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mini-ITX Ryzen 5 2400G gaming build with upgrade paths - best options?

gpu
cpu
linux
#1

So, I’ve been wanting to build a mini-ITX build for a while now, and it looks like I’ll have some budget for it this autumn. Relevant purposes:

  • Will run primarily Linux - Microsoft is too unreliable and Mac is expensive as fuck these days, not to mention very limited in upgrades
  • Extra GPU for Looking Glass - Sometimes I just wanna game with my friends still on Windows
  • Small form factor - I want to maximise my desk space so I can tinker with electronic hardware such as arduinos and stepper motors
  • Budget around $800 to $1200 - Because then I can buy two and game with the wife :slight_smile:

So, I’m thinking something along the lines of (exact brands are not set in stone except for the case which is the best price-to-size for my needs):

case - Silverstone Sugo SG13
psu - 650W modular ATX (Bronze+)
cpu - Ryzen 5 2400G APU (APU for looking glass)
gpu - RX 580
memory - 2x16GB 3200MHz
motherboard - B450 chipset
storage - M.2 NVMe SSD 512 GB

So, my plan is to build this in the autumn and perhaps upgrade to a next-gen APU with 3600G once it comes out. I do have a couple of other questions:

  1. Anything I’m missing? I’m aware not all GPU cards will fit the case I’ve chosen, and I need to be careful with my CPU cooler height, and I might need to buy a 120mm or 140mm extra fan.
  2. I’ve heard some Zen2 chips may not be compatible with the B450 chipset, will this be an issue with the 3600G? Should I invest in an X470 or X570 instead?
  3. I don’t think swapping GPU in a few years will be a problem, but is it worth to reach a little higher to a 590 or maybe even an RX 5700?

Would really appreciate some input if you can give it. :slight_smile:

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Using an M.2 GPU for linux, passing larger dGPU to a gaming VM?
#2

Just wait for Mobo compatability list to show up if it lists Zen 2 chips you should be good I mean the new APUs arent even zen 2 pretty sure.

If your waiting for 3400g then you might as well get what ever gpu is best in your price range if 5700 is that then go with that if its rx 590 then do that.

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#3

I would go for the highest end am4 mother board you can with good power phases cause with the way am4 is going the high power requirements for newer chips it would give you the head room for the upgrade in the future

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#4

Ok, so from what I gather for graphics anything >= RX 580 is pretty good, and I should wait until I actually buy the computer until I make the decision for the GPU and get the best one my GPU budget allows for at that point. Sounds like a good plan. :slight_smile:

As for the APU, I did some research and I really do not see a real reason to go 3400G over 2400G right now. 2400G will be cheaper than the 3400G, and I do not really think the slightly increased clock speeds will do much for me. A 6-core or 8-core APU would change the equation, but right now the upgrade seems less worth it. If the APU was my only GPU however, I would get the 3400G over the 2400G.

I still want to be able to upgrade to a later APU down the line, but with the same motherboard. While a B450 seems to be enough for the 3400G, I doubt it will be enough for a Zen2 APU released 2020, and definitely not a Zen3 (released 2021 or 2022). Hence, increasing budget to an x470 or x570 makes sense.

I could get a 450W PSU, and that would be cheaper, but it would leave a lot less room for upgrades, and a 650W working at half power sounds like a good long-term durability strategy.

Ugh, probably overthinking this…

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#5

Does looking glass need an APU? would a Motherboard with onboard graphics and a more powerfull CPU be better?

I think the days of 220 watt cpu’s and 600 watt Gpu’s are over

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#6

Looking glass would suggest he’s wanting to do VFIO? If so he’d be using the APU’s graphics for the host and discrete GPU for the guest? Iirc isn’t there an issue with integrated graphics and passthru? Or is that something from the past? I didn’t think chipset graphics was a thing outside the VGA support on IPMI BMC’s anymore.

