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Check out these early mini-STX motherboards, chassis from CES

By Shawn Knight
Jan 12, 2016
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  1. Last week we shared with you a ridiculous $30,000 PC capable of running seven gaming setups at once. Today, we're tackling the opposite end of the spectrum with a few new motherboards that fall into the new mini-STX form factor category.

    Created by Intel, the new form factor was unveiled last August and is set to become the smallest socketed board standard. Both ASRock and ECS unveiled mini-STX boards at CES while SilverStone showcased a case it's working on for the form factor.

    Both boards feature an LGA 1151 socket that accept sixth-generation processors with TDPs of 65W or less. As Liliputing notes, ASRock's board accepts two DDR4 2133 MHz sticks of RAM and features HDMI, VGA, three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.0 Type-C port, two USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, M.2 SATA and another M.2 slot for a Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module.

    The ECS board, meanwhile, is largely the same. The main differences are that it has two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, a DisplayPort and HDMI port.

    Tom's Hardware got a look at SilverStone's nameless prototype that somewhat resembles an older external hard drive enclosure. The big takeaway here is the fact that there's no room for a power supply, indicating mini-STX systems are likely to be powered by external power bricks - the same kind laptops use.

    Images courtesy Liliputing, Tom's Hardware

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  2. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +267

    Cool, smaller form factor for thin clients, or smaller yet powerful for industrial systems, mobile platforms (like cars and boats), etc. Basically, having the creature comforts of skylake (whatever that might be) with less bulk than mini-ITX.
     
  3. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,653   +523

    This is neat and all, but I see it serving very little purpose. For a low power, entry level performance system I'd imagine it be cheaper to go with AIO boards will CPUs soldered on. The only thing more you'd get out of this is the ability to upgrade CPUs, although entry level system like this hardly ever see a physical CPU upgrade in their life span. Then the lack of PCI-E expansion capabilities nerfs it for gamer or enthusiast use. This just looks like a more expensive alternative to something that already exist, look at Zotac's line up of mini PCs, they have much more to offer than this, at least at this stage of development, and are priced reasonably. Don't forget to assembly required, something else which is sure to push away mainstream users. I really can't think of a place this is going to be useful that doesn't already have alternatives that are superior.
     
  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,518   +506

    I don't like the fact that HDD or Sata SSD are not an option, as well as no PCIe option.

    I know... they want to have the smallest form factor and I understand it, but it could've still been the smallest form factor with PCIe and/or HDD capable. Instead it forces you to have USB storage (depending on the setup you will run) which increases in mess.
     
  5. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 900   +15

    With that kind of limitations; no sata ports, no pcie, no onboard wifi - I see no reason not to choose intel's own NUC once it receives the skylake update. the only advantage of this so called mini-stx platform is the ability to install a more powerful skylake cpu such as i5 6600. but then again fitting such cpu doesn't seem to fit the bill.
     
  6. jauffins

    jauffins TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +24

    Where are all of the "I can build a system twice as powerful, for half the price!!!1!" comments?

    Oh, wait, that was only on the Alienware Alpha Facebook ad I saw the other day. My bad!
     
  7. jauffins

    jauffins TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +24

    The fastest (current) NUC is powered by a 28w dual core i7 running at 3.1GHz. The Skylake Core i5 6600 runs at 3.5Ghz (3.9Ghz turbo) and is quad core, 65w. That's a significant improvement.
     
  8. DjKraid

    DjKraid TS Guru Posts: 537   +21

    This is like a ThinClient on steroids which doesn't really make any sense what so ever since the performance is based on the network connection and the servers that are used anyhow...
     
  9. wizardB

    wizardB TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +16

    Except the skylake stalls under work loads and has other hardware problems.
     
  10. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,518   +506

    You mean it stalls under extreme work loads and has a bios update on the process for computer manufacturers. What other hardware problems? Enlighten me please. How does this fit with the topic?
     
  11. erickmendes

    erickmendes TS Enthusiast Posts: 38

    ... add an PCI-e 4x external port for adding an external GPU and BOOM... Portable Modular Gaming Rig.
     

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