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SFF Network ASRock at CES 2018

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Thunderbolt header spotted on the X299M! :cool:
so maybe with the mobile ryzen chips going out, it would be possible to have an amd mtx board? nice :)
asrock does some really cool stuff.



is it really? :eek:O its not just... usb c?

I mean it could be I'd love to. does that mean that thunderbolt could be comming to ryzen next year as well??
I was referring to the X299 mATX motherboard.
Gigabyte have released the X399 Designare EX which is the only AMD board with Thunderbolt support.
However, Gigabyte have since pulled it from their specifications pending certification.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/11847/gigabyte-announces-x399-designare-ex
Yes, there is a Thunderbolt header, but it isn't supported in the firmware right now. @ASRock System wasn't sure if support for it will be added...possible in due time. There may be an alternative solution coming to add support in the future.
 
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Kmpkt

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MXM GPUs are going to be produced for long time to come. CLEVO, Aetina.... you name them. There are plenty manufacturers.
Even if the rumours about GTX MXM going away are true (which I doubt they are), I feel like an AsRock/PNY union on the Quadro side of things wold make for amazing compact workstations. If you consider the price of the following small workstation PC from Boxx (5.8L, well done srsly):

CPU: Intel i7-7700K
RAM: 32 GB DDR4-2400
GPU: Quadro K620 (165 USD Kepler card)
Storage: 512 GB SSD

Cost: 3773 USD

Looking at a higher end build, you can see Origin PC's Chronos S in the SIlverstonw ML08 (12.2L)

CPU: Intel i7-8700 (non-K)
RAM: 32 GB DDR4-3000
GPU: Quadro P5000
Storage: 512 GB SST

Cost: 3951 USD

Now obviously the Boxx is a massive ripoff and I have no idea how they get away with charging that for a 165 USD GPU vs a 2000+ USD GPU but whatever. Point being were you to build the same system on Micro STX you'd get something like the following:

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/ysXtm8

Assuming the Micro STX board in its bare form costs as much as the Z370 Fatal1ty, you get the same i7-8700 as the Origin, the same P5000 GPU (MXM Quadros tend to cost approximately the same as standard PCIe models), similar RAM (I chose a kit with approximately the same price as a G.Skill DDR4-2400 32GB SODIMM kit), and a 512GB Samsung Evo (I bet the Origin is shipping with a second tier M.2, not a Samsung). All of this for 700 USD less than the Origin, fits in one fifth the volume and has a markedly nicer case.
 

VegetableStu

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So some german sites have the leaked official page images of the top of the board, so here goes:


X399 ATX Taichi and Asus X99M for comparison
(missed out a PWM fan header at top-left under the 4-pin EPS plug on the X399M board)
(missed out the M.2 slot on the asus board)

RAM spacing is a bit larger (not sure if this would help with RAM clearance of Noctua's U9S TR4 cooler)

The mini monsters for comparison

EDIT: RAM comment: nevermind
 
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CC Ricers

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As others noted, Micro STX is NOT dying
Price-wise, do you think ASRock's Micro STX offerings needs to compete against the upcoming gaming NUCs?

Right now a barebones DeskMini GTX with a 1060 costs $799. Then you also need a CPU, hard drives, and RAM. The Hades Canyon NUC is expected to start at $799 also similar performance with a 1060. You the need hard drives and RAM. CPU is already included as the on-die package.

So, DeskMini GTX/RX = more expensive to start with, but offers an upgrade path for CPU/GPU.

Hades Canyon NUC = a bit cheaper to start with but you can't upgrade CPU/GPU.

Asrock could lower the price for current gen to $699 or less, maybe? Or could they still keep it $799 and be a valid competitor?
 
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Kmpkt

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Considering the bundles they've been offering (154.99 G.Skill RAM kit, 189.99 Intel i5 7400) I think they're pretty competitive with the Skull Canyon NuC. Also I don't think they Hades Canyon high end is going to be at 1060 performance levels. Most good guesses I've seen have it somewhere between a 1050ti and 1060 (which is a rather large chasm of performance in which to be situated).

