Geekom A8 Mini-PC Review: A Sleek, Tiny Ryzen 9 Powered Titan

Geekom Updates Its Sleek Aluminum 4x4 Mini PC With The Best AMD Hawk Point Chip

Geekom A8 mini PC hero2

Geekom A8 Mini-PC with Ryzen 9 8945HS: $849 As Tested (Sale Price) use code HOTHRDA8 for 5% extra OFF
Geekom has updated to its sleek aluminum 4x4 Mini-PC with one of AMD's 8C/16T Hawk Point processors with Radeon 780M graphics, ample DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen4 storage.

hot flat
  • Current flagship AMD mobile processor
  • Excellent performance with 8C/16T CPU and 780M graphics
  • Premium build quality
  • Compact and portable
    not flat
    • Fan noise under load is easily audible
    • Would benefit from improved cooling
    • No rear audio ports

      We're going to take a look at Geekom's latest A-series NUC 4x4 form factor mini-PC, the A8. The new Geekom A8 immediately impresses with its attractive brushed aluminum exterior, good selection of ports, and the relatively powerful AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS lurking inside. This particular AMD chip sits at the top of AMD's Hawk Point processor family, the successors to the well-regarded Phoenix chips that arrived in laptops, handheld gaming devices, and mini-PCs starting last year.

      We covered the news that Geekom was preparing to showcase the A8 way back in December 2023. We didn’t test out the AMD Phoenix-based Geekom A7, but after a good experience with the Intel-based Geekom Mini IT13 (with Core i9-13900H), we were eager to get our hands on the firm’s most modern AMD-powered device. The common wisdom is that Hawk Point isn’t a big step forward from Phoenix, except for its beefier NPU. In our tests, we compared the Geekom A8 to several devices, including some with Ryzen 7000 chips, so you can see what (if any) advantages it may have in terms of performance.

      Geekom A8 unboxed

      Geekom A8 Unboxing And First Impressions

      Geekom is fairly conservative with its packaging. A minimal compact cube-shaped box offers just enough packaging to ensure the thorough protection of the mini-PC and its essential accessories while in transit.

      First impressions of the A8 mini-PC are that it is well-made, with a seamless aluminum shell over four sides. The rear, which is packed with plenty of ports, is black composite material, and the bottom uses a similar material with four rubber feet hiding access screws. Construction is solid with no flexing, loose, or creaking panels. Geekom's 4x4 device feels reassuringly dense, weighing in at 450g (1 pound), while easily fitting in one hand.

      Geekom A8 Mini-PC Specifications

      Geekom A8 specifications

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      For such a compact device there is a lot of horsepower inside the A8, largely thanks to Geekom choosing to outfit the device with AMD's Ryzen 9 8945HS (Ryzen 7 8845HS option also available). This 8C/16T processor boosts up to 5.2GHz, and is paired to Radeon 780M graphics.

      As mentioned above, the biggest advance with Hawk Point processors over the prior generation is its NPU. Spoiler alert - our AI benchmark tool (Procyon) doesn’t have tests that natively run on this particular NPU, so we had to test using the GPU, which delivered uninspiring results, very much like previous gen AMD SoCs using the 780M.

      The processor is fed by a generous 32GB of DDR5-5600 memory, in a 2 x 16GB SODIMM configuration. The A8's single M.2 2280 storage slot is filled with a 2TB PCIe SSD, which offered acceptable but unexciting performance for a Gen4 drive.

      Geekom’s port selection was just about right. There are plenty of USB-A, USB-C, and other ports available, minimizing the need for a dock or extra hub. Using it with a small monitor with USB-C connectivity and built-in audio was convenient. However, if we were to use a larger desktop monitor without built-in audio, it might necessitate connecting speakers via the front 3.5mm jack, which would look untidy.

      There’s one USB 4.0 port on the rear that can be used for 40 Gbps transfers, video out, eGPUs etc, as well as 15W power delivery. The other USB ports (up to 10 Gbps) are capable of power delivery as well.

      Geekom A8 perspectives

      Digging Deeper Into The Geekom A8

      We decided to take a peek inside the Geekom A8 after completing all of our essential tests. Removing the four rubber feet exposed four cross-head screws. Once the screws were out, the base easily slid off, but care was needed as the antennas for the wireless card are attached to the base with a very thin wire. Removing a steel plate (four more screws) provided access to removable / upgradable components, namely the RAM, SSD, and wireless card.

      It was interesting to see an Acer branded M.2 SSD installed. It had a big sticker on it, which we had to remove to check the controller and NAND chips. The sticker looked like it might be designed to have some degree of thermal conductance, but we decided to bin it, as it would come between the actual chips and the thermal pad attached to the PC's inner steel shielding.

      Geekom A8 inside

      The pre-installed Acer N7000 2TB PCIE Gen4x4 drive is essentially a rebranded Biwin SSD (and this device is also sold as an HP FX700 SSD). The drive controller is the MAP1602A Falcon Lite from MaxioTech. NAND chips were 232-layer QLC NAND flash made by China’s YMTC. NAND chips were only present on the upper side of the M.2 stick. This is a DRAM-less SSD, which uses system RAM as an HMB (Host Memory Buffer) device.

      Under the SSD we found a socketed MediaTek wireless card which supports Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

      The RAM was made by Crucial / Micron, and this system is furnished with 32GB of DDR5-5600 using twin 16GB SODIMMs. Faster memory would have benfitted the integrated graphics on this system, but DDR5-5600 is technically the fastest memory speed supported by the processors (when not using LPDDR5X) without overclocking.

      And with that, let's see how this little system performs...

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