GEEKOM A8 Review – Part 2: An AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS mini PC tested with Windows 11 Pro

In the first part of the review, we’ve already gone through a teardown and an unboxing of the GEEKOM A8 AI mini PC powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS processor with AMD Radeon 780M Graphics, 32GB RAM (upgradeable up to 64GB) and a 2TB M.2 NVMe SSD.

We’ve now had more time to play with the GEEKOM A8, so we will report our experience with the Windows 11 Pro operating system in the second part of the review testing features, running benchmarks, evaluating networking and storage performance, testing the thermal design, and taking measurements for fan noise and power consumption.

GEEKOM A8 mini PC Review Windows11 Pro

Software overview and features testing

The System->About window in the Settings confirms we have an A8 Mini PC powered by a 4.0 GHz (base frequency) AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS processor with Radeon 780M Graphics and 32GB of RAM running Windows 11 Pro 23H2 build 22631.3593.

System About AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS

HWiNFO64 provides more details about the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS octa-core/16-thread processor, motherboard, internal AMD Radeon 780M graphics, memory (2x 16GB DDR5-5600), and storage (Acer SSD N7000 2TB).

AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS HWiNFO

TechPowerUp GPU-Z gives us additional information about the AMD Radeon 780M Graphics.

GPU Z AMD Radeon 780M Graphics

The PL1 and PL2 power limits are set to 54W (PBP) and 65W (MTP) respectively, and the AMD processor is advertised as a 45W processor, so GEEKOM has not been as conservative with power limits as usual, maybe before the new “IceFlow 1.5” cooling system allows for better heat dissipation.

AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS power limits PL1 PL2

HWiNFO64 can also give us more information about memory. My GEEKOM A8 sample shipped with two Crucial Technology CT16G56C45SS DDR5 SO-DIMM modules with 16GB capacity each and based on Micron memory chips clocked at 2800 MHz (DDR5-5600) for a total capacity of 32 GB.

GEEKOM A8 DDR5 HWiNFO64

Windows Task Manager confirms we have 32GB RAM (or 31.3GB available to Windows) clocked at 5,600 MHz with two SODIMM modules. Note the NPU does not show here for some reasons… but it does in HWiNFO64.

GEEKOM A8 Memory Task Manager 5600MHz

Let’s now go to Device Manager->Network adapter to check 2.5Gbps Ethernet, WiFi 6E, and Bluetooth, all of which are shown.

GEEKOM A8 Device Manager Network Adapters

The GEEKOM A8 features a RealTek RTL8125 2.5GbE controller (Rev 05).

GEEKOM A8 2.5Gbps Ethernet

The MediaTek MT7922 WiFi 6E wireless card is shown to support up to 2,999 Mbps link speed, but we are connected at 206 Mbps albeit quite far from the router at the time of the screenshot. During the teardown, we saw the exact model number of the wireless module was “Azurewave AW-XB591NF”.

MediaTek MT7966 WiFi 6E Windows 11 Pro

We can check the Bluetooth version in Device Manager->MediaTek Bluetooth Adapter->Advanced.

GEEKOM A8 Bluetooth Version 5.3

LMP 12.xx looks up to Bluetooth 5.3. We’ve tested it successfully sending a file from the mini PC to an Android smartphone.

GEEKOM A8 Bluetooth File Transfer Test

All USB ports are properly marked, but let’s confirm the speed of the USB4, USB 3.2, and USB 2.0 ports on GEEKOM A8 using an ORICO M234C3-U4 M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure for USB 3.x/4 ports and a USB 3.0 hard drive for the USB 2.0 port, plus HWiNFO64 to verify the version and speed and CrystalDiskMark to confirm the transfer speed.

Here is an example with the left USB 3.2 Type-A port on the front panel.

GEEKOM A8 USB 3.2 port 1 speed

Same thing, but for the left USB4 port on the rear panel.

Geekom A8 USB4 speed

Finally, that’s the result for the USB 2.0 port.

