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Biostar A10N-8800 AMD SoC Motherboard Review

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Introduction

With as much attention as the latest flagship gaming products get, it’s easy to believe that’s the majority of the market. In reality, the bleeding edge makes up a miniscule fraction of the gamer population. More gamers have and use more sensible (read: affordable) machines. Outside of the high cost, many popular games just simply don’t need that level of horsepower. Most of the games that E-sports have made popular will run well on just about anything. Biostar’s A10N-8800 motherboard combines AMD’s FX-8800P low power Accelerated Processing Unit with a desktop compatible ITX form-factor to capitalize on the single-chip CPU/GPU budget gaming category. Featuring four cores up to 3.4GHz and a Radeon R7 graphics solution in a single chip, the Carrizo APU can handle daily use and light gaming without the cost associated with a larger and more complex machine. Let’s see how it does!

ProClockers would like to thank Biostar for sending A10N-8800 over to check out!

 

Biostar’s take on the A10N-8800:

  • AMD FX-8800P Processor
  • Supports 2 DIMM of DDR4 2133MHz(OC) up to 32G maximum capacity
  • Supports AMD Radeon™ R7 Graphics
  • Supports M.2 Key M 16Gb/s Connector
  • Supports USB 3.1 Gen1 Port

Features & Specifications

3D Mark 11 Performance

To enjoy light gaming experiences, A10N-8800E is the right SoC motherboard for your demands! Because of the AMD R7 Graphics inside, it is going to give you better graphics performance.

CPU Mark Performance

BIOSTAR A10N-8800E system-on-chip (SoC) mini-ITX motherboard with the AMD R7 Graphics inside provides faster data access and computing to run edge computing applications smoothly.

PCIe M.2

PCIe M.2 16Gb/s is the latest storage interface, it delivers the highest bandwidth and lower latency. It’s 1.6 times faster compared with PCIe M.2 10Gb/s.

Super LAN Surge Protection

Super LAN Surge Protection, providing LAN with more advanced antistatic protection capabilities by adding an integrated chip to strengthen electrical stability and prevent damage from lightning strikes and electrical surges.

HDMI 4K/2K

The new 4K2K resolution enables high-definition image display with four times the resolution of full HD, 4K2K display is faithfully express bright and highly detailed content that fills the entire screen with lifelike images. Enjoying TV shows and movies online such as YouTube or Netflix through HDMI connector.

 

Specifications

  • Chipset
    • AMD Carrizo
  • CPU SUPPORT
    • AMD FX-8800P Processor
    • (Quad core 2.1GHz up to 3.4GHz)
  • MEMORY
    • Support Dual Channel DDR4 2133(OC) MHz
    • 2 x DDR4 DIMM Memory Slot
    • Each DIMM supports non-ECC 512MB/ 1/ 2/ 4/ 8/ 16 GB DDR4 module
  • INTEGRATED VIDEO
    • AMD Radeon™ R7 Graphics
    • Supports HDCP
  • STORAGE
    • 2 x SATA3 Connector (6Gb/s)
    • 1 x M.2 Key M 16Gb/s Connector: Supports PCI-E & SATA SSD
  • LAN
    • Realtek RTL8111H – 10/100/1000Mb/s Controller
    • Support Super LAN Surge Protection
  • CODEC
    • Realtek ALC887 8-Channel HD Audio
    • Support HD Audio
  • USB
    • 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Port(2 on the rear I/Os and 2 via internal headers)
    • 4 x USB 2.0 Port(2 on the rear I/Os and 2 via internal headers)
  • EXPANSION SLOT
    • 1 x PCI-E 3.0 x16 Slot
  • REAR I/O
    • 1 x PS/2 Mouse
    • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
    • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Port
    • 2 x USB 2.0 Port
    • 1 x HDMI connector, resolution up to 4096 x 2160@24Hz, compliant with HDMI 1.4
    • 1 x VGA Port ,resolution up to 1920 x 1200 @60Hz
    • 1 x LAN port
    • 3 x Audio Jacks
  • INTERNAL I/O
    • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Header (each header supports 2 USB 3.1(Gen1) ports)
    • 1 x USB 2.0 Header (each header supports 2 USB 2.0 ports)
    • 2 x SATA3 6Gb/s Connector
    • 1 x Front Audio Header
    • 1 x Front Panel Header
    • 1 x CPU Fan Connector
    • 1 x System Fan Connector
    • 1 x 4-Pin Power Connector
    • 1 x 24-Pin Power Connector
    • 1 x Clear CMOS Header
    • 1 x COM Port Header
  • H/W MONITORING
    • CPU / System1 Temperature Monitoring
    • CPU / System Fan Monitoring
    • System Fan Monitoring
    • Smart / Manual CPU(DC FAN) Fan Control
    • CPU/DDR Voltage Monitoring
  • DIMENSION
    • Mini ITX Form Factor Dimension: 17 cm x 17 cm ( W x L )
  • OS SUPPORT
    • Support Windows 7 x86/x64, Windows 8.1 x64, Windows 10 x64
  • BUNDLE SOFTWARE
    • BullGuard
    • Smart Speed LAN
  • ACCESSORIES
    • 2 x SATA Cable
    • 1 x I/O Shield
    • 1 x DVD Driver
    • 1 x Quick Guide
  • FEATURES
    • Supports BIOS-Flasher

