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Question Need to build new HTPC....

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,582
16
81
CPU Advice Please:

Currently running a i5-2500K on a ASRock z68 MB. MB is starting to have some hardware issues and with it being this time of year, figure this would be the best time to upgrade price wise. I have been eyeing the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G cpu and also the Ryzen 3 3200G as this machine will be mostly for HTPC along with web browsing and maybe some gaming, but not planning on any of the gaming portion. If it turns out I do do some gaming, if the internal GPUis not enough, I have a Sapphire NItro+ AMD RX5808GB Card (the blue card) for that and figure that would be g2g on a 1080p display (if it would be much of an upgrade over the Vega 8 or 11 in either?). I have a couple ADATA 2x8GB DDR4-3000 packs of RAM, along w/ a new case, Seasonic 80+ Gold PSU and am planning my first venture into the NVMe SSD, thinking of the one of the Samsung 970 500GB units, mixed in w/ a pair of X TB HDDs in a RAID1 for storage and then probably a USB3 or USB3.1 external for a 'real' backup in addition to the RAID1 HDDs.

For the time being, I will be using a 50" 1080p display, using HDMI into my Denon Audio Receiver and letting it handle the audio and also video connections.

My question is, is the cost difference between the Ryzen 5 3400G worth it over the Ryzen 3 3200G for my uses? I understand that these are Zen+ CPUs and not Zen2, but since I am having hardware issues w/ my current MB, I do not see any reason to try to resurrect that i5-2500K machine as everytime I look @ the task manager, it is maxed speed wise along w/ running @ 100%.

Please advise as this will be my first build since the i5-2500K build, which I actually built and used around the time of the release of BF4, so it has been quite a while and has served me well. I would like to stay with a GPU/CPU combo chip to cut down on heat and power, but if I do start gaming I have 2 80+ Seasonic Gold PSUs sitting NIB, one 550W and another 750W unit, and I am feeling the 550W would be more than adequate for this setup - no liquid cooling, no RGB lighting, just something that blends into the HTPC area is what I am looking for.

Thanks in advance for your time,
Bob
 

rbk123

Senior member
Aug 22, 2006
712
286
136
How will it be used for your HTPC? ie. will it do any transcoding? will it just be a Kodi client and you have a server elsewhere with your movies? will you do any Handbrake work on it? etc...

I think you're almost at a wash with the 3200G if you ran your 2500k at 4.5G or higher. The 3400 might be a little faster with the extra threads it has. If your HTPC is light duty, then no, save money and go with the 3200. Others more knowledgeable than me can e xpound on what the extra 4 threads get you in the 3400, but it doesn't seem like it's worth a 50+% cost increase to me.

Lastly - do you have a Microcenter near you?
 
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bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,582
16
81
No, there will be no transcoding and not just a Kodi client. I am currently using YouTubeTV and then I have ripped my BluRays (boh FHD and UHD) and have used Handbrake in the past, but I might just leave them full size - haven't made up my mind on that one. I am having issues w/ the current MB, so o'cing is not in the cards. My wife uses the machine for web browsing and using chrome, she a couple dozen or more tabs open at any one time.

Unfortunately, no Microcenter near me :(, for some reason they have stayed out of AZ. I do not have a problem ordering from Newegg, Amazon or (insert known store here).
 

Thunder 57

Golden Member
Aug 19, 2007
1,511
1,369
136
CPU Advice Please:

Currently running a i5-2500K on a ASRock z68 MB. MB is starting to have some hardware issues and with it being this time of year, figure this would be the best time to upgrade price wise. I have been eyeing the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G cpu and also the Ryzen 3 3200G as this machine will be mostly for HTPC along with web browsing and maybe some gaming, but not planning on any of the gaming portion. If it turns out I do do some gaming, if the internal GPUis not enough, I have a Sapphire NItro+ AMD RX5808GB Card (the blue card) for that and figure that would be g2g on a 1080p display (if it would be much of an upgrade over the Vega 8 or 11 in either?). I have a couple ADATA 2x8GB DDR4-3000 packs of RAM, along w/ a new case, Seasonic 80+ Gold PSU and am planning my first venture into the NVMe SSD, thinking of the one of the Samsung 970 500GB units, mixed in w/ a pair of X TB HDDs in a RAID1 for storage and then probably a USB3 or USB3.1 external for a 'real' backup in addition to the RAID1 HDDs.

For the time being, I will be using a 50" 1080p display, using HDMI into my Denon Audio Receiver and letting it handle the audio and also video connections.

