Power Consumption and Thermal Performance

The power consumption at the wall was measured with a 4K display being driven through the HDMI port. In the graphs below, we compare the idle and load power of the ASRock DeskMini A300 with other SFF PCs evaluated before. For load power consumption, we ran the AIDA64 System Stability Test with various stress components, as well as a combination of Prime95 and Furmark, and noted the maximum sustained power consumption at the wall.

Idle Power Consumption

The key comparison here is against the DeskMini 310. Thanks to the use of a more power-efficient NVMe SSD, and the A300 PCH that essentially acts as a transparent bridge, the idle power consumption of the DeskMini A300 is a full 2W lower than the DeskMini 310. The load case, however, is completely different. We see the DeskMini A300 sustaining more than 90W at the wall. This number is higher than the load consumption of any other iGPU-only system we are comparing against.

Our thermal stress routine starts with the system at idle, followed by four stages of different system loading profiles using the AIDA64 System Stability Test (each of 30 minutes duration). In the first stage, we stress the CPU, caches and RAM. In the second stage, we add the GPU to the above list. In the third stage, we stress the GPU standalone. In the final stage, we stress all the system components (including the disks). Beyond this, we leave the unit idle in order to determine how quickly the various temperatures in the system can come back to normal idling range. The various clocks, temperatures and power consumption numbers for the system during the above routine are presented in the graphs below.

ASRock DeskMini A300 System Loading with the AIDA64 System Stability Test

At the start of our stress routine, we see most of the cores at the boost clock (3.9 GHz), but, the temperature quickly approaches 78C. The DeskMini A300 BIOS seems to treat that as the indicator to bring down the cores to the base clock of 3.6 GHz. In this initial period, the package power (labeled as reported, but, is more likely to be the power consumption of the x86 cores alone) is around 35W. That drops down to 30W after the cores go back to the base clock. After adding the GPU loading, the cores clocks do go down a bit to around 3.4 GHz (as the GPU ramps up from around 200 MHz to around 1.1 GHz). The reported package power remains constant at 30W. Unlike the reported package power, the at-wall power consumption provides hard irrefutable numbers. In the boost clock state, the wall power goes as high as 80W before settling down to around 72W. When the GPU load is added, the metric stabilizes around 85W. If the GPU alone is loaded, the core clocks jump down to 1.6 GHz, and the GPU starts running at the rated clock (1250 MHz). The at-wall consumption is around 43W. When stressing everything in the system, the added storage workload slightly bumps up the at-wall consumption by a couple of watts, but, other metrics remain similar to the second stage. The temperature of the cores never exceed 80C at any point in the AIDA64 system stability test.

We also run a custom stress test involving Prime95 and Furmark. Starting with Prime95 alone, we add Furmark to the mix after 30 minutes. After another 30 minutes of simultaneous CPU and GPU loading, we terminate the Prime95 process alone and let the GPU run at full throttle. The metrics graphed for the AIDA64 system stability test are also graphed here.

ASRock DeskMini A300 System Loading with Prime95 and Furmark

Interestingly, Prime95 doesn't trigger the boost clocks for the cores. Otherwise, the loading characteristics for the frequencies, temperature, and power are largely the same as what we observe with the AIDA64 system stability test workloads. The only thing of note is that Prime95 and Furmark together make the system consume north of 90W at the wall.

The thermal solution is very effective, ensuring that the temperatures never cross 80C while allowing the APU's CPU cores and GPU to operate at the advertised frequencies / rated power consumption. The 90W peak power consumption also indicates that the Ryzen 5 2400G is operating at its rated TDP of 65W in the DeskMini A300.

HTPC Credentials - Local Media Playback and Video Processing Closing Thoughts
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  • BigMamaInHouse - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Comparing 2400G with Real iGPU vs $431 i7-8559U - I'd say it performs Great!. Reply
  • Irata - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    To be more specific, on the "productivity benchmark", the A300 has 89% of the A310's score with 86% of its power consumption, so for office type tasks, it is actually a bit more efficient. Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Ah, the pitfalls of saying ProdA scores X% of ProdB in metric M at Y% in metric N, when M and N are not linearly correlated!

    Extending it the same way, if I were to build the DeskMini 310 system with the same original review components at the current prices, I am going to splurge : 162 (DeskMini 310 board with Wi-Fi compared to DeskMini A300 without Wi-Fi) + 139 (Core i3-8100) + 76 (DDR4-2400 2x8GB SODIMM) + 78 (PCIe 3.0 x4 240GB NVMe SSD - Corsair Force MP510) = $455 ; Let me look up the table for the DeskMini A300 cost without Wi-Fi - tada, it is $465 - oh oh oh!!!! Does the lower upfront cost for the AMD system (as claimed in the article in the same BAPCo section) evaporate into thin air? No!

    The reason is that when you are looking at SYSmark 2018 scores and SYSmark 2018 energy consumption numbers, you compare against systems that score approximately the same in those particular metrics.

