Ryzen APU in an InWin Chopin questions

undrmethod

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Jan 23, 2018
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(AU and NZ based) So I'm building a Ryzen APU mini-ITX pc out of an InWin Chopin when the APUs release in March. I've never built mini-ITX before and I'm really excited to undervolt/overclock an APU with both Ryzen and Vega architectures to get within the 150w power limit the Chopin comes with. It's bronze certified at 150 watts, so I'm hoping to float around 120 watts at load with just the bare necessities, a 65 watt processor and a single M.2 SSD. Now I have a couple of questions for those more experienced than myself:

1) What components should I buy now, and what ones should I wait till launch? I'm thinking of picking up the M.2 and low profile cooler now as there's potential for demand to go up around the time the APUs are released (mainly talking about NAND here).

2) Do we know anything about mini-ITX B450 boards? WIll I only have the option to pick one of the B350s on the market now?

3) The Chopin has adequate ventilation and I'm cooling it with only a Noctua NH-L9a-AM4. Should I glue a 30-40mm fan inside the case to blow over the VRMs or is that unnecessary? I'll have a fan header for it and they cost next to nothing, I can't see it hurting the build in any way.

4) Based on speculation, what frequencies and voltages can I potentially crank out on CPU, GPU and RAM considering my power limit? This is gonna be fun.
 

zovc

King of Cable Management
Editorial Staff
Jan 5, 2017
852
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(1) What components should I buy now, and what ones should I wait till launch? I'm thinking of picking up the M.2 and low profile cooler now as there's potential for demand to go up around the time the APUs are released (mainly talking about NAND here).
If you can find a deal on any component you can use, you might as well pull the trigger. It doesn't seem like anything will really get shaken up, even the motherboard space.

2) Do we know anything about mini-ITX B450 boards? WIll I only have the option to pick one of the B350s on the market now?
While you might find a more refined motherboard--or one that offers better I/O or something like that--I doubt that the refreshed motherboards will offer much measurable improvement on Ryzen "1" chips. The main thing I'm holding out hope for in addition to the alleged efficiency improvements is perhaps more PCI-e lanes, which it doesn't seem like your use case would really benefit from. (And that's 100% hopefulness, I haven't heard anything to suggest it.)

3) The Chopin has adequate ventilation and I'm cooling it with only a Noctua NH-L9a-AM4.Should I glue a 30-40mm fan inside the case to blow over the VRMs or is that unnecessary? I'll have a fan header for it and they cost next to nothing, I can't see it hurting the build in any way.
(Edit: Removed a question, I misunderstood!)

I don't know whether or not that would be helpful. Maybe it would instead be better to put a larger fan on top of your NH-L9a with an adapter?

@Smallform Gaming did this in their S4 mini build. I always was charmed by that idea.

4) Based on speculation, what frequencies and voltages can I potentially crank out on CPU, GPU and RAM considering my power limit? This is gonna be fun.
I doubt you'll come close to using 150W just powering a Ryzen APU and a M.2 drive, but I could be mistaken. I think the chip will become unstable far before that happens.
 
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undrmethod

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Jan 23, 2018
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Thanks for replying. I'll take into consideration the larger fan idea - I've never thought of that but it might be exactly what I'm looking for, provided I can find a fan that is thin enough.

As for keeping the wattage down, I'm hoping to run the CPU ccx (leaning toward the 2200g right now) at 3.8ghz 1.3v, GPU ccx as high as possible at safe temps, and RAM at 3200mhz, if possible. If I can keep it well under 150 watts I'll be thoroughly impressed and very happy.
 

Jello

Airflow Optimizer
Nov 15, 2016
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Well the chips are going to be 65w, if you mock together a quick build on PC Partpicker with a 65w R5 1400, itx motherboard, 16gb 3200mhz ram, 500gb m.2 drive, and a noctua l9a, the build comes in at 129w.

I'd recommend squeezing a small intake fan with a filter. Positive pressure will keep dust out which is always nice, and the fan will push out any stagnant hot air. Since you have some time before the processors are available, look at what other low profile coolers are available and how they compare with the l9a.
 

undrmethod

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Jan 23, 2018
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So far, from the research I've done on what fits in the Chopin, the L9a is the best option at a pretty good price. And I really like this small intake fan option for some reason, so I'll give that a shot. Thanks
 

zovc

King of Cable Management
Editorial Staff
Jan 5, 2017
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Well the chips are going to be 65w, if you mock together a quick build on PC Partpicker with a 65w R5 1400, itx motherboard, 16gb 3200mhz ram, 500gb m.2 drive, and a noctua l9a, the build comes in at 129w.
It would seem the R5 1400 uses more power than I expected. I'm curious how the APU would behave, since it is doing its CPU workload on one chip versus two like in the R5. It's possible you might want to look into a 200W PSU or higher.
 

zovc

King of Cable Management
Editorial Staff
Jan 5, 2017
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The Chopin has a proprietary 150 watt PSU unfortunately, that's why I was worried about overclocking to begin with :/
I think it's a standard 1U server supply? I could be mistaken.
 

Legion

Cable-Tie Ninja
Nov 22, 2017
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2) Do we know anything about mini-ITX B450 boards? WIll I only have the option to pick one of the B350s on the market now?
The Elephant in the room here that no one else has covered is HDMI 2.0 and up.
None of the 300 series ITX boards have a HDMI 2.0 port, they are all HDMI 1.4.

