Asus ProArt PA90 is a mini PC for recovering Mac addicts

Publications across the web have commented on the wastebasket-like looks of the Mac Pro, but it's difficult to deny that it packs a lot of power into a petite package. If you're after something like that with specs that don't belong in a museum, check out Asus' latest release: the Mini PC ProArt PA90.

Regular readers know well my affection for mini PCs, so it should come as no surprise that I think this thing looks fantastic. It actually reminds me quite a bit of the Corsair One Pro that I reviewed back in 2017. They have extremely similar dimensions, too. The ProArt PA90 is a slightly squared cylinder just under 7" in diameter, and it stands a little over 14" in height (176mm x 365mm).

Inside, you'll find a 9th-generation Core i7 or Core i9 processor, up to the range-topping Core i9-9900K. It's slotted into a Z390 motherboard with four DDR4 SO-DIMM slots that will take up to 64GB of RAM. Asus will ship the thing with a single 2.5" 1TB hard drive and an M.2 SSD of SATA or PCIe flavor up to 512GB. Buyers can take their pick of an Nvidia Quadro P2000 or P4000 for graphics horsepower.

Up on the front of the ProArt PA90, you'll find a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports in classic Type-A form, as well as the usual 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. Around the back, you'll find another pair of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, as well as two Thunderbolt 3 connections, a regular old RJ-45 jack for gigabit Ethernet, and four DisplayPort 1.4, uh, ports. There's also a pair of RP-SMA connectors for Wi-Fi antennas, and a 3.5mm analog line out jack for old fogies like me that still use analog audio.

Since these are intended to be content-creation workstations, the obvious comparison would seem to be to the Mac Pro, rather than to the gaming-oriented Corsair One. The ProArt PA90 seems to have more in common with the One, though. It uses liquid cooling to keep its high-powered components chilled, and the top of the machine will expand automatically to improve airflow during heavy workloads—so don't set anything on top of it. The RGB LED lighting in the top will change colors to react to CPU load, too.

Asus didn't say anything about pricing or availability, but The Inquirer is reporting that the machine will be available in March starting at £2,499.99 ($3160).

Comments closed
    • Delphis
    • 11 months ago

    Does it filter my air too?

    • chµck
    • 11 months ago

    they kept the mac pricing

    • DataMeister
    • 11 months ago

    Too bad they didn’t go ahead and put a 5G or 10G ethernet jack in there.

    • Voldenuit
    • 11 months ago

    But does it humidify the air???

    • davidbowser
    • 11 months ago

    I seen nothing on here about how well it sucks up dust from my desk, which the Mac handles like a boss. Either it doubles as a desk vacuum or gtfo.

      • Acidicheartburn
      • 11 months ago

      I laughed out loud, thanks.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 months ago

      But will it wander your office sucking up dust and bumping into furniture in an automated Roomba-like pattern? And will your cat ride it while it does so? These are unexplored frontiers for professional computing devices.

        • NovusBogus
        • 11 months ago

        Maybe that can be the solution to Apple’s looming sales problem!

        • Wirko
        • 11 months ago

        No. Who would buy an Asus robot if the PC could do everything?

        [url<]https://zenbo.asus.com/[/url<]

    • the
    • 11 months ago

    I am very curious about the internal cable management of this device.

    The press images seemingly indicate that the liquid tubing would go through the motherboard which shouldn’t make sense for obvious reasons.

    The desktop Quadro cards is an interesting choice for this form factor (MXM would have made more sense). Where the physical ports are located on the side would require running some cabling around internally and/or daughter boards. The other catch here is that not all of the ports can be in use simultaneously if using monitors off of the Thunderbolt 3 ports.

    I’m not saying that cramming everything the specs into this case is impossible, rather that Asus’s marketing is taking some rather big liberties portraying it.

