DeskMini A300 Firmware and Test Hardware
Dwelling in the enthusiast market has given us little exposure to AMD’s A300 Promontory chipset, so we really didn’t know what to expect of overclocking functionality. The DeskMini A300 lacks any CPU multiplier control, but does allow full DRAM overclocking within the limits of the CPU and motherboard stability, and offers similar flexibility to the APU’s integrated Radeon RX Vega graphics controller.
The system’s A300M-STX motherboard has only two DRAM voltage settings, 1.35V and 1.20V. And while either of those would get our memory to its DDR4-3000 rating, neither of those settings would keep it stable at higher settings. We also tried DDR4-3800 and DDR4-4000 modules from G.Skill and Corsair to no avail, so this appears to be the limit of board stability. Similarly, our graphics processor topped out at 1500 MHz using 1.20V, where 1.25V couldn’t push it to our next-higher 1600 MHz setting.
Users unable to reach their desired DRAM overclock are welcomed in firmware to optimize timings instead, via the A300M-STX’s expansive Timing Configuration submenu.
The A300M-STX’s CBS menu is similarly lacking in overclocking features, but users can choose a few power settings to optimize for better performance or lower power use.
The motherboard’s “Tool” firmware menu provides SSD Secure Erase and Instant Flash firmware updating, and its H/W Monitor menu offers manual fan configuration in addition to the expected factory-programmed curves.
How We Test
Unable to match the DeskMini’s exact configuration for a performance comparison, we built our comparison system using ASRock’s own Fatal1ty B450 Gaming ITX/ac as the baseline motherboard, and the DeskMini’s tiny CPU heatsink and fan as the baseline cooler. Differences include the larger board’s larger DIMMs and PS2 form-factor (aka full ATX) power supply, the later being the lowest-capacity 80 Plus Gold rated unit we had on hand.
|CPU Cooler||DeskMini A300 Optional Cooler|
|RAM||Kingston HX429C15PB3AK2/16 2x 8GB (16 GB) DDR4-2933 DIMM Kit|
|Graphics||Radeon RX Vega APU Integrated|
|Sound||Integrated HD audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Graphics Driver||GeForce 399.24|
Here’s how the DeskMini A300’s A300M-STX overclock settings compare to those of the B450 Gaming ITX/ac.
Photo Credits: Tom's Hardware
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