Asrock M8 Internals

We couldn't wait to peel back the M8's magnetic doors and upon initial inspection, the system's internals are both exciting and a little daunting to see what's been crammed where. Other than the Z87-M8 motherboard, which still needs to be fitted with some DDR3 SO-DIMM modules and an LGA1150 processor, we have the previously-mentioned optical drive, 450W SFX power supply and PCIe x16 riser card.

There is room for coolers that stand up to 90mm tall, which isn't bad for a slim Mini-ITX case and should be enough to accommodate low-profile high performance coolers such as the Thermalright AXP-100.

Much of the internal structure has been constructed from steel rather than aluminum, but it's very thin steel so weight isn't much of an issue. We immediately noticed that despite being cramped, the M8 is surprisingly neat and tidy. That is largely because most of the cables have been customized, reaching just as far as they need to.

When considering the M8 it's important to keep in mind how many HDDs and SSDs it can handle. Asrock's site currently says that the M8 supports 3.5" and 2.5" drives but doesn't say how many of either. The manual also lacks further indication. It wasn't until we consulted the box that we learned the case can hold one 3.5" drive and one 2.5" drive or five 2.5" drives.

This proved disappointing as we had originally planned to install a pair of the new Samsung SSD 840 Evo SSDs with a 3TB WD Red HDD. The reason the hard drive capacity is limited is due to much of the case being dominated by the dual-slot graphics card housing.

Since it's marketed as a gaming system, we'll outfit the M8 with a fairly high-end CPU and GPU. As such, it requires a decent amount of cooling, so we see why the top and bottom of the M8's case are so well ventilated.

The top removable panel has two 70mm fans that exhaust hot air while another pair of 70mm fans are set as intakes on the bottom. These four 70mm fans are the beginning and end of the M8's cooling and we are concerned they may not provide enough airflow and/or create a hell of a racket.