SFF.Network ASRock DeskMini at Computex 2018

ASRock's DeskMini line, the proponent of the STX and Micro-STX form factors, is undergoing a tonne more development. More layouts, new chipsets, and overall, a determined promise from the manufacturer to continue the STX family of form factors, something we are wholeheartedly behind. Lets see what ASRock had on display.

Read more here!
 

simmtuck

Efficiency Noob
Jun 8, 2018
6
1
I was leaning heavily towards the 7700. I was also trying to figure out of the "t" variation would make sense in the system as well.

t processor is power-optimized, so it's going to be a hair slower than the simple non-letter processors. So a i7-6700t is going to be 10% or so less capable than a i7-6700. Unless you can find a deal on a T, I wouldn't bother and just go for the non-K version which is already going to top out at 65W, which is the sweet spot for the deskmini's PSU. From my experience if you make the jump for the 7700 you won't be disappointed. Seems to go well with the b250 in this machine, I love it. I was concerned when I heard about kaby lake running hotter than other generations but I think it is more about the overclocked K versions that suffer this because I have no problems keeping it cool in the gtx.
 

Brian_Buckley

Trash Compacter
Sep 26, 2017
47
41
Oh man AM4 Mini (not Micro) STX? This is gonna be so nice for niche custom builds.
Micro is nice for MXM support but the smaller footprint of Mini together with AM4 is an awesome combo since Ryzen APUs are now a thing.
 
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QuantumBraced

Master of Cramming
Mar 9, 2017
507
358
Can you even buy the Deskmini Z370 1080 anywhere? Not that I'm interested, but we got a series a reviews over the past few months and they're still not available anywhere. The only one you can buy is the B250 1060 with the single review on Newegg (someone from this forum I believe). I really want the form factor to succeed, but there seems to be virtually no demand or availability, clearly because of the ridiculous prices of MXM GPUs.

ASRock doesn't seem to be giving up though, they're readying the next generation with Intel 8-core CPU support and slim and XL form factors (were they inspired by @sergiiua? :D). So... I'm curious to see where this goes, but I wonder if they've sold even 100 of the Z370 1080s. They have to have some plan to slash MXM prices, otherwise very very very few people would pay triple the price for a lower-performing 1080 (or next-gen equivalent) when they can go a little bit bigger and build a tiny ITX system that can also fit in a backpack.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,382
5,935
I think they're running out their stock of prior Deskminis before releasing the new ones. If anyone is super keen on getting a Z370 Micro STX board I'd probably be willing to part with mine at this point. I'd also consider moving on my Z270 board as well.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Team Leader of SFF.N
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Jun 19, 2015
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@QuantumBraced As I mentioned in our ASRock DeskMini Computex article, they are trying to sell down the prev gen units before shipping the 300 series systems to the Western Market. The Z370 model has been available in Taiwan for some time now, as that market sold out of the prev gen units.
 

XcPNehVYlE4A3C

Average Stuffer
Feb 8, 2016
85
69
Can you even buy the Deskmini Z370 1080 anywhere?

from the article:
"When queried on the lack of availability of the 8th Gen Intel variant DeskMini on the western market, ASRock stated that they are waiting to clear the previous generation SKUs from retailer inventory before shipping over the new platform."

Alright, Newegg. Go ahead and slash the price on that B250 variant.
its already at 750$ with a free stick of ram.

arrrgh not sure what to do, i need to pull the trigger on one soon
 
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Solo

King of Cable Management
Nov 18, 2017
852
1,416
I got mine literally a day before they cut the price and added the free stick of DDR4. :thumb:
 

QuantumBraced

Master of Cramming
Mar 9, 2017
507
358
Oh I see. That's interesting, I've never heard of a company do this. I guess they have no real competition in the socketable mini-PC niche market, so they can afford to wait. But waiting also means they lose sales to 6-core systems and inch toward obsolescence. It's a weird trade-off, you'd think they can just put the old stuff on sale and run the new Coffee Lake units out. My guess is they are selling so few overall that every sale counts, so maximizing exposure before they put out the new stuff is actually worth it. They have to do something to control costs, otherwise they'll continue to struggle with this.
 
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simmtuck

Efficiency Noob
Jun 8, 2018
6
1
Oh I see. That's interesting, I've never heard of a company do this. I guess they have no real competition in the socketable mini-PC niche market, so they can afford to wait. But waiting also means they lose sales to 6-core systems and inch toward obsolescence. It's a weird trade-off, you'd think they can just put the old stuff on sale and run the new Coffee Lake units out. My guess is they are selling so few overall that every sale counts, so maximizing exposure before they put out the new stuff is actually worth it. They have to do something to control costs, otherwise they'll continue to struggle with this.

Funny you mention that because it has cost them at least one purchase. I was waiting for the z370 gtx to land for a couple of months. I even emailed Asrock, asking if they could ballpark a release, so I could plan for it. After enough waiting and no response from them, I finally built my own SFF PC, instead, and I'm pretty happy with the decision.
 

XcPNehVYlE4A3C

Average Stuffer
Feb 8, 2016
85
69
Agreed, it would be nice to have the choice.

One thing to consider though, after looking at the list of 65W tdp cpus, the previous gen will give you higher clock vs 6 cores. I decided on the older gen with a used 7700 for that reason. the coffee lake i3 has same clock and is cheaper (than a new 7700) but no hyperthreading.

anyway, i've looked at all the deskmini threads and cant find any mention of what coolers fit. thinking of using a c7 or lp53. anyone know if they fit?
 

QuantumBraced

Master of Cramming
Mar 9, 2017
507
358
Funny you mention that because it has cost them at least one purchase. I was waiting for the z370 gtx to land for a couple of months. I even emailed Asrock, asking if they could ballpark a release, so I could plan for it. After enough waiting and no response from them, I finally built my own SFF PC, instead, and I'm pretty happy with the decision.

