News ASRock show-off Micro-STX system with MXM & TB3 @CES 2017

Hi All

ASRock are happy to display our new model - Deskmini RX/GTX @CES 2017.
You can get more picture in :https://www.cool3c.com/article/116315/CES-2017-華擎展出具可擴充-MXM-獨立顯示卡的-micro-STX-主機板原型主機


This is prototype of Deskmini RX/GTX
Considering there are so many SFF enthusiasts still need more powerful 3D graphics performance, why don't we extend Mini-STX to larger board: based on 5x5 screw holes but implement MXM, more video outputs, m.2 connectors, even Thunderbolt 3!

And that is world's firsts' MICRO-STX system:
  • Support up to Intel® Core i7 7700K CPU
  • Support Intel box cooler
  • Intel Z270 (B250) Chipset
  • Support MXM Type B, up to 120W
    • RX = AMD RX480/470/460
    • GTX = NVIDIA GTX1060
  • Intel® Thunderbolt 3 with Type-C
  • 3 x M.2 2260/2280 slots
  • 1 x M.2 2230 Wi-Fi slot
  • AURA RGB LED connector!
  • Support Intel® Optane™ Technology
  • 2.x Liter!
  • 19V/220W adapter
ASRock planned sell barebones (include motherboard, MXM card, MXM cooler, chassis and adapter) and open mind corporate with system builder to develop new mini PC in micro STX motherboard. It should be launched on 2017 Q2.
 
Last edited:

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,382
5,935
We'll likely only be able to get it as Barebones. It sounds like board only will be for corporate clients and developers.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,382
5,935
Nothing yet. Hoping to have a sample board in the next month or so and will likely find out pricing before then.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phuncz

jeshikat

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
Silver Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
4,969
4,779
Oh, now I'm torn which would look cooler: a NFC S4 Nano or DAN A5-STX.
 

nix

Trash Compacter
Jan 5, 2017
39
39
ASRrock provides 19V/220W adapter in default set, considering CPU TDP 65W (up to 80+W in burnung) and MXM Type B VGA around 120W. The total TDP will be over 200 Watts. So our specification will lock to GTX1060 or RX480. In addition, recently there are only one vendor's GTX1060 MXM be the traditional dimension as Type B. Others are proprietary form factor.

BUT! GTX1080 / GTX1070 MXM card has own power connector, so I believe that if you can get larger adapter then it should work.
.

Could we use a GTX 1070 if we paired it with a 35W CPU like to 7700T?
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,382
5,935
I think the MXM socket is limited to 120W total hence finding an auxiliary power connector on the MXM versions of the 1070/1080
 

vluft

programmer-at-arms
Jun 19, 2016
159
140
The DAN of course...

But a limited run of the S0 NANO with a milled exotic hardwood shell and titanium panels with a billet frame and internal custom heatsink...that is what I am thinking...

... well that sounds damn tempting.
 

Tek Everything

Cable-Tie Ninja
Dec 25, 2015
199
237
tekeverything.com
This is a really interesting cooler they are using on the MXM 1060. It appears to sit significantly lower than the stock Intel cooler. I wonder why they didn't use a thicker/quieter fan, or make the heat sink a little thicker to help drop those temps down a bit.



It looks like the heat sink covers/cools everything on the pcb. I wish the GPU was centered with mounting holes for a standard CPU cooler.
 

BirdofPrey

Standards Guru
Sep 3, 2015
797
493
A thicker fan would be good to have, as for the heat sink, that might just be a standard, off-the-shelf part. MXM is specifically made for smaller systems, mainly laptops, so larger heatsinks aren't likely to be available.

As for why the mounting holes are the way they are; Part of the specification for MXM is that cards and cooling are interchangeable. You should be able to take any MXM module of a given size and be able to mate it with any MXM heatsink of that size and it should work (though note that a smaller Type A module on the larger Type B cooler should also work), this is how they allow systems like laptops (that they were designed for) to swap GPUs while being able to maintain the same cooling system that is specific to that model. The mounting holes are standardized specifically for that use case, if you wanted CPU holes, you'd have to make a non-standard card which somewhat defeats the purpose.
 

BirdofPrey

Standards Guru
Sep 3, 2015
797
493
Holy cow, I didn't know that. That makes MXM even more interesting for SFF systems. @ASRock System, thank you so much for developing this PC, I feel it could start a revolution in SFF computing.
The modularity is the whole point of it really, along with other things like mPCIe/mSATA (though it started with mPCI), M.2 and SO-DIMM is so system integrators on laptops can take advantage of the same modularity desktop systems enjoy.
A manufacturer only needs to have one motherboard per CPU and a housing, then they can cheaply customize on demand with the various other features such as RAM amount, GPU and other features like Wi-Fi (if you pay enough attention, you'll notice a majority of product lines will share the same Wi-Fi module). if everything were soldered to the motherboard, it would be much more expensive to offer multiple models, and this is part of why the really thin laptops can be so expensive (modularity has a downsize in that it tends to increase the space requirements).

