Pay For Your Sovol SV06 With Just One Print?!

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One of our friends on our Discord server showed us this amazing espresso distribution tool on Printables. It ticks all the boxes for an amazing 3D printed object. I am a sucker for anything with interlocking print-in-place gears. Two of the pieces are assembled with giant 3D-printed threads. It even uses magnets.

The best part is that it is by far the very best espresso distribution tool I have ever used. It seems to be a 3D-printed implementation of the $475 Moonraker espresso distribution tool!

Is the title of this blog clickbait?

I can’t decide if it is or not! I think it depends on how you look at it.

The 3D-printed Umikot tool is certainly not worth $475. There are other tools that may not do as good of a job, but they definitely attempt to do the same job. The fixed-needle DUOMO distribution tool is a little over $200.

You can also spend $2 on acupuncture needles in my Tindie store and print jkim_makes fantastic WDT tool. That is what I have been using for the last year, and it does a bang-up job.

Both the Moonraker and DUOMO are premium products with some real heft. The Umikot tool is an inexpensive piece of 3D-printed plastic, and it feels like an inexpensive 3D-printed piece of plastic. The Umikot tool gives me a cleaner bed of grounds in three or four seconds than I would get from twenty or thirty seconds with my old WDT tool, and the fancy tool is way more fun to use.

My print of the Umikot espresso tool may not be worth as much as the Moonraker, but is it worth as much as the $169 that I paid for my refurbished Sovol SV06?

I feel like it is.

I cheated a bit!

I printed the grey parts on my Prusa MK3S while at the same time printing all the black parts on my Sovol SV06. Both printers are using knockoffs of the CHT 0.6 mm nozzle. Using two printers is faster than using just one. I chose to print the mechanical part on the Prusa, because it was going to take 2 hours longer than the rest of the parts combined, and my Prusa is much quieter than my Sovol.

Sovol build plate with all the Umikot pieces

I printed the Umikot tool with 0.22 mm layer height using PLA. The whole things takes about $5 or $6 in plastic. I already had a ton of acupuncture needles on hand, and I had plenty of the correct screws in one of my assortments from Amazon.

Is this really better than a basic WDT tool?!

I used to do a good job with the WDT tool, but I recently upgraded to a Turin DF64P grinder. My old dosing funnel is too big for the new grinder, so I am using the narrow aluminum ring that came with the DF64P.

The Turin dosing ring is too narrow. I can’t see how good of a job I am doing with the manual WDT tool. There was a tendency for me to have a low side quite often, and almost every time that happens, even after attempting to correct the distribution, those shots wound up having at least some minor channeling.

I haven’t had a bad pull yet with the Umikot tool. It seems to give me a nice looking bed after only three or four turns, but it takes less time to just do ten turns than it did to make one trip around the basket with the WDT tool.

I could live without the Umikot tool, but I would rather not!


We are always on the hunt for those killer prints. The sort of prints that make owning a 3D printer worthwhile. This is easily one of those prints! The Umikot tool is such a delightful upgrade to my daily espresso routine, and it isn’t something I could easily acquire without a 3D printer.

You don’t have to find a killer print to justify the cost of your 3D printer. Printing is a fun hobby, but I am always excited when I find something this useful to print. What about you? Do you have a killer print that can justify the entire cost of your 3D printer in a single print job? Or are you just 3D printing for fun? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!

My New Radeon 6700 XT – Two Months Later

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I put off a GPU upgrade for as long as I could. I had been running and Nvidia GTX 970 since 2014. It served me well for quite a long time, but by the time I needed an upgrade, crypto mining pushed GPU prices to super-inflated levels. Prices were so high that I paid less for my GTX 970 than a roughly comparable GPU would have cost only a little over a year ago.

Stable Diffusion Radeon Guy

I just couldn’t stomach paying so much for an upgrade, so I limped along for a few years longer than I should have. I decided prices have come down enough for an upgrade, so I wound up upgrading my monitor, GPU, and eventually my CPU. Why didn’t I spend more on a GPU? Did I really need the CPU upgrade? Let’s find out!


This seems important for me to touch on. I had to install OpenCL drivers from AMD’s Ubuntu repository, and it didn’t take much time after that before I decided I wanted to try bleeding-edge Mesa libraries to see how much ray tracing performance was improved.

I am running the latest Ubuntu LTS, and I installed Mesa libraries from the Oibaf PPA. My machine was locking up randomly at least every other day. Usually I would just find it dead when I woke up, but occasionally my Xserver would just crash and reload.

I have since switched to Ernst Sjostrand’s PPA. I haven’t had any weird crashes or freezes since.

Was the 6700 XT enough of an upgrade? Why not a 7900 XT or an Nvidia GPU?

Until this week, RDNA3 cards like the Radeon 7900 XT didn’t have support for ROCm or OpenCL on Linux. That took those cards right off the table. I need DaVinci Resolve to edit podcasts, and it won’t run at all without OpenCL or CUDA.

Everyone has been talking about how amazing AMD cards are on Linux now. AMD GPUs also offer significantly more performance and VRAM for your dollar compared to Nvidia GPUs. Both seemed like excellent reasons to try out an AMD GPU.

If I couldn’t buy one of the latest RDNA3 GPUs, then I also figured I shouldn’t buy the most outrageous RDNA2 GPU. I thought it would be best to only buy as much GPU as I need today, and we can see how far that carries me.

Control RTX

I am going to say that the 6700 XT has been enough of an upgrade. I can run a lot of nearly recent games, like Prey and Severed Steel, at 3440x1440 with settings cranked up to high or ultra and still manage to keep the frame rates up near 100 FPS. There are some newer games, like DEATHLOOP and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, where I have to drop the resolution to something around 2700x1160 and let FidelityFX SuperResolution (FSR) scale that up to native resolution to maintain 100 FPS.

The only game making me wish I splurged on a 6800 XT is Control. I can max out the settings with ray tracing enabled at 1080p, and the game can nearly run at 60 FPS. I would enjoy playing through Control with RTX, and spending an extra $120 would have put me in a good position to do that.

I did get to play through Severed Steel at native resolution with RTX enabled, and that looked quite cool!

Is 12 GB of VRAM enough?!

We have been talking about this a lot on our Discord server lately. Let’s start by talking about how things are going today.

Most of the games I am running never manage to use more than 8 GB of VRAM, and I have the texture settings dialed up to the limit. Control seems to sit at about 6 GB, Red Dead Redemption 2 also needs around 6 GB, and Borderlands 3 seems to top out at around 8 GB.

DEATHLOOP is a weird exception. No matter where I set the texture slider, it winds up using all available VRAM. I suspect it just never unloads unused textures or something. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that DEATHLOOP would run just fine with less total VRAM.

Claptrap Stairs

There are games that exist today that use more than 8 GB of VRAM, and it sure sounds like we will be seeing games fairly soon that won’t fit in my 12 GB of VRAM.

I don’t have solid advice, but I have some feelings. I don’t have a lot of faith that Intel will remain in the GPU market, and their drivers lack polish, but the Intel ARC A750 8GB was on sale today for $200. Who cares if it is future proof? It can play most current games at 1440p at 60 FPS with a bit of FSR. That is a fantastic value. I have similar feelings about the Radeon 7600 with 8 GB at $270.

I do not like the Nvidia 4060 Ti 8 GB at $400. This card is for sure going to be fast enough to play games that require 12 GB of VRAM, but it won’t have enough VRAM to load them. I think this is a terrible deal.

My 6700 XT has gone on sale for even lower prices since I bought mine two months ago, but I feel pretty good about it. I paid $380. My card has better raster performance than the $400 4060 Ti, and I have an extra 4 GB of VRAM. I think you can sometimes find my GPU for under $350 now.

I also upgraded from a Ryzen 1600 to a Ryzen 5700X

This was definitely a worthwhile upgrade, but if you are following my lead, you should skip the Ryzen 5700X and just put a Ryzen 5600 in your old B350 motherboard. The 5700X is only 8% faster in extremely multithreaded workloads, and that isn’t something that will help with any games.

Most of the games I tested didn’t perform significantly better after the CPU upgrade. Borderlands 3 gained a few frames per second. Control didn’t perform any better with RTX enabled. Some games improved significantly.

DEATHLOOP was limited quite a lot by the slower CPU. There were parts of the game where it would drop down under 70 FPS, and when it did, the game just felt jittery. The CPU upgrade moved those low points up by about 20 FPS, and it smoothed out those jittery spots quite a lot.

I am sure there are other games that will benefit from the extra single-core performance of the Ryzen 5700X as much as DEATHLOOP.

You should enable the new AMD P-State EPP driver!

You can ignore this if you have an Intel CPU or an older Ryzen CPU.

I am not a CPU and GPU benchmarking site. I don’t have lots of data. I don’t have tools to collect interesting information. I mostly only have the seat of my pants and Mangohud.

I had trouble on a lot of maps in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. The frame rates stayed quite high, and the frame-time graphs looked smooth enough, but the game felt really jittery when I moved my mouse. This was really in Brighthoof, and it still feels every so slightly unsmooth there, but it was a problem on other maps as well. Usually in places where your sight line wasn’t blocked by much of anything, and you could potentially see most of the map.

Stable Diffusion Radeon Guy

Even turning the settings down to the minimum and dropping the render resolution didn’t solve the problem.

Booting a version 6.3 Linux kernel with the new P-State EPP driver enabled almost completely fixed this problem.

I am pretty sure that it also fixed the times in DEATHLOOP where things were still slightly crunchy after the CPU upgrade.

What about machine learning?

I got Stable Diffusion up and running pretty quickly. There’s some really good documentation to get you going.

That was just about the only machine learning tool that was easy to get up and running with ROCm and OpenCL. Machine learning is dominated by Nvidia’s CUDA.

Stable Diffusion

NOTE: What do you get when you use stable diffusion as your Stable Diffusion prompt? Mostly horses.

Things seem to be getting better. It looks like OpenCL support is coming to LLaMa, and there’s some documentation on the Fauxpilot forums for getting Fauxpilot running on ROCm in a Docker container.

I haven’t tried either of these. I am interesting in messing around with Fauxpilot, but their models that fit in 12 GB of VRAM seem quite limited.

DaVinci Resolve is working quite well

I almost wish I knew how well Resolve is running. My video-editing needs are usually quite simplistic. My old GPU wasn’t exactly slowing me down all that often before the upgrade.

My suspicion is that slow tasks like running a magic mask would be much faster with a similarly priced Nvidia GPU, but I have no way to test this. Running tools like magic mask took significant time on the old GPU, and they still take time on the new GPU.

I guess the important thing for me is that things are working, and I am pretty sure the slow jobs are less slow now.

It is a bummer that I have lost the ability to export h.264 video. It isn’t the end of the world, but it is disappointing.


