I ended part I of this ongoing Ryzen system diary on something of a cliffhanger: the PC had suddenly stopped booting.
I’ve been away from the AMD fold for years when it comes to actual system building, so blaming the Ryzen system for the boot issue was my first reaction. I shrugged that immediate, admittedly biased reaction off and began my normal troubleshooting process. First, I popped the OEM Windows 10 DVD which shipped with the PC into the drive. Windows setup booted normally. So it appeared that the Ryzen 1800X CPU, memory, and graphics subsystem worked properly, and the system could boot off a serial ATA drive.
I booted into BIOS setup as the next step and reset everything to system defaults, including memory clocks. The PC still couldn’t find the boot drive. So I dove back into BIOS setup and looked at the boot drive and storage settings. I saw no listing in either section of the BIOS screen for the Samsung 960 Pro M.2 SATA drive.
I removed the SSD, wiped the contacts with a bit of isopropyl alcohol and popped it back in after the contacts dried.
I removed the 960 Pro once again and inserted it into an Intel-based system with an NVMe-capable M.2 socket. The SSD remained stubbornly invisible. Clearly, the 960 Pro had gone to SSD heaven. I didn’t have a replacement 960 Pro (AMD has since shipped me one), but I did have a Crucial 1TB MX300 on hand. The key technical difference between the two, besides the brands, is that the MX300 is seen as a SATA device, not NVMe, so performance was likely to be a bit slower.
I slid the MX300 into the M.2 socket and fired up the system. Success!
I did have to reinstall Windows, but that process went pretty quickly and I was back up and running in short order.
The Ryzen PC shipped in a sheet steel case with several noisy Raidmax fans and a default AMD CPU cooler. I replaced the CPU cooler with a Corsair H60 sealed liquid cooler. You can see the Corsair cooler installed below.
I removed the rear Raidmax case fan to make room for the Corsair H60 radiator / fan combo. The next step was to deal with the arguably worse front fan noise. I noticed the Coolermaster case could mount 140mm fans as well as 120mm fans. Out came the pair of Raidmax front fans. That proved a bit of a chore, as Cyberpower had tightly bundled the case power wires with zip ties. Once out, I used a single 140mm Corsair fan.
While I didn’t take noise measurements, my ears seemed much happier. The steel case still tends to reverberate a bit, but the noise level even under heavy load was noticeably down. The CPU idles at a relatively sedate 40 degrees C. I would have preferred to see that number a bit lower, but it’s still acceptable.
So now the Ryzen PC boots and seems much less noisy. We’ll talk about how well it actually runs in the next installment.