ASRock’s Desk Mini 110 has been available for a while as the first commercially available mini-STX barebones PC. Now (although it is unlikely you will want to buy just the motherboard at this time), ASRock now plans to ship the Desk Mini 110’s H110M-STX board as a standalone product.
The H110M-STX motherboard is designed around Intel’s 5x5-inch mini-STX form factor. This allows companies to produce unusually compact desktop PCs, but at the expense of several connection options.
The H110M-STX doesn’t have any PCI/PCI-E connections, for example. There is an M.2 Key-E slot for a Wi-Fi card, and an M.2 Key-M slot for an SSD. As the Intel H110 chipset uses legacy PCI-E 2.0 lanes, ASRock decided to connect the M.2 Key-M slot directly to the CPU’s PCI-E 3.0 controller and bypass the chipset entirely. In theory, this should improve performance due to reduced latency and PCI-E 3.0’s higher bandwidth.
Due to the use of an external power supply, the board does not have traditional SATA ports. Instead, it uses a hybrid connection that combines power and data into a single cable. This allows the storage drives to be fed power directly from the motherboard. ASRock placed two of these connections on the bottom of the board.
The motherboard has fairly limited USB connection options, as well. There is a single internal USB 2.0 header on the motherboard. On the rear I/O panel, there’s just one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port. Over on the front of the board, there is an additional USB 3.0 port alongside a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port.
To conserve space, the H110M-STX uses DDR4 SO-DIMMs. Memory support is limited to 32 GB of DDR4 at 2,133 MHz. RAM timings are less restrictive and can be tweaked in the BIOS to try and reduce latency.
The board’s audio subsystem is powered by a Realtek ALC283 audio codec. There aren’t any audio connections on the back of the motherboard, but there is a mic input and an audio-out plus mic-in combo port on the front.
Aside from the ports listed above, there is just the power connection, a DisplayPort, an HDMI port, a VGA port and an RJ-45 port connected to an Intel i219v NIC.
|RAM Support||2 x SODIMM DDR4 @ 2,133 MHz|
|Rear I/O||AC Power-InDisplayPortHDMIVGAUSB 3.0USB 2.0RJ-45|
|Front I/O||USB 3.0USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-CMic-InAudio Combo Jack (Mic-In/Audio-Out)|
|Internal Ports||M.2 Key MM.2 Key EUSB 2.0 Header2 x SATA-III + Power Combo Ports|
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Although ASRock will sell this board separately from the case, it would be a better idea to just buy the Desk Mini 110 for now because of the extremely limited selection of cases on the market. Eventually this issue will be resolved, but currently there aren’t any mini-STX cases available for purchase outside of the Desk Mini 110, and ASRock does not sell that case without a motherboard pre-installed.
Users should also be aware that the H110M-STX motherboard does not support CPUs with a TDP greater than 65 W. This essentially means it supports all current LGA 1151 Skylake CPUs except the i5-6600K and i7-6700K.
There is currently no word on pricing or availability. The H110M-STX motherboard will undoubtedly be priced lower than the Desk Mini 110, however, which currently sells for $139.99.
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