I think you made the right decision too, ironically unavailability of the Z370 variant played out in your favor. This is the problem isn't it, even if the product was available outside of Asia, it's not competitive with tiny ITX systems that aren't much larger. In the extreme case, something like the CustomMod Flex Mini at 4.5L has a full ITX board, fully internal PSU, and supports desktop graphics cards that are more powerful and much cheaper than MXM. Technically 4.5L is 50% larger than 2.7L, but it's still tiny and you're getting a lot more value and a fully custom desktop system. With a PicoPSU or G-Unique, you can get the case size down to 3.5L, though that is very niche. The S4M being the smallest mainstream option, is not much larger at 5L.

2.7L (excluding the brick) is just not ALL that much smaller than 3.5-4.5L to justify the limited functionality, limited power, limited upgradability, and most importantly the much more expensive and worse performing GPU. ASRock is getting the right idea with their new 2.2L slim variant -- I'm glad they've realized tiny size is all they have with this product, so making it as tiny as possible is worth it, certainly at the expense of 2.5" support. But it's still not worth it overall in my view.

You'd really have to go down to sub-1L, like a NUC, to say okay this is truly in a different size class. This is why Mini STX makes a lot of sense, only 1.5L with the Silverstone case, very affordable, and you're not really sacrificing on anything without a GPU. An AM4 Mini STX board would be amazing for an APU build. But MicroSTX is just not competitive with those larger-by-1-2L ITX cases. That's my 2 cents.

If ASRock manages to make MXM cards a truly consumer product and bring the price down to within 10% of PCIe cards, I will give them all the props in the world. They've already done a lot for SFF. Sorry I typed a lot, but I really find this subject interesting.
 
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simmtuck

Efficiency Noob
Jun 8, 2018
6
1
Agreed, it would be nice to have the choice.

One thing to consider though, after looking at the list of 65W tdp cpus, the previous gen will give you higher clock vs 6 cores. I decided on the older gen with a used 7700 for that reason. the coffee lake i3 has same clock and is cheaper (than a new 7700) but no hyperthreading.

anyway, i've looked at all the deskmini threads and cant find any mention of what coolers fit. thinking of using a c7 or lp53. anyone know if they fit?
I can't speak to the z370 or the two coolers you mentioned, but in my b250 deskmini gtx i have a 7700 and a noctua l9i and it seems to be a great pairing.
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Team Leader of SFF.N
SFF Network
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SFFn Staff
Jun 19, 2015
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The NH-L9i fits wonderfully in the Z370 DeskMini and provides adequate cooling on an i7-8700 with tweaked turbo/voltages :)
 
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Brian_Buckley

Trash Compacter
Sep 26, 2017
47
41
So the 1080 system isn't coming to the west until they've sold off the previous gen, but what about the boards themselves? Was there an estimated window on the AM4 Mini STX?

Also agreed on all fronts with @QuantumBraced on Micro STX vs custom ITX. ASRock's engineering and concept with the DeskMini is great but that'll never hit the mainstream market (or even enthusiast mainstream) if the price isn't right. Micro just exists in this awkward middle ground that looks good on paper but not in your checkout total. There was a few month window there when Ryzen APUs had extra momentum due to GPU inflation that they could've pushed an ultra SFF barebones unit like the DeskMini but with AM4 Mini STX instead. Would've been pretty damn competitive with how budget-friendly Ryzen APUs are combined with a small and cheap chassis similar to the 1.5L Silverstone. Better late than never?
 

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Team Leader of SFF.N
SFF Network
SFF Workshop
SFFn Staff
Jun 19, 2015
4,115
7,028
sff.network
So the 1080 system isn't coming to the west until they've sold off the previous gen, but what about the boards themselves? Was there an estimated window on the AM4 Mini STX?

My understanding is that the Z370 system itself won't be on the western market, no matter what GPU, until current stocks are sold out. ASRock is not currently selling the boards themselves to consumers directly. No current ETA on the AM4 variant.
 

XcPNehVYlE4A3C

Average Stuffer
Feb 8, 2016
85
69
I can't speak to the z370 or the two coolers you mentioned, but in my b250 deskmini gtx i have a 7700 and a noctua l9i and it seems to be a great pairing.

The NH-L9i fits wonderfully in the Z370 DeskMini and provides adequate cooling on an i7-8700 with tweaked turbo/voltages :)

thanks guys, but I already have a c7 (with a 3d printed fan bracket from a member here) and an lp53 in storage somewhere. I guess if i'm the first to try them out i'll let everyone know!
 
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Therandomness

Cable-Tie Ninja
Nov 9, 2016
229
270
Hey can we put the M.2 slot on the front of the board please? :p Such a design revision would be unnecessarily hard, but the convenience given towards the people who are using M.2 to PCIe x4 adapters would be amazing :p
 

Silly Cone

Caliper Novice
Jun 19, 2018
25
5
I‘ve been very interested in these until I learned from some guy that the board is not suitable for aftermarket coolers as they bend the board. He said he already has had two mainboards broken of the previous version and now he has already had a replacement, both of the new ones already broke because of this as well, despite he already tried to fasten the screws of the Noctua not tightly.
 

simmtuck

Efficiency Noob
Jun 8, 2018
6
1
I‘ve been very interested in these until I learned from some guy that the board is not suitable for aftermarket coolers as they bend the board. He said he already has had two mainboards broken of the previous version and now he has already had a replacement, both of the new ones already broke because of this as well, despite he already tried to fasten the screws of the Noctua not tightly.

I had a couple of DM 110's and I definitely saw board bending when I put on a noctua l9i. The boards continued to work fine, but it always troubled me.