Even though I couldn’t go bananas on a 7900 XT, for both the sake of my wallet and needing to run DaVinci Resolve, I have to say that I am quite pleased with where I landed with the Radeon 6700 XT. It is quite solidly a 2560x1440 60 FPS card, and I mostly only have to apply a little bit of FSR to stretch that up to 3440x1440 100 FPS.

That is quite reasonable for the $380 I paid two months ago. I keep seeing similar cards on sale for $350 now, and that is even more reasonable!

The Radeon 6700 XT has been a solid upgrade. It runs DaVinci Resolve more than adequately for my needs. It cranks out images from Stable Diffusion at a decent rate. I expect it to be enough GPU for my gaming needs for at least two or three years, and by then, I might be able to get something comparable to the 7900 XT for the same price!

AMD Radeon vs. Nvidia RTX on Linux

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This blog won’t have any how-to documentation. I don’t even know for sure if everything I think I know about my new AMDGPU software setup is actually correct, and I certainly don’t know that I am doing anything in any sort of a recommended way. The Radeon RX 6700 XT that I bought last month is the first AMD GPU I have owned since running Linux on a Dell Inspiron laptop with a Core 2 Duo processor. I believe I was still using that laptop when I started this blog in 2009!

Stable Diffusion Radeon Guy

I figured I ought to write down how I feel about things, and document some of the things that I have learned, and probably talk about the mistakes that I have already had to correct.

The tl;dr

If you only care about gaming, you should buy an AMD Radeon GPU. AMD’s pricing is so much better than Nvidia. You almost always get more VRAM from a comparable AMD Radeon. Everything related to gaming works great out of the box with an AMD GPU using open-source drivers on Linux.

If you need OpenCL to run DaVinci Resolve, you may currently be out of luck with a 7900 XT or 7900 XTX. At least for now. If you have an older AMD GPU, you should be able to get OpenCL installed, but it isn’t going to just work right out of the box.

If you’re interested in machine learning stuff, then you should probably be considering an Nvidia GPU. The situation here is improving, but it is improving slowly.

NOTE: I believe the recent ROCm 5.5 release has support for RDNA3 GPUs!

Six of one and half a dozen of the other

Everyone on Reddit says that the Linux experience with an AMD Radeon GPU is far better than with Nvidia GPUs. I can’t say that they are completely wrong, but they aren’t entirely correct.

I don’t know about every Linux distribution, but Ubuntu makes it really easy to get up and running with the proprietary Nvidia drivers. I am pretty sure Nvidia’s proprietary driver ships with the Ubuntu installer.

Absolutely everything works once the Nvidia drivers are installed. You will have accelerated video encoding. Your games will run fast. You will be able to run Stable Diffusion with CUDA, and OpenCL will function. DaVinci Resolve will work.

If I replaced my Nvidia GTX 970 with any newer Nvidia GPU up to the RTX 4090, I wouldn’t have had to do a thing. I would have already had the drivers installed, and everything would have just continued to work.

It definitely looked like I was in good shape immediately after swapping in my new 6700 XT. My machine booted up just fine. Steam fired up. Games were fast!

Then I noticed that DaVinci Resolve wouldn’t open. I didn’t have OpenCL libraries installed. The documentation about this is contradictory, so I am assuming something changed here fairly recently. I thought I had to install the AMDGPU-PRO driver instead of the open-source AMDGPU driver to get OpenCL to work. Don’t do that.

That is what I did at first, because I thought I had to, and it was horrible! The proprietary AMDGPU-PRO driver is much slower than the open-source AMDGPU driver. I quickly figured out that you can use AMD’s tooling to install their ROCm and OpenCL bits, and they will happily install and run alongside your AMDGPU driver.

At that point I was in pretty good shape. DaVinci Resolve worked. My games ran well. I believe I had working video encoder acceleration with VAAPI. I didn’t stop here, though, so my setup is currently a little quirky. When I upgraded Mesa, I lost hardware video encoding support.

I am pretty sure that if you have an RDNA3 card, like the 7900 XT or 7900 XTX, then you will not be able to have working ROCm or OpenCL at this time.

AMD is way ahead of Nvidia on performance per dollar

This isn’t specific to Linux. How much value and AMD GPU provides kind of depends on how you are looking at things.

If you choose a GPU from each vendor with similar performance in most games, the AMD GPU will benchmark much worse than the Nvidia GPU as soon as you turn ray tracing on. That makes the AMD card seem like it isn’t all that great.

Except that the AMD GPU is going to be quite a bit cheaper.

Things look so much better if you choose an AMD GPU and an Nvidia GPU with similar ray-tracing performance. The AMD GPU will probably still cost a few dollars less, have more VRAM, and it will outperform the Nvidia GPU by a huge margin when ray tracing isn’t involved.

One of the problems here is that the AMD RX 7900 XTX is the fastest AMDGPU available, and its performance in ray-tracing games falls pretty far behind Nvidia’s most expensive offerings. If you just have to have more gaming performance than the 7900 XTX has to offer, AMD doesn’t have anything available for you to buy.

As far as gaming is concerned, I am starting to think that the extra VRAM you get from AMD is going to be important.

I didn’t buy a top-of-the-line GPU, so I am not unhappy that my 6700 XT only has 12 GB of VRAM. It is looking like the 12 GB of VRAM on the Nvidia RTX 4070 is going to make the card obsolete long before its time, but the RTX 4070 also costs nearly twice as much as my 6700 XT.

Support for machine learning with AMD GPUs isn’t great

AMD will sell you a GPU with 24 GB of VRAM for not all that much more than half the price of a 24 GB RTX 4090. This should be such an amazing GPU for running things like LLaMa!

AI is dominated by CUDA, and CUDA belongs to Nvidia. It is possible to get some models up and running with ROCm or OpenCL, but it will be challenging to make that happen. It was pretty easy to get Stable Diffusion going on my 6700 XT, but that seems to be just about the only ML system that is relatively easy to shoehorn onto an AMD GPU.

I have been keeping an eye on the Fauxpilot and Tabby bug trackers. Nobody is even asking for support on non-Nvidia GPUs.

UPDATE: There is now some information about getting Fauxpilot running on a Radeon GPU in the Fauxpilot forums!

If AI is your thing today, then you probably already know that you will just have to spend more money and buy an Nvidia card. I have a lot of hope for the future. As soon as LLaMa was leaked, Hacker News was going crazy with articles about porting it to work with Apple’s integrated GPU. I feel that this bodes well for all of us that can’t run CUDA!

Having Stable Diffusion running locally has been fantastic. I can give it a goofy prompt, ask it to generate 800 images for me, then walk away to make a latte. It will probably be finished by the time I get back, and I can shuffle through the images to see if there is a funny image I can stick in a blog post!

Installing bleeding-edge Mesa libraries and kernels

It is awesome that AMDGPU is open source, but it is also pretty tightly woven into your distribution. Everything runs better with a more recent kernel, and you may even need a newer kernel than your distro ships if you want to run an RDNA3 card. Maybe. I am not even sure that an RDNA3 card will run on Ubuntu 22.04 without updating Mesa using a PPA.

I have been running Xanmod kernels for years, so I was already ahead here already.

I wanted to try the latest Mesa libraries. At the time, I thought I needed them to enable ray tracing. I don’t think that was correct, but I am quite certain that ray tracing performance is better with the latest version compared to whatever ships with Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

First I ran the Mesa libraries in Oibaf’s PPA. I had random lockups or my X11 session would crash once every two or three days. I have since switch to Ernst Sjöstrand’s PPA, and things have been completely stable ever since.

Using either PPA broke VAAPI on my Ubuntu 22.04 LTS install. I don’t think any of the up-to-date Mesa PPAs ship an updated libva for 22.04. They do ship an updated verion of libva for more recent Ubuntu releases. I assume this is where my problem lies.

This is all feels less clean than just running the latest Nvidia driver.

I got OBS Studio working with VAAPI using Flatpak

I wound up installing OBS Studio and VLC using Flatpak. The Flatpak release of OBS Studio is a couple of versions ahead of what I was running, which is nice, and it is linked to some other Flatpak packages that contain VAAPI.

I mostly use OBS Studio to capture a safety recording of our podcast recordings on I record those at a rather low bitrate. I mostly use these recordings to help me make sure all the participant’s recordings are lined up on my timeline. I could get away with CPU encoding here.

I have recorded some 3440x1440 games at 1920x1080@60 with good quality, and it uses a pretty minor amount of GPU horsepower. I don’t quite know how to measure that correctly. There are a lot of different segments of GPU performance that radeontop measures, and I don’t know which are most important while gaming!

I do know that VAAPI is not using the dedicated video encoding hardware. That is a bummer. It seems to be using shader cores.

I don’t consider that to be even close to a deal breaker. Sure, I am wasting some of my GPU gaming performance on video encoding, but if that were problematic I could have bought a 6800 instead of a 6700 XT, and I still would have gotten a better value than buying an Nvidia card.

DaVinci Resolve and OpenCL

I have lost some options with Resolve. I used to be able to export h.264 and h.265 video with my Nvidia GPU. Now I am stuck with only a rather generic MPEG4 option, and even at its highest quality is rather low bitrate.

DaVinci Resolve

YouTube will let me upload DNxHR, so this shouldn’t be a huge problem.

I have no way to benchmark anything related to DaVinci Resolve, and I don’t have several GPUs on hand even if I did. I do suspect that Nvidia GPUs perform significantly better than AMD GPUs when running Resolve. I don’t know by how much, but if video editing is your goal, then you might want to consider an Nvidia GPU.

Power consumption!

The graph in CoreCtrl for power is pretty much a flat line while I write this blog. The GPU is using 28 watts. That is kind of a lot, but that is less than my Nvidia GTX 970 was using.

CoreCtrl Radeon 6700 XT

The GTX 970 idled at around 60 watts, but it was driving two 2560x1440 monitors at 102 Hz. I hear the Nvidia driver doesn’t idle well with two monitors.

My RX 6700 XT is idling at 28 watts while driving a single 3440x1440 monitor at 144 Hz. That drops to 17 watts if I set the monitor to 60 Hz.

Why did I choose the Radeon 6700 XT? Was it a good choice?

My Nvidia GTX 970 has been a bottleneck for a while. I did some pretty fuzzy and hand-wavy math. I wanted to roughly double my frame rates in the games that were just barely worth playing. That would take about twice as much GPU, and that would have gotten me up over my old monitor’s 102-Hz refresh rate.

I assumed I would be upgrading from a 2560x1440 monitor to a 38” 3840x1600 ultrwide. That would be 60% more pixels. Doubling performance again would help with the extra pixels and leave room for turning up the visual settings in most games.

My actual upgrade to a 34” 3440x1440 monitor only adds 34% more pixels, so I bought myself a little margin there. When I started doing my math to find my minimum viable GPU upgrade, there wasn’t much support for things like FidelityFX SuperResolution (FSR). Now that I can use this sort of fancy scaling technology in nearly every game, I am much less worried about having enough GPU to render in my monitor’s native resolution.

