AMD Ryzen 5 2400G on Debian

2018-11-08 - Louis-Philippe Véronneau

Today at work I built two new computers for co-workers. They were (rightfully so) complaining the 2008 iMacs they were using were getting old and slow.

I can't help but be a little sad about it. These computers are still pretty usable for light tasks and are in overall pretty good shape. To be honest, I'm not sure what I'll be doing with them.

Tasked with the job of building new computers at a reasonable price, I decided to go with the latest AMD CPU, the Ryzen 5 2400G. This is the second generation of Ryzen chips and it includes an APU, thus negating the need to buy a discrete GPU.

This chip is pretty recent so the support in Stretch isn't great. The APU graphics stack was too recent to be supported by the 4.9 stable kernel, so I had to install 4.18 from the backports.

I also had to install the xserver-xorg-video-amdgpu driver from testing, as AMD's Vega arch wasn't a thing when Stretch came out. Although AMD did the right thing and used FOSS drivers for their Vega GPU lineup, you still need proprietary firmware (firmware-amd-graphics) for the APU to be fully supported.

It was my first time using NVME SSDs, and oh boy are those fast. I was sceptical at first (SATA SSDs are pretty fast, right?) but the difference in snap really is noticeable. I now regret I didn't put that in my desktop at home when I replaced my SSD 6 months ago...

All in all I'm pretty happy with the final result. The performance of the Ryzen 5 2400G is good and the price of the overall build was reasonable.