[SFFn] ASRock's DeskMini A300 - Finally!

SFF EOL

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Dec 9, 2018
125
29
I know, I’m being tight, I’ve spent over £500 so shouldn’t really be worried about another £40 given the quality of the product. And like you say, if I can get silent, or near silent, that is a bit of a holy grail. I will have a go with the memory, but I’ll be totally honest it isn’t something I’ve ever done. I have a basic understanding of the principles and I’ve done some limited overclocking in the past (and I’m quite good at overclocking the Raspberry Pi, a use for that As-Rock CPU cooler maybe… smiles) but never really bothered with memory timings unless forced to and then only under instruction from someone who knows what they are doing.

Thank-you for the advice though, it is very much appreciated since I did have problems with memory when I built my Ryzen 1600- as you say a BIOS updates solved that so I will probably aim for the latest (stable) BIOS or at least have it ready.
 

ConsolidatedResults

Chassis Packer
May 4, 2019
13
14
I'm scratching my head, the Wraith CPU cooler doesn't fit?! I understood you took the top shroud off and it would but it's a fraction (I haven't measured but about 1mm) to tall.

Am I missing something obvious, or have I misunderstood. It isn't the end of the world, I will have to just buy something that does fit (althought I now have the Wraith and the (very poor) As-Rock cooler to go on eBay.
There appear to be two versions of the Wraith Stealth. The one with the clipped on shroud does definitely fit in the Deskmini with the shroud removed and maybe the two longer protruding noses clipped, depending on mounting orientation. On sliding the tray into the case, it will hit the tab on the case where one can attach a lock and you will have to slightly lift the case side to enable it to slide under. Once past that it fits without hitting anything.

The older version of the wraith stealth had the shroud glued on and the fan is mounted on the heatsink with standoffs, which add some height. I can imagine that that one would not fit without shaving off the standoffs. See
for a detailed comparison between the versions.
 

SFF EOL

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Dec 9, 2018
125
29
I finished my build, over 2TB of fast SSD made up of 2TB SATA and 500GB of NVMe, so one slot unpopulated- missed an opportunity as I fitted the NVME on top rather than the bottom of the motherboard which will make a later fitment slightly more involved than it needed to be. I saved some money as I had a spare 1TB SSD SATA doing nothing- neither of the SATA SSD are fastest in class but I was more interested in keeping the whole thing silent. Otherwise I could have fitted two 2TB HDD and saved a bit of cash. If I built another I’d want a nicer case and I’d really want a 6 core APU (which we all would like I’m sure). It would be great if AMD launched one and I was still alive to build it. That said I have a lot of time for the 2400G, the APU that AMD promised us but never really achieved in the past.

I never got down to why the Wraith cooler didn’t fit but as it seems to be only me obviously the problem is me. Anyway, the Noctua is a work of art, fits great and after stress testing (nothing mental given the use case) it runs almost as cool as my ATX on closed loop and it is silent. I didn’t have to fit the LNA to achieve silence. Given the money I’d already spent, about £600, the Noctua just makes sense in the overall scheme. Iused the latest BIOS and seem to have overclocked the memory successfully (but I may not have, just think I have, anyway it is stable).

Even the case is OK as it is fitted to the back of the TV with the optional VESA mount (£8). The optional Intel WiFi card is also worth the £18 IMO, it is showing excellent reception despite being far from the router. The TV is a bit old, 1080p, but I tried it on my 4K TV and was happy with the graphics. I didn’t test it with games but the Ryzen 2400G gaming performance is well reported anyway.

Only thing I didn’t like is the optional cable to add 2 USB 2 sockets off the motherboard header. The cable is thick and so difficult to route, it also isn’t long enough to route properly, not worth the £8. If I have time I will make up a new cable that is more lightweight, USB (2) cables are easy to make. At the same time it is worth adding those extra USB 2 sockets because the MB isn’t over-blessed with I/O. Given the use case and the fact it is on the back of a TV I’ve added a USB 3 hub velcro’d to the case and I think a card reader would be nice and feels like an omission but that really is use case dependent.