I was tempted to splurge and upgrade to a 7900 XT, but some of the things I already mentioned scared me off. There was no ROCm or OpenCL support from AMD yet, so DaVinci Resolve wouldn’t work, and I can’t edit podcast footage without Resolve. I also wasn’t sure how smooth things would go upgrading Mesa with a PPA.

I figured that if I wasn’t going to go with an RDNA3 card, then I really should stick with the minimum viable upgrade. The 6700 XT seemed to hit a sweet spot on price to performance ratio, and it was definitely more than enough GPU to keep me gaming for a while!

The 6700 XT is kind of comparable in performance to the RTX 3070, but the 6700 XT has an extra 4 GB of VRAM and costs about $150 less.

I am most definitely pleased with my choice. Most of my games are running at better than 100 frames per second with the settings cranked up to high or ultra. My only regret is that Control doesn’t quite hit 60 frames per second with ray tracing enabled. I never expected the 6700 XT to give me enough oomph for ray tracing, but I do believe a 6800 XT would have given me the juice for that.

I did get to play through Severed Steel with ray tracing enabled. It is a minor, but really cool update to the visuals in the game!

It would have been easy to talk myself into more GPU. The RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and even the RX 6950 XT provide performance upgrades comparable to their increases in price. It would be easy to add $60 to $100 at a time three or four times and wind up buying a 7900 XT.

I didn’t want to do that, so I stayed at the lower end. Sometimes it is best to aim for the top. Sometimes it is better to settle for what you actually need. I don’t expect to wait eight years for my next GPU upgrade, so I think settling will work out better in the long run.


We may have gotten a little off track in the last section. You don’t really need to know how my choice of an upgrade went to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of AMD vs. Nvidia on Linux, except that I feel it highlights one of the advantages. I am glad I didn’t spend $20 more on a slower Nvidia RTX 3070 with only 8 GB of VRAM.

I think my conclusion just needs to call back to the tl;dr. If you only need your GPU for gaming on Linux, then I feel that an AMD GPU is a no-brainer. If you are focused on machine learning, then an Nvidia GPU is a no-brainer. If you are anywhere in between, then you are just going to have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

What do you think? Are you running an AMD GPU on Linux? Are you mostly gaming, or do you need GPU acceleration for video editing or machine learning? How is it working out for you? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!

Please Don’t Take Apart Your Sovol SV06 To Grease The Bearings!

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I have been visiting r/sovol quite often since I bought my Sovol SV06. It is a lot off fun to see how other people are getting along with their printers!

There is a lot of advice over there. I am disappointed to see that a lot of the advice has gone from “it might be a good idea to…” to “you definitely better…” over the last few weeks.

Bender on the Sovol SV06

It isn’t just about disassembling brand-new printers in order to pack the bearings with grease. There are people implying that you’re not going to be able to get a good first layer if you don’t do the silicone mod to your bed. There also seem to be a lot of people that think that you won’t get decent prints if your Z-axis motors aren’t absolutely perpendicular to the Y-axis.

Yes. It would be better if the bearings were greased, and it would be even better if they were greased from the factory. Yes. It would be better if the print bed was perfectly flat. Yes. It would be better if the printer was more square.

My bed isn’t flat. My bearings aren’t greased. My Z-axis is off by up to 1.5 degrees. My printer is printing just fine.

Why you shouldn’t immediately disassemble your printer

I am just taking a guess, but I suspect that this is your first 3D printer and that you are new to 3D printing. Please don’t take apart your Sovol SV06 until you get some good prints out of it.

When you take apart all three axes, load the bearings full of grease, then reassemble the printer you are introducing all sorts of new potential problems.

You have bought one of the most inexpensive Prusa MK3 imitations, and Sovol is for sure cutting corners and using the cheapest components they can acquire. I don’t know what the odds look like, but I wouldn’t that at least 5% of us have received a printer with at least one bad component.

Did you break something while taking the printer apart? Or did it come from the factory that way? You should wait to see how the machine works before taking it apart.

I will not be greasing my bearings

I am also not running my bearings completely dry. I saw a recommendation on r/sovol that suggested putting PTFE lube on the linear rods. I have a big bottle of PTFE lube for bike chains in the garage. It took me 20 seconds to squeeze a few drops onto all the rods while my oversized Mini 13 Bender was printing.

Linear rods and bearings are cheap, and even completely ungreased, there is a good chance that I will never run my Sovol SV06 for enough hours to put significant wear on the rods. I don’t want to put time into fixing something so inexpensive that probably won’t even wear out anyway.

The folks posting on r/prusa3d were making a big deal about Prusa not properly packing the bearings with grease on the preassembled Prusa MK3S right around the time I bought mine. It has been printing for almost three years. I have put somewhere between 15 and 20 kilograms of filament through my Prusa MK3S. All the rods feel brand new, and I have done absolutely nothing to lubricate them in any way.

My bed is probably warped, and my Z-axis is for sure out of alignment

My first 3D printed needed a perfectly flat piece of glass to print on, and that piece of glass had to be perfectly trammed. Then the Prusa MK3 came along, and I never had to worry about that again. Mesh bed leveling can correct for A LOT of imperfection in the bed and a pretty high degree of slop in rest of the printer.

The Sovol SV06 is a 3D printer. It isn’t a CNC mill. It isn’t even a CNC router. There’s quite a bit of error even just in the amount of plastic that may or may not be extruded as the tool is moving around. For most of us, a slightly out of alignment Z-axis isn’t going to make a difference that we are going to notice.

ABS Spool Holder

NOTE: I didn’t take any good photos of the ABS spool holder. I only have this quick snapshot that I took when I was surprised how cleanly the completely unsupported overhang managed to print.

I don’t think I have printed anything much taller than four or five inches on the Sovol so far. Bender’s torso is a bit over three inches, and it doesn’t appear out of whack. I printed a second spool holder in ABS that is a little over four inches tall. It looks fine.

My Sovol SV06 was refurbished. Do you know why it was returned to Sovol?

We have no way to know for sure why the original owner returned his Sovol SV06, but I have a well educated guess!

I had a good bit of trouble getting the filament to load. By a good bit of trouble, I mean it took me about three tries and about two minutes. There was some white filament already in the extruder.

The previous owner couldn’t have cut the filament off deep inside the extruder like this. I would bet that something went wrong, and then they couldn’t load filament again. They couldn’t figure it out, so they shipped the printer back.

I don’t know how common this is today, but it used to be extremely common when I ran the 3D printing lab at our local makerspace. People would run into trouble, tell me that they spent 20 minutes trying to figure out why they couldn’t load filament in the printer, and they would ask for help.

More often than not, there was no problem. I was usually able to load filament without a problem.

If you really want to grease your bearings or straighten your frame, I think that you should!

I don’t want you to not maintain your printer. I just want you to think before you start unscrewing things.

So many problems that get posted in r/sovol are just people who haven’t learned to properly calibrate their z-offset for their first layer. Half of the time they explain all sorts of convoluted steps they have taken to correct the problem.

Ask for help. Make sure you try the easy fixes before you decide that your problem is one of the difficult ones. A good troubleshooter knows to eliminate problems that are easy to test for first. Ordering hose to do the silicone bed mod won’t help you if you problem is that you are printing 0.15 mm too far from the PEI sheet.

Sometimes the printer is the hobby

My 3D printers are here to support my other hobbies. I don’t want to assemble my own Prusa MK4 kit. I don’t want to take apart my printer to grease the bearings. I just want them to keep on working with as little effort invested as possible.

I know a lot of folks who feel differently about this. The 3D printer itself is their hobby, and maybe it is your hobby, too!

If it is, go ahead and grease those bearings. Square up your Z-axis. Print upgraded parts! Go have fun!

Please just make sure your brand new printer works before you take it apart. You’ll have a much better time talking to Sovol’s very limited customer service department if you don’t have to explain that you didn’t break anything while greasing the bearings.

We paid $250 for a printer that Prusa charges $1,111.31

Sort of. I paid $1,111.31 for my fully assembled Prusa MK3S after shipping and taxes. I paid $169 for my refurbished Sovol SV06. The Sovol wasn’t fully assembled, but it is in way fewer pieces than a Prusa MK3 kit, so I am going to stick to comparing the Sovol to the ready-to-go Prusa.

Sovol cuts a lot of corners to get the price this low. Sure, they are made in China, so the labor prices are lower, but many of the parts on the Prusa are also made in China. That only accounts for some of the difference.

They are the same printer!

Prusa responds to support requests in a timely manner. Reddit makes me think Sovol is bad at this. Prusa ships replacement parts quickly. Reddit makes me think Sovol is bad at this. Prusa uses power supplies that don’t immediately fail, and they ship control boards that don’t fry when you plug them into a USB port.

Those last two make me think Sovol does a pretty bad job at quality control. We are for sure taking a gamble when we buy from Sovol. We are doing better than flipping a coin, but it sure feels like we are rolling the dice. At least it seems like we are rolling a 20-sided die instead of a 6-sided die.

Just hope you don’t roll a one!


I like the Sovol SV06 a lot. The SV06 and SV06 Plus are my favorite printers under $750. I think you should buy one. They are both packed full of rather premium features at a more than reasonable price.

You just have to understand what you are buying, and who you are buying it from. Sovol has executed a lot of things well here. They have nice injection-molded parts and a rather impressive and inexpensive to replace extruder assembly, but many of the components are as cheap as they can get away with, and they have poor customer service.

Are you planning on buying a Sovol SV06, or do you already own one? How was your experience out of the box? Is your frame as out of alignment a mine? Are you still getting good prints anyway? I want to hear about your experiences in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat about it!

One Month With My Gigabyte G34WQC A Ultrawide Monitor

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My plan was to write a single follow-up blog about upgrading my monitor, GPU, and processor. I made it most of the way through writing that post when I noticed that I was already over 3,000 words. I hadn’t even mentioned everything I felt I should mention, so I am going to split this update up into two or three posts.

I have a feeling this will be the shortest of the three blogs.

Why did I upgrade from two 2560x1440 IPS monitors to a single 3440x1440 monitor?

Does that even qualify as an upgrade? I was running a pair of QNIX QX2710 monitors at my desk since 2013. They were really cheap monitors, but they were quite nice! They looked good. I had them overclocked to 102 Hz for gaming. They were still working great!

Gigabyte G34WQC at my desk

NOTE: I definitely won’t be winning any photo contests at r/battlestations. The green walls are ugly. The big soft-box light for podcasting, the permanent camera rig, and the microphone arm will always make my desk look cluttered no matter what I do!

The problem is that the QX2710 only has a single video input port, and it is a dual-link DVI port. I have been needing to replace my Nvidia GTX 970 for at least a year or two, and you can’t buy a modern GPU with DVI ports. The monitors were holding me back.

Having two 27” monitors on my desk made it challenging to find room for my podcasting camera. I was hoping I could make do with a single ultrawide monitor.

