GEEKOM A5 Review – Part 3: An AMD Ryzen 7 5800H mini PC tested with Ubuntu 22.04

In the first part of GEEKOM A5 mini PC review, we had a look at the hardware with an unboxing and teardown, we then reviewed the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H mini PC with Windows 11 Pro in the second part, and we’ve now had time to test the GEEKOM A5 mini PC with Ubuntu 22.04 to check how well it can work in Linux, and we’ll report our experience in this article.

Geekom A5 Review Ubuntu 22.04 Linux

Installing Ubuntu 22.04 on GEEKOM A5

We shrank the Windows 11 partition by half to install Ubuntu 22.04 in dual boot configuration alongside the operating system from Microsoft.

Disk Management Partition Dual Boot Windows Ubuntu

Ubuntu 22.04.3 was installed successfully using a USB drive. and everything went relatively smoothly, except WiFi didn’t work reliably (more than that later). So we had to use Ethernet for most of the review, and we used the GL.iNet Spitz AX router (GL-X3000NR) configured in repeater mode using an Ethernet cable until we found a fix for WiFi… Another small issue was that the GRUB menu did not show up initially with the system booting directly into Windows 11, and we had to change some BIOS settings as we did for the GEEKOM Mini IT13.

Ubuntu 22.04.3 system information

The Settings->About window confirms the GEEKOM A5 Mini PC features an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, 32GB of RAM, and comes with 638.8GB of storage (preinstalled 512GB NVMe SSD + our own 128GB SATA SSD).

GEEKOM A5 Ubuntu 22.04 About

Let’s find more details about the system with a few command lines in a terminal window:



inxi reports the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H comes with 8 cores and 16 threads clocked at up to 4462 MHz, and our system comes with a ~512GB Lexar NM620 SSD, the 128GB CJ225128TB SATA SSD we installed for testing, and 32GB RAM, plus a RealTek RTL8125 2.5GbE controller, and the rtw89_8852be is used for WiFi…

Ubuntu 22.04 benchmarks on GEEKOM A5 mini PC

Let’s start the benchmarks with Thomas Kaiser’s sbc-bench.sh (note: the warning about Rockchip should be fixed in the latest version):


The good news is that no CPU throttling is detected, but we can still still 7-zip drifting slightly lower from 54,850 to 53,350 and then 52630. If we look at the full results, we can see the CPU temperature exceeded 100°C like in Windows with the top being 100.5°C during cpuminer.

We were not asked to check the power limits this time around, but let’s have a look anyway using the ryzenadj script:


Power Limits of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU

  • Sustained Power Limit (STAPM LIMIT) – 35 Watts
  • Actual Power Limit (PPT LIMIT FAST) – 60 watts
  • Average Power Limit (PPT LIMIT SLOW) – 42 watts

Let’s now run some CPU benchmarks with Geekbench 6…

Geekom A5 geekbench 6 test

Geekbench 6.2.02 reports 2,002 points in the single-core benchmark and 9,347 points in the multi-core benchmark.

Geekom A5 Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0

GPU performance in Linux was tested with the Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 program, and the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor (with an integrated AMD Radeon GPU) averaged 35.5 fps at a resolution of 1920×1080 and got a score of 890 points.

We then tested 4K and 8K YouTube video playback in Firefox.

4k Firefox Ubuntu AMD Ryzen 7 5800H

When playing a 4K video at 60 fps the viewing experience is very good with only a few frames (38) dropped over a 10-minute period.

8k Firefox GEEKOM A5 Ubuntu 22.04

It’s another story for 8K 60 fps videos as 52859 frames were lost out of 78577 frames, or more than 60%, so needless to say it was unwatchable.

Finally, we ran Speedometer 2.0 on Firefox 116 to evaluate web browsing performance. Results: 218 runs per minute.

Speedometer firefox ubuntu GEEKOM A5

GEEKOM A5 vs Mini IT 11 vs GEEKOM AS 6 vs Khadas Mind Premium vs GEEKOM Mini IT13

Let’s compare some of the Ubuntu 22.04 benchmark results from the GEEKOM A5 against other mini PCs we’ve reviewed in recent months, namely the GEEKOM Mini IT11 (11th Gen Core i7-11390H Tiger Lake), GEEKOM AS 6 (AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX), Khadas Mind Premium (13th Gen Core i7-1360P Raptor Lake), and GEEKOM Mini IT13 (13th Gen Core i9-13900H). The first three were tested in similar environmental conditions (28-30°C room temperature), but the GEEKOM A5 and Mini IT13 were tested at a slightly lower temperature (around 25 to 27°C) as it’s winter here.

