ASRock Industrial is about to launch one of the world’s first motherboards (PDF) for ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) desktop PCs based in Intel’s 11th-Gen Core ‘Tiger Lake-U’ processors (via momomo_us/Twitter). The NUC 1100-series motherboards combine Intel’s latest quad-core CPU as well as Iris Xe graphics and promise to deliver good performance for productivity applications, premium multimedia capabilities for HTPCs, as well as decent gaming performance.
ASRock's NUC 1100-series motherboards are powered by Intel’s latest Core i3/i5/i7-1100 or Celeron 6305E ‘Tiger Lake’ processors with two or four Willow Cove cores, as well as an integrated GPU featuring the Xe-LP architecture and up to 96 EUs.
The platforms come with two slots for up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory, an M.2-2280 slot for an SSD (with a PCIe 4.0 x4 or SATA interface), a SATA 3.0 connector for an additional drive, and an M.2-2230 slot for a CNVi Wi-Fi module.
While the TGL-U processors were designed primarily for notebooks, they tend to get hot when fully loaded, so a proper cooler is needed. The ASRock NUC 1100-series motherboards measure 4.09×4.02 inches and come equipped with the Delta bsc0805ha-00 blower-type cooling system to ensure that the Tiger Lake-U CPUs with an up to 28W TDP are properly cooled to guarantee consistently high performance even under significant loads. Given the low profile of the platforms, they can be used not only for NUC-like regular or slim systems, but also various kinds of all-in-one or embedded designs.
ASRock Industrial doesn't sell its products in the channel but supplies them to its parent company or various PC OEMs. To that end, the NUC 1100-series motherboards are configured to serve a wide variety of markets, such as client PCs for home or office, as well as embedded applications that require decent performance. The platforms feature a TPM 2.0 chip, a watchdog timer, and some come equipped with a vPro-enabled network controller.
As far as connectivity is concerned, the ASRock NUC 1100 motherboard series offers a wide range of connectors, including one GbE LAN (controlled by the Intel I219LM with vPro or I219V chip without vPro), a 2.5 GbE port (enabled by the I225V controller), a Thunderbolt 3 connector, four display outputs (DisplayPort 1.4++, HDMI 2.0, TB3), five USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (four USB Type-A, one USB Type-C), and a 3.5-mm audio jack for headsets. Also, the motherboards have internal USB 2.0 and RS-232 headers.
ASRock Industrial has already uploaded a document containing key features and specifications of its NUC 1100-series motherboards to its website but has not listed the products. There is no information about the pricing and availability timeframe of ASRock Industrial's Tiger Lake-powered motherboards. Still, it makes sense to expect ASRock itself to offer its own-brand UCFF PCs based on these platforms in the coming months.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.