Why buy a VA monitor instead of an IPS? Why not a 38” ultrawide?

I talked about this a lot in the previous blog about the Gigabyte monitor, but I will summarize it again here.

The Gigabyte G34WQC A might be the best ultrawide gaming monitor under $400. It might even be the best choice under $500 or even $600. I am pretty sure I only saw a single IPS ultrawide gaming monitor under $700 while I was shopping, and it was an older model that topped out at 100 Hz.

There were a handful of ultrawide IPS gaming monitors starting at around $800, but I didn’t spend much time looking at them. If I am going to spend $800 on a single monitor, then I may as well spend $1,000 on a 38” 3840x1600 IPS ultrawide monitor.

So then why not spend $1,000 on one of those really nice 38” ultrawide monitors? I was a little concerned that this would be too big for full-screen gaming. I am not the least bit concerned about that after gaming on this 34” ultrawide for the last five weeks. I kind of wish I did buy a 38” ultrawide!

What I really want is a 38” ultrawide OLED display, but they don’t exist at this time.

Is an ultrawide too wide?

I hear this question a lot. There are some productive people that like to rotate their widescreen monitors so they can have a huge vertical column of source code in their text editor. In practice, having a 21:9 ultrawide monitor is a lot like having three 7:9 monitors.

I am staring at an Emacs window right now that is taking up the center third of the screen. It is set to a slightly large font, and the window is about 90 characters wide and 50 characters tall.

Pat's Desktop

The third of the screen on the left is a Firefox window. That is where I am Googling things and skimming through the previous monitor blog to make sure I am getting my facts correct here.

The remaining third is split in half vertically—my window manager does this for me automatically. The top half is an extra Emacs window where I am pasting in links to other blog posts. The bottom half is a terminal where I am using a couple of shell scripts to hunt down links from old blog posts.

Sometimes you don’t want three monitors. Sometimes you’re using something like Davinci Resolve that has a huge user interface that takes up a ton of space. Resolve is fantastic on an ultrawide monitor.

I can treat the 34” ultrawide like one big monitor. I can treat it like three narrow monitors. I can split it in half. I can split it asymmetrically. It is extremely versatile.

How is the Gigabyte G34WQC monitor?

I was at least a little concerned that downgrading to a VA panel would be a bummer. The VA ghosting that everyone complains about is extremely obvious when you fire up the UFO test. I am excited that I don’t notice any ghosting while gaming. I have completed DEATHLOOP, played all the way through Severed Steel again, and spent a few hours playing Team Fortress 2. Ghosting is definitely not something I feel the need to complain about. I am just not noticing it while gaming.

FreeSync is working great. The Gigabyte monitor definitely has trouble with maintaining its brightness level when shifting between the extremes, but I have only noticed the problem on loading screens. I have not noticed the brightness shifting around during gameplay.

Stable Diffusion

There are some good things you can say about the Gigabyte G34WQC that I can’t test. I read that it has just about the best input latency and response time you can get from an ultrawide 3440x1440 in this price range. It is also supposed to have better color accuracy and more dynamic range than other HDR gaming monitors in the same price range.

It looks pretty good to me, but I have no equipment for testing any of that. I do feel like I made a good choice. This is almost definitely the best monitor for what I do that costs less than $400.

The cheapest IPS ultrawide gaming monitors start a few hundred dollars higher, and the more modern offerings with better specs cost even more than that. It is really easy to dismiss all the monitors between my 34” Gigabyte monitor and one of the amazing 38” ultrawide monitors that regularly go on sale for around $1,000.

I kind of wish I splurged on a 38” ultrawide 3840x1600 IPS gaming monitor, but I am also quite pleased that I saved $630. Those were the only two choices I had. I didn’t like any of the rungs on the pricing ladder between the two!

Is 144 Hz enough?!

I am certain that shaving off every millisecond of latency possible will be a help to someone. Anything that helps you pull the trigger before your opponent can in a multiplayer game gives you an advantage. These advantages keep getting smaller and smaller, but they are there.

I definitely don’t want to say that I would do a good job picking out the difference between Team Fortress 2 running at my old monitor’s 102 Hz and my new monitor’s 144 Hz. I have no confidence that I could tell the difference with any degree of confidence. I would have no trouble picking out 60 Hz.

AI Evolution Chart

While I was farting around with Borderlands 3 settings, I did figure out roughly how many frames I need to be pleased with a first-person shooter. Anything under 80 Hz feels very much like 60 Hz, and it just doesn’t seem smooth. Anything over 90 Hz feels pretty good, and I am not certain that I could tell the difference between 110 Hz and 144 Hz.

There is probably a missing link on the evolutionary chart between 80 Hz and 90 Hz where things start to feel much better than 60 Hz, but I didn’t try hard to find it!

Is VA really OK?!

Here’s what I think I know. All VA panels should have better contrast ratios than most or possibly all IPS panels.

All VA panels have ghosting issues. That is where you can see a fading ghost of the previous image a few frames after it has already moved. Some are worse than others.

I know for certain that there is at least some ghosting on my Gigabyte G34WQC. I can see it in the UFO test.

UFO Test of the Gigabyte W34WQC A

NOTE: This photo was taken at 1/2000 second shutter speed. Bright cyan to black or bright yellow is probably about as awful as you can possibly make the ghosting look. You can definitely see a couple of frames of ghosting with your naked eye, but nothing looks even remotely this bad for me while actually gaming.

I also know that some VA panels have really horrible ghosting, while others handle it pretty well. I suspect that my Gigabyte handles ghosting pretty well. I have not noticed it while playing any games so far.

I am also under the impression that VA panels have more ghosting at higher brightness levels, and IPS panels can usually reach much higher levels of brightness. I have total control of the lighting in my workspace. I don’t need my monitor to reach brightness levels to compete with sunlight.

The Gigabyte G34WQC’s maximum brightness is only 350 nits, and I run it with the brightness set to 40%. My 14” 2-in-1 Asus laptop has a rather dim IPS display that can only manage 250 nits, and I run it at about 35% brightness in my office.

I don’t know if the Gigabyte G34WQC would be as nice if you have to crank it up to the maximum just to see it in your bright environment, but it is quite good in my moderately lit home office.


I didn’t even mention the other contenders this time. There is a Sceptre ultrawide that is sometimes just under $300. It is probably a good value at that price, but I wouldn’t pay much more for it.

When I was shopping, the 144 Hz AOC CU34G2X was $340, and the 165 Hz AOC CU34G3S was $400. I suspect either of these are fine monitors, as long as you can get them for a good price. The Gigabyte W34WQC A is said to have better contrast ratio, better HDR, and lower input latency that either monitor from AOC. I think I made the right choice when the Gigabyte was priced at $380.

What do you think? Should I have splurged on a 38” ultrawide? Or did I do the right thing buying a $400 34” ultrawide to tide me over until I can buy a 38” OLED ultrawide at a reasonable price? Do you also own a Gigabyte W34WQC? Or are you looking to buy one now? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!

I Bought The Cheapest PEI Sheet On Amazon For My Prusa MK3S

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My Prusa MK3S has a problem, and I believe it has had this problem to at least some degree since I bought it. I have trouble getting good first-layer adhesion on certain edges of the bed. If I remember correctly, there is a stretch down the left edge of the bed that is about an inch wide where parts just don’t like to stick. The opposite front corner is also problematic.

I don’t print large parts all that often. When I do, I say a little prayer to Optimus Prime, and I might have to restart the job a few times until it sticks.

I got frustrated with this a while back. I tried tweaking Prusa’s bed level correction, but I just couldn’t get it to a point where I was pleased. I wound up adjusting my profiles in PrusaSlicer to have really wide extrusions on the first layer. This helped a lot, but it wasn’t exactly a fix.

I almost ordered a new PEI sheet, but Prusa branded PEI sheets at Printed Solid are $49.99. My original sheet LOOKS fine. I would feel dumb if I ordered a replacement only to have the same problem again.


The $20 double-sided textured PEI sheet I ordered from Amazon has fixed all my problems. It is textured on one side, and it is smooth on the other. The coatings are close enough in thickness that I can just flip it over without adjusting my first layer calibration.

If you are having problems in certain areas of your stock Prusa PEI sheet, and I think you should just go spend $20 and see if the cheap textured sheet fixes your problems.

Tom Sanladerer’s interview with Josef Prusa got me wondering

The Nextruder on the Prusa MK4 and the Prusa XL is really cool. Instead of using an induction probe to measure the distance to the steel sheet under the PEI coating, the Nextruder senses when the nozzle comes in contact with the surface.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a game-changer like the auto bed leveling that was introduced with the Prusa MK2, but it is a nice improvement. During Tom Sanladerer’s interview, Josef Prusa says something interesting about my own PEI sheet that shipped with my Prusa MK3S.

My machine shipped with a build plate where sheets of PEI are glued to a piece of steel. Josef Prusa says that the tolerances of the PEI sheet vary, and the tolerances of the adhesive vary. Is this why my stock PEI sheet has a couple of low spots near the edges?

How long has Josef Prusa known that this hasn’t been ideal? He could have switched to powder-coated build plates when he found out. He could have mentioned this to the community. If he did, I would have immediately spent the $50 on a Prusa-branded powder-coated PEI sheet instead of wasting time trying to tune the problem away.

The Sovol SV06 encouraged me to order something immediately

I have to imagine that the refurbished Sovol SV06 that I bought must have shipped with the cheapest PEI build plate available. It is textured on one side and completely uncoated on the other.

Sovol’s manual suggested adjusting the Z-offset until the nozzle was 0.2 mm above the bed. I dialed it in until it was just touching a 0.3 mm business card, then turned the knob 0.1 mm farther before starting my test print. I ran one of the test models that puts nine squares on the bed.

First calibration print on the Sovol SV06

NOTE: The first square was on the bottom left. I think I did a pretty good job getting close to correct on the final square, which is at the top of the photo. Can you believe the first one managed to stick at all?!

The first square was printed 0.3 mm higher than my final offset. The gaps between the lines of extrusion were huge, but every line stuck to the PEI. Three or four of those test squares would never have stuck on the Prusa MK3S. That first square would have just been a blob of filament dragging behind the nozzle.

That is when I knew I needed to order a cheap textured sheet to try on the Prusa MK3S.

I love my cheap PEI sheet, and I am never going back

I literally picked the cheapest PEI sheet for the Prusa MK3 that I could find. It isn’t quite as cheaply made as the Sovol plate. The sheet from Amazon is coated on both sides, and the spring steel feels thicker and stiffer.

Cheapest PEI Sheet for a Prusa MK3 on Amazon

NOTE: The squares printed counter-clockwise starting from the bottom left. I was really close to correct for the third square, then I overcorrected and got just a little too close to the bed. I am aware that you can’t really tell in the tiny photo. It is mostly just here to show that all four corners and all four edges had no trouble printing correctly.

