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ASRock DeskMeet B660 Overview: An Reasonably priced NUC Excessive?

ASRock was one of many earliest distributors to cater to the small-form issue (SFF) PC market with a bunch of custom-sized motherboards primarily based on pocket book platforms of their Vision / Core series models. They ended up lacking the NUC bus for essentially the most half, with the Beebox sequence put into chilly storage after Skylake and Kaby Lake have been phased out. The commercial design and learnings from the Beebox have since been handed on to ASRock Industrial for programs catering to the industrial and embedded markets.

After Kaby Lake, ASRock shifted focus to Intel’s 5×5 mini-STX form-factor launched in 2015. Whereas permitting for set up of socketed processors, the form-factor couldn’t assist a discrete GPU slot. Across the identical time, Intel additionally began advertising and marketing fanatic NUCs with a discrete pocket book GPU soldered on the motherboard / built-in within the bundle. ASRock has launched a number of Intel and AMD-based mini-STX DeskMini systems since 2016, and likewise created the micro-STX form-factor to supply a socketed various to the fanatic NUCs.

Intel’s subsequent huge push within the NUC market got here with the looks of Compute Components and Extreme NUCs, with the latter supporting user-replaceable discrete GPUs. So as to provide alternate options in that phase, ASRock launched their DeskMeet product line early final yr with assist for socketed processors and a PCIe x16 slot for putting in add-in playing cards. The evaluate under offers an in depth evaluation of the options, efficiency, and worth proposition of the DeskMeet B660 – a 8L SFF PC primarily based on the Intel B660 chipset, able to accommodating Alder Lake or Raptor Lake CPUs, and chosen dual-slot GPUs.

Introduction and Product Impressions

The rise within the capabilities and energy effectivity of processors, coupled with revolutionary thermal options has additionally enabled small-form issue machines to enter markets that have been restricted to cumbersome power-hungry tower form-factor machines previously. Whereas a majority of the SFF and UCFF machines available in the market are usually primarily based on sub-45W processors, there’s a rising market (within the gaming and workstation area) for small programs that may accommodate socketed CPUs. ASRock’s DeskMini sequence of mini-STX and micro-STX machines have served this market because the Skylake days. Coinciding the with the launch of Intel’s Alder Lake, ASRock launched a brand new possibility for shoppers in a barely bigger form-factor – the DeskMeet B660.

The DeskMeet B660 focuses on the DIY marketplace for gaming and e-sports programs. This phase has served as a development vector for the in any other case moribund PC market during the last a number of years. Portabile gaming PCs have the added benefit of being compact, lending themselves to use-cases that aren’t simply served by conventional tower desktops. In comparison with the DeskMini mini-STX sequence, the brand new programs deliver the next updates:

  • PCIe 4.0 x16 slot permitting the set up of a dual-slot discrete GPU
  • Elevated reminiscence capability, due to the presence of 4 full-length DDR4 DIMM slots
  • Built-in PSU

The bundle contains the next parts:

  • ASRock B660-ITX motherboard (with related cables, screws, and an I/O protect)
  • 500W (80+ Bronze) ATX PSU
  • Steel chassis (168mm x 219.3mm x 218.3mm) (with related assembling aids)
  • Meeting directions

Compact programs with a PCIe x16 slot and an built-in PSU will be realized with mini-ITX motherboards. Such normal boards are restricted to 2 DIMM slots on account of area constraints. So as to accommodate two further DIMM slots, ASRock has opted for a propretiary form-factor. Their ‘Deep mini-ITX’ board measures 210mm x 170mm (in comparison with the 170mm x 170mm of an everyday mini-ITX board).

Finish-users have the pliability to decide on their very own CPU, storage machine, RAM, and non-obligatory discrete GPU. Area constraints impose some limitations on these, although. The 8L system can assist liquid cooling if a PCIe add-on card shouldn’t be used. CPU coolers as much as 54mm in peak can be utilized (something increased would find yourself bumping into the underside of the PSU). Processors with a TDP of as much as 65W will be safely utilized in air cooling. Whereas choose 125W TDP processors are supported, it requires the usage of liquid cooling (ruling out the PCIe add-on card usability). F-series SKUs can be utilized, but it surely requires the obligatory set up of a video card, because the native show outputs of the B660-ITX require a CPU with an built-in GPU.

