GEEKOM A7 mini PC review – Part 3: Ubuntu 22.04 (and Ubuntu 24.04)

After a GEEKOM A7 mini PC unboxing and teardown, I tested the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS mini PC in Windows 11 Pro, but I’ll now report my experience with the GEEKOM A7 running Ubuntu 22.04.4 to see our well the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS system performs in Linux. I also had to install Ubuntu 24.04 to check the wireless module further, so I’ll report on that too.

The Ubuntu 22.04 review will include features testing, several benchmarks, storage, 2.5GbE, and WiFi 6 networking performance testing, a stress test to check thermal performance, as well as fan noise and power consumption measurements.

GEEKOM A7 Ubuntu 22.04 Linux review

Ubuntu 22.04 installation

I resized the Windows 11 partition to get an unused 500GB partition to install Ubuntu 22.04 from a USB drive. But the first time, it did not work as I was asked to disable BitLocker disk encryption in Windows 11 just like I did for the GEEKOM AS 6 mini PC.

The installation went smoothly once we disable BitLocker. For this model, I did not have to go to the BIOS to change the boot priorities after installation, and GRUB showed up normally for me to select Ubuntu or Windows.

Ubuntu 22.04.4 system information on GEEKOM A7

Going to Settings->About confirms we have the latest Ubuntu 22.04.4 64-bit running on the GEEKOM A7 mini PC with 32GB RAM and an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS 16-thread CPU with AMD Radeon 780M Graphics, and 2TB of storage.

GEEKOM A7 Ubuntu 22.04.4

We can get some more details from the command line:


The Inxi utility lists all the main components in the system:


The AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS 8-core/16-thread processor is advertised as having a 5.2 GHz maximum boost frequency, but Linux somehow reports up to 6228 MHz for a specific core. The RealTek RTL8125 2.5GbE controller is detected, as is the MediaTek MT7922 Wifi 6 network adapter. The reported CPU temperature (20°C) is bogus…

Ubuntu 22.04 benchmarks on GEEKOM A7 mini PC

We’ll start Ubuntu 22.04 benchmarks on the GEEKOM A7 mini PC with Thomas Kaiser’s sbc-bench.sh script:


The maximum CPU temperature was 95°C during the cpuminer test. It also reached 95C during 7-zip multi-core but only temporarily. The 7-zip benchmark score was the highest we’ve seen in the mini PCs we’ve reviewed so far with 71,110 points on average. Note the first test was a little higher at 72,496, and then it stabilized lower at 70,697 and 70,126. But that’s normal on modern x86 as there’s a large performance boost in the first few seconds.

Let’s check out the power limits with Ryzenadj:


Oops… Not quite working as expected, but after I went to the BIOS and disabled secure boot, I could get the data:


All main power limits are as follows:

  • Sustained Power Limit (STAPM LIMIT) – 35 Watts
  • Actual Power Limit (PPT LIMIT FAST) – 60 watts
  • Average Power Limit (PPT LIMIT SLOW) – 45 watts

I’ll now run Geekbench 6.2.2 to evaluate the single and multi-core performance of the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS in Linux.

GEEKOM A7 Geekbench 6.2.2 Linux

The single-core score is 2,535 points, and the multi-core one is 12,914 points. Check out the results on the Geekbench website for the full details.

Let’s start GPU testing with Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 where the GEEKOM A7 mini PC achieved 80.6 fps on average and a score of 2,032 points at the usual 1920×1080 resolution.

AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 Ubuntu Linux

Next up is YouTube 4K and 8K video playback in Firefox.

GEEKOM A7 YouTube 4K 60FPS Ubuntu Firefox

I skipped the 30 FPS test and tried to stream a 4K 60 FPS video. The video was smooth, and no big problem here with 81 frames dropped out of 15,013 when I played the video a few minutes.

GEEKOM A7 YouTube 8K 60FPS Ubuntu Firefox 30 seconds

Switching to an 8K 30 FPS in Firefox looked OK for the first 30 seconds or so, albeit a frame was dropped each second.

