Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2019 - 02:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, ryzen, mini-stx, barebones, asrock, APU, amd, AM4
ASRock is launching a new small form factor barebones system later this month that incorporates what the company claims Is the first Mini STX motherboard for AMD’s Zen-based processors (primarily APUs) using the AM4 socket, a tiny case, and optional accessories. The DeskMini A300 and A300W are barebones PCs where you are responsible for adding your own CPU, RAM, and storage. Measuring 155 x 155 x 80mm (approximately 6.1” x 6.1” x 3.15”), the 1.92-liter PCs sit somewhere between an Intel NUC and a Mini ITX build. The DeskMini A300 case is all black with subtle rounded corners, a stylized front panel, and ample square mesh ventilation grills along the top, left side, and back. Up front sits two audio jacks (mic/headphone), one USB 3.1 Type-C, and one USB 3.1 Type-A (both USB 3.1 Gen 1 / 5Gbps) and two USB 2.0 ports can be added via an optional front panel add-on using a header on the motherboard. Around back ASRock’s A300M-STX motherboard offers up one USB 3.1 (5Gbps), one USB 2.0, one Gigabit Ethernet, and three display outputs (one each of HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort). There is also a DC-in jack for power with the kit using a 19V 120W power brick.
Inside the case the DeskMini A300 uses the ASRock A300M-STM motherboard with measures 5” x 5”. While not the first Mini STX motherboard for AMD processors (Mini STX is generally an Intel form factor), it is reportedly the first for newer AMD chips using the AM4 socket. The board supports up to 65W CPUs and will generally only be used with APUs that have their own integrated graphics as this motherboard lacks a PCI-E x16 slot for installing a dedicated GPU. Granted, an enthusiast might well be able to use a CPU only Ryzen processor and sacrifice a M.2 slot to add in a GPU but then you would need a bigger case and at that point it might be easier to just go Mini ITX (Note that some Mini STX motherboards do support external graphics via MXM slots but those mainly mobile focused GPUs can come at a hefty premium). In any event, the AM4 socket is paired with two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots (up to 2933 MHz), two Ultra M.2 2280 slots for NVMe storage, one M.2 Key E for wireless modules, and two SATA 3 6Gpbs ports (RAID 0 and 1 are supported). ASRock sells an optional 65W CPU cooler, but if you plan to add your own height is limited to 46mm.
Audio is handled by the Realtek ALC233 codec/chipset while networking is handled by the Realtek RTL8111H NIC for wired and the Intel AC-3168 Wi-Fi for wireless (on the A300W SKU).
The DeskMini A300 barebones PC is slated for release later this month starting at $119 which gets you a tiny SFF motherboard, case, and power supply. Tom’s Hardware was able to get a hands-on look at the case and motherboard at CES and took several photos of the kit. It is an interesting product utilizing Mini STX and is nice to see an AMD option in this middle ground form factor.
Looking at the photos, the second M.2 slot as well as the CMOS battery being on the underside of the motherboard may prove to be rather inconvenient (it’s not clear if that case has a motherboard cutout for those areas or not). Using vertical SO-DIMM slots shouldn’t be a problem airflow wise in this case though and should be a bit sturdier than the angled approaches long term. Storage and other I/O seems decent especially considering this system uses the lower-end A300 chipset.
Hopefully reviewers (and modders!) will be able to get their hands on the small form factor hardware soon. What are your thoughts?
Subject: Motherboards | February 2, 2019 - 10:12 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mini ITX, LGA 1151, Intel, coffee lake, asrock
ASRock is preparing to launch a new Mini ITX motherboard based on Intel’s B365 chipset. The aptly-named ASRock B365M-ITX/ac pairs the new (but based on older 22nm fabrication processes) chipset with the LGA 1151 socket and support for the latest 8th and 9th Generation Intel Core processors along with support for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory in two DIMM slots (specifications aren’t clear if the new 32GB DC-DIMMs are supported or if this is just for future reference). The B365M-ITX/ac takes advantage of ASRock’s “Super Alloy” suite of technologies which includes five phase digital power delivery, 60-amp chokes and dual stacked MOSFETs along with the black glass PCB.
