Every shake of the magic eight-ball seems to deliver the same conclusions regarding Intel's Kaby Lake seventh-generation Core CPUs: a little extra battery life for mobile devices, improved hardware video decode support, and slightly increased clock speeds. Gamers and content creators who don't care about power consumption or integrated graphics may not find particularly compelling reasons to upgrade to Kaby Lake, but users of mobile and low-power systems might be more interested. ASRock is aiming its refreshed Beebox-S at the last group. The company's updated Beebox-S barebones systems come fitted with Kaby Lake Intel Core i3 or i5 CPUs.
The Beebox-S's credentials should help it fill the HTPC role nicely, with a HDMI 2.0 port capable of 4K output at 60 Hz to go along with a second HDMI port and a DisplayPort connector. The IGPs in Kaby Lake CPUs offer hardware support for 10-bit HDR output and HEVC encoding and decoding support at 4K resolution and 10-bit color depth. As befits an HTPC, the Beebox-S comes with an infrared remote and a VESA mounting bracket.
The Beebox-S comes with Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi along with a Gigabit Ethernet port, for those who prefer performance and reliability over convenience. The pair of DDR4 SO-DIMM slots ship unoccupied. Buyers will have the option to drop in as much as 32GB of system memory. The on-board M.2 slot can accomodate SATA or PCIe-based storage devices, and there's an empty 2.5" bay for plain ol' SATA storage devices. External expansion capability is provided by three USB 3.0 Type-A ports and one USB 3.1 Type-C connector.