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ASRock DeskMini 110 Mini-STX Mini PC Review

By: Steven Bassiri | SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Jun 20, 2016 4:20 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASRock

The Teardown

 

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My unit came with an i5-6500 CPU and the Intel box cooler pre-installed. The motherboard is attached to the tray by four screws. There are two heat sinks; one on top of the CPU VRM and the other beneath it. The heat sinks cool off not only the power stage MOSFETs but also the inductors.

 

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The motherboard is in the 5x5 form factor and is labeled H110M-STX. It has a single fan header and two upright DDR4 SO-DIMMs. The socket is the full-sized desktop LGA1151. There are two sets of mounting holes; one is standard desktop LGA1151 mounting, and the other is for a slim-ILM style cooler for low profile builds. The PCH has no heat sink because of its low TDP. The CMOS battery plugs into the back of the PCB, and there are two SATA6Gb/s connectors located to the left of the battery on the underside of the PCB.

 

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Near an internal USB 2.0 header are the two M.2 slots. One is keyed for storage and the other for a Wi-Fi module. The M.2 drive for storage is directly routed to the CPU's PCI-E lanes, and it should offer superior performance compared to M.2 slots connected to the PCH. The two DDR4 SO-DIMMs are used for vertical mounting of memory. There are many headers for expansion; they include COM, speaker, USB 2.0, LPC, and different types of fans.

 

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An SATA6Gb/s header for data and power is located at the bottom of the PCB and works with the included cable. The PCH is the H110 chipset which produces a mere 6W of heat. The BIOS sits in a socket that allows its replacement and is a 64Mbit Winbond model. The SuperIO is a nuvoTon NCT5567.

 

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The VRM is using powerful Texas Instruments CSD87350Q5D NexFET power blocks, which include the high-side and low-side MOSFETs in a single package. These NexFETs are rated 40A maximum with 90% efficiency at 25A output. They are commonly found on high-end overclocking motherboards. In the case of this little board, three phases are for the CPU and a single phase is for the iGPU. The heat sinks help cool down the MOSFETs and the inductors.

 

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The PWM controller for the VCore and iGPU phases is the Richtek RT3606, which is commonly found in mobile and small form factor devices that use Skylake CPUs. It provides three phases with two integrated drivers for the VCore and a single phase with integrated driver for the iGPU. It's designed for high-efficiency operation. The memory phases are driven by a mixture of Sinopower, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Richtek parts for all voltage rails.

 

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The DeskMini 110 that I have uses the Intel i219V for wired LAN, but for workstation or business users, the i219LM is available which offers more enterprise features. Audio is provided through a Realtek ALC283 codec in the integrated Azalia audio processor in the PCH.

 

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The Realtek RTD2168 provides the VGA/D-SUB port on the rear IO panel because native iGPU output from Skylake CPUs doesn't support this analog protocol. For the RS-232 (COM Port), an ST Micro ST3243EC is utilized.

 

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A Richtek RT6585A ("3H=2E") is a dual-channel DC/DC step-down controller with two PWM controllers and two fixed linear regulators. I couldn't find any major chip that would control the DC input and provide lower voltages for the rest of the system, and I think this is the chip that is providing that function. It can handle inputs from 5 to 25v and outputs in the range of 2-5.5v, which is very common for low powered systems such as this.

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