The Mini ITX motherboard supports Intel processors up to 95W. Connectivity includes a single PCI-E x16 slot, one M.2 Key E for Wi-Fi modules in line with the rear I/O (with an included Intel 802.11ac + BT 4.2 module), one M.2 22110 slot for solid state drives (B365 does support Optane), and four SATA 3 ports. ASRock uses an Intel I219V NIC for Gigabit Ethernet and while the B365 chipset does not have built-in Wi-Fi there is an Intel wireless module for 802.11ac 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi bundled with the board. Audio is handled by a 7.1 channel Realtek ALC887 codec that has been spruced up slightly with ELNA capacitors.
Rear I/O on the B365M-ITX/ac includes HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort video outputs up top followed by one PS/2 port, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 (10Gbps), one RJ45 jack for Gigabit Ethernet, two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, and three 3.5mm audio outputs.
Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced yet. With that said, looking around online, I would guess that the B365-based board will launch somewhere around $100 at retail (MSRP may be a bit higher) with the B360M-ITX/ac board sitting at around $90 right now and the higher end Fatality boards using the higher end Z chipsets sitting around $120+.
The B365M-ITX/ac appears to be an interesting board that will hopefully fall on the budget side of pricing. I am looking forward to the reviews on this as the spacing seems better than average (Morry will appreciate the CMOS battery placement), and I/O is decent. The audio doesn’t seem to be as beefed up as some of the competition, however, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt would have been nice-to-have along with right angled power connectors but all that would add to the cost. In any event, the more small form factor options, the merrier (so long as the quality is there)!
What are your thoughts on ASRock’s latest SFF offering?
- Mini ITX Motherboards @ PC Perspective
- Intel Adds B365 Chipset to Lineup: The Return of 22nm @ AnandTech
Subject: Motherboards | July 4, 2018 - 05:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asrock, X470 Taichi Ultimate, x470, amd, ryzen 2
The new generation of AMD boards feature some interesting aesthetic choices, such you can see on ASRock's X470 Taichi Ultimate. The black and grey theme is contrasted by the RGBs you already knew were present, but it is worth noting that TechPowerUp considered the implementation of the blinken lighten as exceptional. Sadly the same could not be said of the audio chipset on the board, which they found lacklustre for a flagship model. Their overclocking tests showed no deficiencies, the boards ability was met or exceeded the other X470 boards they have tried.
As it is a flagship motherboard, there are quite a few features to cover in the review, which you can find here.
"In addition to the new features brought to the X470 chipset, the Taichi Ultimate offers additional SATA ports, 10 gigabit Ethernet, and superior control in overclocking using the Hyper BCLK Engine II, just to name a few. ASRock's Taichi line of motherboards have traditionally been top performers. Can the ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate and X470 chipset match up?"
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC @ [H]ard|OCP
- Biostar Racing X470GTN @ TechPowerUp
- GIGABYTE B450 AORUS PRO WIFI @ TechARP
- MSI MEG X399 Creation + MSI Xpander-Aero @ TechARP
- ASRock H370M-ITX/ac @ Kitguru
Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 01:33 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asrock, x470, AM4, mini ITX, 802.11ac, usb 3.1
Videocardz managed to snag several photos of an upcoming AMD X470-based motherboard from ASRock. Specifically, the ASRock X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac is a Mini ITX board ready for AMD's Ryzen 2000 and other AM4 processors. Powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, the Mini ITX board uses an eight phase (6+2) power phase cooled by a black heatsink that is a bit larger than the red affair on the previous generation X370 Fatal1ty motherboard.
The AM4 socket sits at the center of the board and is paired with two DDR4 DIMM slots, one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. There is also a single PCI-E x4 M.2 slot on the back of the motherboard for your NVMe solid state drives. The motherboard further features built-in 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and (likely Realtek) Gigabit Ethernet for networking and 8-channel Realtek codec audio enhanced with Nichicon capacitors.
Rear I/O is difficult to ascertain by the photos, but it appears that the X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac includes a Fatal1ty mouse port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.1 ports (including one Type-C), one HDMI, one DisplayPort, one Gigabit Ethernet, six audio outputs (one optical, five analog), and two Wi-Fi antenna connectors.
