Smaller form factor PCs such as HTPCs are on the rise, as evidenced by our interview with Steiger CEO Martin Gossner in March. They seem to fulfill the need of an all-in-one living room entertainment system while still providing the same functions as a regular PC. ASRock, which is mainly known for its motherboards, has its own lineup of mini PCs and is adding a NUC device called the Beebox to its roster.
The Beebox comes in two "L10" models. Another model, the L6, is a barebones device for enthusiasts. It features some of the same specs as the L10 but doesn't include a processor, memory or an operating system.
|L6 (Barebone)||L10 (Full System 1)||L10 (Full System 2)|
|CPU||Intel N3000 (up to 2.08 GHz)||Intel N3000 (up to 2.08 GHz)||Intel N3000 (up to 2.08 GHz)|
|RAM||N/ASupports DDR3L 1600 MHz, 2 x SO-DIMM slots, Max. 16 GB||2 GB DDR3L1600 MHzSupports DDR3L 1600 MHz, 2 x SO-DIMM slots, Max. 16 GB||4 GB DDR3L1600 MHz (2x2 GB)Supports DDR3L 1600 MHz, 2 x SO-DIMM slots, Max. 16 GB|
|Storage||N/ASupports 1 x mSATA SSD & 1 x 2.5" SATA HDD||32 GB mSATA SSDSupports 1 x 2.5" SATA HDD||128 GB mSATA SSDSupports 1 x 2.5" SATA HDD|
|Connection||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0GigabitLAN||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0Gigabit LAN||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0Gigabit LAN|
|Audio||Realtek ALC283||Realtek ALC283||Realtek ALC283|
|I/O||Front: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.0 (Type C), 1 x IR, 1 x Audio-Out with MIC-InRear: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DP, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x LAN, 1 x Kensington lock||Front: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.0 (Type C), 1 x IR, 1 x Audio-Out with MIC-InRear: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DP, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x LAN, 1 x Kensington lock||Front: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.0 (Type C), 1 x IR, 1 x Audio-Out with MIC-InRear: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DP, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x LAN, 1 x Kensington lock|
One of the more notable aspects of the Beebox is the addition of a USB Type-C port. The new connector was recently added to some of ASRock's motherboards in an effort to meet early demand of the rising USB standard. Placing it on the Beebox is another step in that plan.
For such a small device, the Beebox has the ability to perform just as well as its larger counterparts, at least in terms of display output. Two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort onboard means that you can use the Beebox across three screens at the same time, and it can display in 2K and 4K resolutions for each output.
Aside from functioning as a living room PC, it can also act as another access point with its 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ Wi-Fi connection. Bluetooth 4.0 also allows connection of wireless devices such as a mouse and keyboard. All models also come with a handy remote in case you don't want to use other peripherals.
ASRock also included its own software called Power Gear. Just like a sports car, the Beebox will have three different performance modes: Sport, Normal, and Eco. Sport is used during heavy use such as gaming, while Normal can be utilized for daily activities such as browsing the Internet or using a word processor. Eco is more suited for less intensive applications such as downloading updates.
The Beebox comes in black, white and gold. There is no word yet on a release date or price, but with the specs finalized, the Beebox should be arriving soon. The Beebox might yet be another SFF PC on the market, but features such as a USB Type-C connector, ASRock's Power Gear modes and triple-screen capabilities with up to 4K resolution support have the potential to make it stand out from the rest.