[SFFn] ASRock's DeskMini A300 - Finally!

A300

Efficiency Noob
Jul 13, 2019
7
0
Maybe...

I took off the Noctua, cleaned the cooler and CPU with rubbing alcohol, applied NT-H1 thermal paste, connected a second fan to the A300 and left the case open to maximize air flow, and rest windows. I was able to get a CBr20 score of 1910. Boost clocks where still power deliver limited. Part way through the benchmark it still throttle but it did so later in the run and stayed a few MHZ higher after throttling. Power delivery was the same, throttling just happened later in the run.

So it's an improvement. With the 2400G my score was constantly in the 1860's - 1880's and I couldn't get anything higher. Was bothering me I couldn't get over 1900 with the 3400G. I did several runs in a row and it was 1895 (first run), 1910, 1910, 1910, 1910...

3D Marks Night raid - 13293
3D Marks Sky Diver - 12741

Not much of a change which makes sense since the iGPU was pegged at 1400 MHZ

so... yeah... really hoping for a BIOS update. The 2400G with BIOS 3.40 would stay in the 80's and maintain it's OC boost as long as the temps held there. The 3400G with BIOS 3.50 will start throttling at 75C and keep running at stock and 65C :/
Mine is worst. CB 20 score only 1783, with 2400G, 2x8GB CL16 2933 Mhz RAM & Noctua cooler (no LNA). 😞
 
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A300

Efficiency Noob
Jul 13, 2019
7
0
Guys,

I have 2x8GB 2666 CL 18 19 19 39 58, 1.2V.

I can OC it to 3200, same timing, without change voltage or OC it to 2933, timing CL 16 18 18 38 58.

Which one is better for longevity? Also, what is the maximum safe temp for RAM?
 

NateDawg72

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 11, 2016
330
250
Looks like reviewers have been struggling with the clock boost as well, super detailed article here. https://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/3491-explaining-precision-boost-overdrive-benchmarks-auto-oc
That article is about the Zen2 processors, which the 3400g & 3200g are not and they do not have the same problems. 3400G & 3200G are still Zen+ and AMD won't have Zen2 APUs until 2020.

The issue with 3400g here is strictly down to a badly configured bios voltage control and power limits. The motherboard is very capable but it needs proper voltage adjustments, and possibly some OC controls to raise stock power limits.

Edit: There is PBO in the bios now? Maybe it was related?
 
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ShamedGod

Average Stuffer
Apr 21, 2019
87
43
That article is about the Zen2 processors, which the 3400g & 3200g are not and they do not have the same problems. 3400G & 3200G are still Zen+ and AMD won't have Zen2 APUs until 2020.

The issue with 3400g here is strictly down to a badly configured bios voltage control and power limits. The motherboard is very capable but it needs proper voltage adjustments, and possibly some OC controls to raise stock power limits.

A bit unrelated, I really wanted to use this board, but there are enough niggles and issues that I looked for something else. I now have an oversized NUC from china that is a tad smaller than STX but has an i7-8750h 6 core and 2 M.2 slots, one of which I can use to attach a GPU over a riser. Not the AMD PC I had hoped would be possible, but it fills the same role.
You can turn Precision Boost Overdrive on in the A300 3.50 BIOS. I have it on and running right now. Was very surprised. it doesn't really do much, since the A300 is power and thermal limited, and the APU will not climb above stock settings on the iGPU even though it easily could :/

It was discovered while trying to find a way to lower the MAX TSP to 75W or 80W ironically.

EDIT: and now it's dead. Need to find a volt meter to figure out if it's just the power brick. *SigH*

Edit 2: and now it's back... Just left the device alone for an hour.
 
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yck3110

Minimal Tinkerer
Jul 16, 2019
3
0
I just posted Hardware unboxed review of the 3400G. Steve was able to get over 1900 in Cinebench R20. I am getting 1865 consistently. Trying to tweak settings in the BIOS keeps dropping the score. If you're going for an absolute budget build the 2400G for $99 is a great value and comes with a cooler that will fit (after the outer shroud is removed) and is under promo ATM with 3 months of XBox game pass.

