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ASRock VisionX 471D (Intel Haswell) Mini PC Review

By: Steven Bassiri | SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Jun 16, 2015 8:13 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASRock

The Teardown

 

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The PCB is quite gorgeous; one of the more beautiful ones I have seen considering you can remove all the parts, including the CPU and GPU. Everything inside this box can be replaced or even upgraded, however, its default configuration is almost the same as my desktop machine! I really think that this form factor might be the future of computing if we can figure out a way to cool higher performance devices (or reduce their thermal output) like an octa-core CPU in such a small space. The motherboard is an ASRock HM87-MXM.

 

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There are components on the backside of the PCB. A large support bracket for the CPU and GPU coolers is present as are the MOSFETs for the CPU VRM and some assorted ICs for power management and IO.

 

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I just had to disassemble everything, and while it is my job to do so, I would do it even if I didn't have to! I was very surprised to find that the CPU isn't a BGA CPU, and that it also has pins. This system is supposed to be like a high performance gaming laptop, but in the mini PC form factor, so almost everything comes from the laptop world. That includes SO-DIMMs, a MXM slot for GPUs, mSATA, and a mini PCIe slot for the wireless AC card.

 

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The cooling system is precise; one blower fan is responsible for removing the heat from the CPU and the GPU. However, you can remove the heat sink for either the CPU or GPU independently so that you don't need to un-mount one to change out the other.

 

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The CPU installed is an Intel Core i7 4712MQ mobile Haswell processor with 6M Cache and a turbo of up to 3.30GHz. It features GT2 graphics, and a 37W TDP. This is also an expensive CPU with a box price of $378 from Intel's Ark site.

 

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The GPU is an AMD Radeon R9 M270X with 1GB GDDR5. In many specification charts, you will see this listed as the AMD HD8850M, but it has been rebranded by AMD as the R9 M270X. It's actually a good performing GPU, and can play many games at 1080P; perhaps not the latest with highest settings, but I was able to play Battlefield Bad Company 2 noticeably better than my laptop, which has a GT640M.

 

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A 256GB mSATA drive from ASint is installed, I have never heard of this brand before, but the performance numbers are quite good.

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