[SFFn] ASRock's DeskMini A300 - Finally!

rfarmer

SFF Guru
Silver Supporter
Jul 7, 2017
1,300
1,214
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!
I'm really curious to see your mod. I am currently using my DeskMini 110 as a Plex server and I have 2 x 2TB Seagate HDDs in the bottom, I would love the possibility of adding the 15mm Seagate drives.
 

ShamedGod

Average Stuffer
Apr 21, 2019
78
34
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!
Going for the worlds smallest size, highest capacity, home NAS? Some super awesome 4K Shows?
 

GLSRacer

Caliper Novice
May 31, 2019
23
8
Going for the worlds smallest size, highest capacity, home NAS? Some super awesome 4K Shows?
Agreed. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures. Right now I'm happy with the performance and features of my QNAP NAS but it's nice to know that you can fit such a high capacity in a small package. For reference, my 2 bay NAS is about 50% larger than the A300W, though the NAS supports 3.5 inch drives...
 

SFF EOL

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Dec 9, 2018
125
29
Look forward to the pictures. I'm mulling another build of one of these, but dumping the case completely. Not sure yet, as I may do an ITX 2600 instead. I have those (2) M.2-PCIe adaptors coming from the USA so if I can get that to work on the motherboard (as I have one I built for my mother) with a 1050Ti I will go with another one of these.
 

Quango

Caliper Novice
Apr 6, 2019
23
6
Now this makes the A300 interesting again, since the unsoldered current APUs had a considerable heat disadvantage compared to the Intel Cores, requiring higher Noctua rpm. And I only want to build near silent SFF PCs where the Noctua runs at max 1000 rpm most of the time (my i3-7100 needs 800 rpm most of the time and is practically inaudible behind the 27" screen in a silent room).


"...The other added bonus will be to the Ryzen 5 3400G, which will not only be released $10 lower than the 2400G, but it will now come with the 95W AMD Wraith Spire CPU cooler bundled in box, an upgrade over the 65W version previously used. This CPU will also be Indium-Tin soldered on for better thermal performance and potential in overclocking headroom. ..."
 

GLSRacer

Caliper Novice
May 31, 2019
23
8
While it seems like the inclusion of the 95 watt cooler is a good thing, it's likely that the new cooler will not fit in the A300 case (even when modified) requiring one to purchase a Noctua HS. I'll be interested to see the performance of the 3400G once test data becomes available. Leaks from a few weeks ago show about a 10% gain between IPC and clock improvements.
 

Quango

Caliper Novice
Apr 6, 2019
23
6
While it seems like the inclusion of the 95 watt cooler is a good thing,
I was refering to and had highlighted the text part about the new soldering. The current 2400G is not soldered and runs cosiderably hotter than the soldered Intels of the same TDP league.
 

GLSRacer

Caliper Novice
May 31, 2019
23
8
Yes, that's true. For those who don't yet have a processor for their A300, the 3400G looks like a really nice APU.
 

SCJhonson

Cable Smoosher
May 1, 2019
8
7
Here we go, pictures of the A300W with the 25mm fan and mods required for 10TB of storage. The mods may look difficult, but they weren't, nor were they time consuming to make. Enjoy.

The only visible modification is on the very bottom of the back of the motherboard tray, where a 1/4" section is removed. One can see the top side of the hard drives and the Velcro straps peeking out from the hollowed out section. The section removed is part of the base support, so only the center section is removed, while the edges remain in place for support. It's an ugly hack, but it's hidden in the back. The rest of the mods are completely hidden inside.


This shot shows where the four flattened metal hoops were, they looked like cable management tie down loops. They were locating/lockdown receivers for the motherboard tray/case interface, but they were in the way.


Here are the sections of the underside of the motherboard tray that needed to be modified. The drive standoffs were ground completely away, becoming horseshoe shaped openings.


The left side bulkhead was removed entirely. The right side bulkhead only had enough material removed to allow the 15mm drives enough room to be mounted, hence the hollowed out ugly hack in the first picture of the set. The center bulkhead retains only the vertical component that is perpendicular to the motherboard tray, all components parallel to the motherboard tray are ground away leaving just a skinny wall between the drives.


Here is the modified drive mounting



Compared to stock drive mounting


And here is the complete assembly ready to insert into the case.


*****A few notes to keep in mind. This is a very tight fit, but it does fit. Sliding the motherboard tray into the case goes pretty easily, but removing it was not easy. I actually had to flip the Velcro straps over at one point because the fuzzy side was binding and catching on the case. So, since the motherboard tray is sliding into the case on the Velcro straps, I recommend greasing those rails *BEFORE* you insert it because it is difficult to remove later.*****
 

GLSRacer

Caliper Novice
May 31, 2019
23
8
Wow, you really had to shoe horn those in there. It's nice to see that they both fit. That's a lot of capacity in a small case.
 

graziano68

Minimal Tinkerer
Jun 17, 2019
3
0
Hello

I would buy an A300 plus Ryzen 5 2400G (with Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 ) and Western Digital WD SN500 . I do not want spend a lot in RAM and I am not a bios expert. Anyone can recommend me a cheap 2x8 GB RAM to use the A300 primarly for Kodi and which will work stable and enough to run some (before) 2010 steam game ?