GEEKOM A7 YouTube 8K 60FPS Ubuntu Firefox frozen frame

But the video became unwatchable after a while with 15 to 20 frames dropped per second, and around the 5-minute mark, we had 11,548 frames dropped out of 27,264.

GEEKOM A7 YouTube 8K 30FPS Ubuntu Chrome

I decided to switch to Chrome and try an 8K 30 FPS video. It played just fine with only one frame dropped after watching the video for a little over 5 minutes.

GEEKOM A7 YouTube 8K 60FPS Ubuntu Chrome

An 8K 60 FPS video played relatively smoothly in the Google browser for the first two minutes, although one or two frames were dropped per second, but after that, the video became unwatchable with around 20 frames dropped by second and the loading icon showing frequently despite having no issues with the buffer health.

Since we can play the video fine for a while, cooling looks to be the issue here, and an ambient temperature of 28°C may be too much to ask in order to stream an 8K YouTube video at 60 FPS smoothly. It might work better in cooler climates/rooms. I also took the occasion to test the audio with HDMI audio and the 3.5mm audio jack, both of which work fine, but Bluetooth did not work at all. More on that later.

Speedometer 2.0 web-based benchmark was loaded in Firefox to evaluate web browsing performance.

AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS Speedometer 2.0 Firefox

The score was 249 runs per minute and matches the score of several other systems.

AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS Speedometer 2.0 Chrome

The same benchmark was faster in Google Chrome at 353 runs per minute.

GEEKOM A7’s Ubuntu 22.04 performance compared to other mini PCs

Let’s compare some of Ubuntu 22.04 benchmark results for the GEEKOM A7 (AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS) mini PC against other high-end mini PCs including the Chatreey AM08 Pro based on the same processor, the GEEKOM Mini IT13 (13th gen Core i9-13900H Raptor Lake), the Khadas Mind Premium (13th Gen Core i7-1360P Raptor Lake), and the GEEKOM AS 6 (AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX) in similar environmental conditions (28-30°C room temperature).

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

GEEKOM A7Chatreey AM08 Pro
GEEKOM Mini IT13Khadas Mind PremiumGEEKOM AS 6
SoCAMD Ryzen 9 7840HS
AMD Ryzen 9 7840HSIntel Core i9-13900HIntel Core i7-1360PAMD Ryzen 9 6900HX
CPU8-core/16-thread processor up to 4.0GHz8-core/16-thread processor up to 4.0GHz14-core/20-thread up to 5.4 GHz12-core/16-core up to 5.0 GHz8-core/16-thread up to 4.9 GHz
GPUAMD Radeon 780M GraphicsAMD Radeon 780M Graphics96 EU Intel Iris Xe Graphics96 EU Intel Iris Xe GraphicsAMD Radeon Graphics 680M
Memory32GB DDR5-560016GB DDR5-480032GB DDR4-320032GB LPDDR5-520032GB DDR5-4800
Storage2TB NVMe SSD1TB NVMe SSD*2TB NVMe SSD1TB NVMe SSD1TB NVMe SSD
Default OSWindows 11 ProWindows 11 ProWindows 11 ProWindows 11 HomeWindows 11 Pro

* The Chatreey AM08 Pro mini PC shipped with a 512GB (PCIe Gen 3) SSD, but was replaced by a 1TB Samsung 990 Pro NVMe (PCIe Gen4 x4) SSD for review.

And now the benchmark results

GEEKOM A7Chatreey AM08 ProGEEKOM Mini IT13Khadas Mind PremiumGEEKOM AS 6
sbc-bench.sh
- memcpy20,406.019,457.624,014.4 (P-core)25,389.5 MB/s (P-core)19,131.7 MB/s
- memset62491.761,783.926,647.9 (P-Core)24,731.8MB/s (P-core)16,781.4 MB/s
- 7-zip (average)71,11067,93056,54044,43054,592
- 7-zip (top result)72,49668,21160,98150,39656,251
- OpenSSL AES-256 16K1428559.19k1,442,376.36k1,844,401.49k (P-Core)1,771,334.31k (P-Core)1,249,203.54k
Geekbench 6 Single2,5352,7232,74520931,992
Geekbench 6 Multi12,91412,10811,9748,8919,535
Unigine Heaven score2,032-1,3331,3491,553
Speedometer (Firefox)249-273242202

The GEEKOM A7 is the fastest mini PC we’ve reviewed when it comes to multi-threaded and 3D graphics performance thanks to the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS processor, but the Intel Core i9-13900H found in the GEEKOM Mini IT13 still delivers higher single-core performance. The GEEKOM A7 also looks slightly faster than the Chatreey AM08 Pro with the same processor.

