Motherboard GA-A520I-DASH - Is this a crossover Thin Mini-ITX? Does anyone know where I can buy one?

RockenRod

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Aug 6, 2019
15
10
Is this possibly a crossover Thin Mini-ITX ie a Mini-ITX with the possibility to mount it in a Thin Mini-ITX case?

Does anyone know where I can buy one?




Unique Features
GA-A520I-DASH (linked above) is essentially a thinner version of its thicker cousin the GA-A520i-AC https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/A520I-AC-rev-1x#kf
Both are Ryzen Series 4000 G-series (Renior) Mini-ITX motherboards that use the newer A520 chipset. The -DASH variant is unique from its cousin for a few other reasons
a.) it uses the shorter 2 x SODIMM vertical memory slots (rather than the longer DIMM modules) = 64GB max;
b.) it has dual LAN ports (essentially for splitting network use and remote management - but can be used for other purposes e.g. Internet gateway etc);
c.) it generally utilises less height on the rear I/O (except for the 2nd network port i.e. not absolutely necessary) so it will likely fit in some/most Thin Mini-ITX cases;
d.) it is also unusual in that it has a 19V DC input for use with an external power brick.

Note: also what is unique to Thin Mini-ITX (not that the motherboard really is one, but is very close)
e.) 3 Rear Video Ports


Enabling Low Profile Use
Then as you might expect it still uses the standard AM4 heatsink mount -but not typical for a Thin Mini-ITX as they usually use 115X style - and unusually the SODIMM sockets are vertical instead of horizontal.
These can theoretically be loaded with rare very low-profile (VLP) SODIMMs (refer to the link below) and an equally hard to find very low-profile AM4 heatsink.
Gigabyte, fortunately, appears to be supporting ECC memory for DDR4 3200/2933/2667/2400/2133Mhz in both ECC and non-ECC, un-buffered SODIMMs.

Very low-profile ECC SO-DIMM: https://www.innodisk.com/en/products/dram-module/Embedded/embedded_vlp_ddr4_sodimm

These may allow additional internal room for additional storage etc. However, typical SO-DIMMs are probably low enough anyway at 30 mm
Which is the height above the SODIMM sockets internal base mounting point.
AM4 typical low-profile(39mm) heatsink: https://noctua.at/en/nh-l9a-am4
AM4 very low-profile(30mm) heatsink: http://www.idcooling.com/Product/detail/id/156/name/IS-30
I guess you will not get a typical Thin Mini-ITX 25mm I/O plate to support this configuration in the motherboard box.
So you will either have to do without or a self-manufactured one (e.g. 3D print).

PCI-E Expansion
Best of all you can optionally connect a GPU to the x16 slot if you wanted to build a small but more powerful gaming configuration.
I guess that the x16 slot may possibly be bifurcated but I'm not at all confident the G/GE series Ryzens combined with the A520 chipset are going to allow that?
I am pretty sure the G/GE series already internally bifurcate the x16 into x8/x8 so the APU/iGPU has x8 for its internal use. Thus leaving only x8 for the mechanical x16.
So my guess is that bifurcation would only be possible with a non-G/GE Ryzen but then I am guessing the A520 also does not allow/support it, but the manual appears to imply it is possible at least with some CPUs at the bottom of page 29 of the English manual
This is very perplexing given that the CPU Support list currently only lists the G/GE Renior PRO APUs.

https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-A520I-DASH-rev-10/support#support-cpu
https://download.gigabyte.com/FileList/Manual/mb_manual_a520i-dash_e_0511.pdf

Other IO
The downside is the dearth of rear USB ports. On the upside, there's more than usual internal USB ports, especially for a Thin Mini-ITX motherboard.
While it has no external USB-C port the internal USB 3.2 header is unusual for Mini-ITX (especially thin) and this may possibly be adapted into a case mounted USB-C port. With something like this https://www.moddiy.com/products/Mot...New-USB-3.1-Front-Panel-Header-Converter.html
It has two serial ports RS232 headers on the motherboard, which also allow serial console redirect for remote management (e.g. in server farms).
It also has a TPM2.0 controller (which may possibly be important for future Windows 11 support).