My question is, is the cost difference between the Ryzen 5 3400G worth it over the Ryzen 3 3200G for my uses? I understand that these are Zen+ CPUs and not Zen2, but since I am having hardware issues w/ my current MB, I do not see any reason to try to resurrect that i5-2500K machine as everytime I look @ the task manager, it is maxed speed wise along w/ running @ 100%.

Please advise as this will be my first build since the i5-2500K build, which I actually built and used around the time of the release of BF4, so it has been quite a while and has served me well. I would like to stay with a GPU/CPU combo chip to cut down on heat and power, but if I do start gaming I have 2 80+ Seasonic Gold PSUs sitting NIB, one 550W and another 750W unit, and I am feeling the 550W would be more than adequate for this setup - no liquid cooling, no RGB lighting, just something that blends into the HTPC area is what I am looking for.

Thanks in advance for your time,
Bob
If it were me, I'd go with the 3400G. Those extra threads help. The 2600k has aged a lot better than the 2500k because of the extra threads. Not to mention, AMD generally benefits more from SMT than Intel. It would also have faster clocks and better graphics, though not by much. It's really those extra threads that are nice to have. Seeing as you like to hold on to your equipment for awhile, that's yet another reason I'd recommend the 3400G.

The RX 580 will be way faster than Vega 8/11. You are comparing 8/11 CU's vs 36, not to mention much more memory bandwidth. That said, Vega is surprisingly capable. It utterly smokes the 2500k's iGPU and Vega 11 is still twice as fast and sometimes more than the iGPU on a 9900k. It would all depend on the game of course. And yea, a 550W Seasonic is plenty for a system like this, even with the RX 580 in it.

I get that you are looking to build now, but with Renoir not far off it would be ideal if you could wait a few months. Then again, there will always be something new "around the corner" and it will cost you more than Picasso does today. Hope I helped, let me know what you think.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,792
5,303
126
First off, while @Thunder 57 mentions waiting, if your current system's mobo is in the process of failing, then you really can't wait.

I would go with the 3400G, it's a fairly capable chip, and the extra threads (and extra cache memory?), will help. An RX 580 should be adequate for 1080P gaming (*just not RDR2 @ Ultra, but that's another story).

I'm not really sure what's the best mobo, I would pick a form-factor first, do you want ATX, micro-ATX, or ITX? No shame in going micro-ATX B450 boards, and they are the cheapest out of those three. ($65-90)
 
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Thunder 57

Golden Member
Aug 19, 2007
1,511
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First off, while @Thunder 57 mentions waiting, if your current system's mobo is in the process of failing, then you really can't wait.

I would go with the 3400G, it's a fairly capable chip, and the extra threads (and extra cache memory?), will help. An RX 580 should be adequate for 1080P gaming (*just not RDR2 @ Ultra, but that's another story).

I'm not really sure what's the best mobo, I would pick a form-factor first, do you want ATX, micro-ATX, or ITX? No shame in going micro-ATX B450 boards, and they are the cheapest out of those three. ($65-90)
I never recommended it. I thought I mentioned the failing mobo, but guess I didn't. I was just pointing that out. However, since they're both AM4, one could easily upgrade and recover some of the cost. It's nice to have a platform that lasts, unlike Intel.
 
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fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
5,859
1,143
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No, there will be no transcoding and not just a Kodi client. I am currently using YouTubeTV and then I have ripped my BluRays (boh FHD and UHD) and have used Handbrake in the past, but I might just leave them full size - haven't made up my mind on that one. I am having issues w/ the current MB, so o'cing is not in the cards. My wife uses the machine for web browsing and using chrome, she a couple dozen or more tabs open at any one time.

Unfortunately, no Microcenter near me :(, for some reason they have stayed out of AZ. I do not have a problem ordering from Newegg, Amazon or (insert known store here).
2nd 3400G if you can catch Frys in stock for $100. https://www.frys.com/product/9926116/ It periodically comes back in stock and it's available for shipping. That is if you're not transcoding. If you're transcoding blurays the more cores the better, and if you're transcoding in h265/HEVC zen2/Intel will handle h265/hevc much much better than 3400G.
 
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bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,582
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2nd 3400G if you can catch Frys in stock for $100. https://www.frys.com/product/9926116/ It periodically comes back in stock and it's available for shipping. That is if you're not transcoding. If you're transcoding blurays the more cores the better, and if you're transcoding in h265/HEVC zen2/Intel will handle h265/hevc much much better than 3400G.
After thinking about it, I think I will go for a x470 MB since it would allow a CPU upgrade a bit further out and also the MB I am looking at has an Intel LAN onboard. From what I have read the x570 boards are a bit weak w/ their current BIOS being so new - any reality to this? Paying an extra $100 for a 3600x vs the 3400G just doesn't seem necessary at this time.