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#7

I know this feeling… Well it sounds like you plan to wait until autumn, so Q3/Q4 time frame. If so you might consider the B550 chipset if they manage to get it out by then. There’s nothing concrete feature wise, but the rumor is that while you’ll get the PCIe 4.0 off the CPU (assuming the chip is Zen2), the chipset itself will only provide PCIe 3.0 lanes. Which is likely as AMD has said part of the expense of X570 was implementing PCIe 4.0. I’m hoping they keep the 4x lanes between the chipset and the SoC 4.0 though as it would be that much less of a bottleneck. I won’t hold my breath though. Either way it should be a decent budget board assuming they don’t cut too many corners. Anyways, the point being that the B550 is likely going to have better support for Zen2 and you’ll at least get some PCIe 4.0 from the CPU. No telling when/if they’ll release a proper zen2 APU though. Dunno if there will be a Zen2+ or if they’ll skip to Zen3. I think they’ve hinted at the later. And I’m guessing Zen3 will be a new socket. They can only keep the backward compatibility going for so long before it constrains them.

/Agree on 3200/3400. I find them meh.

As far as GPU goes I’m a bit of a moderate. I think FPS is important (but not to excess) and quality is second. I tend to buy midrange GPU’s that have good price/performance and then dial back quality settings in a game until I can get a solid 60 frames. But I’m an old man with bad eyesight to begin with running 1080p. If you intend to game at higher resolutions or favor max settings certainly pay for the highest end you can afford, otherwise I’d either pocket the money or spend the money elsewhere.

One thing I have changed my mind about is ray tracing. Bad lighting and shadow annoys me and while RTX is a bit of a gimmick (at least with little support currently) if the next gen consoles intend to implement it (hardware or not). We’re likely to see a lot more titles having some level of support for it. And while I agree with AMD that full scene, real ray tracing is a pipe dream atm, I think they’re mostly trying not to kill Navi20 in the crib. I think Navi40 and w/e is in next gen consoles will have some form of hardware ray tracing (is it 20/40 or 10/20? can’t remember).

TL:DR It might be worth waiting on the next iteration of Navi if any of what I said matters to you :stuck_out_tongue:

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#8

Looking Glass does require two graphic cards, yes - and they have to be different chipsets (e.g. RX 570 + RX 580 for instance). On-board graphics would not quite work seeing as all those are simple VESA graphics - great for outputting text to the screen and little else.

My PC case only supports Mini-ITX and Mini-DTX, so two full GPUs are very, very unlikely with the setup I’m going with. The only AM4 Mini-DTX I am aware of is an X570 from Asus and that foregoes the second PCI-Express slot for an m.2. As for Mini-ITX I have a few more options though.

I’m leaning towards AsRock as I’ve heard good things about them, but here are my current options that are available in my market (from B450 to X570):

https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/B450I-GAMING-PLUS-AC

As you can see, not a whole lot to choose from.

Yeah, that is an idea as well. The B550 should cost a little bit less than the X570. Of course, I want to wait for something like 3 years before getting the next APU after this purchase either way.

Agreed, both Navi and the RTX line shows promise but it’s not quite worth buying into them this year, not if you’re on a budget like me. :slight_smile:

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#9

RX Vega 56 are selling at around $250 USD. That is much nice upgrade over a RX 580 or 590. Used can be scary, and V56 does require more power.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=RX+vega+56&_sacat=0&rt=nc&LH_BIN=1

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($134.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung - 970 Evo 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($149.89 @ OutletPC)
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA GM 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply ($95.88 @ OutletPC)
Total: $570.64
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-06-22 22:17 EDT-0400

A SATA III SSD is fast enough. I don’t think an NVME drive is necessary with budget constraints in play; More capacity, for less cost.

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#10

Hmm, I am having a hard time finding a Vega 56, Vega 64 or Radeon VII card that will fit my box, might exist but not in my market yet (max length 266mm, max width (d1+d2) 125 mm). Perhaps 5700 will change that, perhaps not.