I’m quite sold on STX now and can see why everyone here is enthusiastic. I hope it develops as a platform.

Also, can I say your review on this website for the A300W is excellent, right on the money based on my experience of the build. There are a few reviews out there on the web but I would venture yours is up there with the best, if not the best- some of them seem to be based on press releases rather than hands on experience.

ETA: I've just reread the thread- the reason why my Wrath cooler didn't fit is explained by Consolidated Results above, there is about 1.5mm gap between aluminium heat sink and fan on my Wraith which would explain things.
 
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SFF EOL

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Dec 9, 2018
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Thing is based on current information they seem very much the same as the 2400G with just a 100mhz clock bump? To extent I wouldn’t be hanging on for one. The 6 core 65W TDP APU is what we really want and I hope it will arrive, even if I’m unlikely to see it.

I’m sometimes a little bit of an AMD fan boy but the 2400G still doesn’t beat the i3 everywhere, a 6 core would, I’d pay £175 at launch.

At the same time, the good news is the continued support which at least suggests the A300 platform lives going forward- no support would be much more worrying.
 

SCJhonson

Cable Smoosher
May 1, 2019
8
7
My A300W is arriving tomorrow. I have a delided Ryzen 5 2400g and an Athlon 240GE, a Noctua NH-L9a heatsink, 16GB HyperX 3200 DDR4 SODIMM, a spare 512GB SKHynix NVMe from my laptop, several spare 240GB SSD's, and a 5TB 2.5 inch drive. I haven't quite decided how I am going to build up the system for long term use as a file/infrastructure/game/movie server for the house. I delided the 2400g specifically for use in this system because it would run so cool, but the overclock capability I have honed for it on the CPU/GPU would be wasted for a server, so I am probably going to withhold that CPU for my other system and install the Athlon instead. Regardless, I will probably do a burn-in build on one of the little SSD's and start establishing baseline temps for whichever processor I end up using. If anybody is interested, I can post temps once I gather them.

I still have questions, though. the 5TB 2.5 inch drive is a 15mm thick unit, so I seriously doubt it will physically fit. I have a 92x25 fan installed on the NH-L9a instead of the stock 92x14 fan, and I am not certain that it will fit at 48mm tall: ASRock's site lists 46mm maximum, one of their manuals lists a different and slightly taller maximum height, and TomsHardware listed 48mm as the space available in their system. This would be important if I install the 2400g, but not so much if I go with the Athlon. Anybody know for sure?
 
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SFF EOL

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Dec 9, 2018
125
29
My A300W is arriving tomorrow. I have a delided Ryzen 5 2400g and an Athlon 240GE, a Noctua NH-L9a heatsink, 16GB HyperX 3200 DDR4 SODIMM, a spare 512GB SKHynix NVMe from my laptop, several spare 240GB SSD's, and a 5TB 2.5 inch drive. I haven't quite decided how I am going to build up the system for long term use as a file/infrastructure/game/movie server for the house. I delided the 2400g specifically for use in this system because it would run so cool, but the overclock capability I have honed for it on the CPU/GPU would be wasted for a server, so I am probably going to withhold that CPU for my other system and install the Athlon instead. Regardless, I will probably do a burn-in build on one of the little SSD's and start establishing baseline temps for whichever processor I end up using. If anybody is interested, I can post temps once I gather them.

I still have questions, though. the 5TB 2.5 inch drive is a 15mm thick unit, so I seriously doubt it will physically fit. I have a 92x25 fan installed on the NH-L9a instead of the stock 92x14 fan, and I am not certain that it will fit at 48mm tall: ASRock's site lists 46mm maximum, one of their manuals lists a different and slightly taller maximum height, and TomsHardware listed 48mm as the space available in their system. This would be important if I install the 2400g, but not so much if I go with the Athlon. Anybody know for sure?
The SSD won’t fit I’m pretty sure, but you could shuck it? The motherboard slides in on rails, if you removed those and used alternative MB fixing you’d have more wiggle room but I’d shuck the drive and just insulate it against the case with tape. The SATA drives fit with two screws and two ‘pins’ stamped from the metal mounting plate- shuck the drive and you could Velcro it there.