I would absolutely believe you if you told me that all the powder-coated PEI sheets are made in the same factory. They all have a sort of bronze color. They seem to have the same texture. They are all cheap. Maybe someone is making a better grade of sheet in metallic bronze, but I don’t know how you would tell the difference.


I am only one anecdote with one cheap PEI sheet. I am having a much improved experience over the stock Prusa MK3S build plate, but I want to hear about your experience! Are you having good luck the original Prusa PEI sheet? Or have you also been having trouble getting a good first layer around the edges? Did you try a powder-coated sheet? How is it working out for you? Did you go cheap like I did, or did you buy a powder-coated sheet from Prusa? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!

I Am Worried About Prusa Research

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I am a happy owner of a Prusa MK3S 3D printer. It has been in service here in my home office for nearly three years, and I haven’t had any major problems with it. I had a stretch last year where it was running for about five hours a day, three or four days a week for five months. Prusa Research really does make a workhorse of a 3D printer.

Look at that old thing!

Before that, I had been running an old MakerFarm Prusa i3 that I bought used in 2014, but it was starting to feel old, and it was starting to fail. Buying a fully assembled Prusa MK3S in 2020 was an easy choice. I could write 2,000 words explaining exactly why the Prusa MK3S was by far the best option for me at the time.

Would I buy a Prusa printer today?

I think about this a lot when talking about 3D printing on our Discord server. I wasn’t sure of the answer to this question until today.

I bought a Sovol SV06 last week. I can’t imagine that printer being my only 3D printer. It is cheap. It is loud. I don’t expect it to be terribly reliable. It was just so inexpensive that I just couldn’t say no.

They are the same printer!

I have been considering adding a Bambu P1P to my office for a while. The price is good. It is a much faster, much more modern printer than my Prusa MK3S. The Bambu P1P ships fully assembled at a price very close to a Prusa MK3S+ or Prusa MK4 kit. I don’t have much use for the AMS on the Bambu X1C, so the Bambu P1P seems like a no-brainer.

I always assumed that a Bambu P1P would have a home next to my proven workhorse of a Prusa. Even if my Prusa MK3S disappeared in some sort of calamity, I assumed that I would replace it with a similar machine from Prusa Research. I am not so sure I would do that anymore.

They are treating the Prusa XL like a slow, lumbering dinosaur

The Prusa XL looked extremely exciting when it was announced two years ago. Prusa Research was making a Core XY printer. It looks like a giant Voron! How awesome is that?! Vorons were printing rather nice benchies in 15 or less. It was exciting that we were going to get a fast, reliable Core XY machine from Prusa.

Except that isn’t what they are delivering. I just installed the Prusa XL profiles for PrusaSlicer. They are faster than the stock Prusa MK3 profiles, but they are far from fast.

I just installed a 0.6mm CHT nozzle on my Prusa MK3S. The Prusa XL ships with a 0.6mm nozzle. I have not finished tweaking my own profiles for speed yet, but I think I am at a reasonable point for now. I don’t have input shaping like a Voron or Bambu. My own 0.22 mm layer height DRAFT settings estimate 48 minutes to print a Benchy. The Prusa XL 0.25 mm layer height SPEED profile estimates 43 minutes.

Prusa MK3S Prints

I also sliced a 1x1x3 Gridfinity bin. With my 0.45 mm DRAFT profile, the estimate is 17 minutes. With the Prusa XL’s 0.40 mm DRAFT profile, the estimated print time is 24 minutes.

This is disappointing to me. The Prusa XL is a $1,999 printer. You can find videos of clean Benchy prints on the Bambu P1P in about 18 minutes. That is a $699 printer. You can slice the Benchy in Bambu’s ludicrous mode to get the print time down to around 12 minutes, but it won’t look as nice.

Vorons have been running with an input shaper for years. Marlin has an input shaper now. The Bambu printers have always shipped with an input shaper. This is how they get up to 20,000 mm/s² of acceleration, and that acceleration is how they print fast.

I limit my Prusa MK3S to 2,500 mm/s² when printing infill. Prusa Research limits the Prusa XL to 3,000 mm/s² when printing infill. We have this limit because the Prusa MK3S and the Prusa XL both currently lack an input shaper.

They missed their release date target for the Prusa XL by a year. The competition has been using input shaping during that entire time. How are they not shipping the Prusa XL and the Prusa MK4 with an input shaper?! Did they only just realize this week that people are craving faster printers?

The Prusa MK4 is shipping without an input shaper

This is the first weird. Josef Prusa sent out an email blast bragging about the Prusa MK4. The very first bullet point is bragging about their 20-minute Benchy. You need to use their input shaper to print a Benchy in 20 minutes.

Jo Prusa's Email

Guess what? They are shipping the Prusa MK4 without the input shaper. If you receive a Prusa MK4 today, you will not be able to print a Benchy in 20 minutes. They aren’t shipping that capability.

This is the very first bullet point. This is one of the things Prusa Research brags about in their intro video for the printer. The printer can’t yet do what has been advertised.

The Prusa MK4 is not yet open-source

This is also one of the bullet points in Jo Prusa’s email blast. He is bragging that the Prusa MK4 is open source. He said on his blog that they aren’t yet releasing the Prusa MK4’s control board schematics.

You should read his blog post about Prusa Research and open source. It left a bad taste in my mouth.

Open source is like a business partner that you don’t have to negotiate with. He built his company on top of the RepRap project, the Marlin project, and Slic3r. These all allowed him to get a jump start without also hiring a team to create firmware and a slicer from scratch in order to get his product out the door. He got a lot more from these open-source components in the early days than he does today.

Bender on my Sovol SV06

Open source is a two-way street, and he seems to be unhappy about that now that others are benefiting more than he is. Other companies can do the same things with his project as he was allowed to do with Marlin and Slic3r. Josef Prusa is in the position of power today, and he isn’t excited about sharing.

He seems to specifically be unhappy that there are exact copies of the Prusa MK3 kit on Aliexpress at half the price. I don’t know why he thinks these vendors need any form of source code to produce these copies, and I don’t know why he thinks a license change will make any difference.

You only need to buy one original Prusa MK3S kit to duplicate it. Most of the hardware is just off-the-shelf components like stepper motors, stepper drivers, and an LCD screen. The most complicated component is probably the controller, but that isn’t exactly rocket science to duplicate, and there are other open-source controllers that could be used in its place.

Trying to cancel their existing-customer discount

This one is a bummer, and it doesn’t make me feel good about the state of things. There was a composite of a bunch of screenshots posted on Reddit. I haven’t attempted to trace back to all the sources to verify that everything is completely accurate, but Josef Prusa left a comment in the thread, and he didn’t call any of it out as being fictitious. I am not a hard-hitting investigatory journalist, so that is good enough verification for me.

Here’s what the screenshot is explaining: The older Prusa i3 printers from the MK2 through to at least the MK3S listed a 5% or 10% discount on any future printer orders. That means my fully assembled Prusa MK3S entitles me to 10% off my next purchase of a Prusa i3.

Jo Prusa's response to the filament debacle

They don’t offer that discount any longer. Josef Prusa said on Reddit that he doesn’t want to offer this discount any longer, so they just took it away. Since being called out on it, he wants to “run it in a limited version in the future.”

I am sorry, but no. Absolutely not. As far as I know, when I bought my Prusa MK3S, part of the deal was that Prusa Research would be giving me a 10% discount on future Prusa i3 orders. This deal has already been made. You can’t just change the terms after money has exchanged hands. That is completely dishonest. I can think of some worse words to say about someone who tries to secretly change the terms of a previous deal.

Prusa Research isn’t some mom-and-pop shop that made a mistake that they can’t afford to buy their way out of. Forbes estimated that Prusa Research was worth €236,000,000 in 2016 based on €33,000,000 in annual revenue. Prusa’s website says they sold four times as many printers in 2021 as they did in 2018. Their blog says they sold over twice as many printers in 2021 as they did in 2018.

There is a gap in my data. I am sure it is available somewhere, but I think I have found enough information to prove my point that Prusa Research is a big business. They can afford to hire people to help prevent these kinds of pricing mistakes. They can also afford to pay for these mistakes after they happen.

What is the absolute worst case? Is it that Josef Prusa is somehow being scammed, and every single Prusa MK4 they ship out qualifies for the 10% discount? If that is the case, he has to raise the price of the Prusa MK4 by 11%. That is it. The fully assembled Prusa MK4 would have to cost $1,220 instead of $1,100.

We don’t know how many orders qualify for the discount, but it can’t possibly be every order. The worst case isn’t so bad, and the reality is likely much better.

Even so, I understand that Josef Prusa is in a tight spot. He has to compete with faster, larger printers that cost a lot less.

The Prusa MK4 comes with a spool of filament, except that it doesn’t, but now it does?

This is absolutely bonkers. What do you think it costs Prusa Research to manufacture a spool of filament? Maybe $10? Do they think there is no such thing as bad press?

I don’t think this apology would have rubbed me the wrong way a month ago.

He is apologizing for the confusion. Except no one is confused. The product page said the Prusa MK4 came with a 1 kg spool of PLA. People placed orders. Prusa Research decided they weren’t going to include 1 kg of filament with those orders. That isn’t confusion. That is a bait-and-switch.

Josef shouldn’t be apologizing for our confusion. He should be apologizing for changing the terms of the sale after the sale has already been made. This is turning into a pattern, and I don’t like it.

He says he is doing this to thank you for your preorder. No one should be expected to be thankful for receiving what they paid for. That is gross.

I like the technology in the Prusa MK4 and the Prusa XL!

I absolutely love the load-cell sensor for bed leveling on the Prusa XL and Prusa MK4. It isn’t a game changer like the PINDA probe or BL Touch were, but it is a really solid incremental improvement in quality of life. This is the upgrade I want more than any other, and I am excited to see what else they can do with this sensor in the future.

Bambu has been shipping equivalent technology for 11 months already. Instead of one load-cell sensor in the extruder, Bambu has three load sensors on the bed. I don’t know which is better, but both allow the printer to find the point where the nozzle makes physical contact with the bed to give us a perfect first layer.

It is exciting that Prusa is finally on board with input shaping and speeding up print jobs. They have been dragging their feet on that for years. I have always gotten the impression that Prusa Research doesn’t think people are interested in printing fast.

Bambu has been shipping a ridiculously fast 3D printer with input shaping for the past 11 months. Everyone I know is excited about how fast the Bambu printers are, or they are already excited about how fast their own Bambu printers are.

This is the first time Prusa Research hasn’t been the leader

There have always been fancier and more expensive 3D printers than the ones Prusa sells, but the more advanced printers always costs at least two or three times more. That isn’t the case any longer. Prusa Research is miles behind.

