Motherboard STX motherboard future?

Analogue Blacksheep

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Despite the existence of the Asrock deskmini series, there does not seem to be any more STX motherboards showing up on the market right now. Asrock seems to be the only vendor keeping the form factor alive (Similar ones I can think of are the Fujitsu D3544-S and the UDOO Bolt). I believe the form factor has some potential for some tiny portable builds and I do think if there was a PCIE slot, it would make a good compliment for a Low Profile GPU. But it is still a niche in a niche in the end.

Does anyone think the form factor has a long term future?
 
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Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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Feb 1, 2016
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I've said this before, but I think a few things need to happen to make this format viable in the long term. Firstly since Nvidia has all but killed MXM GPUs support going forward, I think AsRock as an AMD board partner needs to make their own MXM modules based on Navi/RDNA2. Secondly once they have done this then NEED to come up with a reasonable custom solution for cooling the MXM module. The cheap aluminum cooler that AsRock uses is by far the single largest drawback of this form factor in my opinion. It has a shitty fan that is both too small and too loud. Because of the poor design, you cannot even reasonably run the 1080 variant of the unit without a really great set of noise isolating headphones.

I'd personally like to see a single fan blower cooler not unlike what is on the back half of the new Nvidia 3XXX series reference coolers. If this were done and the card could reasonably exhaust out the back of the case they'd have a winner IMO. Even a single fan top-down cooler would be adequate and I've actually designed my own cooler with this design consideration in mind. As an aside I've recently resumed this project and will hopefully start testing within the week.
 

Analogue Blacksheep

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Would it be possible to have some kind of bracket that mounts a CPU cooler onto a MXM gpu, say a Noctua L9i/a for example? (That said, having two L9's in a case would be crazy...)

***

On a tangent, I'm pondering if anyone has attempted a brickless build with an STX board.

***

On more a random note, this very interesting build thread demonstrates how you could incorporate an LP GPU card into a STX style setup: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/t...wall-build-with-aftermarket-4-port-nic.14793/
 
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Analogue Blacksheep

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This to me is the bleeding edge/proper disruptive design of SFF and the direction I hope it goes in the future. Honestly I hope if AMD's Radeon Technology Group is looking for a direction I think this would be the best way to differentiate themselves from Nvidia. I would love for an APU that could replace my 1650 and 3600, or an MXM/LP GPU that could provide competitive levels of perfomance. Put that on an STX board and that would be amazing.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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Would it be possible to have some kind of bracket that mounts a CPU cooler onto a MXM gpu, say a Noctua L9i/a for example? (That said, having two L9's in a case would be crazy...)

Already designed one for the L9a and works like a charm fit-wise. Never got around to doing anything formal with it however. Would be happy to advance CAD files to anyone who'd like to use it.
 

kotproger

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I think AsRock as an AMD board partner needs to make their own MXM modules based on Navi/RDNA2

Then we will get another proprietary and stillborn product from one manufacturer. Will not be available to the general public. But in general I agree, the solution lacks extensibility.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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If AsRock doesn't push the form factor/format via GPU support then it's dead in the water anyways.
 

Sazexa

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Jan 22, 2020
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Until there is a true market, even a niche one, it won't fully catch on.

There won't be a niche market without products to buy.

It's a slow, carefully played ballet. People need to buy the not so good performing, expensive items and show interest. Companies need to take note there is an interest. Until both of those happen regularly, it'll never be close to anything resembling mainstream.
 

Quango

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Apr 6, 2019
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Until there is a true market, even a niche one, it won't fully catch on.

There won't be a niche market without products to buy.

It's a slow, carefully played ballet. People need to buy the not so good performing, expensive items and show interest. Companies need to take note there is an interest. Until both of those happen regularly, it'll never be close to anything resembling mainstream.
There were more STX products a few years ago. The major players had Intel H110 Mini-STX mainboards, Asus also a Q170 Mini-STX. Those were mirrored by Thin Mini ITX boards with the same chipsets.

Because of the poor design quality of the Asrock H110M-STX board, I replaced it with a Asus H110S1/CSM board. It works fine but is outdated now.
I regret there is no alterative to Asrock left nowadays. Somehow, the Thin Mini ITX boards did not fare much better. The offerings are very weak, chipset-wise.
 

Skripka

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There were more STX products a few years ago. The major players had Intel H110 Mini-STX mainboards, Asus also a Q170 Mini-STX. Those were mirrored by Thin Mini ITX boards with the same chipsets.

Because of the poor design quality of the Asrock H110M-STX board, I replaced it with a Asus H110S1/CSM board. It works fine but is outdated now.
I regret there is no alterative to Asrock left nowadays. Somehow, the Thin Mini ITX boards did not fare much better. The offerings are very weak, chipset-wise.

