Platform Analysis

AMD provided the press with a block diagram of the Renoir APU at the time of the launch of the Zen 2 APUs. These APUs are monolithic dies, and true SoCs with all I/Os being sourced from the APU without a platform controller hub in the picture.

The above layout needs to be studied in conjunction with the design of the 4X4 BOX-4800U's motherboard. The various I/Os of the system (as well as internal components) are enabled using the following configuration.

An idea of the distribution of the various PCIe lanes can be obtained from the above diagram:

  • PCIe 3.0 x4 and a SATA port multiplexed behind the M.2 SSD slot (PCI Express x8 Bus #4)
  • PCIe 3.0 x1 for the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 160 MHz WLAN card (PCI Express x1 Bus #3)
  • PCIe 3.0 x1 for the Realtek RTL8125 Gaming 2.5GbE Ethernet Controller (PCI Express x1 Bus #1)
  • PCIe 3.0 x1 for the Realtek RTL8168/RTL8111 GbE Ethernet Controller (PCI Express x1 Bus #2)

Other aspects of interest include the distribution of various USB ports - particularly in terms of bandwidth sharing. For example, we expect ports 'B' and 'C' behind the same root hub to share bandwidth. Note that the PCI Express x16 Bus #5 includes the two USB 3.1 controllers as well as the integrated GPU. The two Type-C ports in the front panel also act as conduits for two display outputs from the latter.

In the remainder of this review, we will first look at BAPCo's SYSmark 25, followed by various UL benchmarks and miscellaneous workloads. We also present some gaming benchmarks. A detailed look at the HTPC credentials of the system is followed by testing of the power consumption and thermal solution.

Introduction BAPCo SYSmark 25
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  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    Dangerous. People are not often the brightest and help lines would probably be called when owners try to plug in a crappy usb c charger. Reply
  • 1_rick - Thursday, November 26, 2020 - link

    If your GPU can detect you didn't plug in the PCIe power plugs and refuse to let the computer boot there's no reason they can't do the same here. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Monday, November 30, 2020 - link

    People buy cheap chargers for phones. Nothing will change in this case. Reply
  • dontlistentome - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    ... Thunderbolt please. Can then power with it and have multiple 4K screens and peripherals hanging off 1 cable. Can then just swap the cable between this and my work PC when I work at home. Reply
  • timecop1818 - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    Alt mode HDMI is dead, there are literally zero devices which support or implement it. It only exists as a specification. There's very little point anyway because dp alt mode is superior in every way, such as being able to reduce lane count to share usb3hs. But with hdmi alt mode, you are using all 4 lanes just to transmit 1080p. Reply
  • SeanFL - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    Price is comparable to the Asus PN50 with the 4800U. Anyone have thoughts on which would be the one to buy?

    I've not been successful at finding the PN50 locally, Microcenter had a couple in stock then was sold out.
    Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    Thanks Ganesh! The overall performance is decent, the problems with HTPC use unfortunate. One other piece of information I might have missed: just how noisy does this unit get, and how annoying is the fan noise? I am asking as especially smaller fans can be a lot more annoying than the simple dB(A) numbers suggest. Having had a laptop with this "feature", I now always ask about that before even thinking of buying. Reply
  • smilingcrow - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    It seems a major omission for a system that was reviewed for HTPC features and might end up in the lounge. Reply
  • spikebike - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    Nice, been waiting for a decent NUC like product with an AMD CPU. This looks quite competitive, but seems like waiting until CES in January will be worth it. The Zen3 is a killer upgrade and might well mean it's worth keeping for another year or two. Reply
  • grant3 - Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - link

    Most hardware refreshes are annual, and you're willing to wait 2 years? With that mindset you'll never, ever buy anything because you know a better version will eventually arrive in that timeframe. Maybe 2 better versions. Reply

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