Asrock doesn't mind taking chances with design and proof of this is the X99E-ITX/ac, the first and only Mini-ITX X99 motherboard to support an Intel Extreme-series chipset. Though we were skeptical at first, it delivers the performance of a full-sized EATX X99 board in a 170mm x 170mm package that manages to carry enthusiast trappings from Wi-Fi & Bluetooth to SATA Express & M.2 connectivity.
Just when we were starting to think that the Sugo series lost its Mini-ITX mojo, after the last couple of models moved to MicroATX, Silverstone has stepped forward with the itty bitty 11.5L SG13. The thirteenth Sugo isn't quite the smallest to date, but it may be the most capable. Its 11.5L body is said to be capable of housing a standard ATX power supply up to 150mm long, a 120/140mm radiator and a 10.5" dual-slot graphics card.
Enter the Nebula by Xigmatek, a striking solution with a neat cube design that offers a 2.2L capacity. It's safe to say the Nebula is unlike anything we've seen before, and that tends to come at a premium. The case is pretty new and pricing isn't entirely clear yet in the US, but it's going for €85 or about $115 in other regions -- over twice the Elite RC-130's price.
Even if the Asrock M8's style is not your thing, there's less room to argue that this is a unique gaming PC barebones kit and that was enough to earn our attention. We've been impressed with the looks of previous Asrock products -- including its mini PCs -- but the M8 is a clear step up having been designed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, the driving force behind Thermaltake's Level 10 chassis, a case as overpriced as it is iconic.
The idea behind the Thin Mini-ITX form factor, besides the obvious which is to create seriously compact computers, is also to allow for DIY all-in-ones (think of little PCs you can attach to the back of your monitor). Having that said, we don't fully intend to go the all-in-one route in this article, but are aiming to build a powerful Thin Mini-ITX system that can be used in the office or at home as a media PC.
This is what our finished system should look like: extremely compact, powerful, and near silent operation, as in no-moving-parts silent. For less than $700 including a 256GB SSD, we believe you'll love what the final product will look like.
Although there are some solid small form factor cases available, none of them are perfect -- at least not if you're Wahaha360 and Necere from HardOCP's forum. Disappointed by popular enclosures such as the SilverStone SG05, the guys teamed up last year to design their...
The PC-Q25 vows to be Lian-Li's most advanced Mini-ITX offering yet. The case has plenty of room for high-end hardware, including full-length graphics cards. Besides catering to gamers, the chassis also attempts to woo media buffs with support for five 3.5" hard drives and some impressive cooling options.
The PC-Q25 has received hot-swap connectors to quickly load hard drives, tool-less side panels for faster access and it lost the 5.25" optical drive bay. The new arrival certainly appears to be a more modern enclosure, but it also seems to have a few drawbacks that we'll flesh out right up next.
Today we're looking at a new breed of Mini-ITX motherboards from Asrock called the Z68M-ITX/HT and A75M-ITX. The former is an Intel Z68 board that supports Intel's second-generation Core processors, while the latter utilizes AMD A75's chipset to support Socket FM1 processors, namely the new Fusion A-series desktop APUs.
To spice things up we've selected Intel and AMD's $140 CPU offerings. In other words, this review will also serve as a comparison for the Core i3-2120 and AMD A8-3850.