I have once said that the current PC I had (then) would be the fore last one I would have build. That was the one which blew up last weekend.
If that wouldn’t have happened it’s still be true. The PC was fast enough for at least 5 years to go (if not 10). It held an AMD FX-8350 along with 32Gb of DDR3 1600Ghz and a good enough GPU (MSi GTX970 Gaming).
It's really dead!
That remains the €100.000 questions I’d say, though I have a good guess. By now I am pretty sure though that it was not that dusty power supply. After I ordered a new one online and installed it, the PC still wouldn’t boot. It really was DEAD, DEAD, DEAD.
At this moment I started to fear the worst. While the PC wasn’t overly expensive and I had build it up over the years (yes, that really is a cost saver 😉), building a new PC all at once would cost me dearly. With this month being May and having received my holiday allowance (80% of my disability allowance) I hoped to be finally make some savings.
Testing the old parts
Now it was time to test the old hardware and see what is still working and what not. Luckily my neighbour also has an AMD FX based PC (which I made) and I checked the mobo specs. It should be able to support my FX-8350.
Despite of the COVID-19 social distancing I hoped over to her (I kept the 1.5 meter distance in mind) and hijacked her PC for testing purposes. But that just didn’t go the way I wanted. I forgot that I build the PC in a mini case, not allowing to insert the GPU – it just came 1cm short 😕 and inserting the CPU didn’t boot her PC at all 😢 At least I was able to test the RAM (4 banks of 8Gb paired in sets of 2) and those were okay!
When I checked later, the motherboard in her PC supported AMD FX CPUs up to 95 Watt. The AMD FX-8350 is a 140 Watt CPU so that was a no-go for sure.
The new PC
Building a new PC is always a challenge. Even more so when you skip a generation of CPUs on a regular basis. This means that you need to investigate a lot to see what has changed and what suits your needs (and wallet) best.
Not being a real PC gamer (I have a PlayStation for gaming – it saves a lot of hardware upgrades) an Intel based PC is not really necessary. Not to mention that Intel CPUs are pretty expensive. These days I use my PC more for programming (when not busy converting the old blog) and drawing (the blog once again 😛). This makes the AMD Ryzen family better suited for my needs.
Reading into the the new Ryzen series was not an overly big challenge. I have been following it a lot since it’s release so I did have some knowledge of the how and what. Now all I had to do was check actual generations, mobo chip sets and RAM speeds (oh and costs 🙃). It wasn’t long before I made my picks for the new configuration.
To save money I wanted a Ryzen 2nd generation. And while the CPU tells Ryzen 5 1600, the serial number on the chip has an added ‘AF‘ to it. This means that it is actually a Ryzen 5 1600AF, which is actually a 2nd generation Ryzen 5 2600 CPU.
Next up are the choice for motherboard and RAM. Building my PCs always with future upgrades in mind, the mobo should also be able to support the 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs. These CPUs are in release right now and the newer (gaming) mobos supporting them are pretty expensive (€200 and more). Instead I picked an older one which now supports 3rd generation thanks to BIOS upgrades. That pick is the ASUS Prime B450M-K. I know, I know… Micro ATX board with only 2 RAM slots but it’ll do for now.
Last but not least RAM. As said, building my PCs with future upgrades in mind, this was the part I really had to put in some research. It appears that the 3rd generation Ryzen requires a minimum RAM speed of 2666Mhz. For the Ryzen 5 1600AF that is the maximum speed it supports. I had to lower the total RAM though for cost reasons. I just don’t have the money to get 32Gb right now, so I grabbed one bank of 16Gb with the option to add a 2nd one on a later date.
I also picked the ASUS mobo for it’s onboard GPU. I know those onboard GPUs are as bad as they come, but I just had to get one, in case the GTX970 would be dead. Luckily the GPU survived the incident, saving me a lot of money to get one on a later date.
When building the new PC, I had to remove the old mobo. I immediately checked the northbridge of it and it was what I thought – that was the culprit. The smell it had was just horrible! It was beyond a burning smell and it stayed in my nose for hours.
It was no surprise to me though that the northbridge was the cause of it all. I have been monitoring the temperature of it ever since I bought the motherboard and it constantly gave pretty high readings (around 70C). The manufacturer (AsRock) stated that the readings from those hardware monitors are wrong, but I guess they are not.
Selling Schrodinger's CPU
Having build the new PC I could sell off the old parts from the old one. That being the RAM in 2 sets of 2 (of which one set is already sold) and the CPU. But how to advertise the CPU? The thing is much like Schrodinger’s famous cat – it is neither dead nor alive until it has been placed on a motherboard (or in the cat’s case you have opened the box).
For that I have put it on sale with the description ‘AMD FX-8350 with Schrodinger Complex‘. In the description I have clearly stated what happened, but also that I thing the cat is alive 🤔 After all, the northbridge takes care of direct communication between CPU, RAM and GPU. With two of the three being okay the last one might be as well. It is still a gamble though…
Blog conversion & old template
Despite the slowness of the laptop I was able to put in quite a lot of work into the template. There are still a couple of errors in it which I will fix before putting it up. With that I have also made use of the ability to show / hide items for desktop / tablet and phones. The landing page showing the latest posts for instance will show 9 topics on desktop PCs, 6 on tablets and 4 on phones. This makes the template pretty big on the server side, but it also optimises speed for per device.
No streaming this weekend
I know, with a new PC and a lot of power it provides (compared with the old one) I should be able to stream immediately, but I won’t. Instead I will test the new hardware a lot. I will be working on the blog itself (which shouldn’t drop to much load on the CPU). But I will also play Star CItizen a bit. Not because it already has a lot of content (does it? 🤔) but to test how the CPU will respond with the load it gives.
Looking at the ASUS Power and Performance Savings Utilities (that’s a lot of words for ‘Performance Monitor‘ 😂) both CPU and mobo have a temperature of around 42C.
That was the ‘small’ update on the PC’s burn and building the new one. Now lets keep the fingers crossed everything keeps up.
Thanks for reading and with love Alexa 💋💞