ASRock has introduced its new Mars series of ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) barebones PCs. The Intel Core-based PCs come in a 0.74-liter chassis and can house up to 32 GB of memory as well as two storage devices. Like other UCFF PCs, ASRock is positioning Mars for use both as a traditional office PC, as well as applications like digital signage.
ASRock’s Mars PCs are based on Intel’s 8th Generation quad-core Core i5 or dual-core Core i3/Celeron processors. They are accompanied by up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory (using two SO-DIMMs), an M.2-2280 SSD (featuring a PCIe 2.0/3.0 x4 or SATA interface), and a 2.5-inch storage device. The CPU is cooled using a proprietary active cooling system that ASRock says is designed to allow the laptop-grade chip to turbo as frequently as possible.
Featuring lavish connectivity, ASRock’s Mars systems come with a GbE adapter, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C connector, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A and two USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, two display outputs (HDMI 1.4 supporting a 4Kp30 resolution, D-Sub), and two audio jacks. Furthermore, the machines can be equipped with an M.2-2230 Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module.
|ASRock’s Mars Barebones UCFF PCs|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-8265U
(4C/8T, Turbo 3.9 GHz)
Intel Core i3-8145U
(2C/4T, Turbo 3.9 GHz)
|Intel Celeron C4205U
(2C/2T, 1.8 GHz)
|GPU||UHD Graphics 620||UHD Graphics 610|
|DRAM||Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400 in dual-channel mode
|Storage||SSD||M.2-2280 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA)||M.2-2280 (PCIe 2.0 x4 or SATA)|
|DFF||1 × 2.5-inch/9.5-mm SATA 6 Gbps|
|Wireless||Optional M.2-2230 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module|
|Ethernet||1 × GbE port|
|USB||Front||2 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
2 × USB 2.0 Type-A
|Back||2 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A|
|Display Outputs||1 × HDMI 1.4 (4Kp30)
1 × D-Sub
|Audio||2 × 3.5mm audio jacks|
|PSU||External 65 W|
|Warranty||Typical, varies by country|
|Dimensions||Length: 150 mm
Width: 26 mm
Height: 191 mm
While ASRock’s Mars offers decent performance for office applications and media streaming/playback, its lack of a 4Kp60 output clearly makes it less competitive among demanding users with modern displays. On the other hand, presence of a D-Sub makes Mars compatible with legacy monitors.
Expect ASRock’s Mars UCFF PCs to hit the market in the near future. Pricing of actual systems will depend on their configurations.