GEEKOM A8 USB 2.0 Port Speed

Here’s a summary of the results of all six ports from left to right:

  • Front panel
    • USB-A #1 – USB 3.2 – USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus (10 Gbps) – Read speed: 895 MB/s; write speed: 932 MB/s
    • USB-A #2 – USB 3.2 – USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus (10 Gbps) – Read speed: 895 MB/s; write speed: 930 MB/s
  • Rear panel
    • USB-C #1 – USB4 (40 Gbps) – Thunderbolt/NVMe 8GT/s – Read speed: 2,205 MB/s; write speed: 813 MB/s
    • USB-A #1 (top) – USB 3.2 – USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus (10 Gbps) – Read speed: 965 MB/s; write speed: 954 MB/s
    • USB-A #2 (bottom) – USB 2.0 – USB 2.0 Hight-Speed (480 Mbps) – Read speed: 43 MB/s; write speed: 35 MB/s
    • USB-C #2 – USB 3.2 – USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus (10 Gbps) – Read speed: 965 MB/s; write speed: 952 MB/s

All ports work as expected considering the bottleneck for the USB4 is the read speed (2,200 MB/s) of the Apacer SSD used for testing.

The GEEKOM A8 is equipped with two HDMI 2.0 ports and two USB 4 ports with DisplayPort Alt mode and supports up to four independent 4K displays. We don’t have 4K monitors, but we still tested the four video outputs.

Mini PC dual HDMI 2.0 dual USB4 Type C display ports

We could use four monitors in extended desktop mode namely the 14-inch CrowView laptop monitor (USB-C), two 15.6-inch CrowVi portable monitors (USB-C and HDMI), and a Kamvas Pro 16 (2.5K) “drawing tablet” connected over HDMI.

GEEKOM A8 Four independent displays

GEEKOM A8 benchmarks on Windows 11 Pro

We set the Power mode to “Best performance” in the settings before running Windows 11 benchmarks on the GEEKOM A8 Pro mini PC.

Windows 11 Ryzen 9 Power mode Best performance

Let’s start with PCMark 10 for testing the overall system performance.

PCmark 10 GEEKOM A8

That would be 7,693 points in PCMark 10.

GEEKOM A8 3DMARK

Next up to 3DMark, where the system achieved 7,736 points.

PassMark PerformanceTest 11 Geekom A8

GEEKOM A8 got 8,543.4 points in PassMark PerformanceTest 11 with an impressive Disk Mark result in the 97th percentile which may impact the overall PassMark rating quite a lot.

CrystalDiskMark GEEKOM A8 NVMe SSD

So we also run CrystalDiskMark to evaluate the 2TB NVMe SSD performance and the results are impressive with 7,000 MB/s sequential read speed and 6,262 MB/s sequential write speed. It’s the highest performance of all mini PCs we’ve reviewed so far. The random I/Os look good too, although the WD PC SN740 NVMe SSD in the Khadas Mind Premium is better in RND4K tests.

Cinebench R23 was used to test single-core and multi-core performance.

AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS Cinebench R23

The single-core score was 1,768 points, while the multi-core score was 15,088 points or an MP ratio of 8.54x for an octa-core/16-thread processor.

We’ll start GPU testing with Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 where the system averaged 68.0 fps and achieved a 1,712 points score at 1920×1080 resolution.

AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 Windows 11

Let’s test YouTube 4K and 8K in Google Chrome.

GEEKOM A8 Windows 11 YouTube 4K 30 FPS

Our YouTube 4K 30 FPS video sample played perfectly with no frames dropped at all after a 7-minute test.

GEEKOM A8 Windows 11 YouTube 8K 30 FPS

Same thing for 8K at 30 FPS.

GEEKOM A8 Windows 11 YouTube 4K 60 FPS

Switching to 4K 60 FPS (2160p60) was fine too, but there were a few dropped frames (24) out of 24,212.

GEEKOM A8 Windows 11 YouTube 8K 60 FPS

The GEEKOM A8 can also handle 8K 60 FPS video just fine with the video playing smoothly, and only 65 frames dropped out of 26,450. We also tested audio through HDMI and the 3.5mm audio jack while watching the YouTube videos, and there were no issues.

Since the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS processor comes with a 16 TOPS NPU and can deliver up to 39 TOPS we also tried to test AI workloads. We started running Geekbench ML 0.6.0 on the CPU where the system got 3,859 points.

GEEKOM A8 Geekbench ML CPU score

Then Geekbench ML 0.6.0 was run with ONNX DirectML which should have used the GPU and AI accelerator.

