Updated: Sep 22
Once upon a time, I had a dream, and in this dream I had one common computer platform that I could just upgrade to the high performance goodies when they become affordable so that my ilk and I could afford magnificent computer power and glory without compromi$e.
In this dream all computers were capable of being as powerful as they needed to be on demand.
One day I woke from this dream to find our collective consciousness had made it so........
I now have several of these Ryzen Boxen to help make my life much simpler and super efficient.
Well, in truth I went a teeny bit overboard because some computers are more equal than others as Nietzsche would have elegantly put it.., but hell you only live once hey!!
I will not arrive at the gates of hell or at St Peters pearly portal regretting I held back in that regard, that's for sure!
My collection of glorious Fred boxen currently consists of six AMD Ryzen based systems for everyday compute and software development purposes in my home office environment.
The idea being when a new CPU or Optane fueled SSD goodies come out, I should be able to just slot them into the already capable motherboard and hey presto, behold a new super Fred!! Well, that is the logic at any rate...
We'll see how long we can make these X570 Fred's last then!!
I also use several of these rigs for my technical pre-sales role at Nutanix by the way as they do make my job much easier to do.
I firmly believe you can never have too many Fred's. The only challenge with lots of them is where to keep the buggers.
"She who must be obeyed" tells me that my gravestone will brag "he with the most monitors, wins" according to her view of my gadgets and things.
When I see how ridiculously she labors at doing projects with her single monitor setups on just two laptops it is a stark contrast in approach.
It's like living with Captain Cave-woman!
My two X570 Aorus Elite based desktops are currently armed with Ryzen 7 3800X CPU's and serve as just general everyday desktop systems and I also have four Threadripper TRX40 based systems for the serious multi-core, multi-threaded AI action.
I use two to compile code and two for electronic CAD work with P-CAD and some other Racal-Redak SKOK systems I have running on them.
Gigabyte and MSI are my two usual go to mobo companies that I normally use, though I do in fact evaluate everything else made by everyone in my YouTube video blog on AMD gaming and coding rigs and such Fred type gadget things.
In fact I have had an over 30 year association with Musteq, Asus, Acer and MSI in Taiwan who make motherboards and PC parts for the enthusiast market.
I started making ARCnet cards for Musteq on my CAD rig then progressed to Ethernet silicon building 3Com like 3C509 cards for home enthusiasts.
I even architected a Novell Netware like NOS system called Topware that was a poor man's Netware that used just NetBIOS protocols with my Taiwanese cohorts for AUVA computer systems back in the day.
So anyways, I digress from my tale...
That lightning storm event that triggered this fevered upgrade activity actually started late Sunday evening August the 16th and went through to the wee hours of Monday the 17th is what triggered the demise of both of my X370 rigs.
Up to that point I had been dithering a fair bit as to their replacement.
Thor must have been watching what was going on inside my head as his mischievous thunder and lightning antics pretty much took care of that issue and I was left contemplating the expensive consequences of not having those machines on my APC surge protection power panel.
How often do we get lightning storms in Nor Cal right?
I feel like a prize idiot given how much time I spent in the S.A Telkom lab where we came up with ways of dealing with lightning so as to protect telecommunications and expensive computer gear.
It was not like I had no idea or anything like that about the dangers which lightning brings to electronics and such things.
I thought I had woken up in a dream set in Africa in which a vivid South African high veldt lightning storm event that was quite nostalgic in nature was going on.
She who "must be obeyed" woke me from my rem state reminiscing to share with me that it was actually going on and very real in Northern California.
If I had been living in Johannesburg I would have leapt out of bed and unplugged everything on auto pilot.
Sadly, she who must be obeyed served as an impressive limpet type anchor, gripping me like a workshop clamp in her fear of lightning and thunder that trumpeted the fact I was not going anywhere anytime soon.
I had my own Compaq based Novell server setup back in my days living in the land of thunder and lightning and in those days the RAM was rather expensive and I had learnt the hard way that the slightest sound of thunder resulted in LAN and power cables being yanked without ceremony.
I grunted my fascination at she who must be obeyed who woke me to tell me all these fascinating facts real time about the current lightning show spectacle and I promptly went straight back to sleep and forgot about said thunder and lightning show sans ceremony.
It was after all 3 something AM..... The deep sleep happy hour..💤 😴
I also had unfinished business in a parallel Universe that required my urgent attention!
The later early morning brought scattered thundershowers and the occasional lightning display of a pyrotechnic nature and we started to hear that houses had been destroyed down the road in Brentwood by the impressive show Thor had put on to entertain us mere mortals with.
A huge fire was starting to burn on the slopes of Mt Diablo somewhere north of the lightning cluster that had started the great California bush burn of 2020.
We could see the huge plume of smoke that wafted our way from the Brentwood area fires from the South of our location.
I had thought we had escaped any electrical or appliance damage until two weeks later when I started getting bizarre sudden shutdowns and temperature warnings up the yin yang on both of these X370 rigs.
The Aorus X370 in particular was running 10 degrees warmer than usual and spiking to the auto shutdown level that CPU has when it gets to 95 degrees C-ish.
I suspected that the long in the tooth water coolers in each of the rigs spring had collectively sprung.
Unlikely timing I had thought, actually, when thinking about it a bit...
I have had several liquid coolers for some 10 years in both of these rigs that have hosted the various FX8000 series and the odd FX9000 series AMD CPU as well.
I have had several generations of Ryzen 7 motherboards and processors with fans, GPU and whatnot on test in them too over that span of time.
