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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  • kaidenshi - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    We get by with Emby Server on a Dell PowerEdge tower server, and a Roku Ultra for the TV. It's not as ideal as having it all in one box, but it allows for more flexibility in storage as well as media sources (besides Emby, the Roku has hundreds of streaming channels). In the past we used a Mac mini but it was simply too limited in storage options. Reply
  • b4cks14sh - Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - link

    I was a long time WMC user myself. Once you get into Kodi + Tvheadend you will never look back to WMC. LibreELEC is a great Linux Distro for Kodi. Just try it! Reply
  • Rontalk - Monday, July 15, 2019 - link

    It better can Run Windows 7, because I want that too. Did you try to mod driver? Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    Seems like a nice little box. I'm not a fan of the design. The front of the case is downright unappealing, but for the price point its hitting, that's at best a minor detraction. Who looks at their PC anyhow? Reply
  • Arnulf - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    Kidz do. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    I think it looks OK for an office-type PC. If I hadn't already built my dad an ITX 2200G cube last year, I would probably buy this. It would get tucked out of sight anyway. $150 for the chassis, board, 120W brick PSU? Not bad, especially given it doesn't exactly have a craptop of AM4 competition - at least not at present.

    The 3200G/3400G APUs are basically tweaked Zen+ models. Although, that's not a bad thing if you're building one of these SFF PCs... rumors are a couple hundred more MHz, better GPU clocks, overclocks better, and lower TDP (at least at stock settings).
    Reply
  • PyroHoltz - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    How much power is the usb-c port capable of delivering via the PD protocol? Reply
  • notashill - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    The manual doesn't indicate support for USB-PD at all, so it's probably just the base USB-C spec 5V 1.5A. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - link

    Welcome to USB-C, the standard that comes with almost nothing standard and almost everything you can think of optional. :P Could be anything, but I suspect notashill is right. Reply
  • VirtualLarry - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    If they have PCI-E x4 available for a LAN MAC/PHY, and they're only using x1 on a cheapo RealTek, why not give us a "A300 Premium" edition, with an x4 10GbE (like their TaiChi Ultimate board), or at the very least, a 2.5GbE (using the newest RealTek NICs), like their Intel Phantom Gaming boards.

    Realistically, these A300 DeskMini units are going to be in use for quite some time (and no way to plug in an expansion NIC*), and the time is ripe, for us to get better than 1GbE NICs these days.

    (*) Club3D has announced USB3.0/3.1 Gen1 external NICs, with RealTek 2.5GbE chips inside them. I also await them, I suppose one could sacrifice a USB3 port on the A300 for one of those.
    Reply

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