Ryzen router - How low can you go? (formerly DIY 2200GE)

If you’re running the thing as a router, i reckon you could clock it as low as 500mhz or so and save an absolute shitload of power.

My Celeron N3000 based pfsense box is clocked at 1ghz (and never breaks a sweat on a 75Mb down/ 35Mb up VDSL connection - even driving the WAN interface via a USB NIC), passively cooled and as i understand it the senseMI stuff in Ryzen is very aggressive about turning inactive parts of the CPU off. Combine that with clocks at 20-25% of rated base clock and the thing will be stone cold i suspect.

So, just a quick update: The B350M Pro4 I got open box from Amazon was a complete turd and I tried a lot to change that. Gonna return it and have to start over.

Uhm, that sucked. But I can tell you that while the memory worked fine (the few times I got that piece of shit to boot), ECC did not work at all on that board using the APU. So I will probably try to find a board that has at least one ECC entry on it’s memory QVL. … and I specifically need M-ATX. … Hooray.

I think ASRock might be your best bet.

Oh right…

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Intel has a shit ton of embedded systems with really really low TDP. Mine is only a 15 watt TDP, so I don’t really understand why that would be important to run with graphics unless you plan on it not being headless.

I mean, maybe you’re worried about upgrades, but with a normal pfsense setup I use literally 5% CPU at peak. I’m going to try setting up a VLAN on the 4 port intel nic I through in there instead of using the realtek adapter for the internet connection, and then squid on top of that, but I don’t imagine that it will use up that much more in processing. This is on an embeded mitx board.

any reason in particular that you need mATX instead of mini itx?

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Yes, I need at least two PCIe slots. One for the intel NIC and one for the internal VDSL modem.

I could run a 1200 and put my second PCIe 1x dedicated GPU into it, that thing doesn’t even have a heatsink. You need some kind of GPU in most systems, simply because they won’t boot without. I also prefer to be able to troubleshoot on the thing itself if I have to. But the main problem at the moment for me is the right board.

Intel makes even lower TDP XEONs. I know that because my current router is running one of those.

The Gatekeeper II

  • Intel Xeon E3 1220L v3 CPU
  • Asus P9D-M M-ATX mainboard
  • 6GB (3x2) of DDR3 1066 ECC memory
  • Corsair Force GT 60GB SATA SSD
  • Draytek VigorNIC132 PCIe DSL modem/router
  • Intel Pro 1000 PT dual port gigabit NIC
  • Seasonic SS-350 ES PSU with Noctua NF-A8 ULN mod
  • Noctua NH-L9i low profile CPU cooler
  • 2x Noctua NF-A6 60mm PWM fans
  • Inter-Tech 2U 2098-SK rack case
  • 5.25" hot-swap bay for one 3.5" drive
  • Icy Dock EZConvert Pro 3.5" cage for one 2.5" drive

I specifically want to kick intel out of that build because over the last months I really disliked … basically everything they have done. And as much as they state that they believe to make the most secure products in the world, … I don’t.

So, after the mainboard mess I tried to run the APU in the ECC system I already have.
And it does not work. It boots, it runs fine but all the tests say “ECC NOPE!”.
I tried checking EDAC, dmidecode and lshw on ubuntu.

I don’t think anyone should rely on an APU to run ECC at this point.
It doesn’t even matter if it is the chip itself or the support from the board.

With no reliable ECC support, the terrible board experience and no real need on hand…
Maybe the lower end boards are out in a couple weeks (Computex?) and I will look at it again.
But for right now I am axing this project.

Sorry guys.

This is sort of what I was worried about. Hopefully we see some of the pro models hit the consumer market soon.

I was digging around last night, and after much anecdotal evidence, I saw a roadmap showing the new boards coming in the second half of the year, with the article saying late July for the B450. Just noticed this pic:

I have a 2400G on the way but still waiting for the new motherboards before building. The Asus boards seem to have the most UEFI options pertaining to what I need, so it’s probably going to be a B450 or X470 Asus board. I intend on spending at least a full day or 2 running through all of the possible options and testing to see how much power it draws undervolted, underclocked, and maybe try disabling a core just for fun. The DIY 2X00GE will not be forgotten!

If your primary aim is simply to ditch intel, have you considered one of these:

Plug in a VDSL modem to one of the ethernet ports.

  • fanless
  • silent
  • not x86/x64 (It’s ARM), so less likely for x86/x64 based malware to impact it
  • throughput up to/exceeding 100Mbps (i.e., good enough for home unless you have an amazing connection).
  • cheap

i know its not as cool as rolling your own box, but…

disclaimer: i have no association with Netgate, etc. i just think that’s a cool little box.

