Biostar A68N-5000 Mini ITX Motherboard Review

I have been reviewing high end motherboards and other components that are usually geared towards PC gamers and the enthusiasts these past few years. A few months ago something different arrived in my lab. It’s a tiny motherboard with a built-in CPU and GPU, primarily geared towards the budget conscious or for those who just wants to build a small and silent desktop PC that is enough to do some of the common operations we usually do on a computer. Today we are going to look at the Biostar A68N-5000 mini ITX motherboard, featuring an on board AMD Fusion AMD A4-5000 Quad Core APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) and AMD Radeon HD8330 Graphics. Without further delay, let’s take a look at the Biostar A68N-5000 in my review below.

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Biostar A68N-5000 Review

Biostar A68N-5000 Features

The Biostar A68N-5000 mini ITX motherboard features an integrated Quad-Core Processor A4-5000 with AMD Radeon HD 8330 Graphics. The APU is soldered into the motherboard so you can’t replace it or upgrade it. This APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) combines processing power and advanced DirectX 11.1 graphics in one small, energy-efficient design to enable accelerated performance and an industry-leading visual experience. It features single-channel DDR3 1333 memory support and accelerates data transfer rate up to 2.5GT/s.

It features Direct3D 11.1 that enables Direct3D 10 APIs and Direct3D 11 APIs to use one underlying rendering device. And it allows developers to achieve a high speed, fully conformant software rasterizer. It also features an onboard 5.1ch HD audio and some of the basic connectors like USB 3.0/2.0, HDMI port, DVI port, PS/2 ports, SATA 6Gbps, Printer and Series Port headers and Gigabit Ethernet LAN port.

The Biostar A68N-5000 features a moisture proof PCB, Low RdsOn P-Pak MOS for lower temperature, and X.D.C or eXtreme Durable Capacitors. The motherboard is protected from ESD or Electrostatic Discharge which could damage some of the components soldered onto the motherboard.

It also features USB Polyswitch, an on board dedicated power fuse to help prevent USB port failure. It prevents USB Port over current and safeguards your system and device lifespan. Believe it or, but the Biostar A68N-5000 features UEFI BIOS (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). I’ve included screenshots of its BIOS for your reference.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the Biostar A68N-5000 after its specifications table below.

Biostar A68N-5000 Specifications

ChipsetNA
ProcessorAMD Fusion APU A4-5000 Quad-Core Processor
MemorySupport DDR3 / DDR3L 1600/1333/1066/800 MHz
2 x DDR3 DIMM Memory Slot
Max. Supports up to 16GB Memory
Expansion Slot1 x PCI-E x16 2.0 Slot (x4)
Storage2 x SATA3 Connector
USB2 x USB 3.0 Port
2 x USB 2.0 Port
2 x USB 2.0 Header
LANRealtek RTL8111G - 10/100/1000 Controller
Integrated VideoAMD Radeon™ HD8330 Graphics, On Board Graphic Max. Memory Share Up to 2GB
Supports DX11.1
Supports HDCP
CODECRealtek ALC662 6-Channel HD Audio
Rear I/O1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
2 x USB 3.0 Port
2 x USB 2.0 Port
1 x HDMI Connector
1 x VGA Port
1 x RJ-45 Port
3 x Audio Connector
Internal I/O1 x Printer Header
2 x USB 2.0 Header
2 x SATA3 6Gb/s Connector
1 x Front Audio Header
1 x Front Panel Header
1 x S/PDIF-Out Header
1 x CPU Fan Header
1 x System Fan Header
1 x Serial Header
H/W MonitoringCPU / System Temperature Monitoring
System Fan Monitoring
System Voltage Monitoring
DimensionMini ITX Form Factor Dimension: 17cm x 17cm ( W x L )
OS SupportSupport Windows XP / 7 / 8 / 8.1
Bundle SoftwareBIO-Remote2
Accessories2 x SATA Cable
1 x I/O Shield
1 x DVD Driver
1 x Quick Guide
FeaturesWindows 8 Ready
Supports Solid capacitor
Supports BIOS-Flasher
Supports Charger Booster
Supports BIOS Online Update

Packaging and Closer Look

Biostar A68N-5000 Review-01 Biostar A68N-5000 Review-02

Like most of Biostar’s entry level motherboard, you will see a familiar box and packaging. The box itself is simple and straightforward. Most of the A68N-5000’s features are printed at the back of the box.

Biostar A68N-5000 Review-03 Biostar A68N-5000 Review-04

Included in the package are the manual, driver CD, two SATA cables and a rear I/O shield.

Biostar A68N-5000 Review-05 Biostar A68N-5000 Review-06

Here are the front and rear view of the Biostar A68N-5000 mini ITX motherboard. It looks pretty simply right?

Biostar A68N-5000 Review-07

On the rear panel you got the following: mouse and keyboard PS/2 ports, HDMI port, DVI port, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, Gigabyte Ethernet LAN port (Realtek RTL8111G – 10/100/1000 Controller), and its audio ports.