That's part of the reason I bring MXM up so often as as SFF solution. Being standardized, it's no more difficult to grab any GPU and heatsink and snap it in as it is to do that with the CPU or any other ad-in-board. Granted, at the moment, the lack of availability to consumers puts a damper on that, but I still hold out hope we might see more mini-PCs like this with a dGPU to expand the market a bit.

I tend to agree with this post regarding that
Selling MXM modules could be a lucrative business for ASRock. The consumer market for MXM module direct sales is currently massively undersupplied (if you want to buy an MXM module, you either buy a laptop with one in and remove it, or find someone else who has done so and buy it from them) though pretty small, mainly people with desktop-replacement laptops who want to upgrade. Laptop manufacturers are not inclined to service this market, as they'd rather sell a whole new laptop, but ASRock do not have any laptops (or any other lines using MXM) to cannibalise. If they can further drive demand by releasing a unique new platform ahead of any other manufacturer, they can position themselves as the seller of MXM modules to consumers and both corner and grow a new market for components that people are already used to paying a premium for. And if they're already buying MXM modules in bulk for pre-built systems, they have the volume to order a fraction extra for resale.

Anyways. I'd like to reiterate that this is EXACTLY what I have been hoping for with STX since the initial announcement a year ago, and I'm hoping more manufacturers jump on this bandwagon, and we start seeing these parts sold on the open market rather than just as OEM only stuff.
 

Shaun

Chassis Packer
Apr 23, 2016
17
37
Are we even able to get MXM modules off the shelf? That in itself is a hurdle for DIY builders. I've never seen it for sale direct to consumers / distributors.
 

Necere

Shrink Ray Wielder
NCASE
Feb 22, 2015
1,719
3,281
Are we even able to get MXM modules off the shelf? That in itself is a hurdle for DIY builders. I've never seen it for sale direct to consumers / distributors.
Well, kind of. You can get them off ebay, but they're ridiculously expensive. A GTX 1070 MXM is almost $1k.
 

dondan

Shrink Ray Wielder
DAN Cases
Feb 23, 2015
1,977
8,377
The mainproblem is not the availablility. In the most situation you can't use a MXM card of a different vendor on your MXM board.
MXM was not designed to upgrade your system it was designed to make it easier for a vendor to support differen GPUs in one Notebook series. So the vendor does not have to make a PCB desing for every different GPU.

But what are the problems with using a MXM board from e.g. Alienware or Clevo on this Asrock STX-MXM board?

1. The Motherboard have to know the ID of the card and have to know the fan temp sensore on it. This is a big problem in partice because Alienware use a different temp sensor on their board as Clevo in the same series. For MXM the fan header is on ther motherboard and not on the MXM board so the motherboard will control the fan. If the board can not regocnize the temp sensor the fan will spin at 100%.

2. Nvidia and AMD have chips that control video output between MXM and iGPU of the CPU. So if there are changes on this it could be that newer cards will not work with your board. This happend in the past with the switch form AMD HD 6970m to 7970m with the "Enduro" functions.

3. Plug and Play will be not possible if your motherboard did not know the card but why? The AMD and NVIDIA driver will get the vendor and gpu id through the motherboard bios. If the bios did not know the card you have to mod the gpu driver. Otherwise you can't install it. This is the reason why you can't use for many vendors the drivers that are on the nvidia website and you have to use the driver on the vendor website.

4. There are often changes to the MXM layout (height of mosfets). So there will be no heatsink that will work also with cards in some years. If you look on therinferno there are hundrets of mod guids how to mod the heatsink that it will support the new gpu generation.

5. MXM boards are risky because you have voltage control, RAM and GPU on a very small board. The operating temp is very high. So the faulty rate could be high.

6. Upgrading cards is dangerous for customers, because they can easily destroy something. You have to put the MXM board in a perfect angle into the port and then press it down. If you do it not right the card could be mounted incline, that can destroy the card. Furthermore you can't install a card while the heatsink is on it. So the customers have to paste it and put heatpads on it.

So you see MXM is not as easy to handle like the most of you think. It is different from what we know with PCIe. You can use a PCIe Gen3 card in a Gen1 slot. Try to use a GTX 1080m in the first MXM 3.0 generation boards. The most mxm boards only support newer cards because there are bios modder like the legendary user Prema. (https://biosmods.wordpress.com/)
 

TheWhiteWolves

Caliper Novice
Jul 28, 2016
25
14
I'd be interested in getting my hands on one of them, the more a computer is like genie from Aladdin the better :p (ultimate cosmic power, itty bitty living space)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Soul_Est