Many of us here are waiting to build Ryzen APU HTPC's with HDMI 2.0 for 4k 60hz playback duties (HDMI 1.4 is limited to 4k 30hz)
There is currently no news (nor information) on any 400 series ITX boards, that's being shared at all with anyone outside of NDA.
There are "rumors" that there will be 400 series motherboards launching alongside the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G APU's, we'll just have to wait and see!
 
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warfreak131

Average Stuffer
Jun 30, 2017
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Just keep in mind that cable management is a pain on the Chopin. This might interfere with temps a bit.
 

undrmethod

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Jan 23, 2018
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None of the 300 series ITX boards have a HDMI 2.0 port, they are all HDMI 1.4.
Never worried about HDMI tech before, so this is news to me! I'll definitely be waiting to see what the 400 series chipsets have to offer.

Just keep in mind that cable management is a pain on the Chopin. This might interfere with temps a bit.
Looking at the PSU cables now that I have the case, I understand what you're saying. I'm no stranger to modding so I might be able to work it out.
 

lesmurf143

Efficiency Noob
Feb 4, 2018
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Never worried about HDMI tech before, so this is news to me! I'll definitely be waiting to see what the 400 series chipsets have to offer.
Looking at the PSU cables now that I have the case, I understand what you're saying. I'm no stranger to modding so I might be able to work it out.
hey man if you ever proceed with this build on Ryzen APU release, can you update us here?
I'm also planning the same build but most people I've talked to are really put off by the 150W power supply.
I find it weird considering that the I found a tweaktown review detailing the 1400 only pulling 45W under load, and in this same review we see the 1600 pull only 83W under load.

I'll be waiting for the detailed reviews of the 2400G (specifically its power consumption) before pulling the trigger.
 

stree

Airflow Optimizer
Dec 10, 2016
307
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  • Pinnacle Ridge with 300-series chipset (BIOS update) = PCIe 3.0
  • Pinnacle Ridge with 400-series chipset = PCIe 4.0
  • Summit Ridge with 300-series chipset = PCIe 3.0
  • Summit Ridge with 400-series chipset = PCIe 3.0

  • not really a game changer for your build...........
  • Ditch the stock PSU and get a 300 watt Gury Archdaemon
  • PCpartpicker and openvision both give around 150-160W draw, but this is with every component maxed out..not a likely scenario..even 160 watt Pico would probably be fine.......Stock PSU s are rarely best of breed.
  • Plus, Gury or Pico units have far less cable clutter....equals tidier, more free space, = better case airflow-cooling.
  • B350 boards .who knows? maybe harder to get after chipset update boards are out. I would just buy B350 now.
  • HDMI 2.0 not likely to be an issue, this will not be a gaming goliath......decent, yes, but not so it would demand such spec.
  • Rumour has it that the APUs will respond very favourably to higher speed ram...........Generally very expensive with higher speeds..........But some 2400 speed ram can sit happily at 3200...... Research needed.
 

Jello

Airflow Optimizer
Nov 15, 2016
267
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You could also go for HDPlex, and combine it with their internal 300W AC-DC brick. That would give a healthy amount of headroom. I have no experience with their products but with 300W, I don't think the AC-DC brick would get very hot.
 

Hifihedgehog

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May 3, 2016
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1) What components should I buy now, and what ones should I wait till launch?
You can probably safely buy the Ryzen APU. I would wait until the new 400-series AM4 motherboards come out in April, though. DDR4 is still too expensive and overdue for a price correction. There is at least one feature in next-gen ITX motherboards you may want: HDMI 2.0. No ITX AM4 mainboards have it yet. For HTPC users like a family member I know, it is a requirement or the motherboard is a non-starter.

2) Do we know anything about mini-ITX B450 boards? WIll I only have the option to pick one of the B350s on the market now?
I know nothing definite, but I am almost certain 400-series motherboards wil feature HDMI 2.0. I believe most manufacturers went cheap and played it safe with first-generation Ryzen, omitting key features as a cost cutting measure. For example, both last-generation Bristol Ridge and current-generation Raven Ridge APUs support HDMI 2.0, yet mainboard manufacturers opted for HDMI 1.4 originally. Now that they see that Ryzen is viable, they will be taking it more seriously. As such, we will see higher research and development budgets being invested in such features as HDMI 2.0 compliance.
 
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stree

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Dec 10, 2016
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Sure HDMI2 is great if you are a gamer and want 60fps 4k, on a screen the size of a truck, but for a non gamer with a 27" monitor like me, 1.4 is just fine..........
Horses for courses.............
 

Hifihedgehog

Airflow Optimizer
May 3, 2016
353
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Sure HDMI2 is great if you are a gamer and want 60fps 4k, on a screen the size of a truck, but for a non gamer with a 27" monitor like me, 1.4 is just fine..........
Horses for courses.............
You are forgetting 4K video for home theater PC users. If you watch anything at 4K and do not want to bother with display refresh rate matching in Kodi, 4K at 60 Hz is a requirement. Otherwise, many more frames will be dropped in the frame rate conversion, especially from 24 fps to 30 Hz.
 
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Jello

Airflow Optimizer
Nov 15, 2016
267
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What do you mean frame dropping? What refresh rate does Kodi output at?
 

stree

Airflow Optimizer
Dec 10, 2016
307
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I do not use Kodi, watch movies every night, never had any issues with frame dropping, Still see no value in HDMI 2.0 apart from cases I stated in previous post.