ASRock's 4x4 Motherboard Packs AMD Phoenix CPUs, Dual Ethernet Ports

4X4-7840U (Image credit: ASRock)

ASRock Industrial, which used to be a business unit of ASRock, has announced two new 4x4 motherboards powered by AMD's 4nm Ryzen 7040U Series (Phoenix) processors wielding Zen 4 CPU and RDNA 3 GPU cores. The motherboards are available as standalone products and as part of ASRock Industrial's fanned embedded mini-PCs.

The 4X4-7840U and 4X4-7640U share nearly identical specifications. As you can quickly tell by the model name, the primary difference is the processor that drives with each motherboard. The 4X4-7840U features the Ryzen 7 7840U, the flagship Phoenix SKU with an octa-core, 16-thread configuration, and base and clock speeds of 3.3 GHz and 5.1 GHz. On the other hand, the 4X4-7640U is just a notch below the 4X4-7840U, incorporating the second-fastest chip in AMD's Phoenix lineup. The Ryzen 5 7640U latches onto a hexa-core, 12-thread design with a respectable base and boost clock speeds up to 3.5 GHz and 3.9 GHz, respectively.

AMD's Phoenix chips also feature the Ryzen AI Engine, based on the XDNA architecture. The built-in AI engine helps accelerate AI workloads and Windows-based features in Windows Studio Effects, such as eye contact, automatic framing, and background effects like background blur.

The Ryzen 7040U series typically comes with a default TDP of 28W. However, the chipmaker offers vendors the liberty to clock them between 15W and 30W. The U-series targets ultrathin devices, so they aren't picky about power delivery or cooling. As a result, the 4X4-7840U and 4X4-7640U motherboards feature a laptop-style cooler for the processor and only count on a standard 12V~19V DC-In connection to draw all the necessary power required.

Arriving in a 4x4 (4.09 x 4.02 x 1.4 inches or 10.4 x 10.2 x 3.6 cm) form factor, there isn't a lot of space on the motherboards. Nevertheless, they offer appealing features. Two DDR5 SO-DIMM memory slots support DDR5-5600 memory with a total capacity of 64GB (32GB per memory module). Storage comes in one SATA III port and a standard PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 interface to house M.2 SSDs up to 80mm long.

Phoenix processors come with RDNA 3 GPU cores, and ASRock's pair of 4x4 motherboards put them to good use. The motherboard offers two HDMI 1.4b ports and DisplayPort 1.4a connectivity through the two USB 4 Type-C ports. In total, the motherboard can support up to four 4K displays simultaneously.

One of the more attractive qualities is the dual Ethernet ports. The Realtek RTL8125BG controller powers the 2.5 Gigabit port, whereas the Realtek RTL8111EPV  is responsible for the standard Gigabit port with DASH functionality. The motherboard doesn't have wireless connectivity by default but does have an M.2 Key-E 2230 port for a wireless card. There's only one 3.5mm audio jack based on the Realtek ALC256 audio codec. The USB port count comes down to four. The motherboard has two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and two USB 4 Type-C ports.

Given the 4X4-7840U and 4X4-7640U designs, finding a case for the motherboards is not easy. That's why ASRock Industrial sells the "fanned BOX" versions with an enclosure like your typical mini-PC. The 4X4 BOX-7840U and 4X4 BOX-7640U utilize the 4X4-7840U and 4X4-7640U motherboards, respectively.

The black enclosure measures 4.63 x 4.33 x 1.88 inches (117.5 x 110.0 x 47.85 mm) and weighs 2.2 lbs (1 kg), so it doesn't add much size or weight to the motherboards. The case supports VESA mounting, so you can install the 4X4 BOX-7840U and 4X4 BOX-7640U on a rack or behind your monitor. The "fanned BOX" version includes a 19V/120W power adapter and a VEGA mount bracket.