AMD's "Zen+" Ryzen 2000 series CPUs are not quite out yet, but will be soon enough along with the new 400-series chipsets. No word on how much this Mini ITX motherboard will cost, but I am glad that SFF options are coming at launch with the updated chipsets that are said to be lower power and optimized for Zen+. We will have to wait a bit for reviews to see how well it overclocks and what the pricing works out to.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 29, 2018 - 05:45 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: RX 580, RX 570, RX 560, RX 550, Polaris, mining, asrock, amd
ASRock, a company known mostly for its motherboards that was formerly an Asus sub-brand but is now an independent company owned by Pegatron since 2010 is now getting into the graphics card market with a new Phantom Gaming series. At launch, the Phantom Gaming series is comprised of four AMD Polaris-based graphics cards including the Phantom Gaming RX 550 2G and RX 560 2G on the low end and the Phantom Gaming X RX 570 8G OC and RX 580 8G OC on the mid/high end range.
ASRock is using black shrouds with white accents and silver and red logos. The lower end Phantom Gaming cards utilize a single dual ball bearing fan while the Phantom Gaming X cards use a dual fan configuration. ASRock is using copper baseplates paired with aluminum heatsinks and composite heatpipes. The Phantom Gaming RX 550 and RX 560 cards use only PCI-E slot power while the Phantom Gaming X RX 570 and RX 580 cards get power from both the slot and a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector.
Video outputs include one HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.4, and one DL-DVI-D on the Phantom Gaming parts and one HDMI 2.0, three DisplayPort 1.4, and one DL-DVI-D on the higher-end Phantom Gaming X graphics cards. All of the graphics card models feature both silent and overclocked modes in addition to their out-of-the-box default clocks depending on whether you value performance or noise. Users can select which mode they want or perform a custom overclock or fan curve using ASRock's Phantom Gaming Tweak utility.
On the performance front, out of the box ASRock is slightly overclocking the Phantom Gaming X OC cards (the RX 570 and RX 580 based ones) and slightly underclocking the lower end Phantom Gaming cards (including the memory which is downclocked to 6 GHz) compared to their AMD reference specifications.
|ASRock RX 580 OC||RX 580||ASRock RX 570 OC||RX 570||ASRock RX 560||RX 560||ASRock RX 550||RX 550|
|GPU Clock (MHz)||1380||1340||1280||1244||1149||1275||1100||1183|
|GPU Clock OC Mode (MHz)||1435||-||1331||-||1194||-||1144||-|
|Memory Clock (GHz)||8GHz||8GHz||7GHz||7GHz||6GHz||7GHz||6GHz||7GHz|
|Memory Clock OC Mode (MHz)||8320||-||7280||-||6240||-||6240||-|
The table above shows the comparisons between the ASRock graphics cards and their AMD reference card counterparts. Note that the Phantom Gaming RX 560 2G is based on the cut-down 14 CU (compute unit) model rather than the launch 16 CU GPU. Also, even in OC Mode, ASRock does not bring the memory up to the 7 GT/s reference spec. On the positive side, turning on OC mode does give a decent factory overclock of the GPU over reference. Also nice to see is that on the higher end "OC Certified" Phantom Gaming X cards, ASRock overclocks both the GPU and memory speeds which is often not the case with factory overclocks.
ASRock did not detail pricing with any of the launch announcement cards, but they should be coming soon with 4GB models of the RX 560 an RX 550 to follow later this year.
It is always nice to have more competition in this space and hopefully a new AIB partner for AMD helps alleviate shortages and demand for gaming cards if only by a bit. I am curious how well the cards will perform as while they look good on paper the company is new to graphics cards and the build quality really needs to be there. I am just hoping that the Phantom Gaming moniker is not an allusion to how hard these cards are going to be to find for gaming! (heh) If the rumored Ethereum ASICs do not kill the demand for AMD GPUs I do expect that ASRock will also be releasing mining specific cards as well at some point.
What are your thoughts on the news of ASRock moving into graphics cards?
