Review: ASRock DESKMINI A300 barebone-system

ASRock DESKMINI A300 is the basis for creating a powerful mini-computer. A motherboard with support of energy-efficient processors up to AMD Ryzen 3400g and 3400ge is already installed in a case with a height of just over 15 cm. ASRock DeskMini A300 supports up to four 2.5 ″ drives: 2 x M.2 and 2 x SATA. You can install processor cooler with a height of no more than 4.6 cm, up to 32 gigabytes of dual-channel DDR4-3200 + MHz memory. The computer motherboard is equipped with an aluminum MOSFET heatsink for optimal system cooling. Among other features of DeskMini A300: support up to 3 monitors at the same time, USB 3.1 Type-C Gen1 connector for fast charging and SPD up to 5 Gb / s.

You can buy ASRock DESKMINI A300 mini-PC for the price 141,93 Don’t forget to use discount coupon on computeruniverse.netFWNNROU (How to use it?). See also Russian site computeruniverse coupons here.

Specifications

  • AMD® AM4 Processor Support: Picasso, Raven Ridge, Bristol Ridge, up to 65W
    Chipset: AMD® A300
  • Graphics core: AMD® Radeon ™ Vega series integrated graphics in Ryzen APU series / AMD® Radeon ™ R series integrated graphics in APU A-series processors
  • Compatible with Microsoft® Windows 10 64-bit
  • CPU cooler height up to 46 mm
  • DDR4 Fast Memory: DDR4-2933MHz (Ryzen) or DDR4-2400MHz (A-series)
    Two Ultra M.2 (NVMe) slots: M2_1 M.2 (2280) – PCIe Gen3 x4 + M2_2 M.2 (2280) –
  • PCIe Gen3 x2 / x4 + 2 x 2.5 ″ SATA for installing a hard drive up to 6Gb
  • RAID 0/1 support
  • Video: HDMI, DisplayPort, D-Sub
  • AMD® Fluid Motion Technology
  • M.2 Wi-Fi Module (Optional)
  • USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
  • Network Features: 1 x RJ45 Gigabit LAN – Realtek RTL8111H
  • Power Supply: 120W / 19V Adapter
  • Included: 2 x SATA cables for data and power, 1 x set of screws
  • Motherboard Dimensions: 5.8 ″ x 5.4 ″ (Mini-STX)
  • System unit dimensions: 155 x 155 x 80 mm (1.92 L)

Review

Small form factor (7Small APU Form Factor) with an onboard AMD AM4 Socket CPU. It supports the family of processors Picasso, Raven Ridge, Bristol Ridge, with heat dissipation up to 65W. The maximum size of the processor cooler that can be installed on the motherboard is ≦ 46mm.

Crazy memory speed

ASRock DeskMini A300 supports up to 32 gigabytes of dual-channel DDR4-3200 + MHz (OC) memory. Combined with Radeon ™ Graphics, high-speed memory delivers high 3D performance.

Support for SATA and M.2 drives

ASRock DeskMini A300 supports up to 4 drives:

M2_1 M.2 (2280) –PCIe Gen3 x4
M2_2 M.2 (2280) –PCIe Gen3 x2 / x4
2x 2.5 ”SATA 6Gb SSD / HDD Tray

RAID 0/1 support for creating a home data center

DeskMini A300 supports RAID 0/1. Create a data center at home!
RAID 0 – to increase the speed of reading and writing data;
RAID 1 – to protect data in mirror array mode;

MOSFET Radiator

ASRock DeskMini A300 is equipped with an aluminum MOSFET radiator, which effectively dissipates heat and ensures stable operation under loads.

Support up to three monitors simultaneously

DeskMini A300 supports image display on 3 monitors at the same time.
Expand your workspace with a larger screen area. Games will become more immersive, computer power will be in demand, and your productivity will be increased.

AMD Fluid Motion

Thanks to AMD Fluid Motion technology, smooth video playback at low APU load, high-quality frame rate conversion, GPU frame interpolation and elimination of video vibration have been made possible.

USB Type-C

USB 3.1 Type-C Gen1 connector for fast charging and SPD up to 5 Gb / s.

AMD APU cooler (optional)

AMD APU cooler supports AM4 65W APU for DeskMini A300.
Dimensions: 77 x 68 x 39 mm
Fan Speed: 1950 ~ 3500 R.P.M

VESA mount kit (optional)

The ASRock VESA mount kit for DeskMini allows you to install the Mini desktop on any VESA mount — on a wall, on a monitor, or on a movable bracket.

M.2 Wi-Fi Kit (optional)

The ASRock M.2 Wi-Fi Kit consists of the Intel® AC-3168 M.2 Wi-Fi Module and two antennas, which provide wireless connectivity for DeskMini PCs.
* Availability of M.2 Wi-Fi Kit varies by model and region.

USB 2.0 cable (optional)

You can purchase an optional USB cable for 2 USB 2.0 ports.

