ASRock displays its trove of funky motherboards at Computex


— 8:00 AM on May 31, 2017

We've yet to look at the company's wares, but ASRock is in attendance at Computex, too. ASRock has a reputation for making some of the zanier products around, although it might prefer the word "innovative." This year, the company is showing off some unique motherboards for both Intel and AMD systems, along with what might be the coolest application of the Mini-STX form factor we've seen yet.

ASRock has the usual array of high-end X299 boards on display. Although we don't have specific details on the models, the company is showing X299 motherboards bearing Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel's sobriquet as well as the name of champion overclocker Nick Shih. While the X299 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming i9 hails from the "does everything" school of motherboard design, the X299 OC Formula by Nick Shih is more stripped-down, with just four memory slots and a 14-phase voltage regulator.

Perhaps more interesting to gerbils (given you folks' affection for PCs en miniature) is the X299E-ITX/ac. Yes, ASRock's engineers crammed an X299 motherboard into the Mini-ITX form factor. To support the LGA 2066 socket's quad-channel memory, the board uses a quartet of SODIMM slots. It also packs on six SATA ports, three M.2 sockets, dual Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Intel's X299 platform isn't the only one getting the ITX treatment from ASRock. The Socket AM4 X370 Gaming-ITX/ac is exactly what it sounds like: a Mini-ITX motherboard for AMD's Ryzen CPUs. You only get two DIMM slots, but they're for full-sized sticks instead of SODIMMs. The board supports the Ryzen CPU's native USB 3.1 ports and has a pair of HDMI outputs, should you wish to stick an APU in it. ASRock also has a version of the board coming out with an AMD B350 chipset onboard.

In case you haven't heard, cryptocurrency "mining" has come back into vogue lately because of newer "alt-coin" algorithms that can't easily be accelerated on custom hardware. Generally speaking, GPUs are once again the chosen platform, and since such work is primarily done in chunks that fit entirely on a graphics card and its local memory, the host system's performance is less relevant. Miners could spend a bundle on expensive X299 systems to host their hashing, or they could buy something like ASRock's H110 Pro BTC+. This stripped-down platter has twelve PCIe x1 slots and a single x16 slot. All those slots can be filled with enough graphics cards to power a heavy-duty mining rig.

Finally (at least as far as PC parts go), ASRock will be showing off some mini-PCs at its Computex booth. We don't know much about the new boxes yet, but the company says it is launching a line of DeskMini RX and DeskMini GTX products based on products like its new Z270M-STX motherboard. Mini-STX is the proper name of the form factor formerly known as "5x5", since it's just five inches square. ASRock says the Z270M-STX mobo supports MXM graphics cards and a staggering three M.2 slots.

Hopefully our guys on the ground will get a chance to stop by the ASRock booth to see this stuff in person. If not, you'll surely be hearing about some of these products in the coming months, so keep an eye out.

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