ASRock Industrial didn't share the pricing for the 4X4-7840U and 4X4-7640U motherboards or the 4X4 BOX-7840U and 4X4 BOX-7640U mini-PCs. Interested buyers will have to contact the company directly for a quote.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • bit_user
    We need more aftermarket cases for this form factor. Of course, it doesn't help that it has no separate backplate.
  • Li Ken-un
    It’s unfortunate that these are for industrial customers. Some of the consumer-facing ones have started incorporating USB-C PD for power input instead of the reviled DC jack.
  • domih
    I have the 4800U version of the 4x4: be aware of the thermals. The box is so small that the fan becomes noisy as soon as you do something substantial while the CPU clock throttles down. On the other hand, you can see these boxes or similar at the back of monitor in banks, pharmacies, hospitals etc where, my guess, the usage (using Windows) is rather tame. These corporations gets a nice discount because they buy them by the palette. Usage at home: okay for small desktop usage, e.g. email, browser, retro games or TV box, but not as a full desktop replacement. ARM-based (or Celeron-like x86) Android or Linux TV boxes or SBCs will achieve the same goals using much less power consumption and for a cheaper price.

    Note: it comes with a back plate (if you meant VESA mounting).
  • domih
    USB-C PD vs. "reviled DC jack"?

    When doing custom installations where multiple SBC's are powered by the same power source, I prefer to solder or assemble DC jacks rather than USB C plugs...
  • domih
    DASH (if it works OK) allows remote out of band management (BIOS, OS, apps) by IT people. That's a BMC/IPMI/Redfish equivalent for desktop PC.
  • wbfox
    I thought the hdmi and dp specs were mistakes when I saw these boards and boxes a few days ago. Nope. We have the thing with rdna 3 graphics and give it lower capability display options than the previous 3 generations of amd based 4x4 and their mobos. Why? How does that happen? The 4x4 with a V1000 cpu (as in same group as ryzen gen 1) has hdmi 2.0. Again, how? why?
  • wbfox
    Li Ken-un said:
    It’s unfortunate that these are for industrial customers. Some of the consumer-facing ones have started incorporating USB-C PD for power input instead of the reviled DC jack.
    You can buy any of the 4x4 on amazon or newegg or bhphoto etc... This is just where asrocks mini computers happen to have landed. they don't even have extreme temp. capabilities. So Industrial they really are not. They are asrock's nucs.

    And how is depriving me of a usb c port for a power only slot reviled?
  • George³
    Locking up part of the AMD Phoenix production and not presenting prices is a kind of scalping action and yes, after some time some already aging models will appear in regular stores. I have a faint memory from maybe months ago of a 4X4 box with a Ryzen 5500U that is more expensive than laptop offerings with similar specs. So the way they work for me is scalping.
  • 1_rick
    "The USB port count comes down to four. The motherboard has two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and two USB 4 Type-C ports."

    You forgot the two (presumably) USB 2.0 ports.

    Also, the 7640U boosts to 4.9GHz, not 3.9.
  • abufrejoval
    I used to take these news like "Oh, something new I can buy!"

    But then it turned out that that wasn't true, because between their announcement and their availability there was a gap, that often enough never closed.

    NUCs have not just become trickle down items, but increasingly they seem to have become a preferred way of clearing out surplus inventory.

    So today I think: "Oh, is it already this time of the life-cycle, where right after being 'unobtainium' Phoenix transition into 'surplus'"?

    ...because naked dies of AM5 8000 APUs have already been seen in the wild...

    Of course it's still an attractive box, but IMHO only if you're after CPU power, at very constrained Wattage.

    If you're hunting for iGPU performance just going with one of those older G11 and G12 dGPU NUCs Intel is selling off at surplus prices, should give you vastly better value with only a small increase in form factor and essentially a dGPU thrown in for free.

    The G11 Enthusiast NUC with an RTX 2060m includes 6GB of GDDR6 for €450 and the G12 equivalent an ARC A700m with 16GB of GDDR6 for €600, very close to what these might retail at, once they become available.

    Yes they eat quite a bit more of Wattage fully loaded, but then they deliver GPU performance along the same lines, too. On sustained pure CPU loads Ryzen remains probably hard to beat by Intel, but very few will run those on boxes like this.

    For peak, average and idle CPU loads both my Tiger and the Alder Lake NUCs do really do rather well against my Ryzen 5800U in the home-lab. They may loose a little against a Phoenix, but depending on your use case, having a dGPU "for free" may still be a better choice, as long as suplies last.

    If I needed a new notebook today, a Phoenix it might be, because they need to operate under battery capacity constraints Intel can't compete at today. For a NUC they still are at the wrong end of the price curve.

    I'll probably get a Phoenix eventually, because it's fundamentally a great little machine and I keep needing them. But only once the unobtainium 8000 APUs are pushing their prices into the surplus range.

    According to these news, that must be real soon now...