Subject: Motherboards | January 22, 2018 - 11:24 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, gemini lake, fanless, asrock
Not ready to let Gigabyte have all the fun, ASRock has announced two new Mini ITX motherboards of its own that come pre-loaded with quad core Intel Gemini Lake processors cooled using fanless heatsinks. The ASRock J4105-ITX and J4105B-ITX measure 6.7" x 6.7" and sport a "sapphire black" PCB constructed of a high-density glass fabric that is allegedly more resistant to humidity and helps to prevent electrical shorts. The boards use all solid capacitors and have voltage spike protections for board components. The J4105-ITX may be of more interest to home users while the J4105B-ITX variant is aimed at industrial and commercial setups since it downgrades the audio outputs but adds more USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and adds legacy connections for serial (COM), parallel (Printer port), and D-Sub outputs to the rear I/O.
The new Gemini Lake motherboards have a soldered-on Gemini Lake processor cooled by a black heatsink in the top left corner. Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots sit to the right and beneath the processor (up to 8GB 2400 MHz). The J4105-ITX has a Key E M.2 slot for 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth modules, a single PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports for storage, and headers for a CPU fan, one chassis fan, one USB 3.1 Gen 1, and two USB 2.0 headers (3 ports max). The four SATA ports are comprised of two from the Intel chip and two from an ASMedia ASM1061 chip. On the other hand, the J4105B-ITX does not have a M.2 slot, has a physical PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot (electrically x2), and only two SATA 6.0 Gbps ports. Both boards appear to use the same networking chipset for Gigabit Ethernet with the Realtek RTL8111H. Audio chipsets are a bit different with the J4105-ITX using the Realtek ALC892 and the J4105B-ITX using a slightly cut down Realtek ALC887 chipset.
Rear I/O is as follows:
|2 x PS/2||1 x PS/2|
|1 x D-Sub (VGA)||1 x D-Sub|
|1 x DVI-D||1 x COM|
|1 x HDMI||1 x Printer Port|
|2 x USB 3.1 (5Gbps)||3 x USB 3.1 (5Gbps)|
|2 x USB 2.0||1 x USB 2.0|
|1 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)||1 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)|
|6 x Audio (5 x 3.5mm + 1 x S/PDIF||3 x Audio (3 x 3.5mm)|
The Gemini Lake processor used is the Intel Celeron J4105 which is a quad core part (no Hyperthreading) with Intel UHD 600 graphics, 4MB cache, and clockspeeds from a base of 1.5 GHz to a maximum turbo of 2.5 GHz. The UHD 600 GPU reportedly has 12 EUs (execution units) and a max frequency of 750 MHz and supports 4K60 video output, multiple displays, and hardware acceleration of HVEC H.265 10-bit (and 8-bit), H.264 AVC, VP8, VP9 8 and 10-bit video codecs.
This new processor is based on the Goldmont+ architecture which is a bit more efficient and features higher clocks than Apollo Lake along with more L2 cache. You won't be gaming on these things (at least not locally; you should look for APUs or the Intel+Vega Kaby Lake-G CPU for that in this SFF space), but if you need small and silent low power PC for a streaming box, or office work this might fit the bill. I think the biggest market for these particular boards will be small businesses, kiosks, signage, and industrial control and monitoring systems though as they may be a bit too bare bones for enthusiasts to tinker with or home users to get the most out of them (e.g. only one GbE port, 8GB of RAM max, and somewhat limited USB 3.1 ports).
ASRock has not yet announced pricing or availability.
What are your thoughts on these low power SFF boards?
Subject: Motherboards | January 22, 2018 - 04:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: itx, asrock, x299-itx/ac, Intel, SFF
ASRock's X299-ITX/ac is a decent choice to build a tiny system with, offering a wide variety of features as well as the ability to trim some of them off if you do not need them. There are two removable PCBs, one which holds the SATA ports as well as a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 header while the second carries the LAN chips, a USB hub and your M.2 slots. There may be cases in which removing one or the other makes room for other equipment in your enclosure, with the option to add them back later on. You can see how the ~$400 board performs at TechPowerUp.
"ASRock's X299-ITX/ac is that mini motherboard for Intel's X299 platform that takes all that is good and shoves it into a board smaller than a shoebox. With a triplet of M.2 ports and dual LAN chips, plus Wi-Fi, there's almost nothing missed, other than some PCIe slots, making this board an engineering feat only ASRock could accomplish."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS ROG Maximus X Formula @ Guru of 3D
- AORUS Z370 Gaming 7 @ Modders-Inc
- Gigabyte Z370N WIFI Mini-ITX @ Guru of 3D
- Biostar Racing Z370GT6 @ TechPowerUp
Subject: Motherboards | October 17, 2017 - 04:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X299E-ITX ac, m-ITX, Intel, cute, asrock
ASRock have done something very impressive, created a mini-ITX X299 motherboard.
