A review, of sorts, of the Asrock DeskMini A300

If you want a small system (comparable to a slightly oversized Intel NUC) that runs quiet and is fairly powerful, I have a suggestion for you. I was interested to try one of the AMD APU style CPUs (the ones with embedded Radeon graphics) when I came across the mention of this little guy on PCPer.


It’s hard to tell from some of the pictures the size of this PC, but it’s probably smaller than you expect. I decided to snap a couple of pictures with a banana for scale :smiley:

AsrockDeskminiA300ViewFromFront

AsrockDeskminiA300ViewFromAbove

It’s just a case, you need to bring your own CPU with GPU (more on that later) and RAM and NVMe SSD. My kit came with the wireless add-on which is installed along side of the SSD. (Note, the lugs for the wireless are keyed, you need to orient them correctly in order for them to fit through the knock-outs.)

Since there is no room for a video card, you have to use the on CPU video. The case has a max CPU rating of 65W, so this means you can use the Ryzen 3 or 5 with graphics. (2nd gen and 3rd gen are supported.) This means the Ryzen 3 2200G or Ryzen 5 2400G or Ryzen 3 3200G or what I used: Ryzen 5 3400G. It provides one port of display port and one of HDMI. I haven’t tried driving two monitors at once, but I feel like it should be possible.

I find the Ryzen 5 3400G to be fast enough for light usage… it plays League of Legends pretty well. I think this would make a great desktop machine for someone connecting to the web and doing general office duties. (Word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) It runs Eclipse just fine for doing Java development… it could be a fine little machine for a dorm room. It should make a great HTPC (home theatre) but for one thing…

The included fan, is a bit whimpy, so it can be a little noisy. I sprung for the hard to find Noctua NH-L9A-AM4… and it makes all the difference in the world. This little brown fan is super quiet and fits great within the case.
https://noctua.at/en/nh-l9a-am4

Part of the reason the case is small is that it has no built in power supply (the whole case is smaller than a typical desktop PSU.) The power supply brick is a laptop style brick… it’s about the length of that banana, and like three inches wide and two inches tall.

You can outfit this with up to 32G of RAM and a 4 core CPU and as much SSD as you can afford. Depending on how you spec it, it should basically be about equivalent to a current generation console, being that the PS4 and XBox One have previous gen AMD APUs in them. If you want a small PC with significant compute power, I think this might just make you smile.

2 Likes

I don’t know about the scale here. That looks like a large banana. Can you try an apple? Or a donut?

1 Like

Um, thanks, I guess :smiley: I am not an expert on banana sizing… if I measure across the arc (excluding the “stem”) it’s about 8 inches.

In any case the A300 is 6 inches from front to back, 3 inches across the front and 6 inches tall.

2 Likes

Good review! I am likewise using a L9a. One of the best low profile, SFF-friendly HSFs (Scythe, Alpenfoehn, Cryorig, and Thermalright also make some performant ones, but can’t go wrong with Noctua, which usually has excellent compatibility and some of the best fans). Interested in picking up a 3400G at some point, too, probably for file server or carputer build.

And for size comparisons people usually use a coca cola can (or other soda can), as that’s pretty standard and understood.

steals and eats banana

1 Like