Here’s a quick summary of the main features of the five mini PCs.

GEEKOM A5GEEKOM IT11GEEKOM AS 6Khadas Mind PremiumGEEKOM Mini IT13
SoCAMD Ryzen 7 5800HIntel Core i7-11390HAMD Ryzen 9 6900HXIntel Core i7-1360PIntel Core i9-13900H
CPU8-core/16-thread processor up to 4.4 GHz4-core/8-thread Tiger Lake processor up to 5.0 GHz8-core/16-thread processor up to 4.9 GHz12-core/16-core Raptor Lake processor with 4 performance cores @ up to 5.0 GHz, 8 efficiency cores @ up to 3.7 GHz14-core/20-core Raptor Lake processor with 6 performance cores @ up to 5.4 GHz, 8 efficiency cores @ up to 4.1 GHz
GPU8-core AMD Radeon Graphics96 EU Intel Iris Xe Graphics up to 1.4 GHzAMD Radeon Graphics 680M96 EU Intel Iris Xe Graphics up to 1.5 GHz96 EU Intel Iris Xe Graphics up to 1.5 GHz
Memory32GB DDR4-320032GB DDR432GB DDR5-480032GB LPDDR5 @ 5200Mbps32GB DDR4-3200
Storage512GB NVMe SSD1TB NVMe SSD1TB NVMe SSD1TB NVMe SSD2TB NVMe SSD
Default OSWindows 11 ProWindows 11 ProWindows 11 ProWindows 11 HomeWindows 11 Pro

As I mentioned in the Windows 11 review, it’s not quite a fair fight, because the GEEKOM A5 is the cheapest of the lot, and the Khadas Mind, GEEKOM AS 6, and GEEKOM Mini IT13 mini PCs sell for about twice the price. Nevertheless here are Ubuntu 22.04 benchmark results for the five systems.

GEEKOM A5GEEKOM Mini IT11GEEKOM AS 6Khadas Mind PremiumGEEKOM Mini IT13
sbc-bench.sh
- memcpy18717 MB/s19,734 MB/s19,131.7 MB/s25,389.5 MB/s (P-core)24,014.4 (P-core)
- memset43837 MB/s45,636.7 MB/s16,781.4 MB/s24,731.8MB/s (P-core)26,647.9 (P-Core)
- 7-zip (average)53,610
25,16754,59244,43056,540
- 7-zip (top result)54,85025,40156,25150,39660,981
- OpenSSL AES-256 16K1,202,869.59k1,707,917.31k1,249,203.54k1,771,334.31k (P-Core)1,844,401.49k (P-Core)
Geekbench 6 Single2,0021,9771,99220932,745
Geekbench 6 Multi9,3475,7299,5358,89111,974
Unigine Heaven score8901,0791,5531,3491,333
Speedometer (Firefox)218N/A202242273

The GEEKOM A5 performs well in Linux, and offers a good price/performance ratio compared to more expensive mini PCs, although we should note that the smaller capacity SSD and the lack of features such as Thunderbolt/USB4 ports are also part of the lower price.

Storage testing

Let’s test the performance of the 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD with iozone3:


Both sequential read and write speeds are about 2.9 GB/s which is still pretty good. For reference, CrystalDiskMark (in Windows 11) reported a 3.4 GB/s read speed and a 3.1GB/s write speed.

In order to double-check the actual speed of the three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and the two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports we connected the ORICO M234C3-U4 USB 3.0 M.2 NVMe SSD to each of them, as well as an external Seagate USB HDD to test the single USB 2.0 Type-A port. lsusb and iozone3 command line utilities were then used to confirm the speed and standard used.

Front panel USB-A ports (left to right):



Both ports are detected as being 10 Gbps capable, and iozone3 somewhat confirms that, although both the write and read speeds are rather on the low side…

We repeated the same test for the USB ports on the rear panel, again from left to right:

  • USB-A #1 – 10 Gbps – 800 MB/s (read speed)
  • USB-A #2 – 480 Mbps  – 40.2MB/s
  • USB-C #1 – 10 Gbps – 831.7 MB/s
  • USB-C #2 – 10 Gbps – 822.5 MB/s

So the USB ports work as expected just like in Windows 11.

