New AMD Ryzen desktop

I wasn't sure I would ever upgrade my desktop computer again. My 2011 model Intel Core i5 2500K has been super stable for me and seemed fast enough even after all this time.

When the AMD Ryzen processors came out, I got excited about the 1600 price point ($219 for 6 cores).

After some trial and error, I ended up with a 1700 with 32GB RAM and a new M.2 NVMe drive. It's all pretty much working except the memory runs at 2400MHz (it can do 2666MHz). That will require some learning on my part to figure out how to set it without burning something up. Not really interested in overclocking so want to do it in the stable-ist way. I've gotten a few blue screens but seems to have stabilized after driver and BIOS updates.

It's fast. It seems more stable now that I've gotten firmware and drivers updated.

If you're looking to upgrade, here are some tips:

  • Hopefully you use Chocolatey to manage software installs. If not, I'd recommend doing that first or at least looking up the package names for things you want to install later. You can run "choco list -lo" to capture what's installed now, and then make a batch file with a bunch of lines like "cinst -y 7zip" to install different packages.

  • Absolutely adhere to the motherboard compatibility lists. The specific combination of Motherboard/RAM/storage is more important than it used to be. Not just any DDR4 RAM with appropriate timings will do. Same for the NVMe drive if you choose one. Specific models that have been tested by the manufacturer.

  • If you're near a Micro Center, buy everything there. Don't bother with online purchases. Check prices and compability but they seem to have everything and returns are easy (even for CPU and motherboard, which surprised me). Amazon has been charging tax for purchase which eat away at competitiveness.

  • Look at warranties. A lot of the new drives have 3 year warranties, and this didn't seem like enough for me. I went with a WD Black 512GB NVMe M.2 drive which doesn't have the performance of others but has a 5 year warranty. There's also one from MyDigitalSSD with the same duration warranty. I tried that but didn't work with my motherboard.

  • Maybe upgrade your power supply. I thought mine was good but I think it contributed to some early issues. I upgraded mine to a new gold modular one. It's 650W which was less than what I had, but the 1700 is a 65W processor and I'm covered with all my other stuff running.

  • Use PcPartPicker.com and check popular combos and for compatibility issues.

  • Once you choose a motherboard vendor, register for their support forums and search for open issues. For instance my MSI B350 TOMAHAWK has a long POST time issue. Would've been helpful to know that going into it.

  • Collect up the firmware updates for your motherboard and put them on a USB thumb drive. You could do this beforehand.

  • To turn on virtualization on MSI BIOS, it's under OC -> CPU Settings -> Features -> SVM

  • If you have a driver failure, don't do system automatic repair (system restore) unless you've explicitly set a restore point. I lost a few hours of installation due to this since it restored to the last driver update which wasn't what caused the error.