Minipc Build Woes


Last Thursday I finally got my shipping notification from Scan that my new Ryzen 5000 series processors had shipped. I was incredibly excited - I’d been sitting on a Zaber Sentry [] since around my birthday and a bunch of other components or around a month since Scan had accidentally told me that my processor would be delivered on November 7th.

I ran in to a bunch of issues - if you’re here looking for fixes then scroll straight to the bottom for the TL;DR.

I had decided to reuse my existing GPU until I got a job, but the rest of the parts list I settled on was as follows:

Component Details
Case Zaber Sentry 2.0
CPU Ryzen 7 5800X
Motherboard Asus ROG Strix i-Gaming X570
Memory Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 32GB 3600MHz
SSD Adata XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB
CPU Cooler Cryorig c7g

Firstly this was my first AMD build since. the Athlon64 X2 days, and I must say the CPU mounting mechanism and the orientation marker is awful compared to Intel’s. The socket doesn’t hold the CPU well at all as I found out later, and the orientation marker is on the underside of the CPU so you have to turn it over, work it out and then adjust for the fact that it was just upside down when you try to seat it. Don’t get me wrong it’s not massively complicated, but it’sjust not quite as straightforward.

Once I’d seated the CPU I ran in to my first major problem - the c7g very much does not support this motherboard. The backplate is massively oversized and was blocked by the backplate of the main heatsink on one side and random small components on the other. I ended up having to take a Dremmel to it to cut it down to size. Not ideal, but hey, it worked. Onward!

Everything else came together fine until I ran in to my second problem. My GPU does not fit my case. Frustratingly the actual board and cooler fit just fine, but the heatpipes bend outward and back in which looks great but means they slightly overshot the bounds of my case. Not a whole lot I could do about that, but I wanted to verify the components were all good so I left the case open and continued on to try to post.

I did not succeed. The Sentry does not have a case speaker so I wasn’t able to hear the beep codes to help diagnose the problem, but there is a small post LED on the motherboard near the 20pin power connector, the colour of which, theoretically anyway,  helps to diagnose the problem. Mine was solid amber which according to the [manual] (]) indicated a problem with the RAM.

This sent me on a wild alarming goose chase as all my parts were out of RMA due to the Scan error. I read numerous forum posts from people with ASUS boards failing to post and displaying the orange LED which turned out to be faulty motherboards, CPUs etc. I started looking in to returns but had a niggling suspicion that it could be a problem with CPU compatibility with the BIOS. @ReinessaGaming on twitter had, the same evening, put together a very similar build and run in to BIOS issues which further increased my suspicions, so I started looking in to options and very quickly got extremely annoyed with ASUS. They really dropped a series of clangers on this motherboard.

Reinessa was fortunate in so far as her motherboard had BIOSFlashback so she was able to load a new BIOS on to a USB stick and flash it directly without a CPU. The mini-itx board, though, did not. Exasperated I started looking in to AMD’s BIOS update programme where they will lend you an AM4 CPU in order to flash your BIOS. Unfortunately the model they lend you is not a supported CPU on this board. No really. ASUS decided to not put FlashBack on this board and to also not support the CPU which the manufacturer will loan you. At this point I realised I was going to have to get my hands on a previous gen CPU. I did some searching and eventually bought myself a Ryzen 5 2600 from Amazon. It was on the supported CPU list for the motherboard, was a little over £100 and would arrive next day (until I bought it, then they decided the day after was actually fine). Moreover I could make use of it building my in-laws a new machine to thank them for all their help this year.

As soon as it arrived I wasted no time completely dismantling my build to pop in the 2600 and find out once and for all. This is where I found out that the AM4 socket kind of sucks I remember reading you should always twist AM4 heatsinks off rather than pulling so I did my best but the pins through the motherboard very much limited the amount of rotation but I kept wiggling as I gently pulled only to pull the CPU out of the socket stuck to the bottom of the heatsink. Not good, I thought I’d probably broken it at that point, too, but all the pins looked okay so I crossed my fingers and installed the 2600 and did a test post from my desk and was immediately greeted with the ROG logo and some post info and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Turned out the BIOS was around 8 months out of date and did not support Zen3 chips. I downloaded the latest BIOS on my laptop and put it on a USB and flashed the BIOS to the latest revision. Bingo.

I swapped everything out and successfully posted again with the 5800X. Cue the second huge sigh of relief. I got everything back in the case and I was on the home straight now. I just needed to install Windows, boot in to it and make sure everything was as it should be. I booted from the USB installer I’d created previously, the NVMe drive showed up it hit install and…

Windows couldn’t create a new partition or locate an existing one. For more information see the Setup log files.

…What? So I set about trying to work out what on earth was going on. Found various forum posts on the Windows forums suggesting a long chain of commands for diskpart which involved cleaning the partition, recreating it, activating it and so on. I ran through all that and tried again but the same problem. I then found a link to a YouTube video someone had made for cases in which that fails where you effectively copy the windows install files to a small partition on the disk itself, boot of the disk and then go from there but about halfway through I thought it seemed unnecessarily complicated and set about having another look and stumbled across a throwaway comment with another command which immediately sounded exactly like it might fix the problem so I bailed on the complicated fix and tried this:

Shift + F10 to open the command prompt from the installer rather than going the long way round.

diskpart -> clean -> convert gpt

Closed CMD and tried again and bingo. Booted in to Windows and opened up Task Manager to find everything exactly as it should be with the 5800X, all its cores and the correct amount of memory displaying. Success! Now I just need to find a GPU that is in stock and will fit…


  1. If you have an ASUS motherboard that won’t POST and is displaying the amber POST LED, try and upgrade your BIOS. It may well actually be a CPU compatibility issue.
  2. The ASUS ROG Strix i-gaming X570 does not have BIOS Flashback, and does not support the AMD loaner CPU for BIOS upgrades. You must use an older generation CPU - check the supported CPU list and pick one from there.
  3. If during the Windows 10 install you get the error:

Windows couldn’t create a new partition or locate an existing one. For more information see the Setup log files.

Do this:

Shift + F10 to open the command prompt.

Type diskpart and hit enter to run diskpart.

Type clean to delete all partitions on the disk.

Type convert gpt to change the boot partition scheme from MBR to GPT.

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