Network performance (2.5Gbps Ethernet and WiFi 6)

Let’s test the network connection performance of the 2.5GbE port using iperf3 and UP Xtreme i11 Edge mini PC on the other side.

  • Upload

  • Download

  • Full-duplex (bidirectional)


Excellent 2.5GbE networking performance since 2.35 Gbps is basically the maximum achievable.

At this point, we would normally test WiFi, but for GEEKOM A5 Ubuntu 22.04 review, we had to work a bit harder since the WiFi connection was unstable… The reason can easily been seen by checking out the kernel log with dmesg:


A quick way to restore the WiFi connection is to unload and reload the rtw89_8852be driver:


This works but only temporarily since the same problem occurs within a few seconds to a few minutes… During the teardown, we noted there was a driver on GitHub for RealTek RTL8852BE modules in case it does not work out of the box with Ubuntu 22.04. So we attempted to build and install the latest version:


We tested that after a reboot, but this didn’t help. We then noticed some other users had the same issue, and Linux 6.4 is supposed to have a fix… So we installed the mainline utility…


… in order to install the latest mainline Linux kernel for Ubuntu (Linux 6.6.1)

Mainline Kernels Ubuntu 22.04

This was installed successfully although with some error messages so we completed the installation by running apt install --fix-missing (or similar). We rebooted the machine, and Linux 6.6.1 was indeed installed:


I was relatively confident this would fix the issue, but no luck the WiFi connection was soon lost with the same error message as previously. In a last-ditch effort, we tried another solution from the aforelinked forum, adding /usr/lib/modprobe.d/70-rtw89.conf file with the following line:


Another reboot… but WiFi was still unstable… Quite disappointing, but it was late, with no solution in sight, so we turned off the mini PC and went to bed.

Morning came and WiFi would not die, the connection was solid as a rock… So something we did yesterday fixed the WiFi connection… But it looks like a reboot might not have been enough, and we had to turn off the mini PC to make that work… Really odd. Time for some WiFi 6 test with iperf3:

  • Upload

  • Download


While it was a pain to make it work reliably, WiFi 6 actually delivers very good performance in Linux with about 860 Mbps uploads and 831 Mbps downloads, or around twice the speed we got in Windows 11 with the same testbed.

Stress test and CPU temperature testing

We performed a stress test on the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H 8-core/16-thread processor and monitored the CPU temperature to check for CPU throttling.

GEEKOM A5 CPU stress test temperature

The CPU temperature quickly rises to 100°C and remains constant with the system overheating in a room with an ambient temperature of 26°C. The command sbc-bench.sh -m shows the CPU temperature remains at 100.2°C with the CPU clocked at about 3,150 MHz.

Power consumption

Electrical power consumption can be measured as follows.

  • Power off – 1.5 Watts
  • Boot – 17 – 39 Watts
  • Idle – 9.1 – 9.9 Watts
  • Video playback – 29.8 – 36.6 Watts (YouTube 4K60fps in Firefox)
  • Stress test on 16 threads – 53.4 – 71.9 Watts

Conclusions

The GEEKOM A5 Mini PC works almost as well in Ubuntu 22.04 as in Windows 11 Pro with the main issue we had being WiFi instability that was fixed by using a more recent Linux kernel (Linux 6.6.1)  and driver. The price/performance ratio of the mini PC is excellent with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 512GB M.2 SSD delivering good performance, and the mini PC also comes with a decent number of ports that should satisfy most users although it lacks USB4/Thunderbolt 4 ports found in its more expensive competitors.

CPU throttling can be an issue under load, as the temperature quickly reaches over 100.2°C and the system throttles, but for most users, this should not be an issue. 4K YouTube video playback works nicely with close to no dropped frames, but 8K 60 fps videos are unwatchable, something that’s an issue even in the more powerful GEEKOM Mini IT13 in Linux (but not in Windows).

We’d like to thank GEEKOM for sending the A5 Mini PC for review. The model showcased here with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, 32GB RAM, and a 512GB M.2 SSD can currently be ordered on Amazon for $399 but you can use the coupon code X4OCFLPW for an additional $40 discount, or alternatively, the mini PC can also be purchased on GEEKOM online store for $359 when using cnxsofta540 coupon code.

CNXSoft: This article is a translation of the original review on CNX Software Thailand by Suthinee Kerdkaew.

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