I did not give the lightning after effects a whole bunch of thought until I recalled the 3 AM lightning show after eyeballing the damage inside the computer case and it dawned on me that this event had indeed left "gifts".
There are only two things that can cause that sort of damage, either 1. a power surge event that pops everything or 2. Lightning!!
I ruled out the power surge and then dimly recalled the lightning event that early Monday with jaw dropping horror.
Dunno why I forgot lightning brings undesirable gifts with it from a zap point of view re electronics.
As I had cause to look at the CPU roadmap for AM4 socket replacement goodies related to other non-lightning adventures posted on my blog with respect to the dangers of removing water cooling devices from Ryzen CPU's et al, I had been looking into what was hot and whats not in the build it yourself arena as the 3700X CPU in these respective X370's had dashed for sudden appointments with Dante's inferno somewhere south of Hades prompting upgrades to 3800X's.
With the aftermath of the lightning added to the water-cooler mess, it was now all a big consideration pie to mill the pro's and cons over with the windmill of excruciating detail and dead reckoning while the thought churn that is my mind was doing its usual deep level assessment thang.
The AM4 pin arrangements have not appeared in the TRX40 socket package for the Threadripper CPU series and I had thought AMD were going this TRX40 route with the new 4000 series Ryzen socket arrangement for new gen Ryzen fare as well.
ThreadRipper 3960X Flat pin setup
However, senior Director of Product Management at AMD, David McAfee feels that a new socket is not needed until a radical architecture change happens, including significant changes to memory and PCI slots.
It will cost money to switch from AM4 to a TRX40 like flush socket arrangements right now.
They are coming but I think they are wanting to do them all at once instead of piecemeal.
EPYC has them already so the only one late to this game is in fact the AM4 stuff.
Having watched many PC enthusiasts (including myself) easily destroy Ryzen 3, 5, 7 and 9 CPU, I hope they have a change of heart on this one and voodoo in a change to this TRX40 and EPYC style socket setup ASAP.
I cannot decide if the AM4 Socket zero clamp pressure on the Ryzen CPU is an AMD fault or a motherboard manufacturer issue.
The thing is that all of the X370 and X570 motherboards seem to do this as well as all of the B series stuff too.
What are the chances all motherboards from all motherboard vendors would have limp AM4 sockets?
I have heard that AMD had instructed these mobo manufacturers on the appropriate AM4 clamp pressure so make of that what you will.
Reminds me of my Audi Diesel adventure where I had discussions over the legality issue with Audi over the cheat Audi USA had cooked up to flummox emissions testing equipment.
Instead of doing it right they just had to be subject to a class action. Beard vs Volkswagen AG is now history and cost VW AG the best part of $40 Billion dollars if not more.
There was no other way they would have voluntarily paid that sort of money either, so I guess it is what it is.
For those of us who dabble with technical stuff we just want our goodies to work sans problems of significant headache genesis.
I might actually consider making all my rigs Threadripper rigs to mitigate this pin socket clamp issue as the TRX40 socket does not have these stupid pins.
The issue with that is cost. TRX40 boxen are around $12K upwards each.
It is a shame about the AM4 pin thang though, these CPU are winning fans on how they operate and perform.
If you are careful and learn the MO you can make it work, you just have to be mindful of the potential folly.
I was expecting AM4 Sockets to evolve to this TRX40/EPYC pinless schema as well...
Now AMD are claiming they're sticking with AM4 pins on these CPU for a good long time yet.
This is disappointing to say the least.
Memory for these AMD CPU has also evolved quite a bit and is mercifully inexpensive.
16GB DDR4 3200 Mhz RAM is just around $85 these days.
I have completely filled the memory banks with 4 x 8GB Modules in both of these Elites now as I discovered my Chess Engine quite likes 32GB of RAM with 8 Cores and 16 active threads.
The Aorus Elite X570 Motherboard itself gets no mention here by the way, the reason being it just works. These motherboards I must say are just completely awesome.
I have never had such an easy install, ever.
Both are running the stock wraith air-cooler happily as well. No issues with temps whatsoever. A big and most welcome bonus!!
In fact, they are also running at a higher clock as well and at much lower temps than either of my water cooler affairs were able to muster.
I'm wondering if these liquid cooler manufacturers actually know what they are doing post ejection analysis of that crud....
However, I am also still wondering if these Ryzen 7 CPU really are 4 Core CPU with SMT4 shenanigans running on them due to what transpired in that class action against AMD with regards to the FX8000 and FX9000 series Bulldozer caper they pulled off.
If it is, that is actually impressive from an engineering point of view.
I say this because when I started to ask "difficult questions" of the Ryzen CPU design to the pertinent AMD Engineering folk and focus in on the SMT4 stuff for EPYC, things got exceedingly woolly and ultra vague PDQ.
My spidey senses, which have a high rate of accuracy are wailing at me in a high pitched scream on this one.
There is no question these Ryzen chips are totally awesome by the way, I just have an uneasy feeling about what is in them and what they touted them to be, exactly.....
As an ex microprocessor engineer I can tell you I would never consider buying (with my own cash) anything Intel makes CPU wise and would select the Ryzen equivalent every time for any compute requirement, bar tablets, where my preference swings heavily towards ARM based silicon.
I like the I9 but I would never actually pay any of my actual money for one.
Anyone smell AM4 Surströmming?? Or is that just Bovine related again??!! I'm not sure I can even tell the difference anymore....