Ryzen so far…

So my first iteration ended in a failed BIOS update…  Now I have a fresh MB.

Iteration 2 – disable everything

Ryzen machine is running pretty stable now with a few tweaks.   I was getting some memory paging bugs but one of things worked around it:

  • Moved from 4.10 (stock zesty) to 4.11 mainline kernel
  • Remove 1 of my 2 16 GB sticks of memory
  • Underclock memory from 2400 -> 2133
  • Re-enable VM Support (CVM)
  • Disable the C6
  • Disable boost

It was totally stable for several days after that..

Iteration 3 – BIOS update

Trying to have less things disabled (or more specifically to get my full 32 GB of ram) I did the latest (7A37v14) BIOS update (with all cables not important for the update removed).

Memtest had also intermittently shown bad ram… but I can no longer reproduce…  Both sticks tested independently show nothing is wrong..  Then I put both back in and it says it’s fine.

Part of that was resetting the settings above and although it was more stable I was still getting random crashes.

Iteration 4 – Mostly just underclock the RAM

  • Underclocked 32 GB of  memory from 2400 -> 2133
  • On 4.11 kernel mainline kernel with Nouveau drivers (previously on Nvidia prop. driver, but didn’t support 4.11 at the time)

So far it’s been stable and that’s what I’m running.

Outstanding things

  • CPU Temperature Reporting on Linux is Missing.  (AMD has to release the data to do so – see some discussion here.  That is a community project, posting there will not help AMD do anything)
  • Being coreboot friendly with these new chips
  • Update BIOS from Linux?
  • Why is VM support disabled by default? (It’s called SVM on these boards)
  • MSI please document/implement BIOS recover for these motherboards

Overall

Ryzen 1700 is a pretty powerful chip.  I love having 16 threads available to me (VMs/Compiling faster is what I wanted from ryzen and it delivers)   Like many new products there are some stumbling blocks for earlier adopters, but I feel like on my hardware combinations+ I’m finally seeing the stability I need.

*Stability testing was just leaving BOINC running (with SETI and NFS projects) with Firefox open.  And doing normal work with VMs, etc.
+ MB: MSI B350M MORTAR AM4
Ryzen 1700
2 x Patriot 16GB DDR4-2400  PSD416G24002H

Who we trust | Building a computer

I thought I was being smart.  By not buying through AVADirect I wasn’t going to be using an insecure site to purchase my new computer.

For the curious I ended purchasing through eBay (A rating) and Newegg (A rating) a new Ryzen (very nice chip!) based machine that I assembled myself.   Computer is working mostly ok, but has some stability issues.   A Bios update comes out on the MSI website promising some stability fixes so I decide to apply it.

The page that links to the download is HTTPS, but the actual download itself is not.
I flash the BIOS and now appear to have a brick.

As part of troubleshooting I find that the MSI website has bad HTTPS security, the worst page being:

Given the poor security and now wanting a motherboard with a more reliable BIOS  (currently I need to send the board back at my expense for an RMA) I looked at other Micro ATX motherboards starting with a Gigabyte which has even less pages using any HTTPS and the ones that do are even worse:

Unfortunately a survey of motherboard vendors indicates MSI failing with Fs might put them in second place.   Most just have everything in the clear, including passwords.   ASUS clearly leads the pack, but no one protects the actual firmware/drivers you download from them.

Main Website Support Site RMA Process Forum Download Site Actual Download
MSI F F F F F Plain Text
AsRock Plain text Email Email Plain text Plain Text Plain Text
Gigabyte (login site is F) Plain text Plain Text Plain Text Plain text Plain Text Plain Text
EVGA Plain text default/A- Plain text Plain text A Plain Text Plain Text
ASUS A- A- B Plain text default/A A- Plain Text
BIOSTAR Plain text Plain text Plain text n/a? Plain Text Plain Text

A quick glance indicates that vendors that make full systems use more security (ASUS and MSI being examples of system builders).

We rely on the security of these vendors for most self-built PCs.  We should demand HTTPS by default across the board.   It’s 2017 and a BIOS file is 8MB, cost hasn’t been a factor for years.