DC In Power Connector
The 19V DC input is going to have to supply 65W TDP or more plus anything drawn by the
CPU + Fan Headers + SODIMMs + M.2/SATA Storage + PCIEx16/x8 slot
The manual recommends 19V @ 6A but does not explain any hard limit on TDP or supply (there will be one).

From the manual (bottom of page 9):
Connect the DC power to this port. This port supports 19V power adapters. When a 65W (or above) CPU
or a XMP memory module is installed, it is recommended that a 19V/6A power adapter be used.

(Note) For AMD Ryzen™ 4000 G-Series processors only
• When removing the cable connected to a back panel connector, first remove the cable from
your device and then remove it from the motherboard.
• When removing the cable, pull it straight out from the connector. Do not rock it side to side to
prevent an electrical short inside the cable connector.

BIOS
It would appear from the apparent confusion in the manual is that the manual is being edited from the bigger cousin GA-A520i-AC or other related A520 motherboard capabilities and has a shared BIOS stream which <MAY> allow for the potential to hack the BIOS somewhat. Possibly allowing other CPUs to function.

Hacking CPU Support
As previously mentioned above the CPU Support list currently only lists the G/GE Renior PRO APUs.
https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-A520I-DASH-rev-10/support#support-cpu

These currently supported PRO APUs needing 8 to 10 Amps @19V (150-190W)
Vendor CPU Model C/T Freq L2 L3 GPU Freq Core Proc Step TDP BIOS
  • AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750G 8C/16T 3.6GHz / 4.4GHz 4MB 8MB 2100MHz Renoir 7nm A1 65W F1
  • AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750GE 8C/16T 3.1GHz / 4.3GHz 4MB 8MB 2000MHz Renoir 7nm A1 35W F1
  • AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 4650G 6C/12T 3.7GHz / 4.2GHz 3MB 8MB 1900MHz Renoir 7nm A1 65W F1
  • AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 4650GE 6C/12T 3.3GHz / 4.2GHz 3MB 8MB 1900MHz Renoir 7nm A1 35W F1
  • AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 4350GE 4C/8T 3.5GHz / 4.0GHz 2MB 4MB 1700MHz Renoir 7nm A1 35W F1
  • AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 4350G 4C/8T 3.8GHz / 4.0GHz 2MB 4MB 1700MHz Renoir 7nm A1 65W F1
The most likely hacks are these non-PRO APUs needing 8 to 10 Amps @19V (150-190W)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 7 5700G (65W TDP) likely needing 6 Amps @19V (114W)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 5600G (65W TDP)
Possible but unlikely are these legacy ones (plus their non-PRO brothers)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 PRO 2400G
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 PRO 2400GE
  • AMD Ryzen™ 3 PRO 2200G
  • AMD Ryzen™ 3 PRO 2200GE
However, with a dedicated graphics card* in the x16 slot and some careful planning and a little BIOS hacking, it may be possible to run these non-G/GE CPUs:
*It will need to be supplied with most of its power from an alternative source than the x16 slot.

65W TDP - likely needing 6 Amps @19V (114W)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 9 PRO 3900 (65W TDP) (12C/24T)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 7 PRO 3700 (65W TDP)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 PRO 3600 (65W TDP)

  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 5600X (65W TDP)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 7 3700X (65W TDP)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 3600 (65W TDP)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 3 3300X (65W TDP)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 3 3100 (65W TDP)
95W TDP - Less likely (but still do-able) likely needing 8 to 10 Amps @19V (150-190W)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 3600X (95W TDP)
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 3600XT (95W TDP)

Future official BIOS support is very likely to include these new PRO APUs
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 PRO 5650G
  • AMD Ryzen™ 5 PRO 5650GE
  • AMD Ryzen™ 7 PRO 5750G
  • AMD Ryzen™ 7 PRO 5750GE
  • AMD Ryzen™ 3 PRO 5350G
  • AMD Ryzen™ 3 PRO 5350GE

Unlikely are the 105W+ TDP CPUs likely needing 10 to 16 Amps @19V (190-300W)
However, with more intelligent/complex BIOS configuration hacking it may be possible to underclock these for lower power consumption configurations.
Primarily, this would be to get the use of additional cores of 12* or 16 over the 8 available in the more likely above lists
*Note: There is already the AMD Ryzen™ 9 PRO 3900 (65W TDP) (12C/24T)

Another way to look at this CPU hacking approach is by using the CPU support list from the close cousin motherboard A520I AC (rev. 1.x) and discounting anything above 95W

All up this motherboard is targeted at business use and is one very strange board! This may also make it hard to buy in smaller quantities.
Please add a reply noting "+1 for me" at the top if you're interested in a bulk buy approach.
 