I don’t think Josef Prusa knows how to react. The Prusa MK2 and MK3 were easily the best printers under $3,000 for years. Then, suddenly you could buy a much more advanced Bambu X1C with a multimaterial unit for around the price of a fully assembled Prusa MK3S+ or Prusa MK4, and then you could buy the cut-down Bambu P1P for around the price of a Prusa MK3S+ or Prusa MK4 kit. He isn’t in the lead any longer. He isn’t even close.

Stable Diffusion

I do feel for him. He is in a tough spot, and he has at least 700 employees that are relying on him to keep his company in the lead.

They have been working on the Prusa XL for years, but I don’t believe Prusa has focused on speed. I don’t understand why they would design a Core-XY printer without focusing directly on speed. Did they really think the market didn’t want faster printers?

I like the Prusa MK4 as advertised

I don’t think $1,100 for a fully assembled Prusa MK4 is a bad value if it can print a Benchy in under 20 minutes. Especially knowing how little effort it has taken to keep my Prusa MK3S printing for two and a half years.

Bambu Lab can beat that 20 minutes with a printer that costs $750, and it can do it today. You don’t have to wait for a firmware update. We don’t even know when the firmware update for the Prusa MK4 is coming. We can print an 18-minute Benchy on a Bambu Lab printer right now.

The roughly equivalent competition costs less than the offerings from Prusa, and there are some amazing offerings from other companies at even lower price points today. My backup printer is a Sovol SV06 that I bought refurbished for $169. My only complaint about the Sovol so far is how loud it is. I don’t even need new printer slicer profiles. I send the exact same files to my Prusa and Sovol.

I haven’t had the Sovol long, but it has survived around 36 hours of printing a giant MINI 13 Bender. That doesn’t make it a good printer, but it does at least make me feel like it isn’t total junk.


This has been difficult to write. I always figure that if I can’t say anything nice, then I should just not say anything at all. The problem is that I am invested in my Prusa MK3S, the Prusa community, and the future product releases from Prusa Research.

Josef Prusa has spent years building trust with the community. It feels like he is tearing that trust down a little more every day. It is really bumming me out, and sometimes it even makes me angry. I would have been done with this blog two days ago if I didn’t keep getting grumpy, but then I would have missed out on including the Prusa MK4 filament debacle!

Bambu has yet to really earn my trust, but everyone I know who decided to buy one of their printers is having a great time. I am not someone constantly trying to chase the newest 3D printer. I use my printer to support my other hobbies. As long as my current machine is doing its job, I don’t have any reason to order a Bambu P1P or Bambu X1C.

Prusa hasn’t exactly lost all my trust, but this pattern is going in the wrong direction. Why would I pay $350 more for a Prusa MK4 than a bigger, faster Bambu P1P? It looks like the Prusa MK4 will only be begrudgingly open sourced, so the only reason left for me to buy my next 3D printer from Prusa Research is trust, and Prusa is spending that currency rather quickly right now.

My Sovol SV06 - Can It Match My Prusa MK3S?

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A lot can happen in a week. My neighbor stopped by to ask which of the 3D printers at Microcenter he should buy. I told him no way. These all cost too much. Spend $250 and order yourself a Sovol SV06! He wound up pre-ordering the Sovol SV06 Plus instead.

They are the same printer!

I asked everyone on our Discord server if they agreed with my advice. Someone noticed that you can even get a refurbished Sovol SV06 for $169. I put myself on the waiting list. I got an email two days later and immediately ordered another 3D printer. Today I am printing a scaled-up Bender MINI 13 toy on my new Sovol SV06.

The Sovol SV06 matches a Prusa MK3S+ on paper

The Sovol SV06 has a slightly smaller build volume, but otherwise has so much in common with the Prusa MK3S. They both ship with spring steel PEI sheets for a print surface. They both use an induction probe for automatic mesh bed leveling. They both use silent Trinamic stepper drivers. They both use similar motion systems and have direct-drive extruders.

They really are extremely comparable. I duplicated my Octoprint server, plugged my Sovol SV06 in, and sent a file sliced for my Prusa MK3S straight to the Sovol. That first part came out exactly as I expected.

I am beyond impressed with the performance of the Sovol SV06.

Two suggestions for new Sovol SV06 owners

Hello! This is Pat from a week or so in the future adding this section.

My Sovol SV06 was getting persnickety before the last set of Bender MINI13 parts. It was crashing continually crashing the X-axis while attempting to home. Go to Configuration –> Advanced Settings –> TMC Drivers –> Sensorless Homing on the printer’s control panel. My X-axis was set to 65, and my Y-axis was set to 68.

I bumped my X-axis up to match my Y-axis. That solved the problem, but I didn’t want it to happen again, so I set it five clicks higher.

Sovol SV06 Printed a dual extrusion filament Bender Mini 13

I had printed a strain relief part for the Sovol SV06 bed before the printer even shipped. I saw that mine seemed to have an adequate strain-relief part installed from the factory, so I didn’t worry about it.

I was poking around at the printer after Bender was finished, and I decided to add the strain relief print. I like the way that it pushed the cable for the heated bed upwards so it won’t drag back and forth across the frame of the printer.

What is wrong with the Sovol SV06?

I have a short list of complaints about the Sovol SV06. Most of them are minor, but one of these problems really stands out to anyone who has spent the last few years printing with their Prusa MK3S.

The fans on the Sovol are ludicrously loud. Just plugging the thing in and turning on the power is loud. By far the loudest thing in my home office.

NOTE: The video isn’t to show off the noise. The recording barely picks up the fan at all. I have a plan to demonstrate the difference in volume between the Sovol and the Prusa, but it will take some effort to execute well!

Then you start heating up the printer and the heat break’s fan spins up to full speed. I was surprised that it is even louder than the Sovol’s power supply fan. It is the same size as the fan on the Prusa MK3S, but this fan has so many more blades, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is spinning at a higher RPM.

I wasn’t even sure if the Trinamic stepper drivers were running in silent mode. All you can hear are the fans. Good gravy! Those fans are LOUD!

I don’t think the fan noise is a deal breaker. We will get back to the noise shortly.

What do you get when you pay more for a printer from Prusa Research?

You get something amazing with the extra money you pay Prusa Research when you buy a Prusa MINI+ or a Prusa MK3S, and it isn’t just a difference in noise level.

If you order a fully assembled Prusa MK3S+ today, I have an extremely high confidence level that you will receive a printer a functional and test 3D printer. It will be ready to go out of the box. You can send it a file straight out of PrusaSlicer, and I will be absolutely amazed if you don’t get a good print on the first try.

Yes. You are going to pay $800 more for a fully assembled Prusa MK3S+ than you will for an easy to assemble Sovol SV06.

Sovol is building a pretty good reputation as far as low-budget 3D printers go, but the bar they have to reach isn’t all that high. You’re going to save $800 if you buy a Sovol SV06, but you are most definitely rolling some dice.

All my other complaints are minor

It is easy to see some of the places where Sovol cut corners to keep the cost down. The spring-steel build surface only has PEI on one side. They saved a few nickels by only shipping one spool holder instead of two. They used really noisy fans. They didn’t bother to put a cover on the back of the display.

I keep reading that the linear bearings aren’t packed with grease from the factory. If that is true, it is a bummer. It can be fixed, but it is a bummer. I just assumed they were noisy because they are cheap.

Sovol also made a few minor design mistakes. The inductive bed probe can’t detect the bed when the extruder is in the home position. A lot of people have had trouble getting the auto z-axis calibration to work correctly, and it didn’t work for me. The extruder gets in the way of the calibration. There are ways to do the calibration manually. I saw one guy using a couple of cans of soup.

I did the same calibration from this YouTube video by hand. I just disabled the steppers, pushed the extruder to the far sides of the bed, and adjusted the z-axis by hand.

I think what I have been saying is true

The Sovol SV06 has nearly all the features of a Prusa MK3S+, but it costs less than a Prusa MINI+. A lot less. The Sovol SV06 may be loud, and it may be crunchy, but it is less than $300.

Maybe you run your printer in a workshop. Maybe it doesn’t matter how loud your 3D printer is.

I run my printer next to my desk. I make design changes, run a print, and repeat. I do want to put a few spools through the Sovol, but I won’t be running it often in its current state.

Sovol SV06 MINI13 Bender Scaled Up

There are three fans on the printer. Quieter replacements can probably be had for a total of $20 or $30.

You are going to have to put in some work modifying your Sovol SV06 if you want to quiet it down. Modding printers is a common hobby, and something you almost always need to do with the inexpensive models. Building and modifying 3D printers is a fine hobby, and if it is one you would enjoy, then quieting a Sovol SV06 might be fun!

One of my favorite things about owning the Prusa MK3S is that I have only had to take a screwdriver to it two or three times. I had to pop the cover off the extruder to clear filament jams. That is the most work I have ever done to it since it was assembled by the team at Prusa Research. The Prusa MK3S is a workhorse.

Do I recommend the Sovol SV06?

I have to say that the Sovol SV06 is my favorite printer at under $700. It has all the most important features that I have been enjoying for years on my Prusa MK3S. It is an amazing machine at this price point.

If you’re spending $700, you can get yourself a Bambu P1P. That gets you a bigger build plate. That gets you load-cell sensor bed leveling, very similar to the new Prusa MK4. It also gets you one of the fastest 3D printers on the market.

So far, all the folks on our Discord server have been choosing the more expensive Bambu X1C, so I have yet to see a Bambu P1P in person.

NOTE: This would be a fantastic place to link to Brian Moses’s Bambu X1C blog post, but he hasn’t written one!

Let’s talk about the fan noise one last time

I wrote most of this blog yesterday. I woke up today, turned the Sovol SV06 on, and started printing more Bender pieces. It is loud, but I am not sure it is as offensively loud as I thought it was yesterday. Am I just getting used to it?

The Sovol fans are louder than my air conditioning, the eight fans in my PC case, and my Blueair filter running at its lowest setting. I cranked the Blueair up to max speed, and it is for sure louder than the Sovol. It is pretty comparable at medium speed. I believe the filter in my office is a Blueair Pro M.

Sovol SV06 MINI13 Bender Scaled Up

I don’t have a good way to measure this. I have set up 1U servers in my office before. Those servers have two dozen tiny fans that spin at ridiculous speeds, and those servers are just so loud. Even when the fans spin down to idle, they are still loud. The Sovol isn’t nearly that loud.

I am on my way to half way through printing my gigantic MINI 13 Bender. When I walk back to my office, I can hear those fans before I even get close to the door. When the eight-hour print that included Bender’s head finished last night, I was relieved to once again hear the silence of my office.

NOTE: I hope I am at least half way through! I keep running 6- and 8-hour print jobs. I just added them up, and I will be at just over 24 hours of printing Bender parts when this job finishes. I still have to print hands and the entire skeleton!

UPDATE: The 13” Bender MINI 13 figure printed with gold and silver dual extrusion silk PLA took around 36 hours to print. Everything metallic was printing on the Sovol SV06. I was impatient and printed the eyes and mouth on the Prusa MK3S. The eyes required two color swaps. Bender weighs 390 grams.