I can’t give you measurements as the PC is stuck to a TV on a VESA mount at the moment but I would be confident in saying the clearance is 46mm. I don’t think the BIOS allows overclocking (beyond playing with the memory) but when I ran stress tests for about 12 hours (about 18-20C ambient) it ran cool, nothing much over 63-5C. The BIOS allows for plenty of temperature ranges for the fan to spin up so I found it very easy to get silent with the Noctua. Just looking at the case clearance from memory your thicker fan might fit, might not- there is probably about 1cm clearance from the top of the case with the NF-A9x14. Like I say I had no problem with cooling or noise- it is silent.
 

GLSRacer

Caliper Novice
May 31, 2019
23
8
I've been following this and the A300 BIOS thread for the last couple days. I had been looking to get an A300W and 2400G for a while and jumped yesterday when I noticed the 2400G was on sale. My 2400G and A300W should arrive this weekend or early next week.

Like many on here, I'm disappointed (but not completely surprised) that CPU/GPU OC/UV are not supported by default. I did know ASRock's stance before buying but I hate locked down systems. The DeskMini being somewhat alone in the market, we aren't left with much choice. Regarding the OC attempts, one thing I haven't seen tried is the ZenStatesAll program that modifies the MSR. Has anyone tried this program and if not, would someone try it? There is a whole thread on ServeTheHome talking about overclocking Epyc processors. I have personally used MSR tools to undervolt the FX-8800P in my Lenovo Y700 laptop to keep it from throttling but the 2400G will be my first Zen processor.
 

SCJhonson

Cable Smoosher
May 1, 2019
8
7
So, I received my Deskmini A300W today and started the build process. I went ahead and used the Athlon 240GE, the 1TB NVMe that is destined for my laptop (which will free up the 512GB drive that I intend to use for this system). The HyperX RAM overclocked right up to 3200MHz via XMP with no issues. I discovered that the Noctua NH-L9a with the 92x25 fan does fit after removing the rubber vibration pads from the top, but the cover *just barely* slides over the screw heads. The 15mm 5TB 2.5 inch hard drive does not fit, but it *might* if I modify the motherboard tray. I sent an email to ASRock to see if they are evaluating 15mm storage devices for this unit, and if so, if I could participate in the program - we will see if they get back to me on that one. Other than that, the fit and finish of the device is good, it went together easily, and the build on Windows Server 2016 is going well so far. I have noticed a few anomalies, such as CPU cores showing up as parked in Task Manager (never seen that before), and my CPU cores averaging only 3GHz or so (instead of a full 3.5GHz) during a quickie AIDA64 burn-in test. Both of those might be Cool and Quiet in the BIOS, but I am not sure yet. After I get a little more familiarity with the platform and get it dialed in, I will probably swap in the delid Ryzen 5 2400g and post temps and performance for both. Impressive little box so far...
 

GLSRacer

Caliper Novice
May 31, 2019
23
8
Thanks for the update. I'll have to look into deliding my 2400G. I'm planning to modify the OEM AMD HS and use it in place of the included ASRock HS. Hopefully temps will be acceptable.
 

ShamedGod

Average Stuffer
Apr 21, 2019
78
34
@SCJhonson

Would you mind setting your fan speed to full in the BIOS and running ADIA64 or CPU-Z in the background for an hour or so before delidding the 2400G to see what the MAX CPU Temp gets to and what your boost clocks look like before an after?

I just posted about my issue with the Noctua replacement fan I purchased and didn't get the 92x25 as it was suppose to be about 2 milometers higher then would fit. Considering the APU itself was only able to run at stock, delidding the 2400G didn't really seem like it was worth the effort. However, According to Noctua, the taller fan could add 1/3 more air flow through the heat sink which is substantial.