    My other concern is longevity as the great comparison point, the 2013 Mac Pro, doesn’t have the greatest reputation in terms of reliability. Apple did some clever engineering in an attempt to keep the system cool yet compact. Asus does have one thing going for them: they’re not using as high as power consuming chips as Apple’s 2013 Mac Pro. That should help significantly in this department.

    As for performance, my money would on the Asus system in a match up against the Mac Pro. It has been over five years since Apple has upgraded that system and the results are just embarrassing now.

      • mudcore
      • 11 months ago

      I appreciate not using MXM. It means less expensive, easier to obtain, easier to install upgrades down the line that one will be able to buy off a shelf from a well known brand. I don’t see what one would gain with an MXM form factor to be honest in this application.

      This shape isn’t even uncommon at this point. I assume the hoses for the AIO simply wrap around the motherboard edge (its a poorly photoshop image in the ads, not surprised). Asus, MSI, and Corsair just off the top of my head of done something trash can Mac Pro like recently.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 11 months ago

        Standard PCI-E card > MXM > custom daughterboard.

        • psuedonymous
        • 11 months ago

        The use of a half-height PCIe card means that upgrade options are about as available and expensive as MXM would be.

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 months ago

          With the filter “low profile + low profile ready” [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&IsNodeId=1&N=100007709%20600038363%20600038364<]NewEgg lists[/url<] over 600 video cards. They don't even have a category for MXM has far as I can see. You can find MXM cards on Ebay, but good luck figuring out if anything on there would be compatible (they're mostly intended for specific laptop repairs / upgrades, AFAIK). And you're also on your own when figuring out how to cool it.

            • psuedonymous
            • 11 months ago

            Take a look at the results of that filter. Most apart from the most low-end cards have double-slot coolers, and none would constitute an upgrade over the supplied Quadros. The closest (not on Newegg, and rare as hen’s teeth) would be the Galax 1070 Katana, a sidegrade. At least with MXM, there is the potential for an actual upgrade (albeit an expensive one).

            • UberGerbil
            • 10 months ago

            Fair enough. I’d still argue low-profile PCIe cards are far more available than MXM ones; they just aren’t necessarily upgrades. But then again, neither are the MXM.

        • the
        • 11 months ago

        The benefit would a reduction in internal cabling. MXM has the video outputs on the edge connector which is easy enough to route through the main board to the DP/Thunderbolt outputs.

        The idea of using a desktop card would require some cabling from the video outputs into the board with the video connectors. For a single port it wouldn’t be so bad but there are four of them to route on the inside of the device.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 months ago

    [quote<]but it's difficult to deny that it packs a lot of power into a petite package[/quote<] In 2013 that was true, but these days it's not difficult to deny it at all. A single GTX 2080 and an i7-9700K would be faster and you can get those into mini ITX builds for less money. 😆 The price on this thing is way up there, but having a Quadro automatically bumps the price. All told it's a nice machine.

    • thedosbox
    • 11 months ago

    > so don’t set anything on top of it.

    So don’t buy if you have a cat.

      • cynan
      • 11 months ago

      That’s a small cat (or a kitten with very good balance and muscle control). Are toy-cats a thing now?

        • thedosbox
        • 11 months ago

        Never underestimate what they will attempt to climb onto.

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 months ago

          Indeed.
          [url<]https://i.imgur.com/F4mcyfo.jpg[/url<] [url<]https://i.imgur.com/BlJ9j3e.jpg[/url<]

      • touchandgo
      • 11 months ago

      What we humans would think as ‘That cannot be comfortable’ is SOP for cats. They do that to make a point.

        • UberGerbil
        • 10 months ago

        [url<]http://epicpix.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/ff_5932.jpg[/url<]

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 11 months ago

    I want to see a machine that opens like a flower in parallel with a good solid fan spin up, lights, and maybe some music.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 11 months ago

      [quote<]I want to see a machine that opens like a flower [/quote<] Could call it the TRF-ID. [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_of_the_Triffids[/url<]

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This