Packaging & Unboxing

Biostar’s A10N-8800 motherboard comes in a glossy black box with the model written right across the middle of the box. AMD’s FX logo sits in the bottom right corner.

The back of the box has a few features taking up most of the space.

One edge has the information label, including the basic specs listed.

The rest of the edges look like this.

Inside, the manual and driver disk lay right on top of a tray that has the accessories and motherboard under it.

Besides the disk and manual, you get a rear I/O shield and a pair of SATA cables.

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A Closer Look

Biostar’s A10N-8800 occupies the small, Mini-ITX form factor that is compatible with almost every case on the market, even larger micro-ATX, and full ATX cases.

A pair of full-size DDR4 slots lets you use up to 32GB of memory. Unfortunately, no matter what memory kit you use, you are limited to DDR4-2133MHz.

Future GPU expansions can be handled with the PCIe x16 slot at the bottom. Storage possibilities consist of an M.2 slot that supports PCIe based drives only, and two SATA 6Gbps ports. USB 3 and USB 2 headers are in the same corner along with a serial UART header.

Two fan headers sit near the back of the board, one is preoccupied with the CPU fan. A front panel audio header hides directly behind the rear audio jacks. For a cheap board, we have to give Biostar credit here for the SUPER LAN surge protector to protect your system from spikes and surge coming in over your network/internet connection. A 4-pin power supply connector provides power to the APU and is required.

Rear I/O is comprised of a pair of PS/2 ports, an HDMI and VGA video port, a pair of USB 3.1 (gen 1) ports and a pair of USB 2.0 ports. Above this is a gigabit Ethernet port, and lastly is a trio 0f 3.5mm audio jacks.

A built-in heatsink and fan handle cooling out of the box with no extra coolers or decisions on what to use needed.

Main power comes in on a standard ATX 24-pin connector. The CMOS battery sits in this corner, and there is a jumper next to it to easily clear the CMOS.

There really isn’t much to point out on the back, just a sticker with the UPC and serial numbers on it.

System Configuration & BIOS

CPU: AMD FX-8800P

Motherboard: A10N-8800E

RAM: 16GB Silicon Power XPOWER Turbine 3200Mhz

GPU: AMD Radeon R7 Graphics

SSD: Toshiba RD400 512GB

OS: Windows 10 Professional X64

Biostar’s UEFI is quite nice for an affordable board. It has mouse support and is arranged nicely. The main page lets you adjust date/time and select your needed language.

The advanced tab lets you dig into quite a few settings.

If you look at CPU configuration, you can see detailed information about the APU.

The hardware monitor tab shows what you would expect it to.

The chipset tab lets you adjust a few settings, including the APU’s graphics settings.

You can use both video outputs on the rear I/O, but you need to enable it in here.

