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

We’ve already checked out GEEKOM A8 mini PC hardware with an unboxing and a teardown, before testing the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS mini PC in Windows 11 Pro, and we’ll now report our experience with the GEEKOM A8 running Ubuntu 24.04 to see how it performs in Linux.

We tested most features of the GEEKOM A8 mini PC on Ubuntu 24.04, ran several benchmarks to compare it to the similar GEEKOM A7 mini PC, performed storage and networking performance testing, ran stress test to check thermal performance, and measured fan noise and power consumption under various conditions.

GEEKOM A8 mini PC Review Ubuntu 24.04 Linux

Installing Ubuntu 24.04 on the GEEKOM A8 mini PC

As usual, we resized the Windows 11 partition to install Ubuntu 24.04 alongside Microsoft OS using a bootable USB flash drive created with the Ubuntu ISO.

GEEKOM A8 Disk Management partition

But you’ll notice BitLocker is enabled so the Ubuntu 24.04 installation can’t proceed. The installation wizard will ask us to turn off BitLocker for a dual boot system or to wipe out the Windows installation to install Ubuntu only.

Ubuntu Turn off BitLocker disk encryption

We went back to Windows to disable BitLocker drive encryption as shown in the screenshot below.

Windows 11 BitLocker Drive Encryption

After this change, the Ubuntu 24.04 installation went smoothly on the GEEKOM A8 mini PC, and we didn’t need to enter the BIOS to change the boot priority as we sometimes had to do in the past. You’ll be presented with the Grub menu at boot to select Ubuntu or Windows.

Ubuntu 24.04 system information

The Settings -> About window confirms we have a GEEKOM A8 running Ubuntu 24.04 LTS on a 16-core AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS processor with AMD Radeon 780M graphics, 32GB of RAM 32GB and 2TB of storage.

GEEKOM A8 ubuntu 24.04 system info

We can get a free more details from the command line…


and even more with inxi utility:


The program lists the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS processor with 8 cores and 16 threads as expected but Linux reports a maximum speed of 6,844 MHz… against the advertised 5.2 GHz Turbo frequency. Some peripherals include the Realtek RTL8125 2.5GbE controller and MediaTek MT7922 WiFi 6 network adapter. Bluetooth is detected but with a MAC address of 00:00:00:00:00:00, and as we’ll see further below it does not work. The idle CPU temperature is reported to be 53.6°C, but we will check that again.

GEEKOM A8 benchmarks on Ubuntu 24.04

We’ll start benchmarking the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS mini PC with Thomas Kaiser’s sbc-bench.sh:


The script did not detect any CPU throttling, but the 7-zip benchmark slowly decreases between each run (69,297 points -> 68,708 points -> 68,364 points) pointing to some sort of thermal or power throttling.

Let’s check the power  limits with RyzenAdj (Note: we had to disable secure boot for this to work):


The power limits are as follows:

  • Sustained Power Limit (STAPM LIMIT) – 45 Watts
  • Actual Power Limit (PPT LIMIT FAST) – 65 Watts
  • Average Power Limit (PPT LIMIT SLOW) – 54 Watts

For reference, the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS CPU has a configurable TDP between 35 and 54W.

We’ll now test the single-core and multi-core CPU performance with Geekbench 6.3.0.

Geekbench 6.3.0 linux GEEKOM A8

The GEEKOM A8 achieved 2,661 points for the single-core test and 13,275 points for the multi-core test.

We’ll start testing the GPU with Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0. The system could render the benchmark at 78.3 FPS on average with a score of 1,972 points at the standard 1920×1080 resolution.

Radeon 780M Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0

YouTube 4K and 8K video playback was tested with the Chrome browser.

GEEKOM A8 Chrome Linux YouTube 4kp30

As in most modern mini PCs, YouTube 4Kp30 was played smoothly with only 4 frames dropped out of 12,685 when watching the video for a little over 7 minutes.

GEEKOM A8 Chrome Linux YouTube 8kp30
8K @ 30 FPS was equally fine with 7 frames dropped out of 12,227.

GEEKOM A8 Chrome Linux YouTube 4kp60

4K @ 60 FPS is still perfectly watchable, but we got a few more dropped frames (107) out of 25,557 during a 7-minute test.

GEEKOM A8 Chrome Linux YouTube 8kp60

8K 60 FPS is often hit-or-miss in your review, and the GEEKOM A8 struggled with that one dropping 2,088 frames out of 11,525.

The GEEKOM A8 had no issues playing the same 8K 60 FPS video in Windows 11/Chrome, but the results are about the same as we had with the GEEKOM A7 with Ubuntu 22.04.

We can evaluate web browsing performance with Speedometer 2.0. Let’s start with Firefox.

GEEKOM A8 Speedometer 2.0 Firefox Ubuntu 24.04

298 runs per minute in Firefox is quite close to the 315 runs per minute the system achieved in the latest version of Google Chrome.