Geekbench ML 0.6.0 score with DirectML

The score is indeed higher with DirectML, but as you’ll see in the comparison between the two runs sometimes the CPU is faster… We did try AI samples on Ryzen 9 7840HS (GEEKOM A7) last February, but it was a giant mess with many of the samples not compiling or running properly. PerfML is supposed to be the reference benchmark for AI/ML workloads, but the documentation is a mess and it looks like each (micro) benchmark needs to be run individually…

Comparison of GEEKOM A8 Windows 11 benchmarks against other mini PCs

Let’s now compare the Windows 11 benchmark results of the GEEKOM A8 against other high-end mini PC include the GEEKOM A7 (AMD Ryzen 9 7840HS), GEEKOM XT12 Pro (Intel Core i9-12900H), GEEKOM Mini IT13 (Intel Core i9-13900H), and Khadas Mind Premium (Intel Core i7-1360P).

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

GEEKOM A8GEEKOM A7GEEKOM XT12 ProGEEKOM IT13Khadas Mind Premium
SoCAMD Ryzen 9 8945HSAMD Ryzen 9 7840HSIntel Core i9-12900HIntel Core i9-13900HIntel Core i7-1360P
CPU8-core/16-thread processor up to 5.2 GHz 8-core/16-thread processor up to 5.1GHz14-core/20-thread (6P+8E) Alder Lake processor up to 5.00 GHz (P-cores), up to 3.80 GHz (E-Cores)14-core/20-thread (6P+8E) Raptor Lake processor up to 5.40 GHz (P-cores), up to 4.10 GHz (E-Cores)12-core/16-core (4P+8E) Raptor Lake processor up to 5.00 GHz (P-cores), up to 3.70 GHz (E-Cores)
GPUAMD Radeon 780M GraphicsAMD Radeon 780M Graphics96EU Intel Iris Xe Graphics96 EU Intel Iris Xe Graphics96 EU Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Memory32GB DDR5-560032GB DDR5-560032GB DDR4-320032GB DDR4-320032GB LPDDR5-5200
Storage2TB NVMe SSD2TB NVMe SSD1TB NVMe SSD2TB NVMe SSD1TB NVMe SSD
Default OSWindows 11 ProWindows 11 ProWindows 11 ProWindows 11 ProWindows 11 Home

And now the benchmark results on Windows 11.

GEEKOM A8GEEKOM A7GEEKOM XT12 ProGEEKOM Mini IT13Khadas Mind Premium
PCMark 107576
7516
60636681
5904
- Essentials1165011528111601193811038
- Productivity1051010370737683417589
- Digital content creation96399639734481266667
3DMark (Fire Strike)77368534498253875427
PerformanceTest 11.08543.48058.250855580.45378
- CPU Mark30090.430719.82333825363.121786
- 2D Graphics Mark903.9931.9777547.6631
- 3D Graphics Mark7984.97226.134443728.2
3622
- Memory Mark3308.83391.432593925.93642
- Disk Mark49560.4385903100338135.542395
Cinebench R23
- Single Core1768183117691943
1878
- Multi Core1508815231746611855
9384

The results are not that different between the GEEKOM A7 and A8, and the main highlight is the faster NVMe SSD in the A8… Both AMD systems perform quite better than the Intel mini PCs.

Network performance testing  (2.5GbE and WiFi 6)

We’ll use the iperf3 utility to test both Ethernet and WiFi using the UP Xtreme i11 Edge mini PC on the other side.

Let’s start with 2.5Gbps Ethernet:

  • Download

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Perfect no issue whatsoever. Let’s do the same with WiFi 6 adding Xiaomi Mi AX6000 router to the testbed since we don’t own a WiFi 6E capable router. But remember that we broke one of the WiFi antennas while opening the device in the first part of the review. So we’ll test with one antenna only first.

  • Download

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Note we are using iperf 3.17.1 as earlier versions like iperf 3.1.3 are slower. 952 Mbps download and 914 Mbps are not bad results, even with only one antenna. But what happens with an extra IPEX4 antenna?

Repair WiFi Antenna IPEX4 in mini PC

This time we stuck the antenna on the side since it was initially placed on the bottom cover and was prone to be broken when the user opened the device to change the RAM or install another SSD. We wrote a short tutorial showing how to change the WiFi antenna for those who may experience the same issue.

  • Download

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1.20 Gbps downloads and 1.57 Gbps uploads are even more impressive, and that’s the fastest WiFi 6 speeds we ever got in our testbed.

Thermal performance

To test the cooling efficiency of the mini PC, we ran the 3Dmark Fire Strike benchmark while monitoring the system with HWiNFO64 to check the maximum CPU temperature under CPU+GPU load, with a maximum temperature of 93.1°C and no thermal CPU throttling detected by the utility.

AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS Thermal Test 3DMark Fire Strike

That’s the same results as in GEEKOM A7, except the maximum temperature was a bit higher at 95.6°C.

