ASRock Intros Five Apollo Lake Motherboards With Passive Cooling

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CaedenV

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The upper end ones would work fine for 1080p and lower content. Throw FreeNAS and plex on one of these with 4 sata ports and you would have a pretty capable little device.
I suppose the biggest issue would be RAM capacity... My freeNAS box sucks down a solid 22GB of RAM. Can't imagine getting that much over 2 dimms on these boards... but then again you can't slap 7-8 HDDs on these boards either, so it may be fine.
 

CaedenV

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Very curious on price for these. I am debating about replacing my wife's PC next with something smaller and quieter. She currently has an i3 ivy Bridge, and I imagine that this would provide similar performance for office, web browsing, and watching movies... maybe throw in a GPU for a little gaming...
Still, should be pretty good if the price is appropriate (ie $30-60 with the CPU on board).
 

bit_user

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I'm underwhelmed by the clock speeds.

Also, the SoCs all have only 6 lanes of PCIe 2.0 and 2x integrated SATA3 ports.

No.

I assume these have Goldmont cores, which aren't bad but still probably get fewer instructions-per-clock than Ivy. Couple that with the slower clock speed, and she won't be thanking you.

And even if the board has a x16 PCIe 2.0 slot, it can't have more than 4 lanes actually connected.

If you want something small & quiet, just get a NUC with a proper Broadwell or Skylake CPU. You can get them with the Iris Pro graphics, which might be enough for most casual gaming @ 1080p.

http://ark.intel.com/products/series/70407/Intel-NUC-Boards-and-Kits


Amazingly, the Skylake i7 version is even quad-core (also, not cheap and maybe not even that quiet, under load):

http://ark.intel.com/products/89187/Intel-NUC-Kit-NUC6i7KYK
 

sykozis

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With the suggested pricing of the CPU alone being $100+....I doubt you'll find them in the $30-60 price range. The MSRP for the Celeron 3355 is $107 and the Pentium 4205 is $161. Then ASRock and Asus will add on whatever they feel the motherboard is worth.
 

bit_user

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I saw that, too. However, boards based on previous generations of these SoCs frequently sold below the list price of the chip. So, while these boards definitely won't be under $60, I wouldn't be surprised to see some under $100.
 

Infidel_2016

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If the Apollo Lake Pentium J4205 is truly capable of 4K @ 60 like ASROCK's website says it is then this would make a decent replacement for my home theater PC. I don't have any 4K content, but it would run 1080p smooth as butter.
 

gopher1369

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I have a Plex server running on a Gigabyte Brix ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gigabyte-Brix-BXBT-1900-Ultra-Compact/dp/B00MOEMZMQ ) which uses a much older Intel Atom chip, the J1900. Have installed 4Gb of DDR3L 1600 and a 128Gb SSD with Windows 10 Pro, then an external 2Tb USB3 harddrive with all my media on it.

If reencoding is required it's able to serve up one stream, but it chokes re-encoding 2 x 1080p videos simultaneously. If no reencoding is required then it's quite happy to serve multiple Plex clients simultaneously.

 

darth_adversor

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I'm running an Amahi server (modified Linux Fedora OS) with Plex installed, it runs quite nicely on an old Phenom II X2 and 4GB of RAM. I don't know much about FreeNAS, but 22GB of RAM usage seems a bit ridiculous. I've had as many as 3 1080p streams playing simultaneously (2 PC's and one Roku stick, no transcoding) without any issues.

Anyway, I'm really curious to see how these Apollo Lake chips perform. I'd love for my server to be completely silent.
 

bit_user

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+1

My biggest issue with these is that the form factor is wrong. It should be mini-STX.
 


I feel these would be more tempting as mini-STX solutions, but at the moment Intel and all of the OEMs are focused on pushing the mini-STX form factor as the smallest socketted solution on the market.

Honestly, what I would like to see an OEM do with these is make a more unique solution. Something like a mini-STX sized board sold inside of a more unique chassis that doubles as SoCs passive heatsink. This would make for a more effective open-air cooling solution, and make the system even more compact. Memory and storage devices could then be attached on the opposite side of the PCB from the SoC.

I'm sure we will see some NuC-like devices using Apollo Lake in the near future, so perhaps we will see something promising when that happens.
 

GraysonPeddie

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If there's only one thing missing for the Celeron- and Pentium-based Mini-ITX motherboards with 4 SATA ports, it's the omission of DC-IN connector. I will go with the socketed ASRock DeskMini 110. But then I will miss having a processor with 10W TDP. That 10W TDP for a mini NAS, along with nVidia Shield Pro Android TV, would be a very nice companion for a Plex Media Server that I installed in the Shield.

I'm not sure if anyone can go passive with a 35W TDP CPU in a DeskMini 110, though, since going completely silent is my passion, except for my custom-built desktop computer.

I would like to consider ASRock J4205-ITX to be an upgrade over my current ASRock AM1H-ITX despite having a missing DC-IN connector. iGPU need not apply for my media server and home automation.
 

bit_user

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Dunno, but you could if you're willing to consider other cases.

If you put it on some feet, stand it sideways, and orient its heatsink so that air can flow vertically through, I think there's a good chance.

I just hope you don't get any coil whine.
 

GraysonPeddie

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Do you know of other cases I might want to consider? The case for the ASRock DeskMini 110 is really what I wanted, but I am open for other options. One thing that I like about the case is I can fit 2 2.5" 4TB hard drives inside the case, giving me lots of space to rip movies, music, and record TV shows that I want to watch, so if I could do that with a small form factor, that would be great! The case that really comes close is Streacom FC8 EVO, which is expensive but it is fanless; however, I don't have a need for an optical disc drive as it's more suitable for HTPC applications than a server. Plus, it has a half-height expansion slot which I don't see the need for if I'm going for Mini-STX.

So yeah, I do think that hard drives should be smaller, but it seems Seagate has already maxed out at 5TB for a 15mm-thick 2.5" hard drive and to me, that's quite a milestone when it comes to computing. Yes, SSDs have already eclipsed in capacity for the 2.5" arena, but it does not compete in price and it is overkill for streaming a single movie or TV show over the network unless I go for 10Gbps which won't be common for quite some time.

However, I am very happy to see Seagate release 5TB 2.5" hard drives, although I'm not sure if a 15mm-thick hard drive will fit in a DeskMini 110. It'll be fantastic if it can.
 

darth_adversor

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Just realized that my Amahi server is only running 2GB of RAM, just for clarification. Impressive how well it runs with such meager hardware. Anyone interested in setting up a server/NAS should look into it.

Anyway, I don't know much about mini-STX, other than that it's new-ish and smaller than Mini-ITX. My concern about that form factor for a server, or Mini-ITX for that matter, is the lack of space to add HDD's. I'd be more interested in the Micro-ATX models, which is the form factor of my current server.
 

bit_user

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No, but if you're going to use HDDs, then just get a low-profile CPU cooler with the biggest & slowest fan that'll fit. There's no sense trying to go 100% fanless, if you're going to have HDDs in there.
 

darth_adversor

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You make a good point, BIT_USER, but the stock AMD cooler in my server is way louder than the WD Green drive inside. Buying an aftermarket cooler is always an option, but depending on what CPU you get, the cooler could be nearly half the cost of the CPU itself, which sucks.
 

gopher1369

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Akasa Euler case with a Thin ITX motherboard does exactly this, completely passive, DC in, supports up to 35 Watt CPUs.

 
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