GEEKOM A8 Linux Speedometer 2.0 Google Chrome

Since Speedometer 2.0 is getting deprecated, we also tested the mini PC with Speedometer 3.0, again with Firefox (19.1 points) and Chrome (21.2 points).

GEEKOM A8 Linux Speedometer 3.0 Firefox
Speedometer 3.0 with Mozilla Firefox
GEEKOM A8 Linux Speedometer 3.0 Google Chrome
Speedometer 3.0 with Google Chrome

It’s important to note that web browser benchmark scores tend to increase over time on the same hardware due to software optimizations in web browsers.

Comparison of GEEKOM A8 benchmarks against other mini PCs running Ubuntu 24.04/22.04

We’ll now compare the Ubuntu 24.04 benchmarks on the GEEKOM A8 against other high-end mini PCs namely the GEEKOM A7 (AMD Ryzen 9 7840HS), the GEEKOM XT12 Pro (Intel Core i9-12900H), the GEEKOM Mini IT13 (Intel Core i9-13900H), and the  Khadas Mind Premium (Intel Core i7-1360P)

Let’s list the main specifications for the 5 machines first.

GEEKOM A8GEEKOM A7GEEKOM XT12 ProGEEKOM Mini 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) processor up to 5.0 GHz (P-cores), 3.8 GHz (E-Cores)14-core/20-Threads (6P+8E) processor up to 5.4 GHz (P-cores), 4.1 GHz (E-Cores)12-core/16-core (4P+8E) processor up to 5.0 GHz (P-cores), 3.7 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 for the benchmark results.

GEEKOM A8GEEKOM A7GEEKOM XT12 ProGEEKOM Mini IT13Khadas Mind Premium
sbc-bench.sh
- memcpy20,318.520,406.022,375.8MB/s24,014.4 MB/s (P-core)25,389.5 MB/s (P-core)
- memset62,156.762,491.727,398.0MB/s26,647.9 MB/s (P-Core)24,731.8MB/s (P-core)
- 7-zip (average)68,79071,11040,19056,54044,430
- 7-zip (top result)69,29772,49643,78360,98150,396
- OpenSSL AES-256 16K1,422,136.66k1,428,559.19k1,661,583.36k (P-Core)1,844,401.49k (P-Core)1,771,334.31k (P-Core)
Geekbench 6 Single2,6612,5352,575
2,7452,093
Geekbench 6 Multi13,27512,91410,44711,9748,891
Unigine Heaven score1,9722,0321,2931,3331,349
Speedometer 2.0 (Firefox)298249298273242

As noted in the Windows review, the GEEKOM A8 and A7 are both powerful mini PCs, but there’s almost no difference in terms of performance between the two. AMD Radeon 780M graphics deliver much better graphics performance than Intel Xe graphics, at least up to the 13th Gen family, as Meteor Lake processors are expected to provide a significant boost in 3D graphics performance.

Storage performance and USB ports testing

The internal 2TB NVMe SSD was tested with iozone3 utility:


The performance is excellent with 5,936 MB/s sequential read speed and 5,269 MB/s sequential write speed, although as usual, the results with CrystalDiskMark on Windows are higher at  7,000 MB/s และand 6,262 MB/s respectively.

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 the boltctl utility instead of lsusb since the drive is detected as an NVMe drive:


The USB 2.0 port on the rear panel had to be tested with a USB hard drive since the ORICO enclosure is not compatible with USB 2.0 ports:


Results for the USB ports on GEEKOM A8’s front panel (left to right) in Ubuntu 24.04:

  • USB-A #1 – USB 3.2 – 10 Gbps – 818 MB/s read speed, 930 MB/s write speed
  • USB-A #2 – USB 3.2 – 10 Gbps – 818 MB/s read speed, 930 MB/s write speed

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

  • USB-C #1 – Thunderbolt 3/40 Gbps – 2307 MB/s read speed; (The 2452 MB/s write speed should be ignored as it grossly exceeds the advertised speed).
  • USB-A #1 (Top) – USB 3.2 – 10 Gbps – 842 MB/s read speed, 947 MB/s write speed
  • USB-A #2 (Bottom) – USB 2.0 – 480 Mbps – 42 MB/s read speed, 26 MB/s write speed
  • USB-C #2 – USB 3.2 – 10 Gbps – 844 MB/s read speed, 847 MB/s write speed

All USB ports perform as advertised.

2.5GbE and WiFi 6 network performance (plus Bluetooth testing)

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

  • Download

  • Upload

  • Full-duplex (bidirectional)


No issue here as on most Intel/AMD mini PCs with 2.5GbE ports.

Time to test WiFi 6 in Ubuntu 24.04 on our repaired GEEKOM A8 while connected to a Xiaomi Mi AX6000 router:

  • Download

  • Upload


Outstanding WiFi 6 performance with 1.57 Gbps downloads and 1.34 Gbps uploads, one of the best results in our test environment.