Biostar A68N-5000 Review-08 Biostar A68N-5000 Review-09

Here are photos of the A68N-5000 from an angle. It uses a passive aluminum heatsink to cool the APU. However, I would advise to use a case fan for additional cooling support. The heatsink does get hot specially at full load or when stressed out.

Biostar A68N-5000 Review-10 Biostar A68N-5000 Review-11

The heatsink can easily be removed since it’s just using a push clip like mechanism. Removing the heatsink will reveal the APU (AM5000IBJ44HM).

Biostar A68N-5000 BIOS

Biostar A68N-5000 BIOS-01 Biostar A68N-5000 BIOS-02

Here we have a look at the Biostar A86N-5000’s UEFI BIOS interface. It doesn’t have many options since this is an entry level motherboard, and there’s not much tweaking to do. Below are the rest of the menus and options available. Just click on the image to have a larger view.

Test Setup

In testing the Biostar A68N-5000 I used Kingmax’s value SSD and DDR3 memory. I also used the Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti for graphics performance comparison. Below are the rest of the system’s specs.

Biostar A68N-5000 Review-12

Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
Motherboard: Biostar A68N-5000 Mini ITX
Processor: AMD A4-5000 Quad Core APU
CPU Cooler: Passive Heatsink
Memory: Kingmax Nano Gaming RAM 16GB 1866MHz (Running at 1330MHz)
Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD8330 Graphics and Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti OC
Hard Drive: Kingmax SMG35 TITAN 256GB SSD
Power Supply: Seasonic Platinum 1050W
Case: Dimastech Easy Bench V3.0

You might be wondering why I used a 1050W PSU with the A68N-5000. I know its overkill but it’s the only available PSU at the time I tested the motherboard. Moving on, below are the CPU-Z and GPU-Z screenshots of the system.

Biostar A68N-5000 CPUZ

AMD Radeon HD 8330 gpuz

Biostar A68N-5000 Benchmark Results

AIDA64 Cache and Memory Benchmark

Biostar A68N-5000 cachemem

AIDA34 GPGPU Benchmarks

Biostar A68N-5000 gpgpu with onboard Biostar A68N-5000 gpgpu with GTX 750 Ti

The benchmark on the left is with the onboard HD 8330 Graphics, while the benchmark on the right is with the Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti.

MaxxMEM2 Benchmark

Biostar A68N-5000 MaxxMEM2

Cinebench R15 Benchmark

Biostar A68N-5000 cinebench

The benchmark on the left is with the onboard HD 8330 Graphics, while the benchmark on the right is with the Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti.

Asus RealBench 2.0 Benchmark

Biostar A68N-5000 RealBench 2 Benchmark

Anvil’s Storage SSD Benchmark

Just like with the memory related benchmarks above, the SSD benchmark also depends on the type of components installed. Not all memory and SSD performs the same. And in this case, the Kingmax SMG35 Titan SSD doesn’t perform well when dealing with incompressible files, and it’s not the motherboard’s fault.

HWBOT Aquamark Benchmark

Biostar A68N-5000 aquamark with onboard Biostar A68N-5000 aquamark with GTX 750 Ti

3DMark Benchmarks

Biostar A68N-5000 Graphics Benchmarks

Obviously, I got a much better result with the GTX 750 Ti, than merely relying on the integrated Radeon HD 8330 Graphics. However I did noticed that the GTX 750 Ti’s performance is somewhat slower than the usual. Probably the APU is bottlenecking the GTX 750 Ti’s capacity. Check out how the graphics card would perform when paired with a much faster processor in my Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti OC review.

Price and Availability

addtocartThe Biostar A68N-5000 Mini ITX motherboard is now available and currently comes with a retail price of $68.99 only at Newegg at the time this review was published. It also comes with a 3 year limited warranty period for parts and labor from Biostar.

Biostar A68N-5000 Review: Conclusion

The Biostar A68N-5000 is pretty much a straight forward motherboard, very easy to use and no complications. The APU or its processor (including graphics processor) is already soldered into the motherboard. This may be a good option for those who do not want to install or thinker with the processor. However, one downside of this setup is it can’t be upgraded anymore. You also can’t use high performance or mainstream DDR3 memory or graphics card since the APU would already bottleneck it. But who would pair this motherboard with a mainstream or high end component, right?

When it comes to performance, I really can’t complain since it’s only a $68.99 motherboard that already comes with an onboard processor and graphics processor. It may not be fast, but it sure can do most of the common things we do with a computer. This includes surfing the internet, word processing, power point presentation, communication, basic gaming and the likes. If there is one thing that I would like to have in the A68N-5000, is a slot for a WiFi card. Unless you don’t plan to use the PCIE slot then you don’t need an additional slot for your WiFi card.

Overall, I find the Biostar A68N-5000 mini ITX motherboard to be a well-priced product considering the value that it offers. It is an inexpensive solution specially for those who are planning on building a budget small form factor PC. It’s a worthy product that you should consider putting on your list.

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  • Thomas Robicheaux

    I didn’t read every detail. All I know is that the 750 should be crippled because motherboard runs the ddr3 in single channel mode and pci slot is x4.