I still would like an M.2 drive due to less cable management, but sure, SATA III sounds good enough. :slight_smile:

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#11

Geez, you are right… the smallest I can find is this one at 270mm: https://pcpartpicker.com/product/bfdxFT/msi-radeon-rx-vega-56-8gb-air-boost-video-card-rx-vega-56-air-boost-8g-oc

You could “make” a bigger card fit =D.

If you have not yet purchase the Silverstone case, the Fractal Node supports bigger cards: https://pcpartpicker.com/product/BWFPxr/fractal-design-case-fdcanode304bl

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#12

Yeah, that is a sweet case as well, but the 304 does take up quite a lot more room with 19.64 litre vs the SG13 that takes up 11.45 litre.

The Node 304 is great if you need the extra space for SSDs and you want to build a NAS, it can fit a whopping six 2.5 drives vs the SG13 having only 3 of those. Add in a PCIx RAID card and an m.2, you have the potential of a RAID5 NAS with 25TB of memory, a RAID1 with 10 (3x) or 15 TB or a RAID1+0 with 10TB storage.

Of course, the best NAS solution in my opinion would be something with just enough room for two (or even four?) 5.25" slots, a PSU and a DTX motherboard with a metric shitton of SSD connectors. With four 5.25" slots, I could use the icydock adapter and fit 8 2.5" SSD per slot, bringing the total to a whopping 32 harddrives. But I digress. :slight_smile:

My favorite case for my needs would be the 7.2 litre Dan A4-SFX or an 8.2 litre Louqe Ghost S1, problem is that is at least $150 extra to the case (atleast in my country) that I’m not quite willing to spend right now. Perhaps my next build will be more worth it though.

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#13

Thanks for bringing this up. They have a 6x2.5 for 50 bucks. My Fractal Case could fit one of those and i could finally start managing all those various SSD’s with different installs of OS’s and Data. Looks like a nice thing. Any experience on how loud the fans on those things are?

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#14

Unfortunately, no real world experience, I stumbled upon them when I was considering building a home NAS for backup needs, but then realised my backups could be solved differently.

Here is a youtube review though, he talks about it 4:00 in. On high apparently they are slightly louder than his quiet CPU fan, sounds promising.

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#15

Just to be clear on the case, here comes a size comparison of the different boxes, also including my current midtower case, a classic Antec 300:

So, the dimensions of each of the cases discussed are (in mm and litre):

name                    | width   height   depth   volume
------------------------+---------------------------------
Antec Midtower 300      |   205      458     465     43.7
Fractal Design Node 304 |   250      210     374     19.6
Silverstone Sugo SG13   |   222      181     285     11.5
Dan A4-SFX              |   112      200     317      7.1
Louqe Ghost S1          |   140      188     322      8.5

But hey, that says very little, so let me introduce some crude CAD images as well. :slight_smile:

Overview:

image

Front:

image

Top:

image

Hopefully you can see why I’m hyped for a SFF computer… :blush:

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#16

If you’ve going for the smallest case, you could go for the S4 Mini from Not From Concentrate which has a volume under 5 liters

Though for mini-NAS builds, I prefer the Silverstone DS380B :slight_smile:

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#17

Yeah, you really can go small if you prioritise size over everything. Problem is, once you go very small, components start coming at a premium, you get completely locked in to certain GPUs (not many GPU cards that can fit the S4 Mini), and cooling becomes an issue as well, especially if you later on want to play around with e.g. Threadrippers.

I want a case I can rely on to handle heavier stuff, should I need it later on. Right now a 580 is the budget sweet spot, but perhaps a 590 will be a better deal come November, or even the Vega 56/64 has a sub-270mm card by then. I’m open to suggestions.

