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
Model Mars-i5-8265U
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
Up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard proprietary
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
  SD Card Reader
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
MSRP ? ?

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.

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Source: ASRock  

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  • yeeeeman - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Ice lake is more expensive.
  • azfacea - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    lemme guess HDMI is 1.4 because intel still cant do hdmi 2.0 direct from iGPU lol
  • austinsguitar - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    this really is what kills this thing for me...
  • Kangal - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    I thought the Intel Iris 620/UHD was capable of driving HDR-4K-60Hz for HDMI 2.0
    I kinda wished they opted for Ryzen instead (3400G/1600/3500X). And if they installed an internal PCIe slot, one that people can later stick a Riser Slot, and connect it to a dGPU. We know sooner or later these Office PCs are going to end up in dumpsters or sold for $100. Would've been neat as a HTPC when combined with a cheap GPU.

    Case in point; for USD $240 I got a (8.4L) HTPC running a GTX 1050 Ti and a Core i7-3770 with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD based on an old Dell Optiplex SFF office pc. That's great value competing against the likes Xbox 360, PS3, WiiU, Switch, Shield TV for cabinet space and spare change. It is basically as fast as a $2,000 Gaming PC back in 2011, and now that I said that it feels like a lifetime away.
  • nevcairiel - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Comparing an 8.4L PC with a 0.74L office system seems like apples and oranges.
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    A HTPC doesn't need all that. Its sole purpose is to stream media content. This is plenty capable of doing that.
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    It doesn't matter for this so why would they. lol
  • fazalmajid - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Digital signage demands fanless, so this is not it.
  • yetanotherhuman - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    If its name is Mars, surely it should be a mushroom shaped add-on to another PC...
  • chipped - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    CPU is too old, should have a 10th Gen. LAME

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