As far as transcoding, not at this point, I have just been ripping my collection w/out compression. As I move to 4K movies, the rips are getting bigger (~80GB vs ~20GB), so hopefully spinners will drop in price soon, or I can just pick up some of the USB3/USB3.1 externals & remove the hdds, but at the moment I am doing ok space wise.

Since it has been quite a bit of time since I built machine, what is the current "go-to" CPU thermal compound?

Thanks,
Bob
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
20,537
8,394
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After thinking about it, I think I will go for a x470 MB since it would allow a CPU upgrade a bit further out and also the MB I am looking at has an Intel LAN onboard. From what I have read the x570 boards are a bit weak w/ their current BIOS being so new - any reality to this? Paying an extra $100 for a 3600x vs the 3400G just doesn't seem necessary at this time.

As far as transcoding, not at this point, I have just been ripping my collection w/out compression. As I move to 4K movies, the rips are getting bigger (~80GB vs ~20GB), so hopefully spinners will drop in price soon, or I can just pick up some of the USB3/USB3.1 externals & remove the hdds, but at the moment I am doing ok space wise.

Since it has been quite a bit of time since I built machine, what is the current "go-to" CPU thermal compound?

Thanks,
Bob
Although I have 2 x470 boards, and one x370 board running 3900x's, I also have a x570 ASUS tuf gaming wifi that was $200, and for a short while it was running a 3900x with the factory bios, just perfectly. The extra speed for the NVME drive (twice the data transfer speed) could be worth it. I have not heard anything bad about x570 bios.

Just my 2 cents.
 
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Topweasel

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
5,327
1,525
136
Problemless with my x570 and a 3900x with a PCIe 4.0 NVME drive. Most of the complaints with the x570 are that all but the ones with waterblocks have fans for cooling the chipset. Which apparently only really spins up when you are using any of the chipset provided PCIe 4.0 slots (so like a second or third NVME drive). Any BIOS issues are more CPU based. AMD is fine tuning the turbo process for 3k series CPU's. On other small issue was the random number generated got screwed up, this was a microcode bug, that happened to be an issue on X570 launch bios's agesa version. This would be an issue for any X370 or X470 board that was also updated to that Agesa. But that is for a long time a non issue (except that one guy using some weird job specific board that no one got around to updating yet he had to write a 1k article blaming AMD for it).

But again one issue was resolved and the other is an aspect of optimizing performance of 3k CPU's. Both of which apply to X370 and X470 setups.
 

fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
5,859
1,143
126
After thinking about it, I think I will go for a x470 MB since it would allow a CPU upgrade a bit further out and also the MB I am looking at has an Intel LAN onboard. From what I have read the x570 boards are a bit weak w/ their current BIOS being so new - any reality to this? Paying an extra $100 for a 3600x vs the 3400G just doesn't seem necessary at this time.

As far as transcoding, not at this point, I have just been ripping my collection w/out compression. As I move to 4K movies, the rips are getting bigger (~80GB vs ~20GB), so hopefully spinners will drop in price soon, or I can just pick up some of the USB3/USB3.1 externals & remove the hdds, but at the moment I am doing ok space wise.

Since it has been quite a bit of time since I built machine, what is the current "go-to" CPU thermal compound?

Thanks,
Bob
Personally I'm cautious of X570 not because of BIOS or anything like that, but because of chipset fans. People report their x570 chipsets run hot and require fan running at all times, I don't want a non-replaceable chipset fan, but other than that x570 is totally fine.

As far as x470 vs b450, personally I think b450 is totally fine for HTPC use. b450 will have more than enough PCIe lanes for HTPC use and most b450 motherboards with proper VRM cooling will run 8 core AMD chip at stock frequencies just fine. The only important thing I will note is that if you go x470/b450 route, go for motherboard that has 32MB bios chip, otherwise future BIOS updates might become problematic.

As far as compound goes, it really doesn't matter much, having good contact i.e. flat heatsink base is much more important for good cooling. However, if you're looking for suggestions, I've been using Arctic Silver 5 for the longest time without complaints, and I think it's still totally fine, nowadays I use Noctua NT-HT1.
 

Topweasel

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
5,327
1,525
136
For general non-tricky use compound I think the general consensus is MX-4. I have been using it for a couple years. But AS-5 is barely behind and for a lot of old timers old trusty go to.
 

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,582
16
81
I was just given notification that I will be doing video editing (FHD for sure, UHD possible), so looks like the non G CPUs.

Out of curiosity does a NVMe drive benefit more from speed or (Gen4 vs Gen3) or size (500GB vs 1TB), I just don't where the bottleneck would be for this process.

Also, does a Ryzen 5 vs Ryzen 7 make a huge difference for this particular task? Obviously the RX580/8G will be going back in.

