Minisforum has launched a new high-performance Mini-ITX motherboard that's based on Intel's 13th Generation Core HX mobile parts. The upsized, highly integrated AR900i platform promises to bring together the power efficiency benefits of a mobile platform with desktop-class performance and features – and all at a rather moderate price.

Minisforum itself calls its AR900i platform an ultimate mobile-on-desktop (MoDT) platform and indeed it is quite capable thanks to its 14-core Core i7-13650HX (up to 4.90 GHz, 24 MB LLC) or 24-core Core i9-13900HX (up to 5.40 GHz, 36 MB LLC) processors, which are designed for high-end laptops. These CPUs are configured to dissipate up to 100W of thermal energy (lower than 157W set by Intel), so they are equipped with a rather advanced cooling system with four heat pipes and a 12-cm fan. The CPUs can be mated with two DDR5 memory modules in an SO-DIMM form-factor. 

Being aimed primarily and gamers seeking for both performance and portability, the Minisforum AR900i comes with a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot for graphics cards as well as four M.2-2280 slots for PCIe 4.0 SSDs (two on top of the motherboard and two on the lower side). To ensure consistent performance of high-end drives under high loads, there is an active cooling system for them. Meanwhile, it is unclear how loud this SSD fan is. Speaking of fans, the motherboard has a connector for a system fan, which will certainly come handy for high-end builds.

When it comes to expandability, the Minisforum AR900i platform does not disappoint and resembles other high-end Mini-ITX motherboards with an M.2-2230 slot for a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapter, a built-in 2.5 GbE, three display outputs (DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, USB4 Type-C), plenty of USB ports (USB4, two USB 3.2 Type-A, two USB 2.0 Type-A), and 5.1-channel audio connectors.

Getting a high-end CPU and a high-end motherboard quite an investment nowadays, so one would expect Minisforum's AR900i to be quite expensive. Indeed, it is priced at $689, but since the manufacturer sells virtually all of its products with a discount, it can be obtained for $559.

Source: Minisforum

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  • meacupla - Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - link

    Listing price for an i9-13900HX is $668.
    I think it's a pretty good deal all things considered.

    It feels like they went about this from the opposite direction compared to the major 4 mobo makers. This is a simple mini-PC with expanded features, including a PCIe 16x slot. Where as major 4 cram ATX into mITX size, making things complicated, expensive, and hot.

    The only thing I feel conflicted on is the DDR5 SODIMM choice. On their spec page, it maxes out at 5200MT/s, which is slow.
  • heffeque - Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - link

    I'm sure there would be more people interested on a 7945HX version of this, taking into consideration that it has better performance and probably costs less.
  • erinadreno - Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - link

    Id suggest looking at AMD version of this board. It already has difficulty colling the 75w 7745hx, let alone 7945 or even this crap.
  • heffeque - Wednesday, December 13, 2023 - link

    There are people reporting no performance/cooling issues with the Minisforum BD770i (7745HX).
    I'm assuming that people having issues with performance have a defective unit (so they should return it), or if they have high temp readings probably the temp measuring software that they are using is not reporting the correct values.
  • erinadreno - Wednesday, December 13, 2023 - link

    The board I have constantly running at 90C under load, which is fine for desktop chip with IHS but not for delided chips. I'm trying to swap out 25mm fan for 30mm hope for better cooling. The performance is good, but the chip is hot
  • heffeque - Thursday, December 14, 2023 - link

    It would seem that your unit has an issue.
  • eastcoast_pete - Saturday, December 16, 2023 - link

    Do these Minisforum mini-PCs have perforated bottom plates and lids? Some mini PCs have bad case designs (closed bottoms, solid lids), that make it extra difficult for the installed cooling solution to get enough outside air in and vent the warm air out. Pair this with an APU that is not exactly top bin, and a heatsink and fan that is a bit skimpy, and performance suffers.
  • meacupla - Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - link

    Also, does anyone know if all five expansion slots can be populated at the same time?
    AFAIK, i9-13900HX can bifurcate to a maximum of 3 devices off of its PCIe lanes. 8+8 at PCIe5.0, x4 at PCIe4.0.

    It has a further x8 lanes at PCIe4.0 off of DMI (integrated chipset).
    But 3 DMI lanes will be used up by Wifi/BT/networking, leaving only 5 lanes.

    These numbers don't add up unless one of those slots is shared, or some m.2 slots don't work at x4 speeds.
  • erinadreno - Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - link

    Dmi is not directly usable. All pch attached device share the 8x dmi lanes. I suspect this is the worse kind, non of the m.2 comes from the CPU, all from the chipset.
  • Jeff72 - Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - link

    Is the chassis grounded? I find fault with many of these not being grounded. Static electricity is not their friend.

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