What’s not as nice is that Bluetooth 5.3 does not work. GEEKOM keeps releasing mini PCs with MediaTek MT7922 which does not support Bluetooth in Linux.

GEEKOM A8 Ubuntu bluetooth not working

An error also shows in the kernel log:


But there’s hope, as Ian Morrison submitted a patch to the Linux kernel mailing list last March, and it might be released as part of Linux 6.10. So if you absolutely need Bluetooth, you could always try to build the Linux kernel manually with this patch. But that’s out of the scope of this review…

Stress test and thermal performance

We ran a stress test on the 16 threads of the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS processor to evaluate thermal performance by monitoring the CPU temperature with psensor and the CPU frequency with the sbc-bench.sh script.

GEEKOM A8 Ubuntu Stress Test
The frequency quickly stabilized at 4000 MHz (base frequency) and the CPU temperature at 92°C with the fan rotating at max speed. The maximum temperature was quickly reached as shown when looking at the sbc-bench.sh -m command when starting the test.

sbc bench GEEKOM A8 temperature frequency

Fan noise

The GEEKOM A8 is not too noisy at idle or under light loads but it’s quite noisy under heavier loads We measured the fan noise with a sound level meter placed at around 5 centimeters from the top of the enclosure:

  • Idle – 38.3 – 39.2 dBA
  • YouTube 8Kp60 video in Chrome – 54.0 – 57.1 dBA
  • Stress test on all 16 threads – 46.6 – 58.0 dBA

For reference, the meter measures around 37 – 38 dBA in a quiet room. The GEEKOM A8 appears to be quieter at idle (the fan does not rotate or very slow), but noisier under heavy loads compared to the GEEKOM A7.

GEEKOM A8 power consumption in Ubuntu 24.04

We measured the power consumption with a wall power meter:

  • Power off – 1.5 Watt
  • Idle – 4.3 – 4.9 Watts
  • Video playback – 61.3 – 67.8 Watts (Youtube 8K 60fps in Chrome)
  • CPU stress test (stress -c 16)
    • First 30 seconds – 60.1 – 70.4 Watts
    • Longer run – 54.5 – 59.0 Watts

During the measurements, the mini PC was connected to WiFi 6, one RF dongle for a keyboard, one USB mouse, and a CrowVi portable display connected to HDMI and its own power adapter. The power draw with the stress test does not evolve as much under load as with the GEEKOM A7 whose power draw would further drop after a few minutes, and then more after 12 minutes.

Conclusion

The GEEKOM A8 is one of the most powerful mini PCs reviewed on CNX Software (together with GEEKOM A7) and we’ve found it to work well in Ubuntu 24.04 except for Bluetooth not working due to drivers issues with the MediaTek MT7922 wireless module (Azurewave AW-XB591NF). That’s something that might be fixed something next month with a new Linux kernel release. The good news is that the WiFi 6 issues we had with the GEEKOM A7 on Ubuntu 22.04 (with the same module) are all gone in Ubuntu 24.04.

Apart from the Bluetooth issue, the AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS 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. Sadly the 8K 60 FPS YouTube video we tried did not play smoothly possibly because of the high room temperature (28°C). The mini PC’s fan is relatively quiet most of the time but gets quite noisy under load. One downside for the GEEKOM A8 is that the GEEKOM A7’s features, performance, and price are all in the same range, so I’m not convinced it brings anything new (apart from a different CPU and cooling system) even if it’s technically a new mini PC…

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. A cheaper GEEKOM A8 model based on the Ryzen 7 8845HS CPU is also available.

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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7 Comments
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Detlef
Detlef
5 days ago

It is unfortunate that I have only had negative experiences with GEEkom, and I would therefore advise all Linux users to avoid it. However, if one is a programmer for operating systems, it may be a different matter. If one only loads the LINUX OS (Ubuntu), it may work well enough. However, when other apps are added, it becomes increasingly difficult, and ultimately fails. GEEkom is designed exclusively for WINDOWS.

Detlef
Detlef
4 days ago

DISTRIB_ID=LinuxMint
DISTRIB_RELEASE=21.3
DISTRIB_CODENAME=virginia
DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION=”Linux Mint 21.3 Virginia”
NAME=”Linux Mint”
VERSION=”21.3 (Virginia)”

Several apps from the distribution itself and some snaps and flatpaks

Vall
Vall
4 days ago

Great review as per your usual, @Jean Luc, thanks!

Relative to the Geekom A7, nice power consumption drop, specially in idle: 4.3-4.9W vs 5.0-5.8W. I wonder whether the difference is due to the A8 being connected over Wifi while the A7 was using 2.5Gbps Ethernet, as everything else was reported the same (presuming you used the same wall power meter for the measurement, etc)

Vall
Vall
4 days ago

Perfect, thanks for the clarification and additional details.

Discounting 0.5W for the additional dongle plus 1W for the wired LAN, I think the idle numbers basically even out as expected.

Khadas VIM4 SBC