Thanks for sharing the knowledge,
Bob
 

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,582
16
81
The MB has lasted this far but it is getting worse. I picked up a mini DP adapter and connected using the HDMI cable from my laptop and the computer is the culprit (wasn't 100% sure it was the HTPC since it feeds it's HDMI cable into a Denon receiver then out to the display), but turns out it is the HTPC.
Now, a new question - How would a B450 w/ a Ryzen 7 2700 work out? The Ryzen 7 is listed as a 65W CPU, so I am wondering how a Ryzen 7 2700 vs a Ryzen 5 3600 would compare in the real world needs I have. Am I pushing the B450 board to hard? After much consideration, I am not a real big fan of a actively cooled chipset, I could design and have made a Cu heatsink for the x570 board using all available space, but something tells me that that will not be enough heat dissipation.
Appreciate your comments. Also, since now I have the mini DP adapter, if the HTPC dies, I am not so screwed, so a bit of time to get the best bang for the $$. RX580/8G would still be the GPU.
 

Topweasel

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
5,327
1,525
136
@bob4432 Sorry missed your last question so will try to answer both.

So now that you know you have to a lot of encoding work. More cores generally equal better. So the 2700 is a good choice. Though the 3600 is a great second option as raw computing power are a lot closer than you would think considering max clocks, max all core and so on. The 3600 would also be a stronger option for things that are single cored. That said neither requires a x570 board. So if you are worried about available cooling for the chipset then get either a B450 or X470 that fills your needs. Drive perfomance matters for large file copies, which might still be part of your task list, but I am guessing max performance to and from the drive aren't going to be that fast so a PCIe 3.0 NVME should be good enough and in that setting capacity will help more then anything else.
 

Ottonomous

Senior member
May 15, 2014
552
288
136
Get a Skyreach S4 Mini if the case budget isn't bad and have the reassurance of GPU (and CPU expandibility), at least within the power limits of a HDPLEX 400W (enhance 600W?)

Velka 3 would also do very nicely. Quick future conversion to a full-fledged gaming PC by dropping in a 2070/5700mini
 

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,582
16
81
Get a Skyreach S4 Mini if the case budget isn't bad and have the reassurance of GPU (and CPU expandibility), at least within the power limits of a HDPLEX 400W (enhance 600W?)

Velka 3 would also do very nicely. Quick future conversion to a full-fledged gaming PC by dropping in a 2070/5700mini
Thanks for the suggestion, but I personally like ATX sized M/B's, plus I need the NVMe slot(?) it are the called M2 slots, either way, you know what I mean, there 2x spinners & 2x BluRay drives.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
16,352
5,269
136
Kind of what it needs to be. This all the questions between a x570 based board or a b450 based version. Figure just with what is out today CPU/GPU speed, I would have a lot of upgradeability.
If you have no budgetary problems, I'd suggest getting x570 + a 3600, 3700x, or 3800x (if you can find one on sale) and calling it a day. No sense in agonizing over the APUs unless you really need an iGPU for some reason. You have a decent vid card. If power output is a problem, put your CPU in Eco mode to lower TDP or just do some "smart" undervolting. It's very easy to do, just set LLC off/lowest setting (depending on board) and then set a negative voltage offset and run it at stock otherwise. It will sip power.
 

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,582
16
81
@DrMrLordX thanks for the suggestion.The x570+3600 combo is one I have been eyeing for some time.
One of my reasons for not already buying the components is my question to the mb's BIOS stability. I know this is a manf situation, but in your opinion or anybody for that matter, are the BIOS for the x570 boards from the major manf at state of good to great stability? There will be no o/c'ing this machine, the cpu, and generations before would more than suffice @ stock speeds. The other reason is that I plan on keeping this for quite some time, and the fan on the chipset is another concern of mine, which keeps me thinking of a B450 based board. I know I would be giving up PCI-E GEN 4 based items which for this particular machine and it's duties, I honestly do not think I would even notice. I know on paper there would be a hit performance wise, and I understand what I would lose out on, but for this build, I cannot see it translating into a real world difference.
Appreciate your suggestion,
Bob
 
Last edited:

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
16,352
5,269
136
@bob4432

x570 has had the best UEFI stability among all the chipsets that support Matisse. It was b350, b450, x370, and x470 that had the most issues with Matisse (varying on an OEM-by-OEM basis).

If you are worried about the chipset fan, either look at some of the MSI boards with "FROZR" technology (they spin the fan down) or examine on a board-by-board basis to see which ones let you spin down the fan. I know my Aorus Master lets me lower chipset fan speed if I like, and others in the Aorus lineup probably have similar fan software. It got patched in a few months ago.
 

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