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Alder Lake-P and Cezanne UCFF Faceoff

The previous few years have seen Intel and AMD delivering new processors in a staggered method. Within the sub-45W class, Intel’s incumbency has allowed it to ship merchandise for each the pocket book and ultra-compact kind issue (UCFF) inside a couple of months of one another. Alternatively, AMD’s focus has been on the high-margin pocket book market, with the chips filtering right down to the desktop market a yr or so down the street. On this context, AMD’s Cezanne (most SKUs primarily based on the Zen 3 microarchitecture) and Intel’s Tiger Lake went head-to-head final yr within the pocket book market, whereas Rembrandt (primarily based on Zen3+) and Alder Lake-P are tussling it out this yr. Within the desktop house, Cezanne-based mini-PCs began making an look a couple of months again, coinciding with the primary wave of Alder Lake-P programs.

ASRock Industrial has the status of being one of many first distributors to launch UCFF programs primarily based on the newest out there processors from each Intel and AMD. We had reviewed their NUC BOX-1165G7 as our first Tiger Lake-U mini-PC, and the 4X4 BOX-4800U was one of many earliest Renoir-based desktops. The corporate is continuous the custom with the NUC BOX-1200 series for Alder Lake-P and the NUC 4X4 BOX-5000 series for Cezanne, with the product bulletins coming inside a month of one another.

The corporate despatched over the flagship fashions in each lineups for overview, giving us an opportunity to guage the efficiency and worth proposition of the NUC BOX-1260P and 4X4 BOX-5800U. The overview beneath supplies an in depth hands-on comparability of the 2 fashions. It additionally brings out numerous configurable points that may be tweaked by the seller and/or end-user in an effort to extract the utmost doable efficiency throughout the form-factor constraints. In that course of, we additionally achieve insights into what helps ASRock Industrial introduce mini-PCs primarily based on the newest processors nicely forward of its opponents.

Introduction and Product Impressions

Intel launched heterogeneous computing into its product line with a combination of efficiency (P) and effectivity (E) cores in Alder Lake final yr. Whereas the desktop line was first out of the door, Intel adopted up with the sub-35W processors in February 2022. Fabricated in Intel 7, Alder Lake brings a multi-tasking focus to computing, offering hints to the OS on the place totally different duties have to be run. General, that is supposed to herald an higher consumer expertise – and the Alder Lake-P sequence is meant to ship all that inside a 28W energy envelop. Alternatively, AMD’s Cezanne was announced in early 2021, bringing the Zen 3 microarchitecture into the pocket book house. The 8C/16T configuration of homogeneous high-performance cores supplies it the sting in multi-threaded workloads over Intel’s options.

Regardless of the introduction of the options greater than a yr aside, the ultra-compact form-factor and small form-factor desktop programs using these processors have began moving into the market across the similar time. Each Cezanne and Alder Lake-P make the most of an up to date microarchitecture, promising a wholesome efficiency enhance over the earlier era. The built-in GPU can also be clocked increased. On the system entrance, the high-speed I/O choices get carried over from Renoir and Tiger Lake – Cezanne continues to retain PCIe 3.0 lanes for storage, and provides solely USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) ports for high-bandwidth exterior peripherals. In distinction, Alder Lake-P supplies 4 devoted CPU-connected PCIe 4.0 lanes for storage drives, and two Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports for exterior peripherals. Features requiring a deeper look embody system efficiency for numerous kinds of workloads and energy / power consumption profiles.

ASRock is a widely known vendor within the client PC market. In 2011, the corporate arrange the ASRock Industrial enterprise unit to give attention to industrial motherboards. The division branched out in 2018 as an unbiased vendor with unique give attention to B2B merchandise. The corporate has merchandise for deployment in small companies (places of work), automation, robotics, safety, and different industrial / IoT purposes. Primarily, the corporate develops motherboards, and sells them to numerous system integrators who can do their very own worth additions. Moreover, the corporate additionally sells mini-PCs primarily based on the developed motherboards into the retail channel.

ASRock Industrial sampled their flagship fashions within the Alder Lake-P (NUC BOX-1260P) and Cezanne (4X4 BOX-5800U) lineups. It’s uncommon that two flagship merchandise are available for overview concurrently – so we took the chance to guage them in parallel.

As a reminder, the NUC BOX and 4X4 BOX sequence each use a chassis tracing its roots again to ASRock’s now defunct Beebox product line. The cooling answer is time-tested inside that case design, and all that ASRock Industrial does is to change the I/O cut-outs barely to match totally different motherboards. Because the above {photograph} reveals, it’s troublesome to distinguish between the 2 programs at first look, because the cut-outs are precisely the identical (actually, the previous-generation NUC BOX-1165G7 and 4X4 BOX-4800U are the identical too). Solely on a more in-depth look does the presence of two black USB 2.0 ports within the rear I/O of the 4X4 BOX-5800U (in comparison with the blue USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports within the NUC BOX-1260P) function a differentiating issue.

ASRock Industrial’s predominant focus is on B2B prospects. It’s no shock that their programs are packaged in a nondescript method. Nevertheless, throughout the package deal, the corporate consists of all the things that an end-user would want – a VESA mount and related screws, 2.5″ drive and M.2 SSD set up aids, a geo-specific energy twine and a 90W energy adapter.