I was thinking this HX432C16PB3K2_16 , is it ok ? Do I need to configure bios to accept this module ?


Thank you
 
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TinyAudio

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jan 9, 2017
183
130
Hello

I would buy an A300 plus Ryzen 5 2400G (with Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 ) and Western Digital WD SN500 . I do not want spend a lot in RAM and I am not a bios expert. Anyone can recommend me a cheap 2x8 GB RAM to use the A300 primarly for Kodi and which will work stable and enough to run some (before) 2010 steam game ?

I was thinking this HX432C16PB3K2_16 , is it ok ? Do I need to configure bios to accept this module ?


Thank you
Deskmini A300 requires SO-DIMM memory. The smaller type found in laptops.

 

Primerib

Caliper Novice
Apr 5, 2019
24
7
thank you , what do you think about F4-2666C18D-16GRS, are these good at 90 euros (about $100) ? Can I find better at this price ? Thank you
I would recommend you go for a 3200mhz so-dimm at 18CL you could buy 2 here [email protected] and still be under $100 but that is about as low as I would go in speed and latency, since you cant overclock the CPU or IGPU (for now) so your ram speed is essentially going to be what decides the performance the most. The nest step up is over $100 but worth mentioning [email protected]. It's the one I wish I would have kept. 2666 is a bit slow for what Ryzen likes to have to power an APU. You'll get quite better graphical performance with faster ram with Ryzen at least. I tested multiple ram speeds and latency and the 3200 @ CL18 is jest enough to get the full effect. The second link, the 3200 @c16 is basically going to max out that speed. G skill has a lifetime warranty so I like them pretty well.
 
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graziano68

Minimal Tinkerer
Jun 17, 2019
3
0
Thank you !. If I buy two of [email protected] may I set AUTO in bios or do I need to do a special BIOS configuration to get the max velocity BUT stable, from this RAM ?
Also do you recommend latest Bios 3.50 ? If Yes , may I upgrade Bios after mounting the RAM ?
 
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Primerib

Caliper Novice
Apr 5, 2019
24
7
Thank you !. If I buy two of [email protected] may I set AUTO in bios or do I need to do a special BIOS configuration to get the max velocity BUT stable, from this RAM ?
Also do you recommend latest Bios 3.50 ? If Yes , may I upgrade Bios after mounting the RAM ?
If you don't have any intentions to overclock that ram any further or lower the timings you can update to the newest BIOS. One of the users here likes the 1.20 bios because it allows for a few more adjustments that aren't in the newer releases but if you're just going to run them in the default (AUTO) profile you wouldn't use those features. The RAM will need to be installed into the system before you can run the bios update, just remember to download this driver pack and install it on the OS before you run your first BIOS update.
 
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Slowjim

Caliper Novice
Mar 12, 2019
33
10
I reverted to P1.20, at the moment it's still the best performing BIOS for me. Later BIOSes so far do not add any features, so unless you are about to pop a 3000 series APU into the system, I would not install P3.50 or any of the 3.X series BIOSes.
Can you please explain how to revert to 1.20? I attempted this and it wouldn't let me do it.
 

SFF EOL

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Dec 9, 2018
125
29
I bought 2400 memory with my first build, then went away and read up as much as I could on memory over clocking, I forget the exact speed I ended up with but it was more than 2900 and less than 3000. I think I did it correctly as I checked in BIOS a few times after a various reboot and it was showing the same speed each time- but I can’t pretend I’m overly confident. I need to read up more on memory overclocking.

I’m not sure if it was worth it to be honest. That said I have another A300 to build, with I hope that M.2 to PCIe graphics idea- I’ve just been a bit ill recently. This time I bought 2666Mhz as two 4GB sticks. Today I could have gone with one stick of 16GB 3200Mhz for £105 rather than I think £75 for the slower matched pair.

Forgetting about memory overclocking I guess that it makes sense to go with the 3200-single stick rather than a matched pair at 2666Mhz? It seems that is logical, and obviously I can always try and get another matching stick later?
 

ConsolidatedResults

Chassis Packer
May 4, 2019
13
14
Can you please explain how to revert to 1.20? I attempted this and it wouldn't let me do it.
BIOS Instant Flash does not allow downgrading, but the windows update package does. The direkt links to the Windows BIOS updates have been removed from the ASRock website, but the package is still there at http://asrock.pc.cdn.bitgravity.com/BIOS/AM4/A300M-STX(1.20)WIN.zip

Unzip, run asrom.exe. The AMI utility that then gets run will warn you that BIOS layout has changed, you will have to confirm that you still want to update. IIRC there is another prompt to confirm, then the system will reboot and apply the update on reboot.

It worked twice for me but I obviously can not guarantee that this will work without issues.

Forgetting about memory overclocking I guess that it makes sense to go with the 3200-single stick rather than a matched pair at 2666Mhz? It seems that is logical, and obviously I can always try and get another matching stick later?
Always get two sticks, only getting one halves your memory performance.