Small form factor PC, with ECC - Not NAS

I’ve been researching what to replace my 4.5 year old miniature desktop, (ASRock DeskMini A300). I am sort of still boycotting Intel, so I was mostly looking at AMD. There are very limited ARM SoCs or CPUs with ECC memory, so that is not a real option.

Today I find that the AMD Ryzen Pro 8000G series support ECC memory, if the system board also supports it. (Which would mean the BIOS would need to support it too.) These new processors use the AM5 socket with DDR5, so a bit of more longevity that my old AM4 & DDR4.

This is what I was looking at, (though only the Pro CPUs support ECC Memory…);

The neat thing about the DeskMeet, verses the DeskMini, is that the DeskMeet can support 1 x 3.5" disk, (or 2 x 2.5" disks), dual wide discreet graphics. (Both support 2 x NVMe…)

At present I have an AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, (4 core, 8 threads at 3.6Ghz), with 2 x 16GB non-ECC memory modules.

So, any AMD Ryzen Pro 8000G series would be an improvement. If I go with any of the top 4 models, I get a medium end AI / MAC. And, it would also appear that all Pro models would include more memory security features, like encrypted memory, than the non-Pro chips.

Now I just have to wait again for these chips to be available via retail market. (After waiting close to a year for the new ASRock DeskMeet X600 to be available…)

I can even consider using the same DeskMeet with a lower end CPU, (aka 35 watt, instead of the 65 watt performance CPU), for replacing my 10 year old miniature media server. That would be nice, because I have been lucky so far…

Comments?
Polite criticism?
Alternatives?

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I am actually currenty also looking for a mini replacement for my 13 year old - 100% silent -office pc, which is a priced posession of mine.


:smiling_face_with_tear:

But I was thinking building something on a am4 platform and a Fractal Terra case. Max 65W TDP Ryzen 7 5700x and a Quadro p1000 that collects dust.

But now I read this about the Deskmeet X600…hmm.

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Don’t forget the other connectivity advantages with the Meet vs the Mini. A lot more USB ports. Having only a few sucks but I really like my Mini, very pleased with it. It does not have ECC RAM but that is okay with me for now. The next upgrade will be ECC RAM, but it very well may be another Mini. And I have you to thank for the recommendation when I was searching for a small system.

I made two minor modifications: I added the two extra USB ports which was an option although I didn’t buy their expensive part. And I added a magnetic filter screen to the case directly above the CPU fan. I am pleased that is captures dust.

Ryzen Pro CPUs are hardly available at retail. You probably have to buy a small system from Dell/HP/Lenovo to get one.

@Farout - The AM4 platform has been extended, at least 1 year. There are even at least 2 new CPUs released very recently. But, AM4 is more or less a dead end.

@joeschmuck - I too added the 2 extra USB 2 ports to my DeskMini A300, (with the factory kit). But, I let mine collect dust :-).

Plus, I added an eSATA port, (in the RS-232 cut-out), though have not figured out how to hot activate it. So far, when I use the eSATA port for my backup disk, I reboot. (Or not use eSATA, since my backup enclosure also supports USB 3.)

@etorix - Yes, in the past certain Ryzen Pro CPUs had limited availability. However, others had become available via retail. Like the Ryzen 4650G Pro from NewEgg. So I have hope.


My desire for an 8000G series is for the better builtin graphics. The Ryzen 2400G I am using right now, and have been for years, has shown it is perfectly capable for all my needs. I don’t need any discreet graphics card.

The new Ryzen 7 9700X supports ECC memory, as probably several other lines. The Ryzen 9000 series is even Zen 5, unlike the 8000 series which is Zen 4. But, the built in graphics for the Ryzen 9000 series seems to be very light weight. Probably fine for some uses, but I doubt that it would compare favorably to my Ryzen 2400G’s graphics.

Using built in graphics allows me to reserve the PCIe slot. Lots of potential uses;

  • Discreet graphics
  • 10Gbit/ps networking
  • Potentially for a 2nd 3.5" disk, (like in my miniature media server replacement)

So using up that PCIe slot for discreet graphics right off, is not preferred.

I have not seen a price for any of the Pro series. Is it a lot, and would it be worth it?
Is this for a home use computer or office use?

I can recall back in the 90’s a new CPU was coming out a few times a year, or it felt like it. I upgraded a lot, however back in those days the improvements were significant with processing speed. I feel we are at the time where for the majority of us, the speed isn’t a real factor. Well unless you are gaming or planning to breath life into Skynet. I enjoyed upgrading, it was a good learning experience so i cannot say anything bad to someone who wants to upgrade, it’s a good feeling when it’s running, and that comes after the bad feeling of paying for it.

I’ve not seen any Ryzen 8000G Pro CPUs available, yet. But the 4000G Pro series? Yes;

Might even make a good upgrade to my DeskMini. Though I have no real need, so I am not likely to do it.

Mine is for home / personal use, (though I connect to the office via Citrix on this PC).

