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ASRock M8 Mini-ITX Z87 Barebones System Review


removed-fasteners

To access and move sections of the M8’s internal area, the hex-tool and screwdriver are used to remove one of the corner-mounted fastening mechanisms. ASRock makes the task very straightforward.

side-panels

The magnetic side panels can be plucked out of position when not held in place by the locking mechanism.

roof-fan-panel

Sliding the top panel out of position provides easier access to the M8’s internal sections. Removing the panel is a requirement for the build stage.

Both fans are connected to the ASRock Z87-M8 motherboard via a single 4-pin connector that adjusts their speed, based on CPU temperature.


internals-rear

The M8’s rear section features an appearance-enhancing piece of plastic that some power cables are fed through. The box doesn’t seem to do anything more than hold the cables in position, and provide an additional eye-catching feature when viewed through the side panel window.

internals-2 internals-1

ASRock’s well-laid-out components area does seem to be a tight fit at first glance, but further examination reveals just how effective the company’s use of space has been.

There is clear gap around the graphics card area for a long, gaming-calibre board. ASRock has also left a fair amount of room near the CPU socket so that a 90mm-tall aftermarket cooler can be installed (albeit a small one) and the motherboard can be removed without too much hassle.

With the M8’s chassis conforming to the standard Mini-ITX form factor, ASRock has given its users a desirable amount of flexibility to use SFF components.

motherboard

ASRock’s Z87-M8 motherboard uses the LGA 1150 socket and seems to feature a six-phase power delivery system to the CPU (although the phases may be for DRAM or more may be hidden elsewhere).

A pair of DDR3 SO-DIMM modules can be installed in the motherboard, allowing the M8 to hold up to 16GB of memory. As the memory speed is controlled by the processor, one could theoretically install modules with a frequency of up to 2933MHz, although we cannot confirm support as we don’t have any high-speed SO-DIMM sticks at hand.

power-supply

A 450W, 80 Plus Bronze-rated SFX power supply is housed inside the M8. Featuring two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors, the 450W unit has the capability to power some high-speed, gaming-calibre graphics cards.

bottom-fans

As pointed out earlier in the review, two 70mm fans are installed in the bottom panel. Their blades are protected by ventilated mesh, ensuring that rogue cables do not cause damage.

drive-area

A two-tier drive bay (shown in the bottom-left section of the above photo) can be used to house up to four 2.5” units or a single 3.5” version.

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