If you look at the Hades Canyon NuC, it has 24 Vega Cores clocked at 1190 MHz boost and an HBM2 bandwidth of 205 GB/s while a Vega 64 has 64 Vega Cores with a boost clock of 1546 MHz, HBM2 bandwidth of 438 GB/s. 38% of the cores, 85% of the memory bandwidth and a greater than 50% underclock to achieve GTX 1060 performance (roughly 2/3rd) seems dubious at best.
 
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AleksandarK

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Price-wise, do you think ASRock's Micro STX offerings needs to compete against the upcoming gaming NUCs?

Right now a barebones DeskMini GTX with a 1060 costs $799. Then you also need a CPU, hard drives, and RAM. The Hades Canyon NUC is expected to start at $799 also similar performance with a 1060. You the need hard drives and RAM. CPU is already included as the on-die package.

So, DeskMini GTX/RX = more expensive to start with, but offers an upgrade path for CPU/GPU.

Hades Canyon NUC = a bit cheaper to start with but you can't upgrade CPU/GPU.

Asrock could lower the price for current gen to $699 or less, maybe? Or could they still keep it $799 and be a valid competitor?
@Kmpkt gave excellent answer.
ASRock has bundles, as well as Z370 mSTX board, so it is more "future proof".

Yes, NUC configuration is a bit cheaper, but it wont have same performance as 1060. It is a bit bellow it. One thing to note it that unlike new NUC, GTX 1060 already has good driver support. This 24CU VEGA configuration needs new drivers to be developed.
Answer to your question about price is that ASRock could reduce pricing by 100$ and that could add more customer base. But i dont believe they could do it. No.1 reason being MXM GPU price.
 

EdZ

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Most good guesses I've seen have it somewhere between a 1050ti and 1060 (which is a rather large chasm of performance in which to be situated).
Remember the performance comparisons so far have been the to 'Max Q' laptop variants using reduced power limits. The Deskmini is using unrestricted laptop versions, or (in the case of the 1060) desktop versions of those chips.
 
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Thehack

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The deskmini I feel like is dead for the most part. MSTX still offers a a couple other benefits such as much more m.2 support and the area above the empty MXM slot can be used for large 2.5 storage.

1. Upgradeability. This one is a mixed bag. The only thing that's upgradeable is the CPU. The GPU is not practical to buy a replacement. You're better off just buying a whole new kit based on prices and I don't expect that to change. Intel 200 series has reached EOL so it's not like you can upgrade to the 9th gen. You can only increase your thread count. We're not even sure if 8th gen will work with 9th gen. Knowing Intel I wouldn't expect to be able to get any decent upgrade to a new generation.

2. Form Factor. The case itself is a bit high and the coolers could be much more low profile. There are no good aftermarket cases and the Noctua L9 doesn't fit. This is probably rectifiable with a different gpu cooler.

3. Performance. With the 1060 i5 bundle, you are trading CPU performance for GPU performance vs Hades Canyon. Intel i7 with 1050 TI class vs i5 with 1060.

4. The Intel 24 Vega is reportedly faster than 1060 maxq in Vulkan or DX12 optimized titles. This means it's probably equal in regular titles, and behind the 1060 by 10%. Vega 20 version is probably equal 1050 TI or a lil behind.

Personally I'd rather get the Hades Canyon. They offer similar value but the Intel has a better size. If ASRock had a slimmer version and/or slimmer case I'd reconsider it.

To get something similar to the Hades Canyon, I'd have to source a low profile GPU and CPU cooler, swap out the CPU, buy some shifty aftermarket case. At that point, just getting the Hades canyon would've been less headache. You also get impressive amount of ports.

MXM was a bad idea. They could've used an open 8x horizontal PCIe slot so that the cooler faces up in line with CPU cooler. Would've been a day one buy for me.
 
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Kmpkt

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ASRock had a slimmer version and/or slimmer case I'd reconsider it.
Frankly I was boggled to see the inclusion of two 2.5" HDD mounts on top of the three M.2 drives on the Deskmini GTX. Considering it is most certainly not a downmarket product, the additional bulk of the enclosure in order to accommodate this was in my opinion a very poor design decision.

There are no good aftermarket cases and the Noctua L9 doesn't fit. This is probably rectifiable with a different gpu cooler.
The L9i does fit, just not in the ideal orientation.

We're not even sure if 8th gen will work with 9th gen. Knowing Intel I wouldn't expect to be able to get any decent upgrade to a new generation.
This argument could (and should) be used against all Intel products. It is not a Micro STX specific issue.