UPDATE: I am being too critical of the fan noise!

I am more than a little spoiled by my Prusa MK3S. My Prusa MK3S sits next to my desk. It is less than two feet away from the shotgun microphone I use when recording podcast interviews. I would never run my printer during an interview, but I have used the mic while the printer is running, and it barely registers. You would barely notice that I am printing on the Prusa if it were running during one of our YouTube videos. You might not even notice!

The Sovol is loud, but I am learning that it might not be any louder than all the other budget 3D printers. The Sovol SV06 uses the same loud 40 mm blower fans as the Ender 3.

I hate the fan noise, but it seems as though this isn’t unexpected at this price point.


This definitely isn’t the real conclusion. I scaled up a MINI 13 figure to three times its size. It is going to take way more than 24 hours of printing time to complete this giant Bender Bending Rodriguez action figure. It is printing as I am writing these words, and it is so loud.

If this succeeds, then I figure we are in good shape, and I can feel pretty good about recommending this Sovol SV06 budget printer to my friends and to you! The fact that it has already been printing for more than 24 hours without a hiccup has me feeling pretty good about it.

What do you think? Do you own a Sovol 3D printer? What do you think of it? Is it as loud as mine? Are you thinking of buying a Sovol SV06 or a Sovol SV06 Plus? Tell me about it in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!

I Bought a Sovol SV06 3D Printer

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I can’t believe I did this. I am not entirely sure why I decided that I had to pull the trigger. I suspect it was the price of the refurbished Sovol SV06 that made me do it. How could I not snag a wannabe Prusa MK3 for $169 shipped?!

I started 3D printing nine years ago. I have had my Prusa MK3S for more than two years now. Aside from some trouble getting prints to stock at the extreme edges of the PEI sheet, my Prusa MK3S is working just as well as it was when they ran a test print on it at the factory. Did I really need another printer? And should I really be writing about the new printer before it even ships?

I am writing this to help keep me honest. I am going to be telling you why I decided to order the Sovol and what I am expecting from it. We will see how close reality gets to my dreams here.

Is the Sovol SV06 a Prusa MK3 for less than half the price?

These are not easy experiences to compare. You can get the Prusa MK3S+ kit for about $650 plus shipping, and you will receive a package with a few hundred parts that you will spend hours or days assembling.

You can spend $899 plus shipping for a fully assembled Prusa MK3 that is ready to print right out of the box. That is what I did. When I bought my fully assembled Prusa MK3S, I paid about $110 in shipping, which is more than half the total cost of my refurbished Sovol SV06. I was printing on the Prusa within fifteen minutes of opening the box. I even had my first successful TPU print going within the first hour. It was fantastic.

NOTE: Brian and I are for sure going to need to record an episode of The Butter, What?! Show about my Sovol SV06 and his new Bambu X1C.

The Sovol SV06 needs to be assembled, but you only have to bolt three or four large pieces together. The retail price of the Sovol SV06 is $299. It is currently on sale for $239 on their site, and I paid $169 for a refurbished SV06. Shipping is free.

Both the Sovol and the Prusa have the inductive probes for automatic bed leveling, direct-drive extruders, silent stepper drivers, and PEI build plates. The Prusa’s build plate is a little bigger, but they are both in the same league.

The Sovol SV06 has a 32-bit microcontroller that seems to be running Marlin. This could be a huge step up over the Prusa MK3’s 8-bit Einsy controller. I am looking forward to eventually messing around with Marlin’s new input shaper on the SV06 because I can’t do that on my Prusa MK3S.

I won’t miss the filament runout sensor

I have had to open up the extruder to sneak the filament out of my Prusa MK3S the last two times a spool of filament ran out on me. There’s always a little kink in the filament where it attaches to the end of the spool, and that little kink gets stuck at the top of the extruder.

If I am not there ahead of time to cut a clean end onto the filament before it runs out, then I am going to have to work hard for the filament swap.

If I have to be there anyway, why would I wait to swap the filament? I am just going to do it right away and save time.

Will what’s on paper match reality?

The Prusa MK3S and its predecessors are proven workhorses. My Prusa worked perfectly when it arrived two years ago. My Prusa works today. I expect my Prusa to continue to be working just as well two years from now. I have never had to do any significant work to keep my Prusa going. It just keeps going.

3D Printed Dudes

I could literally buy a farm of six refurbished Sovol SV06 printers with the $1,111.31 I spent on my Prusa MK3S, and I would have almost enough money left over to buy a spool of PLA filament to hang off each of those Sovol printers. I realize that this is comparing apples and oranges, but that is probably what makes this so interesting to me.

The Sovol SV06 is comparable to a Prusa MK3S, but it costs less than a Prusa MINI+.

The printer isn’t the hobby for me

I know there are a lot of people who enjoy assembling, tweaking, tuning, and troubleshooting their printers. I know that some of these folks really enjoy the day a Prusa kit arrives and they get to spend the afternoon building a printer from scratch.

That is not me. I am glad that I had to tear down and rebuild so much of my first printer because it taught me a lot about how these printers work. I don’t want to have to do it again.

Designing and printing things is my hobby. Sometimes designing and printing things augments my other hobbies. I just want the printer to show up, and I want to spend as little time as possible getting it up and running.

Known issues with the Sovol SV06

I have come across two potential problems with the Sovol SV06. There’s no strain relief for the high-amperage cables running to the heated bed. I already printed a strainirelief part to install on my new printer when it arrives. If the Sovol SV06 is your first printer, you can print one as soon as you get it up and running.

3D printed brackets for Tindie

Some folks are having trouble with the Sovol’s automatic x-axis calibration. This would be a bummer if I never used a 3D printer before, but calibrating the x-axis manually looks easy enough for me.

Inductive bed probes are old and busted

Load cell sensors are the new hotness. The Prusa MK4 and Prusa XL have a load cell sensor in the hot end to detect when the nozzle physically touches that build surface. The Bambu P1P and Bambu X1C both have load sensors on the bed to detect when the nozzle physically touches the bed.

This is a huge improvement. If you regularly print things that take up most of the area on the build plate, then you should definitely be looking at one of these printers. As far as I know, these are the only popular printers using load cell sensors.

The induction probe on the Prusa MK3 and Sovol SV06 doesn’t actually know where the PEI surface is. It is sensing the steel sheet underneath that plastic layer. If there are any imperfections in that layer of plastic, the induction sensor won’t be able to adjust for it.

Induction bed leveling is still quite good!

My Prusa MK3S uses an induction sensor for bed leveling. It has trouble getting a good first layer within the last 10 mm or 15 mm of the edge of the bed. The probe can’t even reach the left side of the bed.

Even so, Prusa’s PINDA probe and automatic mesh bed leveling are a massive upgrade over manually leveling the bed. I also prefer an inductive probe to something mechanical like a BL Touch probe simply because it means fewer moving parts.

The Sovol SV06 ticks all of the most important boxes on my checklist

There were three features that really stood out when I upgraded from my ancient MakerFarm Prusa-style i3 to the Original Prusa MK3S: the PEI build plate, automatic mesh bed leveling, and the silent stepper motor drivers. You can print without these things, but all of them improve the day-to-day operation of the printer.

The Sovol SV06 has all these things that the Prusa MK3 had.

Isn’t the Prusa MK3 old news now?!

The Prusa MK4 looks like a really nice upgrade over the Prusa MK3S+. The new bed leveling that promises a perfect first layer on every single print looks amazing, and a bed-slinging 3D printer shipping with preconfigured input shaping that allows acceleration of 8,000 mm/s² that can print a beautiful benchy in less than 20 minutes is astounding!

I get annoyed when I need to print something large, and my Prusa MK3S doesn’t manage to get good adhesion close to the edges of the bed, but I don’t print large parts all that often. It would be nice to fix that problem, but I wouldn’t spend another $1,111.31 for a fix.

Two guys unboxing an imaginary 3D printer

Printing faster would be nice. I believe the Sovol SV06 runs Marlin. If it doesn’t ship with Marlin, it can definitely be flashed with Marlin. Marlin has a working input-shaping feature now. I am excited about trying the latest Marlin features out on my Sovol SV06.

Do I think the Sovol SV06 will reach the same speeds as the Prusa MK4? Absolutely not. It is obvious that Prusa has beefed up many of the parts in the transition from the MK3 to the MK4, and the Sovol SV06 doesn’t look as rigid as my Prusa MK3S. It will be fun seeing how fast a $169 refurbished printer can go!

There is no official support for Marlin on the Prusa MK3’s Einsy control board.

We’ll see how it goes!

I have already cleared some space on my 3D printer workbench for a second printer. I even have a concrete paver in place for the Sovol SV06. I haven’t even gotten my tracking number yet.

I keep talking and thinking about the Sovol SV06 as if it is a $169 3D printer. I have been saying that it looks like a steal of a deal even at its full price ever since I saw the first review of the printer from Maker’s Muse. The Sovol SV06 compares quite favorably to the Prusa MK3 while being priced lower than a Prusa Mini.

When the new printer gets here, I will be sure to let you know how it goes.

Putting a Ryzen 5700X in My B350-Plus Motherboard Was a Good Idea!

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I’ll tell you about everything I’ve learned so far, but let’s start with what you really want to know. Should you upgrade your Ryzen 1600 in your first-generation AM4 motherboard to a Ryzen 5700X? No. I am pretty sure that you should save $30 or $40 and buy yourself a Ryzen 5600 or Ryzen 5600X.

Bender with a Ryzen 5 1600

I restricted Geekbench to just six cores, and the full eight cores was only 8% faster. A real Ryzen 5600X is clocked about 8% higher than my Ryzen 5700X. I don’t have one here to test, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 5600X would beat my 5700X’s single-core score and tie my 5700X’s multicore score.

This 5700X is roughly 70% faster than my overclocked Ryzen 1600. Some games are running a little faster after the upgrade. Some games perform almost exactly the same. A couple, so far, have improved dramatically. This was a good $189 upgrade for me, but I suspect it would have been a great $156 upgrade if I had gone with a 5600X.

Prices on the parts fluctuate a lot!

We post a lot of exciting deals on our Discord server, and we pay a lot of attention to our favorite components. As I am writing this blog, a Ryzen 5600 is $140 on Amazon and a Ryzen 5700X is $212. When I bought my 5700X a few days ago, it was $186.

The entire Ryzen lineup won’t be on sale at the same time, and if you are reading this six months from now, the same processors may not even be in stock any longer.

This is one of the reasons I am mostly talking about percentages. As I am writing this, a Ryzen 5600 costs very nearly 50% more than a Ryzen 5700X, but the 5700X only has 23% more multicore performance. When I bought mine, I only paid 32% more.

How did I wind up making this upgrade?