Rear audio cable (optional)

Connect an external audio device here: speakers 2.1, headphone amplifier, speaker, and so on …

Customer reviews

Customers in their reviews appreciated the performance and low price of a barebone system with such a tiny size. The length of the “baby” can be compared with the size of the palm of an adult man.

On the front panel of the computer are the most necessary ports and buttons: ​​power button, connector for audio (headphones / speakers), microphone, USB Type-C and USB 3.0. At the backside of the system unit everything is also reduced to a minimalist style, there is: power, Display Port, HDMI, VGA, two USB ports, similar to the front panel and Ethernet.

The advantages of the ASRock DESKMINI A300 for users: the ability to purchase additional modules and mount them directly to the system unit, like USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, sound.

Inside the ASRock DESKMINI A300 case, the buyer will find an STX motherboard of really very small size powered by a 3 + 2 circuit and a 310′ chipset. On the motherboard, you can install RAM SO-DIMM up to 2933 Mhz, the same format usually used in laptops. You can buy additional M.2 Wi-Fi module with a cost of 15-20 euros and connect to the board and put NVMe drives. The device is also equipped with two four-pin connectors for connecting additional fans.

The disadvantages the buyers noted in their reviews a rather low processor limit performance, that can be installed on the motherboard. The most powerful processor suitable for this system is the Ryzen 3400G. The AMD Ryzen 3600 processors do not have an integrated graphics core, and their heat dissipation parameters are too high for such a little barebone system. Another disadvantage that users noted is the impossibility of overclocking the processor, but this was expected for such a small board.

In general, buyers concluded that the ASRock DESKMINI A300 is the smallest device on the market, on the basis of it is possible to create a fairly powerful PC with a modern AMD Ryzen processor of the fifth series. The computer will not be for gaming purposes, but it will be suitable for any work that does not load the graphics.

Unrivaled I/O
Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2019 [Verified Purchase]

There is nothing else near this in size which offers this level of storage expandability. 2x NVMe M.2 slots (RAID capable) plus an additional 2.5″ SATA slot are the primary reasons I bought this.

I wanted to replace a big, slow, loud tower I was using for network backups, VM hosting, and some light TV duties. I had to move this server into my bedroom and was not satisfied by its size, noise, or performance.

I replaced the 2x 2TB HDD RAID5 array in the old server with a 2x 2TB NVMe SSD RAID5 array (using 2x Intel 660P) and still had room for a 2.5″ boot/OS SSD. Combined with a Ryzen 2400G and 32GB of DDR4 the new server is everything I was looking for. It’s a big performance upgrade (CPU + SSDs) while hiding behind my TV. With the help of a Noctua NH-L9a (fits perfectly) it’s also super quiet. I don’t hesitate to run some CPU-heavy task before going to bed now. It won’t keep me up.

The case is pretty easy to build in. All cables and screws necessary for filling every expansion slot is included. The optional SATA cables are perfectly sized for the case. All the cables in the system have just the right amount of slack to let you slide out the motherboard tray without disconnecting anything, making working on this a breeze.

Running Ubuntu 19.04. Installation was easy from a USB thumb drive and everything has “just worked” for me, including steam games. The integrated graphics don’t scream, but 1080P Rocket League works great on linux without fuss.

Positive feedback from Amazon buyer

 

NO support from ASRock, will not boot Linux, very limited hardware, brick
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2019 [Verified Purchase]

Seller does not respond to support requests made on their support site. They respond with a form email stating: “contact your reseller” – right? Does that mean Amazon?

The support form is confusing and outdated.

There is no chat support or email support, only a clumsy form to navigate, uses acronyms that are not understood, even by those in tech.

This motherboard – A300W cannot be used to boot Linux. Limited hardware support, bios is a mess, outdated, does not support the latest (last year) of the most popular SSD’s and memory sold (popular meaning by volume sold).

No explanation as to why 64GB (2 x 32GB) cannot be used in this system when the CPU’s it supports (AMD Ryzen 5 3400G) will support 64GB.

Comes with VGA connector? seriously? Like it’s 1987. Shocked there is not a PS/2 port (oh wait, on other ASRock motherboards just very recently released, they do have PS/2 connectors – seriously).

Box does not support laptop hard drives in 2TB+ range (that are 15mm in width), but there is plenty of space in the case to add a few more mm, design fail.

This would be an amazing piece of hardware in 1999 (if it ran Linux), but it’s 2020 already, and ASRock has not heard of Linux (not in the pick list of OS’s on their support list, for any motherboard offering throughout the company history).

I have never spent so much time trying to put together a system and get it working as I have with this system.

Dropping ASRock completely for all future purchases, going with Mini-ITX / Gigabyte MB’s where they have dropped the VGA and PS/2 ports, provide USB 3.1+, modern connectors, support Linux, and have a support department (not that you need it, because things just work) – cheesh.

Negative user review on Amazon shop site

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