EDIT: I just looked at the previous most again and saw it was already delidded. Was a little to excited to see the before and after with the higher airflow. Surprised you got it to fit in the case with out the blades nicking the top of the case.
 
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SCJhonson

Cable Smoosher
May 1, 2019
8
7
@SCJhonson

Would you mind setting your fan speed to full in the BIOS and running ADIA64 or CPU-Z in the background for an hour or so before delidding the 2400G to see what the MAX CPU Temp gets to and what your boost clocks look like before an after?

I just posted about my issue with the Noctua replacement fan I purchased and didn't get the 92x25 as it was suppose to be about 2 milometers higher then would fit. Considering the APU itself was only able to run at stock, delidding the 2400G didn't really seem like it was worth the effort. However, According to Noctua, the taller fan could add 1/3 more air flow through the heat sink which is substantial.


EDIT: I just looked at the previous most again and saw it was already delidded. Was a little to excited to see the before and after with the higher airflow. Surprised you got it to fit in the case with out the blades nicking the top of the case.
Lol, I was just getting ready to reply that in regards to the delid, that I can't un-ring that bell :) In regard to the 2400g delid temps, I have detailed notes across multiple heatsinks, two different thermal pastes, stock CPU speed and overclocked CPU/GPU temps, both on the bench and mounted inside my tightest case.

CPU: Ryzen 5 2400g
CPU speed: stock (3.6GHz)
GPU speed: stock (1240MHz)
Case: Silverstone FTZ01
Thermal paste: Noctua NT-H2
Boost clock under load: I didn't capture it, but 3892MHz sounds right

CPU cooler: Noctua NH-L12S, single 15mm fan, top mount, push configuration
Pre delid max temp: 53 over ambient
Pre delid average temp: 51 over ambient
Test time: 3h 02m

CPU cooler: Noctua NH-L12S, single 15mm fan, top mount, push configuration
Post delid max temp: 47 over ambient
Post delid average temp: 38 over ambient
Test time: 3h 03m

CPU cooler: Noctua NH-L9a, 25mm fan, push configuration
Post delid max temp: 54 over ambient
Post delid average temp: 50 over ambient
Test time: 12h 02m

Ok, time to go to work. Talk to you guys later.
 
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TinyAudio

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jan 9, 2017
183
130
Excuse my ignorance. Delid is the die in direct contact with the cooler? or replace paste with liquid metal and refit IHS?
 

ShamedGod

Average Stuffer
Apr 21, 2019
78
34
Excuse my ignorance. Delid is the die in direct contact with the cooler? or replace paste with liquid metal and refit IHS?
You're just replacing the stock Thermal Interface Material under the heat spreader with better material.



I personally have never done it but if successful it's free performance gains.
 

SCJhonson

Cable Smoosher
May 1, 2019
8
7
Excuse my ignorance. Delid is the die in direct contact with the cooler? or replace paste with liquid metal and refit IHS?
I delided the processor, removing the Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) from the PCB, cleaned off the old Thermal Interface Material (TIM) from the IHS and processor, applied liquid metal TIM to both, then reglued the IHS back to the PCB. The NH-L9a heatsink is pasted to the top of the IHS with Noctua NT-H2 thermal paste and secured to the motherboard.
 

SCJhonson

Cable Smoosher
May 1, 2019
8
7
A little more temp information for the Deskmini A300W. I will swap out the Athlon with the delid Ryzen 5 2400g and start collecting temp info soon, probably during the day on Sunday

CPU: AMD Athlon 240GE
CPU cooler: Noctua NH-L9a
CPU fan: Noctua NF-A9 PWM (92x25)
Thermal paste: Noctua NT-H2
CPU speed: 3.5GHz (stock)
GPU speed: 1000MHz (stock)
Chassis: Deskmini A300W
BIOS: 3.50

BIOS fan setting: Silent
Average fan speed: 885
Max temp over ambient: 36
Average temp over ambient: 35
Average clock speed: 3500
Test duration: 19h 40m

