ASRock mini PC apes Apple styling, offers up-to-date internals

Although ASRock's website says there's 14 days left until the official unveiling of its new Vision 3D mini PC, SemiAccurate has early details on what appears to be a very slick alternative to the Mac Mini. It looks like ASRock is borrowing heavily from Apple's styling playbook, so don't expect much in the way of originality on the design front. The Mini's a nice-looking system, though, so I'm hardly complaining.

While the current Mini has Core 2 Duo underpinnings that haven't been updated in a quite some time, the Vision 3D will reportedly pack a mobile Core i3-370M with dual cores and a 2.4GHz clock speed. Graphics horsepower will be provided by a GeForce GT 425M that's actually a couple of steps up from the bottom of Nvidia's new mobile GPU lineup. Intriguingly, the GeForce is said to sit on a notebook-style MXM card, which means upgrades could be possible if ASRock or others offer standalone MXM modules for sale.

In addition to a capable CPU-and-GPU combo, the Vision 3D looks to be loaded with goodies, including Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, eSATA, 802.11n Wi-Fi, analog and digital audio outs, and an integrated card reader. You also get a slot-loading optical drive and room inside for a single 2.5" hard drive and two SO-DIMMs.

Unlike current ASRock mini PCs, it doesn't look like this new model will be made available as a roll-your-own barebones affair. Rather, TechConnect says the system will come with 4GB of RAM, 500GB of 7,200-RPM mechanical storage, a Blu-ray combo drive, and presumably some edition of Windows. That'll all ring up to $999, according to the site, which doesn't seem unreasonable considering what's been squeezed into a casing that measures just 7.9" x 7.9" x 2.8" (200 x 200 x 70 mm).

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