There is standard BIOS security here for those that need it.

The O.N.E is your performance tuning section, for what it’s worth.

The memory insight menu lets you see those glorious XMP profiles you cant use.

Don’t forget to save your settings.

Software

The BIOS Update utility lets you update or backup the current BIOS right from the desktop without having to poke around in the BIOS or from a command line.

Should you ever have an issue, Biostar includes a wonderful utility known as E-Hotline. It makes an incredibly detailed document of your entire system configuration. Hardware make and model, driver revisions, etc. you can then send this to Biostar when you need help and save yourself the headache of relaying your configuration to the technician on the other end of the phone (or email)

 

Biostar’s Temperature Monitor is pretty basic but shows you the current, minimum and maximum temperature of both the APU and the system itself.

Performance Testing

General Performance Testing

All benchmarks are run using stock settings in its ‘out of the box’ configuration. We added 16GB (2x8GB) of memory.
PCMark 10

PCMark 10 is the complete benchmark for the modern office. It is the ideal test for organizations that are evaluating PCs for a workforce with a range of performance needs. The tests in this benchmark cover a wide range of activities from everyday productivity tasks to demanding work with digital media content.
PCMark 10 uses a modular approach to build relevant benchmark tests around common end-user scenarios. A Test Group is a collection of workloads that share a common theme or purpose. There are four test groups in PCMark 10, we use three of them.
Essentials: covers the common, everyday ways that people use a PC. The workloads include Web Browsing, Video Conferencing, and App Start-up time.
Productivity: measures system performance with everyday office applications. This test group includes the Spreadsheets and Writing workloads.
Digital Content Creation: This test group’s workload reflects the demands of working with digital content and media. The tests include Photo Editing, Video Editing, and Rendering and Visualization.

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Even though this is mostly a mobile-oriented chip, it still provides very strong performance across the board.

 

Super PI Modded 1.5

“In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi in collaboration with Dr.Y.Kanada at the computer center. This record should be the current world record. (Details are shown in the windows help.) This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environments such as Windows NT and Windows 95. In order to calculate 33.55 million digits, it takes 3 days with a Pentium 90 MHz, 40 MB main memory and 340 MB available storage.”

SuperPi solves 32M digits in right at 15 minutes, which really isn’t bad at all!

 

CINEBENCH R15

“CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and much more.

CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.”

In Cinebench, the quad-core APU comes in at more than double the performance of the ECS Liva Z2, our Previous champion of low power.

 

Memory Performance Testing

AIDA64 Engineer Edition

“FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises. The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand-new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and NVIDIA graphics processors.”

Aida64 shows bandwidth of over 83GB/s for reads and writes of 48GB/s.

System memory latency comes in at a snappy 103ns.

 

Storage Testing

CrystalDiskInfo shows the Toshiba M.2 drive is connected to the system at PCIe 3.0 x2, cutting our peak bandwidth down a bit as our drive is capable of x4 bandwidth.

 

ATTO Disk Benchmark

“As the industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage & network connectivity products, ATTO has created a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. As one of the top tools utilized in the industry, Disk Benchmark identifies performance in hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays as well as connections to storage. Top drive manufacturers, like Hitachi, build and test every drive using the ATTO Disk Benchmark”

Reads come in at about 1.5GB/s and write at about 1.3GB/s.

 

CrystalDiskMark 3.0

“CrystalDiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows measuring seZ2uential and random read/write speeds.”

CDM shows read speeds breaking the 1.6GB/s and writes come in a little lower at just above 1GB/s.

 

AS SSD

The AS SSD benchmark determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains six synthetic and three copy tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system cache. In the sequential test, the program measures how long it takes to read and write a 1 GB file. In the 4K test, read and write performance is determined for randomly selected 4K blocks. The 4K-64 Third test is equivalent to the 4K procedure, except that the read and write operations are distributed to 64 threads. This test should show differences between the IDE operating mode where NCQ is not supported and the AHCI mode for SSDs with Native Command Queuing (NCQ). The additional compression test can measure the performance of the SSD as a function of the compressibility of the data. This is especially important for the controllers that are used to increase the performance and life of the cell compression.