The tight confines of this board have not stopped them from including numerous features. There are dual Intel NICs in addition to dual band 2.4/5GHz 802.11ac WiFi connectivity on this board. USB3.1 Gen2 Type A and C connectors are found on the back along with four USB 3.1 Gen 1; the audio outputs include optical, the Realtek ALC1220 behind them supports 7.1 audio.
ASRock fit three M.2 slots on this board, one on the front running along the back panel that supports both PCIe and SATA and another two PCIe 3.0 4x hidden on the back. There are an additional six SATA 6Gb/s ports for more traditional storage. The motherboard supports quad-channel memory of up to 64GB of DDR4-4000, with DIMM slots above and below the CPU socket. The single PCIe 3.0 16x slot is at the very bottom, with strong reinforcement to hold up a GPU that will outweigh the rest of the system.
You could choose to try to cool this with a standard cooler, but that is not your only choice. ASRock worked with Bitspower to create a custom waterblock as you can see above. That will ensure a perfect fit as well as proper cooling.
Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2017 - 11:22 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: X399, x370, x299, wwdc, video, shield, podcast, plex, pixel, macbook, Mac Pro, Logitech G413, Lian-Li, gigabyte, computex, asus, asrock, apollo lake, 3D XPoint
PC Perspective Podcast #453 - 06/07/17
Join us for talk about continued Computex 2017 coverage, WWDC '17, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
1:10:50 Honey, I shrunk the silicon
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Motherboards | June 5, 2017 - 05:08 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tr4, Threadripper, computex, asrock, amd
In case you need just a bit more Computex news, ASRock is jumping into the high-end AMD desktop platform with two new X399 motherboards using the massive TR4 socket for AMD Threadripper. The new premium motherboards are part of the company’s Professional Gaming and Taichi series and are packed with workstation friendly features.
HardwareCanucks spotted the new boards on the show floor.
Both motherboards arare clad in black and silver colors with the professional gaming having some red accents and the Taichi having a stylized gear shaped chipset heatsink. The ASRock X399 Professional Gaming and X399 Taichi both feature eight DDR4 DIMM slots supporting quad channel memory, four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, one PCI-E x1 slot, three Ultra M.2 (x4 PCI-E or SATA drives), one U.2 port, and eight SATA 6Gbps ports. The boards are powered by a 24-pin ATX, 8-pin and 4-pin EPS12V and a 6-pin PCI-E power connector to provide stable slot power to PCI-E devices like graphics cards. The Professional Gaming reportedly has a 10+2 power phase feeing the CPU and memory, and while there is no confirmation that the Taichi also has this it should be close if not the same power phase design.
In addition to aesthetic design choices, the boards differ in networking and audio with the ASRock X399 Professional Gaming sporting Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 and the X399 Taichi have Purity Sound 4. The Threadripper motherboards both support Wi-Fi and two Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports. The X399 Professional Gaming adds a 10 Gigabit Ethernet interface that is not present on the Taichi, however.
Rear I/O on the TR4 X399 motherboards include eight USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, three USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (including one Type-C), dual (Intel) Gigabit Ethernet, six audio connections (5 analog, one digital), two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, and a single PS/2 port. The X399 Professional Gaming also has 10GbE port.
Unfortunately, no word on pricing or availability.
We will have to wait for reviews to know for sure, but it appears that while ASRock did not go quite as crazy with the power input as Asus and it’s ROG Zenith Extreme, the company has some nice-looking motherboards. Hopefully they perform as well as they look and enable enthusiasts to push the envelope in terms of hardware and clockspeeds when overclocking. If you are interested in these motherboards, Computerbase.de has several more photos of them on their site.
If you are looking for something a "bit" smaller, ASRock also unveiled the Mini ITX X370 Gaming-ITX/ac that uses the X370 chipset on the AM4 (Ryzen) platform.