Skip to main content

ASRock Intros Five Apollo Lake Motherboards With Passive Cooling

ASRock announced five new motherboards with embedded Apollo Lake SoCs, all of which use passive cooling to keep your system completely silent.

Intel’s manufactures its Apollo Lake SoCs on its 14nm tri-gate process with the new Goldmont microarchitecture. Compared to the preceding Braswell SoCs, Apollo Lake desktop SoCs have a higher 10W TDP that should help them maintain boost frequencies for longer periods of time. Apollo Lake also has an updated Gen9 graphics core based on Skylake’s iGPU.

Asrock Super Alloy J2405-ITX

As we mentioned above, ASRock uses passive cooling with all of the SoCs. The cooling solution should be sufficient for these low-power processors, but it may limit performance somewhat as the CPU will throttle once it reaches a certain temperature.

Although Apollo Lake supports DDR4 memory, ASRock opted to use DDR3 RAM on all five of its motherboards. This won’t affect CPU performance much, but it will hamper the performance of the iGPU somewhat.

Asrock Super Alloy J3455M

ASRock designed three of the motherboards around the mini-ITX form factor and used SO-DIMM RAM to conserve space.

The fastest of these new boards is the ASRock Super Alloy J4205-ITX, which uses the Pentium J4205 SoC. The J4205 is clocked slightly higher than other Apollo Lake SKUs and has a beefier iGPU with more EUs.

There is currently no word on pricing or availability.

Asrock’s Apollo Lake Motherboards
ModelASRock Super Alloy J3355MASRock Super Alloy J3355B-ITXASRock Super Alloy J3455-ITXASRock Super Alloy J3455-ITXASRock Super Alloy J4205-ITX
Form FactorMicro-ATXMini-ITXMini-ITXMicro-ATXMini-ITX
SoCApollo Lake Celeron J3355Apollo Lake Celeron J3355Apollo Lake Celeron J3455Apollo Lake Celeron J3455Apollo Lake Pentium J4205
Core Count22444
Clock Speed2GHz / 2.5GHz Boost2GHz / 2.5GHz Boost1.5GHz / 2.3GHz Boost1.5GHz / 2.3GHz Boost1.5GHz / 2.6GHz Boost
iGPUHD Graphics 500 (12 EUs)HD Graphics 500 (12 EUs)HD Graphics 500 (12 EUs)HD Graphics 500 (12 EUs)HD Graphics 505 (16 EUs)
TDP10W10W10W10W10W
Memory SupportUp To 2 x 8GB DDR3 1866MHz DIMMUp To 2 x 8GB DDR3 1866MHz SO-DIMMUp To 2 x 8GB DDR3 1866MHz SO-DIMMUp To 2 x 8GB DDR3 1866MHz DIMMUp To 2 x 8GB DDR3 1866MHz SO-DIMM
Expansion SlotsPCI-E 2.0 x162 x PCI-E 2.0 x1PCI-E 2.0 x16PCI-E 2.0 x1M.2 Key EPCI-E 2.0 x162 x PCI-E 2.0 x1PCI-E 2.0 x1M.2 Key E
Storage2 x SATA-III (6Gbps)2 x SATA-III (6Gbps)4 x SATA-III (6Gbps)(Two Controlled By Asmedia ASM1061 Controller)2 x SATA-III (6Gbps)4 x SATA-III (6Gbps)(Two Controlled By Asmedia ASM1061 Controller)
LANRealtek RTL8111ERealtek RTL8111GRRealtek RTL8111GRRealtek RTL8111ERealtek RTL8111GR
AudioRealtek ALC887Realtek ALC887Realtek ALC892Realtek ALC887Realtek ALC892
USB4 x USB 3.0 (2 on Rear I/O)7 x USB 2.0 (2 on Rear I/O)5 x USB 3.0 (3 on Rear I/O)5 x USB 2.0 (1 on Rear I/O)4 x USB 3.0 (2 on Rear I/O)5 x USB 2.0 (2 on Rear I/O)4 x USB 3.0 (2 on Rear I/O)7 x USB 2.0 (2 on Rear I/O)5 x USB 3.0 (2 on Rear I/O)5 x USB 2.0 (2 on Rear I/O)
  • ittesi259
    Would this work for a dedicated PLEX server or is the processor not really there for that?
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    18712190 said:
    Would this work for a dedicated PLEX server or is the processor not really there for that?

