Saturday, September 3, 2022

Upgrading Asrock AB350 Pro4 - 1600X to 3600 - BIOS & CPU

A friend donated a Ryzen 5 3600 CPU from his dead PC. Should I upgrade my own machine? Perhaps not.

But I'm still going to do it 😁


Speed

A 3600 should be about 20% faster than my current 1600X. Not a real reason.


Windows 10

Windows 10 support is ending on October 14, 2025, that's basically another 3 years I could run this machine with it's current hardware. By that time the hardware is so outdated I'd probably have little use for it, except perhaps to use it as my home server.


Windows 11

Do I need Windows 11? Not really. Windows 11 offers very little that I need. I do like the Android integration, but that's about it. (And it would be a lot better if it wouldn't be Amazon Android but Google Android based.)

But... Windows 11 doesn't run on a 1600X (for what seems to me some arbitrary reason, but alas.)


So why still try?

Well, a friend donated one from a broken mainboard. He used the opportunity to upgrade his whole machine and now had a 3600 left. Well, a free 3600... I guess that's a reason as good as it gets 😎


Hardware

I actually run the risk of hard- and software no longer being supported by Windows 11.

My machine is a bit of a mix of old and new stuff.

Mainboard - Asrock AB 350 Pro4

CPU - 1600X

Memory - 32GB DDR4 2133 (2400, lots but slow)

Video - GTX1060

SSD - Samsung EVO 870

Monitor 1 - IIyama XB3270QS

Monitor 2 - Wacom 21UX

Miscellaneous - Hercules Jog Shuttle


Software

I run some older software now and again, especially PhotoImpact.

Windows 10 / 11

PhotoImpact

Veracrypt

Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas


Backup

I better make an image of my boot drive before upgrading to Windows 11, assuming I can get the mainboard working with the 3600. My older soft and hardware may simply not work with Windows 11...


Types of Ryzen

There are some BIOS issues, with Asrock's website referring to family names...

From https://www.wikiwand.com/en/List_of_AMD_processors

Bristol Ridge - Bulldozer (didn't expect that)

Summit Ridge - Ryzen 1xxx series

Pinnacle Ridge - Ryzen 2xxx series

Raven Ridge - Ryzen 2xxx series


So, I'm upgrading from a Summit to a Matisse, I think? Upon further investigation, it didn't really matter, as any configuration is supposed to work with a 1600X. Oh well...


The right BIOS

Several sites list the board to be compatible with a Ryzen 5 5500 if you flash the right BIOS, though it isn't listed on the Asrock site as a compatible CPU. What is interesting though is a comment regarding BIOS updates:

Note1: AMD Ryzen 1xxx series CPUs are able to boot up with all BIOS versions.


Okay. That's good 😁

So I can flash a new BIOS whilst keeping the 1600X in there, and can flash it easily to an older version as well. The right BIOS version then would be... 

1600X - YD160XBCM6IAE - 95W - Summit Ridge - 3.6GHz - 3MB - P2.20

3600 - 100-000000031 - 65W - Matisse - 3.6GHz - 3MB - P5.80

 

I should end up with slightly lower power consumption (not so), a slightly faster machine, and Windows 11 compatibility. I need to update the BIOS to 5.80 to run the 3600.

Note that several sites suggest that even without the correct BIOS newer chips tend to work, as long as the memory isn't too fast. Well, I got memory as slow as molasses, so no sweat there 😁


Updating BIOS

This has to be done in stages... Current -> 3.0 -> 5.4 -> 5.8. All work with the 1600X inserted.

A couple of reboots later the machine still works. I'm going to run both 3DMark and PCMark to compare the performance before and after the CPU replacement.

Notes:

I had to flash the P5.80 BIOS twice. The first time it booted up, still reporting 5.40.

At first the system wouldn't boot, until I removed two memory sticks. Then, after a successful boot into the BIOS I switched the system off, inserted all four sticks and booted again. This time it worked fine. (Other people have reported a similar issue.)

After installing the new 5.8 BIOS the machine boots slower. It was never a fast booter, and it has gotten even worse. Maybe I should try UEFI when I'm going to install Windows 11. (Made no difference.)

The Ryzen 5 3600 and the 'fan control curves' don't cooperate well. Apparently, the 3600 powers up and down all the time, resulting in fast-changing on-die temperatures, and my 1600X-based fan curves (where I speed up the fans if the CPU goes above 34 degrees) result in very nervous whining fans, speeding up and down, because they monitor junction instead of average die temperatures. I'm now forced to use way higher temperature limits for my fan curves. A 1600X is more silent in my configuration. (Unfortunately, the main board sensor on the Asrock AB350 Pro4 is pretty useless.)


Performance

Ryzen 5 1600X

3DMark - Time Spy - Graphics 4348 - CPU 5533

PcMark 10 - 5135


Ryzen 5 3600

3DMark - Time Spy - Graphics 4221 - CPU 6409

PcMark 10 - 6341


The average gain is, as expected, around 20%. The new BIOS has some better RAM timing options, so I had a look at those as well, and now use the XMP profile of my Corsair RAM modules.

Ryzen 5 3600 with XMP 2400:

3DMark - Time Spy - Graphics 4201 - CPU 7124

PcMark 10 - 6379


Conclusion

Allowing XMP 2400 and installing the 3600 brought around 25% gain for non-games. I'm a little surprised PcMark didn't profit from faster memory.

Some applications feel way more 'snappy', especially some older single threaded stuff. The old 'Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas' feels (subjectively) twice as fast.

Also, I can confirm you can upgrade to Windows 11 after doing the above. I'm not sure why you want to, but you can.


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