AS SSD gives results a bit lower than ATTO but still gives a solid score of just over 1200 points.

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Game Testing

3DMark – Fire Strike

“Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today”

Demanding 3D gaming is pretty well out of the question as expected, but the A10N-8800 really wasn’t designed for this type of heavy 3D application. Frame rates come in at around 10 FPS on average for Firestrike.

 

3DMark – Cloud Gate

“Cloud Gate is a new test that is designed for Windows notebooks and typical home PCs. Cloud Gate includes two graphics tests and a physics test. Cloud Gate uses a DirectX 11 engine limited to Direct3D feature level 10 making it suitable for testing DirectX 10 compatible hardware. Cloud Gate is only available in the Windows editions of 3DMark at this time.”

Cloud Gate is much less demanding and more closely matches the E-sports type of games Biostar is targeting here. The Radeon R7 graphics solution built in here holds frame rates in the low to mid 40 FPS range.

 

4K Media Testing
We used a few free samples from 4Ksamples.com since they provide a good selection of 4K/UHD content for anyone to download and some 4K YouTube content for streaming media.

 

Honey Bees 24FPS in 4K (Ultra HD) – MP4 – H264 – 4096*2304 – 24FPS – 22,320 kbps total bitrate

This sample proved to be a light load thanks to hardware decoding built into the SOC and used about 35-40% of the GPU’s capabilities and 5-10% of the CPU to play.

 

SES Astra UHD Test 2 – MKV – HEVC/x265 – 3840*2160 – 25FPS – 19,101kbps total bitrate

This HEVC sample also proved to play smoothly but used about 90-95% of the CPU’s capabilities while only hitting the GPU for about 10-15%.

 

4K Chimei Inn 60mbps – MP4 – AVC – 3840*2160 – 29.97FPS – 60,000 kbps

This sample hit only the GPU through built-in hardware decoding. Our GPU was running at about 25-30% load decoding but it didn’t really touch the CPU at all.

 

Sony 4K Demo: Another World posted by Quang Nguyen.

You can see streaming 4K content from YouTube hit the GPU for 30% but also slammed the CPU. Playback was mostly smooth, but if windows did anything in the background, we would lose a frame or two and would see a stutter here and there. If this was your target usage, you would really need to optimize your OS and background programs.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

I’ll start off saying that since we frequently get to test out some bleeding edge and extremely high-end hardware fairly often, it’s very difficult to look at a product like this from a gaming standpoint from the eyes of a gamer that spends less on an entire machine than some do on a single component. When you consider you can pick this board up for around $80 USD online, and that gets you not only a motherboard, but a CPU and GPU as well effectively, it’s pretty hard to deny its value. When you also consider it can swing more than playable frame rates in popular games, it’s actually impressively surprising. If there was a way to allow faster memory speeds, that would greatly help performance. An APU has not only the CPU relying on system memory bandwidth but also the GPU, so every bit helps.

We were a little worried about fan noise, those little fans are not known for their silence, but under full load the fan ramps up to audible, but not overly loud. Our worst-case power usage came in at 68.4W from the wall, but running this from a 1000W power supply on our test bench is putting it in about the most inefficient range it can be in. Idle usage came in at about 25W, so this is a pretty impressive performance for such a small power envelope. We never saw the CPU or GPU break the 60C mark, so the cooler is doing its job, even if it doesn’t look like it can. All in all, Biostar provides a powerful platform to start with for value-oriented gamers, and let’s not forget you can still add a discrete GPU down the road.

Great job Biostar!

ProClockers was founded way back in 2004, with a goal to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews. Whilst the first products we reviewed are long gone, we're continuing to review the latest and greatest every month.

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ProClockers was founded in 2004, and since then we have reviewed thousands of tech products, including motherboards, CPUs, graphics cards, PC cases, cooling solutions and more. Whilst many of the original products we reviewed back then have long bit the dust, we continue working hard to provide unbiased PC hardware and tech reviews.

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