I have mostly been held back lately by my Nvidia GTX 970 GPU. I knew I was going to upgrade that when GPU prices settled down, and I did upgrade to a Radeon 6700 XT last week. I even upgraded to a Gigabyte 144 Hz 34” 3440x1440 ultrawide the week before just to prepare myself for the GPU upgrade. The GPU was a huge improvement, and I didn’t really have to do the CPU upgrade.

Even so, a CPU upgrade has been on my mind. There was a deal on a Ryzen 5600 a couple of months ago for around $120, and the latest BIOS version for my ancient Asus Prime B350-Plus motherboard now has support for every single Ryzen CPU that fits an AM4 socket. I definitely didn’t need a CPU upgrade before a GPU upgrade.

Stable Diffusion Nonsense

That would have been an excellent value, though, and a great way to extend the life of my first-generation Ryzen build.

The GPU upgrade didn’t help with my Team Fortress 2 performance. I didn’t expect that it would, because Team Fortress 2’s OpenGL rendering engine is very dependent on single-threaded CPU performance, and that is the only rendering engine available to me on Linux.

I was looking forward to playing DEATHLOOP with my new GPU. It seemed to be running great at first. Well over 100 frames per second with fairly high settings. Until I hit a particular intersection in Updaam. No matter how low I drop the settings, there are parts of the game that dip down under 60 frames per second with my Ryzen 1600.

I can’t find the site again, but I saw some benchmarks of games using my 6700 XT graphics card with both my old Ryzen 1600 and a Ryzen 5600. There were enough improvements that it seemed like a good idea, especially since I knew my Team Fortress 2 performance would greatly improve with a big CPU upgrade.

How did I talk myself into the Ryzen 5700X?

You have to be careful! AMD has the entire Ryzen lineup priced so well that it is really, really, REALLY easy to nickel and dime your way to nearly the top of their product lineup. That is for sure what I have done. Thank goodness for me that the 12-core and 16-core Ryzen CPUs cost a couple of hundred dollars more! I am convinced that the Ryzen 5600 would have been a fantastic upgrade for me.

A few extra dollars over the Ryzen 5600 gets you to a Ryzen 5600X with an extra 6% clock speed. Then a few dollars past that is the Ryzen 5700X with two extra cores. How can that not be a good idea?!

I didn’t think it was a good idea to go past eight cores. The more cores you have, the more contention there is for that memory bus, and that bus isn’t getting any faster. Even on a premium AM4 motherboard with high-end RAM, the 12-core 5900X and 16-core 5950X show quickly diminishing returns. A 16-core 5950X build is only about twice as fast as a 6-core 5600X build, and that is with appropriately fast RAM.

I don’t have fast memory. I have two 16 GB sticks of DDR4-3200. It sure does look like returns diminish A LOT after 6-cores with my older motherboard and memory.

The memory in your old B350 is probably slower than mine!

My desktop used to have four 8 GB sticks of DDR4-2666. My machine froze up one day and wouldn’t boot. Some troubleshooting showed that one of my sticks of RAM was no longer functioning. I ran single-channel on three sticks of RAM for quite a while.

Crucial’s website said I had to send all four sticks back to get a replacement on my lifetime warranty. I couldn’t take them all out, because I needed to use the computer.

I got a good deal on two 16 GB sticks of DDR4-3200. They would only run at DDR4-2933 on my overclocked Ryzen 1600, but it was still a nice little upgrade.

If you still have DDR4-2666, then you should probably skip the 8-core upgrade and stick with a Ryzen 5600 or Ryzen 5600X.

NOTE: I didn’t trust my intuition here. I ran Geekbench on my Ryzen 5700X with the memory configured to DDR4-2666. The 6-core and 8-core results weren’t any slower.

What kind of data do I have for you?!

I am not a hardware review guy with a bunch of test machines at my disposal to run all sorts of benchmarks for you. I have some information I wrote down before doing the upgrade, and I can test things now after doing the upgrade. I won’t be swapping processors just to gather more data.

  Ryzen 5 1600 Ryzen 7 5700x
Base clock 3.55 GHz 3.4 GHz
Boost clock 3.55 GHz 4.6 GHz
RAM 2x16 GB
2x16 GB
Geekbench 5
966 1667
Geekbench 5
5761 9649

NOTE: My Ryzen 5700X restricted to six cores to mimic a 5600X scored 8979 on the Geekbench 5 Multicore test.

Most of my findings aren’t solid and repeatable numbers. Most of the games I play don’t have benchmarks. Borderlands 3 has a benchmark, but I am confused about my numbers. I said I scored 77 frames per second in the blog about my GPU upgrade, but I am pretty sure I was hitting 81 frames per second after upgrading to the nightly builds of Mesa. Without changing the settings, the benchmark managed 88 frames per second today. Am I 100% confident that the settings were identical between runs so many days apart? No, but they likely were.

Let’s talk about DEATHLOOP

I might not have put in the effort to upgrade if it wasn’t for the conundrum of DEATHLOOP. The Ryzen 5700X didn’t just cost $186. I also had to spend an hour or so crawling around on the floor, unplugging cables, swapping processors, and then making sure everything was still working. It isn’t a Herculean effort, but it was way more work than making a latte.

DEATHLOOP wouldn’t run at even 10 frames per second on my Nvidia GTX 970 because it needed more VRAM. When I fired it up on the 6700 XT, I cranked the settings up quite high and was getting over 100 frames per second for the first twenty minutes or so. That is when I hit a point where the controls felt like they were stuck in the mud, and the game was dropping down to 50 frames per second.


I dropped all the settings as low as I could go. I was still hitting spots where the game would drop to 60 frames per second, but it was definitely playable. This particular performance problem put that cheap Ryzen 5600 back in my head.

After upgrading to the Ryzen 5700X, I immediately fired up DEATHLOOP, bumped up the settings a whole bunch, loaded the map where I first encountered the problem, and I walked to that nearby intersection that puts my frame rate in the toilet. The faster processor fixed most of my problems here. It doesn’t drop below 90 frames per second here any longer!

DEATHLOOP isn’t perfect. There are still spots where the frame rates are high and the frame-time graph is steady, but the game feels less than smooth. Dropping the resolution a few more notches and letting FSR scale things up for me helped a lot there.

Team Fortress 2

I think I have written four different blogs where I explain why Team Fortress 2 performance is a bummer on Linux. I don’t want to repeat all of that again.

I will say that with the Ryzen 5700X, so far I am finally able to keep the game well over 144 frames per second. I was able to scrap my old potato settings from, and I have turned everything up to the max. Having 72% more single-core performance is such a huge boost here.

Team Fortress 2

NOTE: I was seeing some dips under 144 frames per second while recording gameplay with OBS. I broke GPU-accelerated encoding when I installed bleeding-edge Mesa libraries, so OBS was using two or three CPU cores. That was definitely lowering the CPU’s maximum clock speed.

This performance improvement didn’t even need the GPU upgrade. I am pretty sure Team Fortress 2 is chugging along at 200 frames per second while the GPU is sitting at under 10% utilization. This is all CPU.

How bad was it running before? Team Fortress 2 doesn’t understand 21:9 aspect ratio resolutions. I had it running under Gamescope to make the game think my monitor had a resolution of 1720x720. I was still using my old potato-quality settings from, and it was doing a good job staying up at around 144 frames per second, but it did drop a bit if there were a lot players with unusual hats with crazy effects.

I haven’t been in any proper matches with lots of unusual hats running around since upgrading to the Ryzen 5700X. I expect everything will be fine, but I will report back if I have any bad news.

Borderlands GOTY Enhanced

I fired up the enhanced version of the original Borderlands while waiting for my new processor to arrive. It isn’t quite as old as Team Fortress 2, but I was pretty sure it would need more single-core performance than my Ryzen 1600 had available.

I maxed out all the settings at 3440x1440, and the game just couldn’t maintain a solid 144 frames per second to match my monitor. GPU utilization was quite low, and CPU utilization was at a constant 20%. The CPU utilization never went higher or lower. If I had known I would be writing this paragraph, I definitely would have checked htop to see if there was a single thread tying up one CPU core. I would be surprised if that wasn’t the case.

Borderlands Dwight

Borderlands is up over 200 frames per second since popping in the Ryzen 5700X. I have no plans to play another run through the original Borderlands, but I am excited to know that it will be a fantastic experience when I do!

I am starting to wish that I had faster DDR4 RAM!

I don’t want faster RAM for the small gain in performance. I wish I had faster RAM so I could run Geekbench at a handful of different RAM speeds so I could tell you at what point it makes sense to buy an 8-core CPU instead of a 6-core CPU.

I just learned that maybe this is a moot point. I rebooted my computer, set the RAM to DDR4-2666, and ran Geekbench. My results were right in the middle of all my other tests at DDR4-3200. I even had a lucky single-core test way up at 1726. That is the highest number I have written down so far.

This surprised me, but it wasn’t a huge surprise. The way a CPU and its cache interact with memory is complicated. Just because a synthetic benchmark doesn’t change with memory speed doesn’t mean that some games won’t gain quite a few extra frames per second. We might find out more if I were a proper benchmarking guy doing science.

Which processor upgrade? The Ryzen 5600, 5600X, or 5700X?

I clicked on a lot of results on Geekbench before ordering my CPU. There are tons of results for my ASUS B350-Plus motherboard. I didn’t think it was a good value for me, but I was impressed with how well the Ryzen 5800X3D does on a B350-Plus board. That gigantic cache really makes up for having slower memory! Is 25% more multicore performance worth 72% more money? Maybe for someone, but not for me.

I am certain that I would have been pleased with the upgrade if I bought a Ryzen 5600 for $140. That one even comes with a decent CPU cooler that you could sell for $10.

AI Generated Ryzen CPU

The Ryzen 5600X is only clocked 4.5% higher than the 5600. Is that worth paying 12% and not getting an extra CPU cooler?

None of the games I am running are making use of all eight cores. Six would be fine. In fact, six faster cores might even be better. Is it worth paying 19% more for a 5700X to get a 7% bump in Geekbench multicore score?

The increase in single-core performance when upgrading from any 1000-series or 2000-series Ryzen processor to any of these processors is going to be amazing. The increase in performance between the 5600 and 5700X is quite small.

If I could make the choice over again, I would go with the 5600X. I have a lot of confidence that the 5600 would be enough, but I still have a small fear that I need that extra 4.5% single-core performance of the 5600X or 5700X for Team Fortress 2, and that is easily worth $16 or even $47 to me!


I don’t want to keep talking about processor upgrades, and I feel like that previous section was a pretty good conclusion. As far as I am concerned, this upgrade is a no-brainer. If you can afford the $140, just go do it. It is an excellent value, and it puts you in a good spot. A full Ryzen 7600 build will only be about 20% faster.

I think this would still be a good upgrade if you have something more modern like a Ryzen 3600, but then it is no longer a no-brainer. You’ll already be on a newer motherboard with faster RAM, though, so it is definitely possible that you’ll eke a little more performance out of the same chip. If that is the case, then it might even be a better value for you, but I am just not at all certain!