Storage and USB ports

We tested the performance of the 2TB NVMe SSD that ships with the mini PC using  iozone3:


That would be about 3.87GB/s sequential read speeds and 4.45 GB/s sequential write speeds in Linux. This compares to 4906.30 MB/s and 4710.80 MB/s sequential read and write speeds in Windows 11 Pro using CrystalDiskMark.

An EXT-4 partition from ORICO M234C3-U4 “USB4” M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure was used to check the speed of each USB port along with lsusb and iozone3 command line utilities. Here’s the output from the front left USB port:


The 40 Gbps USB4 port on the left side of the rear panel requires us to use boltctl utility instead of lsusb since the drive is detected as an NVMe drive:


Note that I had to manually authorize the drive in Ubuntu 22.04 desktop before being able to access it.  It’s the first time I have to do this…

Results for the USB ports on GEEKOM A7’s front panel (left to right) in Ubuntu 22.04:

  • USB-A #1 – USB 3.2 – 10 Gbps – 923.9 MB/s write speed, 788.4 MB/s read speed
  • USB-A #2 – USB 3.2 – 10 Gbps – 923.6 MB/s write speed, 788.14 MB/s read speed

Same tests for the rear panel (left to right):

  • USB-C #1 – Thunderbolt 3 – 2,346 MB/s read speed
  • USB-A #1 (Top) – USB 3.2 – 10 Gbps – 944 MB/s write speed, 840.3 MB/s read speed
  • USB-A #2 (Bottom) – USB 2.0 – 480 Mbps – 30.87MB/s write speed, 41.99 MB/s read speed,  (Note: tested with another USB hard drive since the ORICO enclosure is not compatible with USB 2.0)
  • USB-C #2 – USB 3.2 – 10 Gbps – 944.6 MB/s write speed, 827.9 MB/s read speed

All USB ports are performing as advertised, but – just like in Windows 11 – the front USB 3.2 ports are somewhat slower because they are behind a Genesys Logic USB 3.2 hub chip.

Networking (2.5GbE and WiFi 6) and Bluetooth

I tested 2.5GbE network performance with iperf3 and UP Xtreme i11 Edge mini PC on the other side:

  • Upload

  • Download

  • Full duplex (bidirectional)


Perfect results, nothing else to say here.

Now let’s try WiFi 6 in Ubuntu 22.04 while connected to Xiaomi Mi AX6000 router:

  • Upload

  • Download


The results look good here, but it does not tell the whole story. I had trouble reliably accessing some websites in Firefox or Chrome, and connecting over SSH was sluggish and unstable too. What that means is that it may take a lot of time to log in successfully (sometimes it fails), and once I’m in the terminal, there’s a massive lag to input text from the keyboard. This only happens with WiFi and I did not experience the same problem with Ethernet.

As noted above, I was unable to use a Bluetooth audio headset. That’s because Bluetooth is not working at all.

Bluetooth Fail Ubuntu 22.04We can also see an error in the kernel log indicating there may be an issue with the firmware:


I tried various methods found on the Internet, but nothing worked. I thought I might update the kernel to Linux 6.7 from Linux 6.5 using the official Ubuntu PPA, but this did not work due to a libc6 version mismatch. I could have tried a third-party Linux kernel, but since the Ubuntu 24.04 release is only two months away, I decided to use a daily build of the upcoming operating system to find out whether it would fix anything.

