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In a nutshell: ASRock has announced the Mars 4000U series, which it claims is the world's thinnest AMD-powered Mini PC. While Intel's NUC lineup has usually dominated this niche for quite some time, new rivals such as the Apple M1-powered Mac mini and this AMD-powered offering certainly shake up the small form factor space.
Coming in at just 0.74 liters with a 26mm thin profile, ASRock's new Mars 4000U mini PC should easily fit in the tightest of workspaces. It's not ideal for demanding gamers, given the lack of Thunderbolt 3 or 4 support (for eGPUs), though its powerful internals and I/O connectivity on offer make a strong case for other industries like multimedia, education, and commercial businesses.
Powered by AMD's Ryzen 4000 series of mobile processors, this mini PC starts with a 4C/4T Ryzen 4300U and goes up to an 8C/16T 4800U chip. The CPU can be paired with up to 64GB of non-ECC dual-channel DDR4 memory, while storage options include a PCIe NVMe m.2 slot, one 2.5-inch SATA III slot, and an SD card reader that's located at the front.
Other I/O on the front includes a USB-C 3.2 Gen1 Type-C port, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, and 2 x USB 2.0 ports next to the power button. The rear, meanwhile, features a Kensington lock, a couple of audio jacks, power input for the 65W/19V adapter, an Ethernet port to go with the WLAN m.2 expansion slot inside (Intel Wi-Fi 6), two more USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, an HDMI port (4K@60Hz) and a D-Sub port. This configuration also allows for a dual-monitor setup. Thermals are dealt with using ASRock's 'high-performance' thermal solution, which the company says is less than 24dB loud at idle and should keep the CPU cool with its specially designed heatsink.
Pricing of the Mars 4000U series isn't officially available at this point, though ASRock's e-tail partner, Newegg, is currently selling a barebones system that packs a 6C/6T Ryzen 5 4500U only (no RAM, storage) for $389.99 backed by a one-year warranty.