ASRock DeskMini GTX micro-barebones game hard in just 2.7 L

I'd normally point folks looking for small-form-factor gaming to Zotac's Zbox Magnus line. Those machines aren't the smallest options around, though, and Zotac hasn't updated them to Coffee Lake CPUs yet. If you're after something with serious CPU grunt and gaming performance, maybe step over here to glance at ASRock's latest DeskMini GTX and DeskMini RX systems. The new micro-barebones pack a Z370 motherboard and dedicated graphics in an STX-form-factor package occupying just 2.7 L.

Despite the DeskMinis' small size, ASRock packs in the remarkably full-featured Z370M-STX motherboard and an MXM graphics card, along with adequate cooling for the whole ensemble. The only GPU options currently appear to be a GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB or a GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB card, although ASRock mentions that it has a model with a GTX 1070 on the way as well. Given the presence of the "DeskMini RX" name on the product page, we'd expect a model forthcoming with Radeon graphics, too.

You've got to bring your own CPU, RAM, and storage to the DeskMinis, so what they have in those departments is up to you. It's worth noting that the specifications say that the supported CPU TDP tops out at 65W, so you probably won't be overclocking in these machines. You get two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots that support memory running at up to 3200 MT/s. For storage accomodations there's a trio of M.2 sockets, all with support for PCIe 3.0 x4 connections. Two of the M.2 sockets also support SATA drives, and there's a pair of regular old SATA ports on the board as well.

There's actually a fourth M.2 socket on the board, but it's E-keyed and meant for Wi-Fi cards. You could alternatively use the Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet to hook up to a network, of course. Other ports on the back of the Z370-based DeskMinis include HDMI, DisplayPort, and Mini-Displayport jacks for video output, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and a four-pin DIN-style power connector. There's also an additional HDMI port on the motherboard for the Intel GPU. Up on the front, you get USB 3.0 Type-C and Type-A ports alongside the usual 3.5-mm headphone and mic connections.

ASRock didn't say when the new DeskMinis would be available for purchase, but our guess is they'll arrive sooner rather than later. If you don't need all the cores in a Coffee Lake CPU, Newegg has B250-based DeskMini GTX systems ever-so-slightly marked down right now: $796 for one with a GTX 1060, and $1492.47 for one with a GTX 1080.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    That GPU cooling is what they put on sub-75W graphics cards like the GTX 750Ti and GTX 1050.

    It’s laughably inadequate for even a GTX 1060, IMO.

    • tsk
    • 2 years ago

    Since MXM is dying this platform is DOA.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      If anything MXM is gaining adoption. Still not widely available, but certainly used more today than ever.

      • deruberhanyok
      • 2 years ago

      Not really seeing how MXM is dying – it’s used in all gaming notebooks that use anything GTX 1060 class and up, it’s used by workstation laptops (Quadro / Radeon Pro) and now it’s also used in desktop systems by Zotac, Gigabyte, ASRock, and probably others.

      It’s still crazy expensive but I’d completely disagree with it “dying”.

        • Airmantharp
        • 2 years ago

        It’s always been crazy expensive, but it’s also a fairly low-volume solution too.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Considering they’ll sell you [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856158048<]the case, H110 mobo, and 120W PSU for $140[/url<], even if you say the B250 mobo with GPU slot costs an extra $50 and it's about $50 more for a 220W power brick, that's still $555 for an MXM GTX1060 6GB!?!?!?!

      • Kurotetsu
      • 2 years ago

      More like $600+, according to Google and Ebay. So you’re actually getting a discount.

        • DPete27
        • 2 years ago

        Not sure what they “normally” sell for, but I was expecting/hoping that since this was an MXM card from an OEM that the crypto-premium would at least be minimized. Apparently not.

          • DragonDaddyBear
          • 2 years ago

          It’s a blend of demand, mining, and RAM, supply, causing issues. While mxm may not be popular for mining, there is still that ram shortage.

    • deruberhanyok
    • 2 years ago

    I was looking at the B250 / GTX 1060 version recently. From the reviews I’d seen the 1080 version is loud as all get out, but the 1060 is nice and quiet.

    PSA, if you are thinking about buying one, look for Newegg’s combo deals. They don’t have any running right now, but they were doing the Deskmini + an i5-7600 for $820 as recently as two weeks ago, so the processor was basically free.

    Might consider one when next-gen GPUs launch, but ultimately couldn’t bring myself to purchase a system with a nearly 2-year-old GPU in it that would be extremely expensive to upgrade (not to mention the CPU being from the previous generation). I figure a system like this, the ability to upgrade the GPU is nice, but with MXM prices still so high, it’s more like a checkbox than an actual feature.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, I would guess that anything more than a GTX1060 is just going to be too much waste heat when the GPU and CPU are cooled by axial fans and there’s no active intake/exhaust fans on the case.
      I’m surprised the GTX1060 system is tolerable TBH.

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