MediaTek MT7922 wireless module tested in Ubuntu 24.04

I prepared a USB flash drive with noble-desktop-amd64.iso (February 22, 2024), went back to Windows to resize the Windows partition and create a spare 224 GB partition, and started installing Ubuntu 24.04.

Ubuntu 24.04 installation no WiFi

No Wi-Fi devices were detected in the installation wizard, so I used Ethernet.

Ubuntu 24.04 installation third party software

I ticked “install third-party software for graphics and WiFi” and “Download and install support for additional…” in the “other options” to make sure any proprietary drivers or firmware that may be needed are installed too.

Ubuntu 24.04 triple boot Windows 11 Ubuntu 22.04

Ubuntu 24.04 was installed in a triple boot configuration with Windows 11 Pro and Ubuntu 22.04. Apart from the missing wireless support, the installation went smoothly and I could complete the installation without any issues.

But even after a reboot neither WiFi nor Bluetooth worked:


I read somewhere that I should turn my computer off and on again… That sounded silly, but it ended up being a smart move!


Sadly Bluetooth still not working:


Ubuntu 24.04 will ship with Linux 6.8 at release, but my nightly build was based on Linux 6.6


Next, I disconnected the Ethernet cable and connected the mini PC to my router’s 5 GHz SSID. I could browse the web and access the mini PC over SSH without any issues. So WiFi looks to be more stable in Ubuntu 24.04 once/if it works. I was unable to reproduce the bug with “firmware own failed” subsequently with a few reboots and power cycles, so it might have been a one-off problem.

I tested WiFi 6 with iperf3 again to see if the performance had changed:

  • Upload

  • Download


940 Mbps in either direction is pretty good, actually similar to a gigabit Ethernet connection, and about the same as in Ubuntu 22.04. Using WiFi 6 in Ubuntu 24.04 looks more stable, so I’m hopeful that part will work fine once the stable Ubuntu 24.04 image is released.

Bluetooth is still not working, so I updated the system to Linux 6.7 using the files provided by Canonical, but it did not help:

GEEKOM A7 Stress test and CPU temperature in Ubuntu 22.04.

Back to Ubuntu 22.04, I ran a stress test on the 16 threads of the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS processor to evaluate thermal performance by monitoring the CPU temperature with psensor and the CPU frequency with the sbc-bench.sh script.

GEEKOM A7 Ubuntu Stress Test

The CPU temperature jumps from 36°C at idle to around 95°C, before going down a bit, and then up again and stabilizes at 95°C for about 10 minutes, before dropping to 89°C after that… Throttling clearly occurs here but it’s somehow controlled. At the start, the CPU frequency jumps to 4.5 GHz for a few seconds, then around 4.0 GHz, and during the longer 95°C period it ranges between 3801 MHz and 4116 MHz, but mostly in the 38xx MHz range. After around 12 minutes, the CPU frequency drops to 3743 MHz and this small drop seems to have a big impact on the CPU temperature since it drops to 89°C in our environment (room at about 28°C) and stabilizes there. That may also explain why 8K 60 YouTube videos are playing fine in the first few minutes before becoming unwatchable.

Fan noise

GEEKOM A7’s fan is not too noisy at idle or under light loads but becomes noisier under a stress test and to a lesser extent when playing a YouTube video. I don’t personally find the noise too annoying. As usual, I measured the fan noise with a sound level meter placed at around 5 centimeters from the top of the enclosure:

  • Idle – 45.3 – 45.7 dBA
  • YouTube 4K 60 video in Firefox (volume off) – 47.4 – 48 dBA
  • Stress test on all 16 threads – 49.8 – 50.1 dBA

For reference, the meter measures around 38 dBA in a quiet room.