Frankly I think a compelling product would be a riser kit for Mini STX/Intel NuC that would allow you to orient a standard GPU end-on to the motherboard giving all of the functionality of Micro STX with an equal or slightly larger footprint.

As an example, a NuC board at 102mm with an M.2 to PCIe x16 riser set could be used in combination with a Zotac 1080 Mini could have a total height of approximately 230mm, a depth of 215mm and a height of about 45mm for a total volume of 2.2L, smaller than the Deskmini GTX. You'd obviously need to go to a SATA SSD to make this work, but frankly as much as I love M.2 for space savings, I can't say that for the bulk of my applications an 850 pro 2.5" is going to feel a whole lot different than a 960 Pro.
 
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zanduh

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I love the mSTX form factor but the fact is that Asrock for the last year hasn't been selling its standalone board that would allow for the market to grow. If the board were to be released rather than bundled I would expect at least one of the mxm manufacturers to create a price point that was more accessible to builders. Even if this was still a 20% markup I honestly think this would be the perfect environment for an MXM manufacturer to take advantage given the crazy prices of PCI graphics cards. And if the boards are readily available and the mxm cards are priced to sell to enthusiasts then obviously the cases would follow from enthusiasts and some bigger case makers.

It feels like chicken and the egg but I feel like Asrock can push it forward at the expense of their deskmini lineup.

Addition: Maybe I'm a little too optimistic but I've been dreaming up an mSTX case that I really want to make if the form factor ever becomes affordably modular. :(
 

Thehack

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This argument could (and should) be used against all Intel products. It is not a Micro STX specific issue.
The point of buying a microSTX standardized motherboard is upgradeability. If upgradeability is not practical, which is true for the DESKMINI right now, then it completes with other non-upgradeable mini PCs like Hades Canyon, Zotac, and Gigabyte.

As an example, a NuC board at 102mm with an M.2 to PCIe x16 riser set could be used in combination with a Zotac 1080 Mini could have a total height of approximately 230mm, a depth of 215mm and a height of about 45mm for a total volume of 2.2L, smaller than the Deskmini GTX. You'd obviously need to go to a SATA SSD to make this work, but frankly as much as I love M.2 for space savings, I can't say that for the bulk of my applications an 850 pro 2.5" is going to feel a whole lot different than a 960 Pro.
Why not just do an mSTX with PIO type of 8x PCIe? Who needs the riser if you have one built onto the motherboard?



If you're going to go out of your ways to make an additional standard, a mSTX PIO type makes more sense. You can use any standard PCIe card. You also don't have to worry about throttling with an m.2 PCIe 4X.
 
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jØrd

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If the board were to be released rather than bundled I would expect at least one of the mxm manufacturers to create a price point that was more accessible to builders.
Thats a pretty big business risk to take. Kind of a "build it and they will come" approach. Whats more, neither of the two existing MXM manufacturers have any real consumer facing retail channels or any experience or tooling in place to deal w/ selling directly to consumers. I would make the case that a single vendor selling a handful of boards that can take MXM cards is no where near the critical mass that it would take to push an MXM vendor to make deep changes to their existing business models and that selling as a bundle (at least w/ the GPU) is the only real viable way to do it right now.

My $0.02
 

warfreak131

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If they could get the 1080 version of the Deskmini down to the price where the proportional cost of the MXM card is down to a pre-mining desktop-version price, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
 

zanduh

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Thats a pretty big business risk to take. Kind of a "build it and they will come" approach. Whats more, neither of the two existing MXM manufacturers have any real consumer facing retail channels or any experience or tooling in place to deal w/ selling directly to consumers. I would make the case that a single vendor selling a handful of boards that can take MXM cards is no where near the critical mass that it would take to push an MXM vendor to make deep changes to their existing business models and that selling as a bundle (at least w/ the GPU) is the only real viable way to do it right now.

My $0.02
You’re probably 100 percent correct. Just disappointing
 

Kmpkt

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I'd personally love to see AsRock sell the board as a standalone as well as selling MXM cards individually. This would create a resale market for previous generation motherboards and GPUs as users upgraded one part of the other generation after generation. It would also open up a market for third party cases as the inclination to buy an entire barebones and then throw away the case is pretty low (very wasteful).