BIOS fan setting: Standard
Average fan speed: 1124
Max temp over ambient: 30
Average temp over ambient: 30
Average clock speed: 3500
Test duration: 1h 00m

BIOS fan setting: Full
Average fan speed: 1826
Max temp over ambient: 23
Average temp over ambient: 23
Average clock speed: 3503
Test duration: 1h 00m
 

SCJhonson

Cable Smoosher
May 1, 2019
8
7
The 15mm 5TB 2.5 inch hard drive does not fit, but it *might* if I modify the motherboard tray. I sent an email to ASRock to see if they are evaluating 15mm storage devices for this unit, and if so, if I could participate in the program - we will see if they get back to me on that one.
Asrock got back to me about any available 15mm drive support motherboard trays, and they gave me this reply:

Hi Joe,
Thank you for contacting ASRock support.
The 15mm thick HDD is not fit for the unit.
It fits up to 0.95mm thick drive.

Thanks for nothing there. So, it's mod time. I have already had a friend go grinder on the underside of the motherboard tray, removing the six drive standoff platforms, and the front and rear lips. After test fitting, I now need to have the horizontal sections ground off of the center vertical bulkhead on the bottom of the motherboard tray. There are also a pair of flattened U-shaped hoops on the rear bottom of the case cover that need to be removed as well. It looks like a total of about 30 minutes of work, including planning, to get this baby ready to support a pair of 15mm drives and 10TB of storage.
 

SFF EOL

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Dec 9, 2018
125
29
Asrock got back to me about any available 15mm drive support motherboard trays, and they gave me this reply:

Hi Joe,
Thank you for contacting ASRock support.
The 15mm thick HDD is not fit for the unit.
It fits up to 0.95mm thick drive.

Thanks for nothing there. So, it's mod time. I have already had a friend go grinder on the underside of the motherboard tray, removing the six drive standoff platforms, and the front and rear lips. After test fitting, I now need to have the horizontal sections ground off of the center vertical bulkhead on the bottom of the motherboard tray. There are also a pair of flattened U-shaped hoops on the rear bottom of the case cover that need to be removed as well. It looks like a total of about 30 minutes of work, including planning, to get this baby ready to support a pair of 15mm drives and 10TB of storage.
I think a Dremel would do it no need for an angle grinder! It'll end up like that Noctua fan if you are not careful! Or a new case. The case isn't exactly great anyway- and the tray idea isn't that good. I have the old Proliant Microserver (it isn't a server really) and that does it better but you end up giving away a lot of space for nothing really. Once you have completed the build I don't think it'll be getting opened that often and if I thought it would be I'd be looking for a different case. It's still going to be a challenge to reclaim those 5.05mm I think- but worth it for 10TB of storage.

Edit, I can’t look (mine is on a VESA on a wall) but have you considered drilling out the spot welds- I’m not sure if that is even possible, I didn’t look at the time. Anyway, in the past I’ve drilled out the spot welds and riveted a case back together. Countersunk flathead machine screws look better but the metal is thin on this case and you can’t really make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear.



You can get coloured rivets which look more premium, on eBay.



So, strip the case down- looking externally you could then modify the case for height relatively easily using aluminium strip and a suitable glue, that comes in 5mm I think. It would have the effect of raising the rails/MB which is the underlying issue. You can also get perforated aluminium in quite heavy gauge, that would do the same thing with motherboard standoffs*



*Although you’ll need to think how you get back into the case, better to use thumb screws there to keep the lid on.



Raising the top of the case seems better than trying to lower the bottom if you like.
 
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SCJhonson

Cable Smoosher
May 1, 2019
8
7
Case mods complete, and it looks great at this point. I don't presently have two 15mm drives to mount side by side on the modified motherboard tray, but the single drive I do have mounts to both positions and goes into the case cover just fine in either position. I will have the system torn apart again here in a couple days and I can post pictures of the modifications I had done to support the big drives. 10TB's of storage, here I come!