    The upper end ones would work fine for 1080p and lower content. Throw FreeNAS and plex on one of these with 4 sata ports and you would have a pretty capable little device.
    I suppose the biggest issue would be RAM capacity... My freeNAS box sucks down a solid 22GB of RAM. Can't imagine getting that much over 2 dimms on these boards... but then again you can't slap 7-8 HDDs on these boards either, so it may be fine.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    Very curious on price for these. I am debating about replacing my wife's PC next with something smaller and quieter. She currently has an i3 ivy Bridge, and I imagine that this would provide similar performance for office, web browsing, and watching movies... maybe throw in a GPU for a little gaming...
    Still, should be pretty good if the price is appropriate (ie $30-60 with the CPU on board).
    Reply
  • bit_user
    I'm underwhelmed by the clock speeds.

    Also, the SoCs all have only 6 lanes of PCIe 2.0 and 2x integrated SATA3 ports.

    18712453 said:
    I am debating about replacing my wife's PC next with something smaller and quieter. She currently has an i3 ivy Bridge, and I imagine that this would provide similar performance for office, web browsing, and watching movies... maybe throw in a GPU for a little gaming...
    No.

    I assume these have Goldmont cores, which aren't bad but still probably get fewer instructions-per-clock than Ivy. Couple that with the slower clock speed, and she won't be thanking you.

    And even if the board has a x16 PCIe 2.0 slot, it can't have more than 4 lanes actually connected.

    If you want something small & quiet, just get a NUC with a proper Broadwell or Skylake CPU. You can get them with the Iris Pro graphics, which might be enough for most casual gaming @ 1080p.

    http://ark.intel.com/products/series/70407/Intel-NUC-Boards-and-Kits


    Amazingly, the Skylake i7 version is even quad-core (also, not cheap and maybe not even that quiet, under load):

    http://ark.intel.com/products/89187/Intel-NUC-Kit-NUC6i7KYK
    Reply
  • sykozis
    18712453 said:
    Very curious on price for these. I am debating about replacing my wife's PC next with something smaller and quieter. She currently has an i3 ivy Bridge, and I imagine that this would provide similar performance for office, web browsing, and watching movies... maybe throw in a GPU for a little gaming...
    Still, should be pretty good if the price is appropriate (ie $30-60 with the CPU on board).

    With the suggested pricing of the CPU alone being $100+....I doubt you'll find them in the $30-60 price range. The MSRP for the Celeron 3355 is $107 and the Pentium 4205 is $161. Then ASRock and Asus will add on whatever they feel the motherboard is worth.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    18712812 said:
    With the suggested pricing of the CPU alone being $100+....I doubt you'll find them in the $30-60 price range. The MSRP for the Celeron 3355 is $107 and the Pentium 4205 is $161. Then ASRock and Asus will add on whatever they feel the motherboard is worth.
    I saw that, too. However, boards based on previous generations of these SoCs frequently sold below the list price of the chip. So, while these boards definitely won't be under $60, I wouldn't be surprised to see some under $100.
    Reply
  • Infidel_2016
    If the Apollo Lake Pentium J4205 is truly capable of 4K @ 60 like ASROCK's website says it is then this would make a decent replacement for my home theater PC. I don't have any 4K content, but it would run 1080p smooth as butter.
    Reply
  • gopher1369
    18712190 said:
    Would this work for a dedicated PLEX server or is the processor not really there for that?

    I have a Plex server running on a Gigabyte Brix ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gigabyte-Brix-BXBT-1900-Ultra-Compact/dp/B00MOEMZMQ ) which uses a much older Intel Atom chip, the J1900. Have installed 4Gb of DDR3L 1600 and a 128Gb SSD with Windows 10 Pro, then an external 2Tb USB3 harddrive with all my media on it.

    If reencoding is required it's able to serve up one stream, but it chokes re-encoding 2 x 1080p videos simultaneously. If no reencoding is required then it's quite happy to serve multiple Plex clients simultaneously.

    Reply
  • darth_adversor
    I'm running an Amahi server (modified Linux Fedora OS) with Plex installed, it runs quite nicely on an old Phenom II X2 and 4GB of RAM. I don't know much about FreeNAS, but 22GB of RAM usage seems a bit ridiculous. I've had as many as 3 1080p streams playing simultaneously (2 PC's and one Roku stick, no transcoding) without any issues.

    Anyway, I'm really curious to see how these Apollo Lake chips perform. I'd love for my server to be completely silent.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    18722520 said:
    Anyway, I'm really curious to see how these Apollo Lake chips perform. I'd love for my server to be completely silent.
    +1

    My biggest issue with these is that the form factor is wrong. It should be mini-STX.
    Reply