The Noctua cooler will not improve performance. The A300 only allows RAM over clocking and multiple tests of my own and comments from other users suggests that power delivery may be an issue with sustaining boost clocks or achieving higher stable ram frequency and performance above DDR4-3333 @ 1.35v. The Noctua will make the A300 quieter and easier to take apart as the stock cooler barley fits in the case. The cooler that comes with the A300 is awful in comparison and I wish ASRock wouldn't have included it.

Between going with the 2400G and not buying the Noctua that would be a savings of almost $100.

Another thing to note is you've decided on the ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro. I really wanted that myself when putting together my A300, It just didn't make sense with this build. You can save a few more dollars and sacrifice little performance, with an intel 660P. The 1TB version can be found for $85 which would double your storage capacity or the 512GB can be found for $60.

I would have a hard time believing people would be able to tell the difference unless they where continually moving large files around.


RAM, however, makes a BIG difference and is the one area of the build I wouldn't compromise on. A friend of mine didn't want to spend the money on the lower latency DDR4-3200 GSkill CL18 (2x8) ram kit or worry about Over Clocking so he went with much cheaper crucial CL22 chip. His performance is still excellent.

That said it's completely possible that you could get lower speed ddr4-2666 1.20v kit, bump it to 1.35v in BIOS, and it will clock to 3200 or 3333 with out any issue with decent timings. For me, it was worth getting a kit with an advertised speed of least 3200 mhz as the speed affects every aspect of the systems performance and does double duty as 2GB of memory are automatically reserved for the iGPU. If your on an absolute low budget newegg has the GSkill ddr4-2666 CL19 kit on sale for $80 but the ddr4-3000 CL16 kit is $100 while the ddr4-3200 CL18 kit is still $150. It might not be worth an extra $70 but at the moment is it worth an extra $20 to insure a guaranteed floor and the potential to get the same performance as people are seeing with the 3200 kit in the A300?

In the end you have to do what's right for you and your build, based on your use case. I bought the A300 because it was an ultra small, easy to work on, portable machine. Otherwise, for not a whole lot more, I could have gotten a system like this that would be way more powerful then the APU for only a few bucks more:

First of all, thx for your in-depth reply,
it is kind of weird that, for building the A300, you have to spend more to save a lot of space, but getting less performance than a m.atx size apu build. I originally thought two kind of build should have similar performance.

In my area, building a300 with,
2400g +
adata sx6000 lite 512gb drive +
g.skill 2x8gb 2666mhz cl19 ram,

would cost me about $420 usd,

while building a matx size build, with
2400g +
Gigabyte B450m Gaming mb +
ADATA 2x8GB 3200MHz CL16 XPG GAMMIX D10 DDR4 ram +
Adata sx6000 lite 512gb drive +
ANTEC NX550 550W 80Plus Bronze power supply,
ANTEC P6 mATX Tower Case

would cost me about $430 usd.

If the cpu part change to 3400g, the a300 build will even cost more than the matx build , because of noctua l9a is needed.

I know that building a tiny size pc (e.g itx size ) tends to cost more than matx size. But without the overclocking ability, is it still worth to build a300 just because of its tiny size? Or a300 is just suitable for office work/ normal entertaining purpose, but not some gaming?
On the other hand, the matx size build would have a better upgrade path, like next gen apu or adding a gpu like rx570. also having the overclock ability.

Talking about the overclock, 3200g seem to have larger overclock headroom for the igpu than 3400g, and a overclocked 3200g could have similar FPS as a overclocked 3400g. Some youtube reviewers could even overclock the vega8 of 3200g to 1800mhz.
Is 3200g be a better choice for budget build? or what kind of work will need that extra 4 thread of 3400g?

