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DeskMin A300 vs. Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac

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ronyzmbow View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ronyzmbow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: DeskMin A300 vs. Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac
    Posted: 09 Mar 2019 at 11:24pm
I am completely new to building PC so bare with me.

I like the idea of the DeskMini A300 - and also check the option of building my own MinITx PC with the Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac.

This PC is not for gaming, just casual Photoshop work, web browsing, etc.

Is there big difference between these 2 PC's?

Another question regarding the A300 - I saw on Youtube a review saying that the original AMD CPU cooler that comes with their Ryzen 5 2400G will not fit in the A300 case. This sounds a bit strange to me. Any idea?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Arwen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2019 at 10:54am
I ordered a DeskMini A300, should arrive in a few days.

One thing to keep in mind, is that smaller the package, the lower the performance MAY be. Can't help with your comparision issues.

In regards to the CPU Cooler that AMD ships with the Ryzen 5 2400G, the DeskMini A300 appears to come with a lower profile cooler. Keep in mind, AMD has no control over what size cases vendors may put their CPUs in, like the DeskMini. ASRock knows this, so they seem to supply a CPU cooler that does fit the DeskMini A300. I'll find out middle of next week.

Last, even with a case & motherboard packaged together, like the DeskMini, you still have to add components yourself. RAM, the first SATA drive & the first NVME look pretty straight forward. It's the CPU and potentially the second NVME and second SATA drive that look like extra effort. On commenter on a different board, (probably for one of the Intel DeskMini's), said his hands were too big to add the additional pair of USB 2.0 ports. (I ordered the cable, so I will see how difficult it is.)
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ronyzmbow View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ronyzmbow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2019 at 11:22am
Many thanks, Arven!
Waiting to hear your comments after getting some experience with your new A300.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2019 at 1:26am
I got my DeskMini A300 yesterday. I installed a Ryzen 5 2400G. The included cooler looks identical to the one that's supplied with the Athlon 200GE, which in turn looks rather like the coolers that used to ship with the lower powered Socket FM2 A-series APUs. I considered using the Wraith Stealth that came with the 2400G. It does just fit if you remove the decorative cowl with the AMD logo, but it's very tight. In the end I opted for the excellent and near silent Noctua NH L9x65 SE-AM4. It's only 37mm tall and it doesn't foul the RAM or any connector, and it's rated for a 95 watt TDP.

I removed the motherboard from its tray in order to fit the cooler, as the baseplate has to be swapped for the one provided and the four fixing screws go in from underneath. I found it easier to assemble the thing upside down: I stood the cooler on the table with the fan downwards and the plate on top. I applied the thermal paste to the plate rather than to the CPU's heat spreader and then lowered the inverted motherboard carefully onto the cooler, making sure the holes lined up. Then I fitted the baseplate and inserted the four screws. Before fixing the motherboard back on its tray I fitted an M.2 NVMe (note that SATA M.2 SSDs can't be used) into the socket on the underside, leaving the more readily accessible one on the top free for future expansion. When fitting the motherboard back onto its tray you have to be very careful that the grounding tabs sticking out at from the I/O shield don't enter the HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. They are meant to press against the shells of the connectors but the tend to want to go inside and if you don't spot this you'll have to remove the board from its tray again.

I fitted the wifi kit. The only fiddly part here is getting the tiny coaxial connectors on the ends of the antenna leads to plug into the equally tiny sockets on the Intel wireless card. The card itself fits into a socket on the upper side of the motherboard, with a space above it for another M.2 NVMe SSD. You need to tuck in the thin antenna wires so they don't get caught up and pinched when you slide the tray into the case later.

I fitted the dual USB 2.0 socket, which is quite fiddly. The wires that connect it to the motherboard are quite long and tend to get in the way when you side the tray into the case. Inside the case there's a flat ribbon cable than connects the front panel LEDs and power button to the motherboard and it's routed quite neatly and held in place with clips. I used the metal clip to anchor a cable tie, which I used to hold the USB leads out of the way of the front of the motherboard tray as there isn't a lot of space inside the case. Having struggled with two pairs of tweezers to fit the cable tie, it came as a relief when I was able to close the case without pinching anything.

I was expecting to have to update the BIOS but it came with the current version 3.40. I noticed that the ability to update the BIOS over the Internet (without having to use a USB flash device) seems to have been removed from that version. The downloadable user manual shows it being available in an earlier version of the BIOS (page 43).

