 get a new MoBo
You can upgrade the RYZEN a couple of generations and you can upgrade the motherboard a couple of generations.
If they are ending the AM4 I would expect them to stop upgrading the chipsets first. So the latest chipset is good for the current generation and the next. If they don’t bring out a new chipset with the next RYZEN then that’s your answer on the AM4, end of life.