ASRock Industrial NUC BOX-1260P Bundle Contents

ASRock Industrial 4X4 BOX-5800U Bundle Contents

Since our pattern of the NUC BOX-1260P was an early engineering pattern, it did not have the mannequin quantity markings on the underside (in contrast to the 4X4 BOX-5800U). Each samples have been barebones – the RAM and disk drive are left to the discretion of the end-user. As a way to make an apples-to-apples comparability, we opted to make the most of the identical set of elements used within the critiques of the corporate’s programs primarily based on Tiger Lake-U and Renoir. The NUC BOX-1260P was geared up with an ADATA XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite and 2x 32GB of the Kingston FURY Impression DDR4-3200 SODIMMs. A Patriot Reminiscence P300 SSD and 2x 32GB Patriot Reminiscence DDR4-3200 SODIMMs have been put in within the 4X4 BOX-5800U for analysis.

Past the same construct and industrial design, a more in-depth have a look at the NUC BOX-1260P and the 4X4 BOX-5800U reveal various differentiation points each internally and externally. They’re summarized within the desk beneath. The rationale behind the (BIOS 1.2E) and the (Efficiency) suffices are coated within the subsequent part.

Techniques Specs

(as examined)
  ASRock NUC BOX-1260P (BIOS 1.2E) ASRock 4X4 BOX-5800U (Efficiency)
Processor Intel Core i7-1260P

Alder Lake 4P + 8E / 16T, as much as 4.7 GHz (P) as much as 3.4 GHz (E)

Intel 7, 18MB L2, Min / Max / Base TDP: 20W / 64W / 28W

PL1 = 28W, PL2 = 64W
AMD Ryzen 7 5800U

Zen 3 (Cezanne) 8C/16T, 1.9 – 4.4 GHz

TSMC 7nm, 16MB L3, 10-25 W (15W)

Min / Max / Goal TDP : 10W / 54W / 25W-30W
Reminiscence Kingston FURY Impression KHX3200C20S4/32GX DDR4-3200 SODIMM

20-22-22-48 @ 3200 MHz

2×32 GB
Patriot Reminiscence PSD432G32002S DDR4-3200 SODIMM

22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz

2×32 GB
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics

(96EU @ 1.40 GHz)
AMD Radeon Graphics (Renoir) – Built-in

(8 CUs @ 2 GHz)
Disk Drive(s) ADATA XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite

(2 TB; M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe;)

(Micron 96L 3D TLC; Silicon Movement SM2267 Controller)
Patriot P300 SSD P300P512GM28

(512 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe;)

(Kioxia BiCS4 96L 3D TLC; Silicon Movement SM2263XT Controller)
Networking 2x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I225-LM)

Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (2×2 802.11ax – 2.4 Gbps)
1x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Realtek RTL8125)

1x GbE RJ-45 (Realtek RTL8168/8111)

Mediatek MT7922 (RZ616) Wi-Fi 6E (2×2 802.11ax – 1.9 Gbps)
Audio Realtek ALC233 (3.5mm Audio Jack in Entrance)

Digital Audio with Bitstreaming Help over HDMI and Show Port
Realtek ALC233 (3.5mm Audio Jack in Entrance)

Digital Audio with Bitstreaming Help over HDMI and Show Port
Video 1x HDMI 2.0b

1x Show Port 1.4

2x Show Port 1.4 over Sort-C Alt-Mode
1x HDMI 2.0a

1x Show Port 1.2a

2x Show Port 1.2a over Sort-C Alt-Mode
Miscellaneous I/O Ports 1x Thunderbolt 4 Sort-C (Entrance)

1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-C (Entrance)

1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A (Entrance)

2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A (Rear)
2x USB 2.0 (Rear)

2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-C (Entrance)

1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-A (Entrance)
Working System Home windows 11 Enterprise (22000.832) Home windows 11 Enterprise (22000.778)
Pricing (Avenue Pricing on July 24th, 2022)

US $650 (barebones)

US $1090 (as configured, no OS)
(Avenue Pricing on July 24th, 2022)

US $630 (barebones)

US $858 (as configured, no OS)
Full Specs ASRock Industrial NUC BOX-1260P Specifications ASRock Industrial 4X4 BOX-5800U Specifications

The 110 mm x 117.5 mm x 47.85 mm chassis utilized by ASRock Industrial for each programs is made from polycarbonate, although an internal steel body does exist. The underside panel is held by 4 screws that have to be taken out to entry the M.2 and SODIMM slots. The highest of the chassis is shiny and simply attracts smudges and fingerprints, although it does include a plastic movie that may be retained with none lack of cooling effectivity. The 2 sides have perforated home windows for air consumption. The rear panel has openings on prime to permit the inner blower fan to exhaust sizzling air after passing it by the warmth spreader.

A better have a look at the 2 circumstances and inner footage can be found within the galleries above. It may be seen that ASRock Industrial supplies assist for mounting a 2.5″ drive inside. This makes it troublesome to accommodate a thermal hole filler for the M.2 SSD. In actual fact, the elements are densely packed on the board, and even mounting a M.2 2280 SSD requires a particular plastic tab that hangs atop one of many USB-C ports on the board.

Within the subsequent part, we check out the BIOS choices together with an evaluation of the motherboard platform. Following that, we’ve various sections specializing in numerous efficiency points earlier than concluding with an evaluation of the worth proposition of the system.



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