Something a little different: Ryzen PC Part 3 – assembly

This is the third post in a series about the Ryzen PC, and this time we’re jumping straight into assembly. The previous two posts covered the core components and the case, fans and PSU. First though, I’ll cover some of the more interesting features the case had, seeing as there were a lot more than I knew before I bought it.

Interesting Case Features

The seven expansion slots
The seven expansion slots

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly didn’t expect there to be 7 expansion slots in the case. This is way more than the 3 my motherboard has, but it gives the case longevity so I’m certainly not going to complain.

Zip ties in the back of the case
Zip ties in the back of the case

I also definitely didn’t expect it to have built-in zip ties or anywhere near as many cable-management holes as it does. Combined with the zip ties the case comes with, these are really useful for keeping everything tidy. Maybe this is normal, but it certainly made it very easy for me to tuck all the cables in.

The two 5.25 inch drive bays
The two 5.25 inch drive bays

It turns out this case also has two 5.25 inch drive bays for all the mechanical storage you need. I won’t be using these, but this is a really nice design to keep them out of the way, and the two slots also mean it’ll be easy to have a two-drive RAID setup if you need one. All my storage is solid-sate for this system, but it’s certainly nice to have the drive bays.

The glass pane
The glass pane
One of the air filters
One of the air filters

To top it all off, this case has a really nice tempered glass pane, air filters for all the fans (and the PSU fan), and built-in RGB lighting. For the £50 I paid for it, I think that’s a steal. Now, on to assembly.

Assembling the Ryzen PC

The Fans

I decided to start off by doing the fans. In retrospect this left me with a lot of cabling lying around, but it worked well enough. The case comes with one fan, so the three I bought complement it nicely. This was simply a case of lining everything up in the right place, and putting the screws in.

The first fan installed
The first fan installed

This left me with a bunch of cables hanging around, so I would recommend doing the PSU and motherboard first, but it’s not a huge deal.

The PSU and Motherboard

This case has a nice hidden place to put the PSU in and keep everything tidy. As before I just lines it up and got the screws in. It’s a bit more awkward because of the mass of cables coming out of the back, but not too bad. I would definitely recommend you plug in the modular cables you need first – this was really fiddly after installing the PSU in my case. The Ryzen PC is fairly power efficient despite being powerful, so the 500w PSU is just fine.

The PSU installed
The PSU installed

Before I could route the cables, I needed to install the motherboard, so I went with that next. I ended up having to move a lot of standoffs for this, which I think is because this case also supports EATX boards. There were a couple of holes for standoffs but nowhere to put them on my motherboard. However, nearly all of them lined up just fine, and there were a lot of standoff holes – I wasn’t too worried. Next I changed the I/O shield in the back of the case to match the motherboard, somehow avoiding cutting myself, and finally lined the board up and got it screwed down. Apologies for the slightly blurred photo – I didn’t realise until it was too late.

Installing the motherboard
Installing the motherboard

Installing the RAM and CPU

RAM is easy enough to install, so I wasn’t concerned about that, but I have had bad experiences installing heatsinks for CPUs, so I was feeling really apprehensive XD. I went with RAM that is designed to work well with Ryzen CPUs – some is known to have better compatibility than other RAM.

As predicted, the RAM was easy and just slotted in. The only weirdness was that the motherboard manual told me to use the 1st and 3rd RAM slots if I only had two sticks in. This didn’t work, so I had to use numbers 1 and 2 as per usual.

RAM installed in slots 1 and 3, later changed to 1 and 2.
RAM installed in slots 1 and 3, later changed to 1 and 2.

Now on to the CPU. It came with some thermal paste pre-applied as you can see, but as usual I screwed up getting it on right the first few times, so I used my own in the end.

The CPU and heatsink, all ready to troll me.
The CPU and heatsink, all ready to troll me.

I must admit, this was a total pain. There’s a backplate on the motherboard which kept falling off, but I also had a lot of trouble lining all the screws up, until I realised I had to wiggle the heatsink a little bit from side to side to locate them. After that, it went okay. I put some plastic packaging underneath the backplate, and then it was okay. This would have probably been much easier to do out of the case, but I was concerned about ESD, so I decided to do it in the case. All said and done. this is what it looks like:

The heatsink, finally installed.
The heatsink, finally installed.

I was certainly very glad to get that out of the way. On my board, I should note that it had to be installed a particular way around or it obstructed the RAM slots… What fun.

The SSD and Video Card

I’d never installed an NVME M.2 drive before, but it seemed very similar to the SODIMM RAM used in laptops, so I wasn’t too worried. As predicted, it went in easily, and looks great. I was a little concerned about how much airflow it was going to get, but it seems fine.

The Sabrent Rocket SSD
The Sabrent Rocket SSD

I don’t yet have easy temperature monitoring for this in Linux, but according to SMART it runs nice and cool. As a side note, I don’t have this for the CPU yet either – Ryzen 3000 temperature monitoring was only just mainlined in Linux 5.4, but I will hopefully have this soon.

The video card, installed
The video card, installed

As this is an OEM card, it doesn’t look like much, but I still think it’s quite nice.

I did install a couple of SATA SSDs on the reverse side of the case, but they’re old parts and not particularly interesting, so I didn’t take any pictures.

Ryzen PC assembly – Conclusion

This was a fun build, and I’m glad I did it. I’ve been excited about AMD’s Ryzen CPUs for a while, and it’s great to finally have one. In the fourth and final part of this series, I’ll talk through some of the issues I encountered (both hardware and software). There’s quite a lot to say, so it will be a longish one, but hopefully it will be interesting 🙂

That’s it for now, so have a happy new year and stay tuned for more!

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About Hamish McIntyre-Bhatty

I'm currently studying for a Computing and IT degree with the Open University, and am a software developer as well. I enjoy coding in Python, C++ (still learning), and Java. Having written 4 open-source programs (hosted on launchpad.net), set up my own website, and started volunteering at Wimborne Model Town to work on their river control system, I still find the time to enjoy cycling, acting, photography, and playing bass guitar. I go climbing every now and then as well. As you may have guessed, I also enjoy blogging :)

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