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REVOCCASES

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REVOCCASES
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Apr 2, 2020
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www.revoccases.com
nice find!

I think the I/O might be a little bit too high to fit in a "normal" thin-mini-ITX case but still a very interesting board for custom / DIY projects. Especially with the PCIe 16x slot and direct 19VDC input. Only deal breaker for me would be the very limited number of supported APUs - but like you said - maybe the BIOS could be somehow modded.

PS: your links seem to lead somewhere else but not to the product specs:

Bild_2021-07-12_114756.png
 

RockenRod

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Aug 6, 2019
15
10
nice find!

I think the I/O might be a little bit too high to fit in a "normal" thin-mini-ITX case but still a very interesting board for custom / DIY projects. Especially with the PCIe 16x slot and direct 19VDC input. Only deal breaker for me would be the very limited number of supported APUs - but like you said - maybe the BIOS could be somehow modded.

PS: your links seem to lead somewhere else but not to the product specs:

View attachment 1149
Thanks for the heads-up on the problem I have now fixed about 8 of them.. No idea how that happened!

Even tho the 2nd Network connector rises above the 25mm opening it will fit within a typical Thin Mini-ITX case lid.
I have done this before with some other motherboards.
The reason this is not a problem "usually" is that most (Thin) Mini-ITX cases don’t have a metal lip above the I/O shield like you often see in large cases.
 
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etane

What's an ITX?
New User
Jul 19, 2021
1
0
I would love to get one of these for an audio pc... if ryzen had a low TDP processor like intel T series.
 

RockenRod

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Aug 6, 2019
15
10
I would love to get one of these for an audio pc... if ryzen had a low TDP processor like intel T series.
These low 35W TDP CPUs supported are:
  • AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750GE 8C/16T 3.1GHz / 4.3GHz 4MB 8MB 2000MHz Renoir 7nm A1 35W F1
  • AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 4650GE 6C/12T 3.3GHz / 4.2GHz 3MB 8MB 1900MHz Renoir 7nm A1 35W F1
  • AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 4350GE 4C/8T 3.5GHz / 4.0GHz 2MB 4MB 1700MHz Renoir 7nm A1 35W F1
Probably can be got on TaoBao direct or via Superbuy
 

RockenRod

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Aug 6, 2019
15
10
Keep an eye open here for supply opportunities in the EU
and here
 
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RockenRod

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Aug 6, 2019
15
10
@infoberg Note: AMD A520 chipset (and therefore this motherboard) is apparently not compatible with AMD Ryzen 5 3400G, Ryzen 5 3400GE, AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, Ryzen 5 3400GE (and their PRO equivalent versions) and all the previous Ryzen 1000/2000 Series processors.
 
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RockenRod

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Aug 6, 2019
15
10
Assuming you could get this board and easily hack the BIOS this might currently be the best option:
  • AMD Ryzen™ 9 PRO 3900 (65W TDP) (12C/24T) (OEM only)
Then later once the BIOS support or is hacked then this:
  • AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900 (65W TDP) (12C/24T) (OEM only)
 
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omgitspngu

Efficiency Noob
Oct 31, 2020
5
5
If/when there's an opening to do a group purchase for these, count me in. I would've needed this board half a year ago, I gave up on my last Thin ITX AM4 system because I couldn't make the LVDS (and as such the third screen) work 😭



 
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RockenRod

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Aug 6, 2019
15
10
I couldn't make the LVDS (and as such the third screen) work 😭
I know from experience getting LVDS to work is a tricky beast. But I have succeeded a few times EVENTUALLY!
You need to have the all the components configured correctly I.e. correct connectors, cables, screen/converter board and LVDS BIOS configurations.

You have my commiserations