Fan noise

The mini PC’s fan is barely audible most of the time but becomes somewhat noisy under heavy loads.  We used a sound level meter 5 cm from the top of the device to measure the fan noise:

  • Idle – 37.8 to 41.3 dBA
  • 3Dmark’s Fire Strike – 40.8 – 58.6 dBA

The room’s background noise is 37 to 38 dBa. The results are again very similar to the ones for the GEEKOM A7.

GEEKOM A8 power consumption

GEEKOM A8’s power consumption was measured while running Windows 11 Pro using a wall power meter as follows:

  • Power off – 1.5 Watts
  • Idle – 6.5 to 7.0 Watts
  • Video playback – 20.72 – 43.0 Watts (YouTube 8K 60fps in Chrome)
  • 3DMark’s Fire Strike – 47.2 – 52.2 Watts
  • Cinebench R23 Multi-core
    • First few seconds – 64.6 – 70.9 Watts
    • Long run – 61.3 – 64.5 Watts

The mini PC was connected to WiFi 6, an RF dongle for a keyboard, a USB mouse, and the CrowVi display through an HDMI cable and a separate USB-C power adapter.

Conclusion

The GEEKOM A8 offers performance similar to the GEEKOM A7 we reviewed a few months ago, meaning the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS system is one of the fastest mini PCs we’ve ever reviewed.  You should be able to run pretty much anything that you’d normally do on a larger PC, even play some AAA games, although the iGPU won’t quite match the performance of discrete graphics cards from NVIDIA or AMD.

The GEEKOM A8 does offer some improvements over the A7 in Windows 11 Pro with 8K 60 FPS video streaming working perfectly and a faster NVMe SSD (the fastest we ever tested based on sequential read/write speeds). All features we tested worked fine including driving four independent displays through HDMI and USB ports, USB4/Thunderbolt support, and audio output from HDMI and the headphone jack. Both 2.5GbE and WiFi 6 also work great. We did not experience CPU throttling, and the mini PC’s fan is quiet most of the time. It only really kicks up under heavier loads, but even then the noise is not too annoying.

What I don’t know what to do with right now is the AI Engine, since there don’t seem to be any (killer) applications that make use of it. I can see some work-on-progress support on software such as Hugging Faces, but I assume it will take a bit more time before it becomes useful to end users.

We’d like to thank GEEKOM for sending us the A8 mini PC for review with an AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS, 32GB DDR5, and a 2 TB SSD. The model reviewed here can be purchased on Amazon for $806.55 with coupon code CNXSWGA8, and you’ll also find it on the GEEKOM US and GEEKOM UK stores with similar pricing when using the discount coupon CNXA8 for a 5% discount. The coupon codes are valid until July 10, 2024. There’s also a cheaper GEEKOM A8 model based on the Ryzen 7 8845HS CPU.

Continue reading “GEEKOM A8 Review – Part 3: Ubuntu 24.04 tested on an AMD Ryzen 8945HS mini PC

CNXSoft: This article is a translation – with some additional insights – of the original review on CNX Software Thailand by Suthinee Kerdkaew.

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5 Comments
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John Smith
John Smith
1 month ago

Unfortunately not liking what I have been seeing in these tiny pc computers, I am for media center type computers and I have yet to see one of them have hdmi 2.1 yet that I would really want. I will have to wait another year to see what AMD plans for the type of igpu for the tiny computers and decide then, hopefully by then they will all have the hdmi 2.1.

Vall
Vall
1 month ago

> The results are not that different between the GEEKOM A7 and A8

Yeah, and the power consumption numbers are consistently higher. Kinda disappointing given that its “IceFlow” cooling system was expected to give the A8 an advantage performance-wise, and that’s not what we’re seeing for the most part.

All in all, I continue to be very happy to have snatched my A7 for $649… looks like it continues to be an advancement not only over its predecessors, but also over its successor 😁

Vall
Vall
1 month ago

> Aey wrote an article (in Thai) showing how to change the antenna, but it’s pretty straightforward, and I don’t plan to translate it (Let me know if I should).

Can you please translate it to English? I’m interested in doing this mod to my A7, and based on the pictures it seems to be just the same as the A8, but without understanding the text I can’t be sure about what parts to buy, possible pitfalls, etc — and Google Translate is stubbornly failing to translate it for me (is showing some internal error).

Vall
Vall
1 month ago

Thank you very much, @Jean-Luc! 👍

Khadas VIM4 SBC