GEEKOM A7 power consumption in Ubuntu 22.04

We measured the power consumption with a wall power meter:

  • Power off – 1.3 Watt
  • Idle – 5.0 – 5.8 Watts
  • Video playback
    • 25.9 – 33.3 Watts (Youtube 4K 60fps in Firefox – Note: VP9 codec)
    • 62.9 – 78.4 Watts (Youtube 8K 60fps in Firefox – Note: AV1 code)
  • CPU stress test (stress -c 16)
    • First couple of seconds – 79 – 84.4 Watts
    • After around 20 seconds – 64.2 – 64.5 Watts
    • Longer run – 57.7 – 57.8 Watts
    • Even longer run (12+ minutes) – 52.1 – 52.3 Watts

During the measurements, the mini PC was connected to a 2.5GbE switch and an HDMI display with its own power consumption, and two USB RF dongles were used for a mouse and a keyboard.

Conclusion

The GEEKOM A7 is the most powerful mini PC we’ve tested so far and works well in Ubuntu 22.04 as long as we ignore the MediaTek MT7922 wireless module (Azurewave AW-XB591NF) with fast but unstable/unreliable WiFi and Bluetooth not working. Switching to a daily built Ubuntu 24.04 image improves the stability of WiFi 6, so I’m confident this should be fine once Ubuntu 24.04 is officially released in April. I was unable to make Bluetooth work.

2.5GbE works perfectly however, so if you don’t need WiFi or Bluetooth, this AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS mini PC is great in Linux with fast NVMe storage, excellent multi-core performance, and YouTube video playback works well up to 4K 60 FPS and 8K 30 FPS. The system struggles at 8K 60 FPS but only after a while, so it may be a victim of the tropical climate in Thailand and may work better in more moderate climates or cooler rooms. The mini PC’s fan is fairly quiet most of the time, and not too annoying when more demanding tasks are running.

I’d like to thank GEEKOM for sending the A7 mini PC for review. The model reviewed here with 32GB of DDR5 RAM and a 2TB SSD can be purchased on Amazon for $829 with the coupon code CNXSW3A7 as well as on the GEEKOM store. with the discount code cnxsoftwarea7, which also works on the GEEKOM UK store.

Share this:

Support CNX Software! Donate via cryptocurrencies, become a Patron on Patreon, or purchase goods on Amazon or Aliexpress

ROCK Pi 4C Plus
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
The comment form collects your name, email and content to allow us keep track of the comments placed on the website. Please read and accept our website Terms and Privacy Policy to post a comment.
12 Comments
oldest
newest
Vall
Vall
1 month ago

Thanks for the greatly detailed review! I’m coming to the point where I’m not going to buy any SFFPC that doesn’t have a review from you first. As per this one, I’m quite impressed with the performance, specially since you measured its idle power usage at only 5.4W on average. And that’s with Ubuntu which runs a fairly large number of background processes, so I bet it’s going to be even lower with a more frugal distribution. I have two questions: 1) re: the badly supported WiFi/Bluetooth module, will Geekom sell this PC without it so we can buy and… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
1 month ago

> It’s going to be challenging to find consumer-grade hardware that supports ECC.

DDR5 and as such the Crucial DIMMs you tested with feature on-die ECC by design 😉

But I agree that those who ‘need’ real ECC memory (mostly based on misunderstandings) will have a hard time finding this feature on consumer mini PCs.

Vall
Vall
1 month ago

> DDR5 and as such the Crucial DIMMs you tested with feature on-die ECC by design PSA (not necessarily for the OP but for anyone else reading this): the general consensus is that built-in ECC is a required feature by the JEDEC standard for DDR5 memory for the simple reason that it’s absolutely necessary to make DDR5 at least as reliable as non-ECC DDR4. So don’t fall for the illusion that the built-in ECC in DDR5 provides any more reliability than non-ECC DDR4, because it doesn’t (and as someone who has already lost data due to non-ECC DDR4 memory, I… Read more »

Vall
Vall
1 month ago

> So the easiest solution would be to replace the WiFi module with something like AX201. Agreed. But then we’d stuck with a module I paid good money for (as its cost is certainly included in the Geekom price) and I don’t expect to have much use for (see below). > I’m still hoping some software fix will become available in the next few months for both WiFi (already looks OK in Ubuntu 24.04) and Bluetooth. I’ve no doubt a mostly-functioning fix will eventually be available, but the operating word here is “mostly”: experience shows that Intel networking hardware (wifi… Read more »