I already have the Fatal1ty AB350 ITX with the same APU. It will be interesting to compare the two, though while I have Windows 10 installed on the ITX (see my sig.) I'm planning to install Linux on the DeskMini.
ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 ITX P4.90, AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, 2x8GB Corsair CMK16GX4M2A2666C16, 250GB Samsung 960EVO, 500GB Samsung 850EVO, 4TB WD Blue, Windows 10 Pro 64, Corsair SF450, Cooler Master Elite 110
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ronyzmbow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2019 at 1:37am
As said before - this is my ever first PC build - I have decided on the following configuration:

ASRock A300 barebone
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
HyperX Impact DDR4 SO DIMM 2666Mhz CL15 - 8GBX2 - total 16GB
Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 NVMe 500GB SSD (main drive)
Samsung EVO 960 2.5 SATA SSD 500GB (secondary drive)
Noctua NH L9a cooler

Any comments to this?

I hope all will go well - first timer!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2019 at 1:40am
I should say that the biggest difference is that the ITX board has a x16 PCIe socket so you're not limited to using a Raven Ridge APU. You could use any Ryzen processor and a discrete GPU if you want. With the DeskMini you have to use either a Ryzen APU or an Athlon APU. The Vega 11/8/3 integrated GPUs are impressive.

The DeskMini uses the A300 chipset - which actually isn't a chipset at all!. All the I/O (SATA, USB, etc.) is provided by the Ryzen SoC and the four PCIe 3.0 lanes that would normally connect to the chipset are diverted to the second M.2 socket. The ability to have two NVMe x4 SSDs is exciting. Some of the remaining eight PCIe lanes from the Raven Ridge APU are used to connect to the Realtek Ethernet chip and the optional wifi card and the rest are unused.
ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 ITX P4.90, AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, 2x8GB Corsair CMK16GX4M2A2666C16, 250GB Samsung 960EVO, 500GB Samsung 850EVO, 4TB WD Blue, Windows 10 Pro 64, Corsair SF450, Cooler Master Elite 110
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2019 at 2:01am
I got the part number wrong for the Noctua cooler. The NH L9x65 SE-AM4 is too tall. The one I used was actually a NH-L9a-AM4.

You should be fine with the parts you've chosen but remember this is a very tiny board and case. As someone else has pointed out the case is about the same size as the power supply used in a regular PC. It isn't ideal for a first time build and neither is an ITX but if you're patient and careful you shouldn't have too much difficulty, though a standard ATX or micro ATX motherboard in a tower case would allow much more room to work in.

Your parts list is very similar to mine. Same processor, cooler, NVMe SSD. Same brand and quantity of RAM, except I chose the 2933 MHz parts. Strictly speaking, 2933 MHz is a slight overclock for the memory controller if two SODIMMs are used but in practice it isn't a problem.
ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 ITX P4.90, AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, 2x8GB Corsair CMK16GX4M2A2666C16, 250GB Samsung 960EVO, 500GB Samsung 850EVO, 4TB WD Blue, Windows 10 Pro 64, Corsair SF450, Cooler Master Elite 110
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rokstar3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2019 at 12:25pm
Were you ever able to get linus to install on your deskmini
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2019 at 4:07am
Yes. I installed Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon, but it wasn't as straightforward as it might have been.

I had to boot the installer USB in compatibility mode - essentially using the nomodeset option to avoid the blank screen. I believe this is because the installer uses kernel 4.15, which isn't as friendly towards Raven Ridge as 4.18. After installation and rebooting from the NVMe SSD the Cinnamon desktop kept crashing, which I attribute to there being no hardware acceleration due to the amdgpu module not loading, which is a consequence of the nomodeset option. Removing the nomodeset boot option would presumably allow the amdgpu module to load but I faced the blank screen problem again!

So, what I did was boot from the fresh installation with nomodeset and no acceleration, let Cinnamon crash and fall back to Mate and, working on an 800x600 display, try to run the software updater. This was a bit tricky because the important buttons were off the edge of the screen. So I switched to a text console (CTRL-ALT-F1) and ran apt update and apt upgrade and finally updated the kernel to 4.18. The newer kernel fixed the problem. I was able to boot 4.18 without the nomodeset option, the amdgpu module loads and Cinnamon runs with acceleration.

Hopefully the installer's kernel will be updated for the next release.
ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 ITX P4.90, AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, 2x8GB Corsair CMK16GX4M2A2666C16, 250GB Samsung 960EVO, 500GB Samsung 850EVO, 4TB WD Blue, Windows 10 Pro 64, Corsair SF450, Cooler Master Elite 110
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2019 at 4:26am
I see there's a new 3.50 BIOS for the DeskMini freshly available. It claims to support "the next generation Ryzen processors" which is nice, but I don't expect there will be any Renoir APUs in the first wave of Zen 2 product releases. I haven't had any issues with my 2400G and BIOS 3.40 so I won't rush to update.
ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 ITX P4.90, AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, 2x8GB Corsair CMK16GX4M2A2666C16, 250GB Samsung 960EVO, 500GB Samsung 850EVO, 4TB WD Blue, Windows 10 Pro 64, Corsair SF450, Cooler Master Elite 110
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