The Ghost S1 and Dan A4-SFX are the best cases I can find that:

  • Support a fullsize GPU card
  • Have a decent cooling solution
  • Doesn’t lock me in too much to any single solution

However these cases are simply too pricey for me right now. :disappointed:

Therefore I go with the less expensive SG13. Another good contender is the Fractal Node 202, but I don’t quite like how flat it is. Still, it does fit a larger GPU card without costing an arm and a leg, so might be worth it. :slight_smile:

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#18

Personally i think the sff market is in a bad state,
the video cards produce a ton of heat
the processors are producing a ton of heat.
and the cases choices are too limited to give one the flexibility needed to keep the machine cool.

also it seems the itx case manufactures have lost their minds and are now making cases the size of full size towers …
so i would recommend reconsidering and go to a small size micro atx case

cougar used to produce an awesome case called the ‘Spike’ which was awesome for small builds … and demonstrates that one can have a small profile desktop,
unfortunately they stopped making it .

but antec now has a case just a hair bigger called the P5
https://www.antec.com/product/case/p5.php
and its a great case for building a good small desktop in .

with case sizes these days you really aren’t loosing to much by using a small micro atx desktop .

moving away from the itx format gives you much more flexibility
to choose from a variety of motheboards and video cards .
freeing you from possible itx mobo gouging in case the board goes bad or just buy 2 to be safe…

there is other itx cases out there but they hard to find

xigmatec used to have a great itx case
as well as antecs razer cube
and lian lis tissue box case’s

but they all seem to have become very scarce in locating them .

you can still find these other two relatively easily although a lil pricey.

https://www.in-win.com/en/gaming-chassis/a1/

http://www.sliger.com/products/cases/sm550/

but im my mind i would just go with a small micro atx case and save your self
a lot of possible hassle.

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#19

When I’ve built ITX or SFF stuff for myself or others, my view was to choose cases which give plenty of room for at least a mid-tier GPU unless you’re willing to use the IGP until a total motherboard+CPU replacement. If you start requiring stuff like PCIe riser boards to squeeze stuff into a case, you’ll end up in an endless fan shopping spree trying to strike a balance of optimal airflow and noise ratio.

Gaming with ITX/SFF can become very restrictive as finding or waiting for OEMs to design their “ITX/low profile/short” card can vary wildly from one GPU generation to another and pricing of upgrades will put a dent into that “upgrade budget”. Zotac for example managed to make a really great GeForce 1070 & 1080 then moved up to the Ti revision(haven’t looked at their RTX models), another company managed to figure out how to make a single slot 16-series GPU which provides some extra choice.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/14494/colorful-has-a-singleslot-geforce-gtx-1660-ti-graphics-card

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#20

Yep, you are correct about the SFF space - it is a razor-thin space filled with compromise. Still confident I have a pretty decent build, and the only way to make more hardware come to the SFF space is to vote with my wallet.

I still think the Louqe Ghost S1 has the best idea if you want to build a shoebox-style SFF gaming build at the moment - but it does use every single inch of the case, leaving little left for upgrades. The Fractal Node 202 trades height and holistic airflow for width. It still does have decent cooling but does not quite compare to the Ghost, and you do not want to put anything on top of it as well. At the same time, the SG13 has just enough space to allow for a decent water cooling system if available - as well as a Mini-DTX support.

For my current needs, I do not need more than an RX 580 and 2400G - but in a few years time, this might very well change, with perhaps a Mini-DTX motherboard being a plausible replacement for the extra storage (Mini-DTX could theoretically fit three M.2 drives for instance, with two going beneath the GPU).

That is why I want a decent amount of flexibility for the future, but if I want ultimate flexibility I should simply go with another midtower - or heck, even roll my own. I know enough about airflow and mechanics to do it, just need access to a 3D printer and a milling machine. :slight_smile: But rolling my own takes a whole lot more time and effort than I would want to extend right now.

The Node 304 offers flexibility, and so does the SG13, but the SG13 is smaller, cheaper and enough for my needs.

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