3200g oc vs 3400g oc
3200g review, with vega 8 oc to 1800mhz
 
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Slowjim

Trash Compacter
Mar 12, 2019
36
13
Yes, smaller builds will always cost more and often perform slightly worse due to airflow and power limitations. If you want to OC a Ryzen APU you can easily do it with this cheap mobo and ram:

 
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ShamedGod

Average Stuffer
Apr 21, 2019
87
43
First of all, thx for your in-depth reply,
it is kind of weird that, for building the A300, you have to spend more to save a lot of space, but getting less performance than a m.atx size apu build. I originally thought two kind of build should have similar performance.

In my area, building a300 with,
2400g +
adata sx6000 lite 512gb drive +
g.skill 2x8gb 2666mhz cl19 ram,

would cost me about $420 usd,

while building a matx size build, with
2400g +
Gigabyte B450m Gaming mb +
ADATA 2x8GB 3200MHz CL16 XPG GAMMIX D10 DDR4 ram +
Adata sx6000 lite 512gb drive +
ANTEC NX550 550W 80Plus Bronze power supply,
ANTEC P6 mATX Tower Case

would cost me about $430 usd.

If the cpu part change to 3400g, the a300 build will even cost more than the matx build , because of noctua l9a is needed.

I know that building a tiny size pc (e.g itx size ) tends to cost more than matx size. But without the overclocking ability, is it still worth to build a300 just because of its tiny size? Or a300 is just suitable for office work/ normal entertaining purpose, but not some gaming?
On the other hand, the matx size build would have a better upgrade path, like next gen apu or adding a gpu like rx570. also having the overclock ability.

Talking about the overclock, 3200g seem to have larger overclock headroom for the igpu than 3400g, and a overclocked 3200g could have similar FPS as a overclocked 3400g. Some youtube reviewers could even overclock the vega8 of 3200g to 1800mhz.
Is 3200g be a better choice for budget build? or what kind of work will need that extra 4 thread of 3400g?

3200g oc vs 3400g oc
3200g review, with vega 8 oc to 1800mhz
If you are looking at this from an overclocking and FPS value stand point a first gen Ryzen is crazy cheap right now.

Ryzen 5 2600 for $120 and a RX570 for $120


for $80 more you can have a Ryzen 7 2700


But for me the A300 was the perfect machine. I had newegg notify me as soon as it came in stock and supply was gone by end of day, so I'm not alone.

The A300, is a tiny, portable, good enough, PC that (when I am done trying to break it apparently) can still be a perfect little media center, NAS, or just a solid desktop. Plus trying to squeeze every ounce of performance out of such a tiny package has been a lot of fun :)

I bought the Aorus AD27QD and the VESA mount for the A300 so I could build a contraption that hangs on the back of the monitor to mount the A300. The handle on the monitor will literally allow me to pick up and go.


Everyone has their reasons and use case. My buddy bought his because he saw mine and thought it would be easier to move around his apartment for his Kid. He can watch him at the kitchen table, in his room, or where ever, and then he can easily put it away. it will give him s a bigger screen then a laptop, isn't a laptop (so no going on road trips or to dinner), and will run the new Boulders Gate coming out good enough for him.

There are pros and cons to every build. It's just amazing that we are back in the 486 days where anyone can do real world gaming again with out a graphics card! Bring on Wing Commander :)
 
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Quango

Caliper Novice
Apr 6, 2019
25
7
Of course it is worth it, especially with the 3200G/GE and 3400G/GE.


" ... A new feature coming to the APUs is support for 4K protected video streaming, such as Netflix 4K. This is a feature that has been missed on the previous generation, especially as AMD’s APUs have found their way into a number of small form factor systems and HTPC builds. The new APUs also support Radeon Anti-Lag, a new feature to reduce controller-to-display lag input times. ..."

I don't care about overclocking, but I do care about a tiny, almost silent, but still powerfull, long lasting, reliable universal pc with fully fledged 4K HDR media output. The A300 is currently the only STX capable of that. At least, if it is not maxed out, it seems reliable.

My current STX cannot go beyond [email protected] at 8 bit color output through DP, no 4K Netflix or HDR.
 

