A Closer Look at the LIVA One A300

A Closer Look – The Unboxing, Build & BIOS

The LIVA One A300 comes in a small box as a barebones system.

The A300 is packed in a sturdy box advertising it as an ultra-powerful mini PC .

The A300’s features and support are listed on a side panel.

Opening the box, we see the case and a quick start guide.

Removing the case, we see the rest of the contents include a 19V/120W power adapter and power cords, an APU cooler, necessary screws, and a choice of using a VESA mount or a stand.

The front of the LIVA One A300 has a power button, two USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 and two Gen 2×1 Type C connections as well as headphone/combo and microphone inputs.

The rear of the A300 has two additional USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 and two USB 2.0 ports plus a VGA/COM, HDMI 2.0, and two DisplayPort connectors (one of which is covered).  The power connector and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet connector is also on the back along with a Kensington lock.  If you prefer Wi-Fi, you can use a 802.11 ac, 1×1, BT4.2 internal card.

The CPU cooler comes with thermal interface material installed for the APU as well as for the VRMs.  You will need to supply your own external storage via USB or use an internal 2.5″ SATA SSD or HDD and/or a M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 SSD.

The top of the case is well ventillated and there is a screen covering the openings.

The bottom of the unit has 4 rubber feet and it can either lay flat or be set up vertically by using a stand.

Building the PC

The LIVA One A300 is extremely easy to build and can be fully assembled in well under 30 minutes.

We picked a Ryzen 5 six core/12 thread 5600G from Amazon for $168.99 (at the time) as the best bang for buck for a budget gaming build.  The Liva One A300 supports the eight core/16 thread 5700G for $100 more, but its Radeon 7 Vega graphics is only about 5% faster. Those wishing to use the A300 for creative or workstation purposes will want the fastest APU.

We picked Samsung 2 x 8GB DDR4 3200MHz PC4-25600 SODIMM Laptop RAM Memory Modules for $27.98 each.  16GB is generally enough for 1080P/Low gaming although creators or workstation users may want the full 64GB RAM that the A300 supports.

We picked the memory and the CPU from the ECS QVL (qualified vendor’s list) but decided to use our own NVMe SSDs.  We picked the fastest PCIe 3.0 SSD we had using a 1TB NVMe T-Force Cardea IOPS SSD (3400MBps Read/3000MBps Write) for C: Drive as well as a 512MB T-Force Vulcan SATA III SSD for additional storage.

The Ryzen 5 5600G comes with a cooler, but we put it away and used the ECS A300 cooler which also cools the VRAM.

We followed the Quick Guide and opening the cover is a matter of removing a thumbscrew on the back of the case and sliding the motherboard out of it.

Step one is to carefully drop the 5600G APU into the motherboard making sure to align the arrow on the motherboard with the arrow on the APU corner and then to lock down the lever.

We did not use a Wi-Fi card as we prefer to use an Ethernet cable or a USB Wi-Fi adapter.

To install a PCIe NVMe SSD, the hard drive (HDD) tray first needs to be removed.

The NVMe SSD locks down easily with a lever which is very convenient.  We used a Cardea Ceramic heatsink for the IOPS SSD since it has superb cooling charactistics.  After the SSD is installed, the SSD/HDD tray needs to be reinstalled.

Memory is next and it clips in the same way as a notebook SO-DIMM.

The cooler is next.  The VRAM thermal interface plastic coverings need to be removed and then the cooler is carefully placed on over the APU/VRAMs and the four screws are tightened down in the order indicated on the Quick Guide and also on the screws.

It’s time to slide the cover back on.

The ventillation holes are protected from dust intake by a sceen.  Now it’s time to tighten down the thumbscrew and add a stand (for vertical builds).

It’s time to plug in the mouse, keyboard, display, and ethernet cable – and turn it on.

Let’s check out the BIOS.

Navigating the BIOS

The ECS BIOS is very easy to navigate but there are few options for performance enhancements.

The BIOS screen gives the PC status and fan control, but the advanced screens are where the options are.

The Main screen gives options for changing the language, date, and time.

Advanced offers few CPU options, and the Chipset screen shows the SATA and NVMe drives status with no real options so we move on to the MBIX screen which surprisingly does offer some memory performance enhancing options.

Unlike the CPU or graphics, the memory can be overclocked.  From Auto, we set the memory to 3200MHz and did not try for 3334MHz or higher or attempt to adjust the timings which can yield some extra performance.  An enthusiast will probably want to tweak these options.  We didn’t see any other performance-enhancing options for gaming such as enabling ResizeableBar.

The final options screen before Exit is the Boot menu.

We used the boot menu to first boot from a flash drive to install Windows 10, and after it was fully set up, we set the A300 to boot from the 1TB NVMe SSD and used the 512GB SATA III drive for storage along with our 4TB external T-Force M.2 Type C SSD.

Let’s check out its performance after we look over our test configuration and more on the next page.

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