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ASRock M8 Mini-ITX Barebones Gaming PC Review

Inside ASRock's M8 Chassis

The M8’s flashy side is actually the back of its motherboard tray, which is highlighted with an X-shaped red anodized ribbon and M8-logo power cable guide. Eight moderately strong magnets secure its unlocked cover panel.

Flipping around to the “business” side, we see that the Z87-M8 motherboard’s PCH, mini-PCIe slot, and SATA connectors are all moved forward compared to its Z87E-ITX sibling, making room around Creative’s Sound Blaster Core3D processor. Since the SATA ports now cross into the space occupied by the Z87E-ITX’s DIMMs, ASRock substitutes shorter SO-DIMM slots on the Z87-M8.

The 450 W power supply by FSP surprises us with its two 6+2-pin auxiliary power connectors. In theory, that would allow the platform to power a GeForce GTX 690, except that all of that output is carried by only three +12 V leads. ASRock recommends a graphics power limit of 200 W, probably because each of the PSU's two rails has a 216 W limit. Still, that gets you into GeForce GTX 680 territory.

Graphics cards load from the top, and getting there requires you to remove one of the handle brackets along with two bars. A slide-in card holder is found inside.

The top panel features an exhaust fan up front and an intake around back, likely configured to assist cooling of cards that vent from both ends (such as the aforementioned GeForce GTX 690). Bottom-panel fans feature the same configuration.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.