Slowjim

Trash Compacter
Mar 12, 2019
36
13
I am still trying to extract the best performance out of this setup. With tweaking memory subtimings at 3333 16-18-18-38 I was able to get over 13k in Sky Diver.


-Has anyone been able to get RAM stable over 3333?
-Anyone been able to successfully test PBO?
-Anyone been able to locate cTDP adjustment in BIOS?

Thanks,
 
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ShamedGod

Average Stuffer
Apr 21, 2019
87
43
I am still trying to extract the best performance out of this setup. With tweaking memory subtimings at 3333 16-18-18-38 I was able to get over 13k in Sky Diver.


-Has anyone been able to get RAM stable over 3333?
-Anyone been able to successfully test PBO?
-Anyone been able to locate cTDP adjustment in BIOS?

Thanks,
- No

- HA, not trying it again :)

- I turned OFF Precision Boost. After an hour of stress testing the CPU was pegged between 3.7 and 3.8 anyway and the iGPU ended up down clocking. The case itself would also be very warm. With Precision boost off the iGPU can stay at 1400 and the CPU performance isn't decreased substantially. What gets lost is the short burst to 3900Mhz. Since the 3400G can't seem to stay cool enough, or draw enough power, in the A300 it looks like I'm done goofing around until a new BIOS, New APU, or new discovery is found.
 

Deadsies

Minimal Tinkerer
Jun 28, 2019
4
2
WoW Classic Living Room Machine
WCLRM

Asrock a300w - 134.99
x2 4GB 2400 DDR4 - 30.99
Ryzen 2200g - 79.99
Old 250GB SSD - 0.00

$245.97 WoW Classic Machine

Now I just need one for the bedroom and 2 bathrooms and never not be logged in!
 

Quango

Caliper Novice
Apr 6, 2019
25
7
I read on another forum, where a user tried different settings with the 3200G on the A300:

It is not sufficient to disable "Precision Boost Overdrive", you also have to disable "CPU Boost Clock Override" to bring the Voltage down to normal.

Also I've read elswhere: the 3200G is not soldered, unlike the 3400G. The 3400G's temps are about 5° C lower than the unsoldered 2400G in average.
 

Slowjim

Trash Compacter
Mar 12, 2019
36
13
^I just tested this along with disabling Cool n quiet and am getting +100pts in 3dmark Sky diver and Night Raid, with 5-10C lower temps as well! Thanks for sharing!
 

dugiebones

What's an ITX?
Jun 26, 2018
1
0
Hey guys, just want a gut check, can you install a non G ryzen on this thing? Thinking of snagging one up for mini server build and installing a 1700 in there...
 

NateDawg72

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 11, 2016
330
250
Hey guys, just want a gut check, can you install a non G ryzen on this thing? Thinking of snagging one up for mini server build and installing a 1700 in there...
No, you can't - it won't boot up. Several users here have tried non G ryzens with no success. There is some effort to mod the bios to make it possible but that may not happen.
 

ShamedGod

Average Stuffer
Apr 21, 2019
87
43
I changed out the NT-H1 thermal paste for Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut and there's not been any meaningful difference. I'm still in the middle of testing and verifying, re-applying, and trying again.

Has anyone taken off the VRM heat-sink and replaced the thermal pad? It's been bothering me that the 3400G is so quick to throttle. If the CPU runs warmer then AMD upgrading the stock cooler from the Stealth to the Spire makes perfect sense. I know that little heat-sink isn't going to passively cool to much but every little bit helps. it's been bothering me that the chip will not hit 4 Ghz even on it's initial burst of boost. That's over 200 Mhz below the advertised STOCK max boost :/
 

Slowjim

Trash Compacter
Mar 12, 2019
36
13
Techspot mentioned in their review similar results, even after enabling PBO and Auto OC it never hit 4.2.

I've not messed with the VRM heatsink but I do have a spare mobo (B450m pro4) I can experiment with. Also have a couple of large CPU coolers, just waiting on ram to show up and I'll post up my results.