ASRock sampled us the DeskMeet B660 together with their AMD Radeon RX 6400 Challenger ITX video card and an Intel Core i7-12700F Alder Lake-S processor. The next further parts have been used to finish the construct:

  • SilverStone Hydrogon H90 ARGB CPU cooler
  • Mushkin Redline Frostbyte DDR4-3600 DIMMs (4×16 GB)
  • Mushkin Vortex Redline 2 TB M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD

The system is supposed to be actively cooled, however the DeskMeet B660 unit by itself would not have any followers bundled with the chassis. The followers within the CPU cooler and video card cooler ought to suffice for many installations. Nevertheless, the facet of the chassis near the PCIe slot will also be used to mount a 120mm case cooler or a liquid cooling radiator (thickness as much as 45mm). In such instances, the PCIe slot is rendered unusable.

The total specs of our evaluate configuration are offered within the desk under.

ASRock DeskMeet B660 Specs

(as examined)
Processor Intel Core i7-12700F

Alder Lake-S 8C + 4c / 20T, 1.6 – 4.9 GHz

Intel 7, 12MB L2 + 25MB L3, 65 W

(PL1 = 65W, PL2 = 126W)
Reminiscence Mushkin Redline Frostbyte MRX4U360GKKP16G DDR4-3600 DIMMs

16-19-19-39 @ 3600 MHz (XMP 1.0)

4×16 GB
Graphics AMD Radeon RX 6400 (Navi 24) 4GB GDDR6

(768 SPs @ 2039 MHz)
Disk Drive(s) Mushkin Vortex Redline MKNSSDVT2TB-D8

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

(Micron 176L 3D TLC; InnoGrit IG5236 Controller)
Networking 1x GbE RJ-45 (Intel I219-V)
Audio Realtek ALC897 (3.5mm Audio Jack in Entrance and Line In / Speaker / Microphone Jacks in Rear)

Digital Audio with Bitstreaming Assist over HDMI and Show Port (through dGPU)
Video 1x HDMI 2.1 (as much as 4Kp60, VRR and FRL)

1x Show Port 1.4a (each through dGPU)
Miscellaneous I/O Ports 2x USB 2.0 Sort-A (Rear)

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

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

2x USB 2.0 Sort-A (Entrance)

2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Sort-A (Entrance)
Working System Home windows 11 Enterprise (22000.1335)
Pricing (Avenue Pricing on January 23rd, 2022)

USD 191 (barebones)

US $863 (as configured, no OS)
Full Specs ASRock DeskMeet B660 Specifications

Assembling the System

The DeskMeet bundle comes with the PSU and the motherboard bundled contained in the chassis with acceptable padding. Assembling the system includes eradicating a single screw from the underside facet of the case and pulling out the motherboard tray. One of many likable facets right here is that the entrance panel of the case instantly interfaces with the parts on the motherboard. This eliminates the tangling of wires that was seen within the earlier DeskMini programs when separating the motherboard tray from the chassis. The motherboard comes mounted on the tray, and the CPU and cooler set up steps are not any completely different from different boards with socketed CPUs.

As much as 4 DDR4 DIMMs will be put in within the system. A M.2 2230 slot is obtainable for a Wi-Fi / Bluetooth combo PCIe / USB card. The case has acceptable holes for the antennae. There are two M.2 2280 slots (one subsequent to the PCIe slot, and one other on the underside) for set up of NVMe SSDs. The slot subsequent on the underside is PCIe-only, whereas the opposite can accommodate each NVMe and SATA SSDs. Sadly, the documentation shouldn’t be clear on which of those slots is instantly connected to the CPU. In different boards, the slot that multiplexes the SATA and PCIe lanes often comes from the chipset (PCH), whereas the pure PCIe one is from the CPU. Based mostly on this assumption, we reviewed the system with the SSD put in on the underside.

The board incorporates 3 SATA ports. The case itself permits for the set up of a 3.5″ HDD (during which case, a PCIe add-in card cannot be put in), or two 2.5″ drives (which eliminates the opportunity of dual-slot add-in playing cards, whereas nonetheless permitting single-slot playing cards to work). Utilizing such SATA drives additionally precludes the opportunity of mounting a fan or a water-cooling radiator within the system.

GPU set up includes releasing a latch and fastening screws after putting the add-in card in place. The PSU is mounted in-place on the very finish, with all needed screws within the again panel. The PSU shouldn’t be modular, however the variety of cables to route is minimal, and cable administration shouldn’t be actually a lot of a difficulty. It’s potential to fully take away the motherboard and I/O protect from the tray, however we did not discover it needed through the meeting course of.

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

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