    For the overall SYSmark 2018 scores, the DeskMini A300 is approximately the same as the Baby Canyon NUC - then, let us look at the energy consumption numbers for those two - the Baby Canyon consumes lesser energy.

    For the energy consumption numbers, the A300 and 310 are approximately in the same ball park - and there, you see the the 310 with a higher score.

    As for accusations that 'Intel CAN"T be shown in anything other than their best light' - take a chill pill - the PCMark 8 numbers back up SYSmark 2018. And, in the gaming section, we show that AMD outperforms the best that Intel can offer. As an impartial reviewer, my aim is to present the facts as-is and provide my analysis - if you come with pre-conceived notions that one product / vendor is better than the other, then, no amount of facts will convince you otherwise.
    Reply
  • Irata - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Replying to two different comments with one reply is a bit unfortunate as another poster made the "Intel can't be shown in..." comment.

    As for the price, if you check Newegg, the $150 A300 does include a Wifi kit.
    Looking at Newegg prices, I get the following:

    Desk Mini 300: $150
    Desk Mini 310: $168
    Ryzen 2400G: $150
    Core i3-8100: $142
    Memory: 100 (for the AMD system) vs. 80 (for the Intel based one)
    note: I had a hard time finding the exact memory so I was looking at Team Group memory with roughly the same specs
    WDS500G1B0C: $78
    Corsair FORCE MP500: $130

    When possible, in stock retail items with free shipping were chosen.

    This gives me a total of $ 478 for the Desk Mini 300 (including WiFi) and $ 520 for the 310. But calling the price even would be OK, considering how prices can fluctuate.
    Reply
  • MASSAMKULABOX - Monday, December 9, 2019 - link

    AMd 150 + 150 +100 = $400
    INT $168 + 142 + 80 = $ 390 ... makes Intel cheaper , ..altho at this late date you can get the 2400g for $120 or less
    Reply
  • Irata - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Second reply as I wanted to keep things separately.

    As I stated below, the comment regarding Intel having to be shown in the best light was made by another poster. Why could (she) have said this ?

    For one, Intel is a client of your parent company Purch. They even mention this on their web site under "experience", stating "We’re focused on serving our action-oriented audience, as well as elevating the sponsor’s brand with that audience. We tailor the Native content that runs across our sites to better suit each environment, while keeping the integrity of the sponsor’s original content and brand."

    In addition, you are using Bapco Sysmark, a benchmark that - given this "organization's" history - leaves a rather bad taste.

    Now, I am not attacking your personal or journalistic integrity, however you must admit that the though AT may not be impartial does cross ones mind.

    And this does not have to be overly obvious shilling (as that would be counter productive), but can be small nuances or tones, stressing one thing while leaving out another.

    Do I have a pre-concieved notion of which one is better ?

    Besides seeing the Intel iGPU as inferior (with the exception of video encode / decode) not really, but I admit that I do not particularly like Intel as a company
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    "Now, I am not attacking your personal or journalistic integrity, however you must admit that the though AT may not be impartial does cross ones mind."

    Above all else, I think people vastly overestimate both how much work vendors are willing to put in, and how much they actually care about AnandTech. Being underhanded is a lot of work, especially for as small an audience as AnandTech has.

    To be sure, there is a significant editorial firewall up between ad sales and editorial. I honestly couldn't even tell you about our (former) publisher's comments, because none of that ever involved AnandTech. It was probably a campaign that ran on Tom's Guide or such.

    But regardless, we don't do shenanigans, and I won't stand for them. Vendors don't get to see articles early, we don't let vendors buy preferential treatment, and any sponsored content is going to be very clearly labeled as such. All AnandTech has its its honesty; so to sacrifice that would cost us everything.

    Which, to loop back to the discussion of Sysmark, Ganesh uses it as part of his mini-PC evaluations. It's a pretty useful benchmark, especially for the energy efficiency metrics. It works well for what Ganesh needs, and the workloads seem reasonable. At the same time we're well-aware of the controversy surrounding it, and we'd never trust a single benchmark for a review - and certainly not Sysmark. Which is why we run many benchmarks, to look at different workloads and get different points of view on performance.
    Reply
  • Irata - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    Thanks for the clarification Ryan. I still think that Sysmark is a no-go, but that's just my personal opinion. Reply
  • Smell This - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    *As an impartial reviewer*
    _____________________

    I snorted.
    Reply
  • BPB - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    I have one of these, and really like it. My problem is I bought this to replace an older NUC, and the older NUC runs Windows 8.1. I use the older NUC for WMC. Obviously the DeskMini doesn't support 8.1, but I thought I could get it to run 7. I can't. I noticed that ASRock has a utility for installing Windows 7 on AM4 motherboards, and I was given the impression that ASRock would update the DeskMini BIOS so I could install Windows 7. Then I found out the 2400G is only Windows 10 compatible. I don't know how I missed that when I did my research... So, my son gets nice little PC to replace his older one. This is a nice little setup, I just wish Windows 10 had something even 80 percent as good as WMC. Reply

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