Advertisement
Advertisement

CCL DeskMini A300 review: A little miracle

Expert Reviews Staff
9 Dec 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
480
Inc VAT

Easy to lose among its larger competition, is the tiny DeskMini pocket-friendly in all senses of the term?

Pros 
Compact design
Smooth performance
Cons 
Limited power input
Advertisement

DeskMini by name, DeskMini by nature: this prebuilt system from CCL, based on the ASRock DeskMini A300 barebones ultra-small form factor (USFF), is tiny.

Buy now from CCL Online


CCL DeskMini A300 review: Features and performance

Despite this, there’s some reasonably impressive hardware crammed into the tiny box: a Ryzen 5 2400G accelerated processing unit (APU) provides both general and graphics compute, offering four cores and eight threads running at 3.6GHz base and 3.9GHz boost, and connects to 8GB of DDR4-2666 running in dual-channel mode. The inevitable downside is that these consume both of the RAM slots on the board.

Storage is provided by a 512GB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive, which helps keep performance up and the boot time down to a Labs-leading 23.2 seconds. There’s even a second M.2 slot plus room for two 2.5in SATA drives for future expansion.

What you won’t find, of course, are full-size PCI Express slots for a discrete graphics card. The power supply is a bit of a trick, too: to keep the size of the case down, it’s an external laptop-style power brick, rated at 120W. With such limited power input, it’s no surprise to see no spare connectors, unless you count the two SATA power outlets on the motherboard. The upside is portability: even once you factor in the power supply, the overall weight of the system is a mere 1.3kg.

Performance is exactly what you would expect from the hardware inside, with no sign of thermal throttling issues caused by the cramped layout. Performance in the benchmark tests was what we might describe as "mid-table", meaning we were a little surprised by its high 34.5W power draw at idle. At least this only rises to 98.6W at load, which is more in line with our expectations.

CCL DeskMini A300 review: Verdict

If you’re not planning to upgrade to a discrete graphics card any time soon, and don’t mind a minor downgrade in performance in return for a system that takes up barely more room than a stack of CDs, the DeskMini is a great choice – and note that it’s backed by CCL’s three-year collect and return warranty.

If you do decide to plump for the CCL, remember to budget for a USB hub; when it comes to ports, the DeskMini is a little shy.

Buy now from CCL Online