I run a NUC style box for VDSL using a Draytek Vigor 130 VDSL modem, which would be suitable for use with that firewall as well obviously.

That is a cool little box.
I have a Mikrotik heX

^This thing is pretty awesome and my whole network is faster while using it.

I have a 120mbit connection and I am running a Motorola DOCSIS 3.1 Cable modem.

Is ECC a must for a router? I didn’t think that most routers had ECC in the first place.

I had one of those too before switching to the internal one.
Totally does the job but I like having all in one case, no modems or powerbricks.
That was the main thing to build my Gatekeeper.

Nope, totally isn’t. Just for me. Because … I want that.
There really isn’t more to it.

Same goes for the architecture. I want it to be x86 stuff because … I do.

So, thanks for the recommendations to both of you.
Unfortunately those boxes don’t fit my taste. :wink:

A little update on this.

I have moved away from the APU idea and will go with a Ryzen3 1200 that I got for 70,- bucks from amazon. I also bought the cheapest AM4 mATX board Asus makes, the A320M-K. Did a BIOS update, ran a few tests from a live stick, board is stable as far as I could see in a few minutes and ECC is working just fine.



Id really like to swap my 5350 for something more capable. You should get one of those watt meters so we know just how low it does go.

Is on my list. :wink:

Can’t help you with the ding-dong though.

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OK, a few numbers.

Old system: 13W TDP Intel 2c/4t, 3x2GB ECC DDR3 - 31W idle

New system: 65W TDP AMD 4c/4t, 2x4GB ECC DDR4 - 34W idle

That is with C-States and Asus energy saving stuff disabled and on stock clocks.

Both systems have the same networking cards plugged in.
The new one also has a VGA card of course.

Maxing out the download increases consumption by about 3-5W on both systems.
CPU usage on both is practically zero.

So now I have a router that is not terribly less efficient than the older system.
And if I need more performance it can ramp up a lot.
I can live with this.

Small update: I have done two minor changes and closed off the build, it is now officially done.

First I switched out the old craptastic corsair 60GB SSD for my Intel DC S3510.

Secondly the GPU I used to install the OS did not come with a low profile PCI bracket. So I removed the card from the system and while it is acoustically complaining on boot, it starts up fine and runs headless without any issue.

Here is the full spec list.

AMD Ryzen 3 1200 CPU
2 x 4GB SK-Hynix ECC DDR4 2133 memory
Asus Prime A320M-K motherboard
Intel DC S3510 SATA SSD
Draytek VigorNIC132 PCIe DSL modem/router
Intel Pro 1000 PT dual port gigabit NIC
Seasonic SS-350 ES PSU with Noctua NF-A8 ULN mod
Noctua NH-L9a AM4 low profile CPU cooler
2x Noctua NF-A6 60mm PWM fans
Inter-Tech 2U 2098-SK rack case
5.25" hot-swap bay for one 3.5" drive
Icy Dock EZConvert Pro 3.5" cage for one 2.5" drive


Random idea if you just dont need the hertz, you could just disable p states untill it starts acting, and then obviously enable that higher one :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Nah, it’s fine.

The two networking cards alone plus 4 fans are drawing quite a bit of those 35ish watts. Then there is the chipset, SSD, two sticks of memory and a PSU at maybe close to 85% efficiency at it’s current load. Knocking down at most 2 or 3 watts doesn’t make a huge difference at this point.

The other thing is: whenever I had stability problems in the past, easily half the time it was because poorly implemented energy saving stuff.

This is a router, it just needs to work, it is running on pretty low power already…

It’s fine. :wink:

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even in western australia where i’m paying i think 19c per KW/h, even the full 34 watts is what… $2.16 per month… shaving 3 watts would save me perhaps 21c per month.

Is that worth potential instability? I’d say no… :smiley:

Never mind my wasted time tweaking for it. My free time, i value at far, far more than the hourly rate of 21c/month over the number of hours i’d spend tweaking it.


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Normal density DDR4 pulls 2W per stick
Fans are somewhere between 1W and 3W
SSD (Samsung 860 evo) uses 6W at full tilt.

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Yeah, so 4W for the memory, let’s say 1W per fan and since it is mostly idle maybe 1W for the SSD, the Vigor NIC is 6W TDP and that one is running constantly, same goes for the Intel NIC but only one port at the moment so maybe 3W(?) and the chipset is getting warm as well …

And suddenly we are already at 20W without counting for efficiency of a 80+ bronze PSU at extremely low load.

Even the Intel E3 1220L v3 with it’s 13W max TDP could not push it much lower.

It’s fine. :wink:

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