The desire for upgrading is actually a bit about how long a miniature desktop PC will last. Mine is 4.5 years old and I am guessing it won’t last another 2 years. My backup plan is a newer laptop, with a Ryzen 4650U Pro CPU. Even that is showing it’s age…

Then their is my old, miniature media server, a fitlet-H fit-PC from 2015. It’s a 4 core, 4 thread, low power CPU, with a single memory channel, (though it has 2 x 8GB DIMMs). It works fine for it’s current use. But, I have had to replace the power supply once already. So I am getting worried it’s past time to replace it.

if I can get an 8000G Pro series CPU, getting a DeskMeet X600 is a no brainer for me. It is just a mater of what I replace first, desktop or media server.

I personally give any computer I build a life of at least 10 years, assuming quality parts were used. Back in the old times the capacitors would often fail but those electrolytic devices have pretty much been replaced with solid capacitors. Of course that is if you have clean power as well. The HDD/SSD/NVMe is apt to fail, probably several times over the life of the computer. I didn’t mention fans but those can and do fail.

For me, it’s the thrill of building another computer. In my day job I build computer system, repair them, operate them, but I don’t program them. One of these computers fills a large room. It is not cutting edge in my opinion but it is highly reliable and the DoD likes reliable. These systems get upgraded as the new parts are matured some and proven to work.

Well time for work, yippie :disappointed_relieved: I have a few employes having issues with each other and I need to be the middle man and tell them to knock it off, in safe HR words. Can’t just tell them to shut up and do their damn job or I’m firing you. I wish I could do that, you have no idea.

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There’s hope: The Ryzen 7 Pro 8700G appears to be available at retail in Germany.

@Arwen Does it sometimes feel like this?

:pensive:

Yes, trying to find smaller PCs that support ECC has been harder.

Back when I bought my later fit-PCs, (fitlet-1 & fitlet-1H), I asked about DDR3 ECC memory. Turns out that DDR3 SO-DIMMs, (used in small form factor PCs), have different wiring between Non-ECC and ECC. So either the vendor specified Non-ECC or ECC memory, and you were forced to use that specific type of SO-DIMM. The other type literally would not work.

With DDR4 the SO-DIMM is wired the same, regardless of Non-ECC and ECC. (Of course, the extra ECC data lines are wired for ECC…) I hope DDR5 SO-DIMMs are the same.

On the other hand, finding CPUs with ECC memory support, for smaller PCs, is also hard. Intel in the past has in particular limited ECC memory support to just a few lower end CPUs. Using higher end CPUs in a smaller PC chassis / case may not be supported due to heat, or heat sink / fan issues.

AMD CPUs have been a bit better for ECC memory support. But, system board & BIOS vendors have not been as transparent / clear on full ECC memory support. I’d trust ASRock DeskMeet X600 to actually support AMD AM5 CPUs with ECC memory, mostly because ASRoick also makes server boards, (that almost certain all support ECC memory). However, that could be a false feeling of security. (But I like my fuzzy blanket! A reference to Linus from Peanuts comic strip…)

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Hmm, my reading of the specs for DeskMeet X600 from a while back indicated support for only 1 x 3.5" or 2 x 2.5" disks. (Their are only 2 exposed SATA ports, so even if their is room for 4 x 2.5" disks, their are no more SATA ports to support them.)

However, a recent glance at the DeskMeet X600 specifications indicate support for 2 x 3.5" disks, (as well as 2 x NVMe 2280 drives).

Keep Your 3.5” HDD

DeskMeet can be equipped with 2 x 3.5” HDD at most.

There is another place which states 1 x 3.5" disk, yet shows 2 different placements for that 3.5" disk.

It does appear that one of the 3.5" disk mounting locations would block the either part of, of all of, the dual width PCIe slot.

But, with 2 x 3.5" and 2 x NVMe, this might just make a good Micro-NAS. Even if the user has to resort to USB-SATA SSD for the boot drive.

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@Arwen - What OS would you be running the DeskMeet X600?

Gentoo distro of Linux, for both desktop and media server.

Every time it feels like I should drop Gentoo, something allows me to continue. For example, certain packages take forever to compile, (Gentoo by defaults compiles all packages from source). But, I figured out using less cores was actually faster for those, and then used a Gentoo ENV compile time feature for those packages.

Next of course their is OpenZFS. Gentoo supports root on ZFS, though I ended up taking a slightly safer route and use a separate “/boot” on EXT4, (MD-RAID Mirrored). Early on if I screwed up my root OS during an update, I had trouble with ZFS due to changes in the API numbering between ZFS versions. BUT, low and behold, the OpenZFS team fixed that, and now uses static API numbering. This makes the old ZFS kernel module 100% compatible with a new one. (Assuming pool has not been updated beyond what the old ZFS kernel module could support.)

However, if anyone asks me what Linux distro to use, I never say Gentoo. While I have the update process really well done, clearly documented, (with cut & paste commands), it’s not something I what to help other people with.

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Have you rummaged around in the OEM systems from ASROCK, Gigabyte, and SuperMicro? Last time I did that drill, they were schoshi AMD but SuperMicro had the IX Systems Mini boxes.

If you roll your own AMD system, you will need to check the motherboard specs to verify that ECC traces are supported. It’s usually in the memory section of the spec sheet. Don’t trust online configurators as they are gamer oriented.