Things are changing though. ITX is where the nice enthusiast SFF gear is at. That used to only be MATX, and before that ATX. It is happening, but slowly.

Of course....with enthusiast chips needing large heatsinks bigger in area than the motherboard, STX could be quite funny. I imagine a Bequiet DR Pro 4 completely hiding that it is even attached to an STX motherboard, it happens almost now with ITX ?
 

Quango

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Apr 6, 2019
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Things are changing though. ITX is where the nice enthusiast SFF gear is at. That used to only be MATX, and before that ATX. It is happening, but slowly.

Of course....with enthusiast chips needing large heatsinks bigger in area than the motherboard, STX could be quite funny. I imagine a Bequiet DR Pro 4 completely hiding that it is even attached to an STX motherboard, it happens almost now with ITX ?
The strongest LGA 1200 SFF (with SO-DIMM) is actually the new Asrock Deskmini H470M-STX, while Thin Mini ITX has B460 at maximum, likewise from Asrock. Asus offers a lone H410 Thin Mini ITX board.

In recent years, I only bought SO-DIMMS, so I am only interested in mainboards which use these.
Also, I don't like internal power supplys. They are just heat sources which need additional ventilation, so I prefer power bricks outside. These days, with stronger iGPUs, I only accept one fan in the system for the APU, and which I want to be as quiet as possible short of a fanless system.

So the STX format is just right for me, but manufacturers are not convinced of this market.

Because I lost patience in waiting for SFF Renoirs and Tiger Lakes, I went the NUC route and transformed a NUC10i5 into something rather quiet:

 
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Quango

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Apr 6, 2019
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Weird development:
the DeskMini H470M-STX barebone with LGA1200 only was announced last August, had some availability since Sept/Oct even before the X300, but now in early December the barebone is sold out almost everywhwere without any indication of restocking. Prices of the remaining few have gone up since November.

It has an upgrade path from Comet Lake to Rocket Lake, so why is it disappearing now after a short run?

There was a sale of the Core i3-10320 for 99 € at the end of November, which I snatched up and wanted to buy a H470M-STX later, but then I saw the dwindling stocks and bought one.

I had disappointing experiences regarding quality with three A300s, the H470 in contrast is a much more mature mainboard. Only the mysteriously low NVMe SSD speeds are unresolved yet.

What I mean by upgrade path to Rocket Lake is visible on the rear side of the motherboard, a view that Asrock itself does not show: (sorry for the poorly lit pics)

You see the H470 chipset to the right from the backplate, and at the lower left corner a second, yet dormant M.2 NVMe socket for "future generation processors"



The top side is usual STX stuff:



EDIT:

Looking at those pics, I realize these M.2 PCIe sockets are named differently: the M.2 on the upper side is called Ultra M.2, the one on the underside is called Hyper M.2.

Rocket Lake can access PCIe drives directly like Ryzen, so that Hyper M.2 sounds promising 😉
 
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Quango

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Apr 6, 2019
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Asrock fullfilled my expectation regarding the Deskmini H470 and released BIOS 2.0 with support for 11th generation processors. The rear M.2 slot is now recognized by the BIOS settings and Windows.

The only thing missing is an available Rocket Lake.
 

PastorTD

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Feb 7, 2021
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Hi all,
can anyone confirm that the second m2 slot at the backside of the mainboard ("Hyper" M.2) works with Bios 2.0 and Comet Lake (10xxx) CPUs? I am about to buy a Deskmini H470, however support for 2 M.2 NVME SSD is mandatory for me.

Thanks all!

Regards
 

Quango

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Apr 6, 2019
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Hi all,
can anyone confirm that the second m2 slot at the backside of the mainboard ("Hyper" M.2) works with Bios 2.0 and Comet Lake (10xxx) CPUs? I am about to buy a Deskmini H470, however support for 2 M.2 NVME SSD is mandatory for me.

Thanks all!

Regards
I tried. With BIOS 2.0, the second M.2 slot itself is now recognized by BIOS and Windows, but with my Core i3-10320, a NVMe SSD in it is still not recognized. No real function without Rocket Lake, it seems.
 
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Quango

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Apr 6, 2019
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So here comes the future 😉

Asrock H470M-STX + Rocket Lake Core i5-11500 + Black Rock + Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM + 32 GB HyperX SO-DIMM, ADATA SX8200PNP, AX201 WiFi 6, all in an Akasa Cypher ST V2, supplied by an external 180W power brick.

Veeery quiet - tough to build 😅 - I will ad another detailed post later



 
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