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  • maecenas - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Interesting design, that is a lot of $$$ if its just used a console replacement, but if you really take advantage of the power, the fact that its a full-fledged PC, and the mobility, it does make more sense.

    Also, first paragraph of the conclusion: "Of course there are attempts underway to make the PC-you-play-next-to a thinK of the past,"
    Reply
  • warezme - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    This is what the new Mac Pro should have been designed like, sans the big round dial in the front. It would have been a reasonable evolution of the style, not the trash can design. Reply
  • CalaverasGrande - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - link

    the only thing this gains over the new Mac Pro is a single PCIe slot.
    The rest of it is kind of the typical hard to service PC design.
    Calling the New Mac a "trashcan" is juvenile. If you said it was so not rack mount friendly it could be called "Rack Hostile" I would agree though.
    And I still curse Jon Ive whenever a new Mac Model debuts with no headphone, USB or power switch on the front. Seriously.
    Reply
  • Antronman - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    The Mac Pro is trash. The 4000USD one doesn't have any extreme features like custom cooling as you would see on a 4000USD enthusiast build. The Firepro D500 GPUs aren't even AMD's best Workstation GPUs. It is a piece of garbage, just like Macbooks. Those things don't even have a CPU cooler. Reply
  • Kilnk - Saturday, February 08, 2014 - link

    Wow, way to prove that you like to talk out of your arse. You're comparing oranges and bananas. Appropriate price comparisons have been done by several people and they can be found on the net. L2, google, read and and refine your opinion before spouting it out. Reply
  • zero2dash - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Looks like the OCP logo from Robocop (especially with the window). Reply
  • dgingeri - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    A Toshiba hard drive? eeeewwwwwww........

    be prepared to replace that within a few months.
    Reply
  • purerice - Wednesday, January 08, 2014 - link

    Hush, troll, hush! Reply
  • A5 - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I'd actually rather see an H87 variant before an X79 one. Give me something this well-designed but a touch cheaper (a street price of $400-450 would be ideal...) that I can throw an i3 4130 into with a decent GPU and that's a real winner.

    Or an even cheaper version that ditches the GPU compromises and is basically designed for the top-end AMD APU could work as a really basic intro HTPC/light gaming box.
    Reply
  • A5 - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Now that I think about it, at that point you may as well buy a PS4 for $400 and a Roku or AppleTV to handle the rest... Reply
  • eanazag - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    I'd rather not talk about the AMD APU option till they release their new APUs. We are so close to the scheduled launch dates. Reply
  • PreciseInteli - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    These smaller builds are exciting. Just helped a friend build a Mini-ITX build with a 290x ... incredibly jealous ... still with a huge tower here.

    I'd like to see you guys push this slightly further with a card like the Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Tri-X or 780. These cards thermal limit themselves anyways ... I think it could be interesting.
    Reply
  • Babar Javied - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - link

    I hear you man. I still have a Corsair 800D and though I do love the case, it is f*%$ing huge. I've been considering opting for an m-itx for sometime now. Reply
  • jhoff80 - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Love the design of the case, but as for the exterior, it looks terrible to me. I don't know why nobody is currently making a case in this layout that has a subtle exterior suitable for a living room (Silverstone's upcoming looks variant cheap and plasticy).

    These (in my opinion) gaudy gamer-style cases just don't really make sense for a Steambox alternative; even Valve themselves knew to use a subtle black case.
    Reply
  • rocktober13 - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I just put together a Mini-ITX build with the EVGA Hadron Air and the ASRock Z87E-ITX. It ends up being less than $400 for a similar "barebones" setup as the M8. Also, I think the Hadron looks great (black and sleek), is smaller than the M8, and it's a really well put together considering it's EVGA's first case. Reply
  • jhoff80 - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Agreed, that looks nice, but what I really want something is horizontal / component -style to fit in my TV stand.

    Temporarily, I'm using a Coolermaster Elite 120, but I'd rather something that looks like the Steambox (except maybe with a front LED that is MUCH dimmer than that one).
    Reply
  • DARBYOTHRULL - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I agree, where the cases that don't say "I'm twenty-two years-old". Reply
  • patterson32 - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    More like "I'm 10 and I'm cool!" It's really hard trying to find a nice looking case. They're either very cheap looking or they're made for 10 year olds. LEDs, case windows, bright colors, etc. are very ugly looking and screams "I'm a kool kid!" The only thing that looks nice about this thing is the matte finish. Reply
  • smartypnt4 - Friday, January 31, 2014 - link

    I completely agree. Then you find a case that looks awesome and you find out it doesn't meet your specs that you would like. Specifically, apparently the combination of 11-12" GPU combined with a 650W PSU in a small mITX (read: EVGA Hadron Air or smaller) that looks halfway decent is impossible to find. I really like the SilverStone FT03-Mini, but it's limited to SFX power supplies. The EVGA Hadron Air is great, but 500W isn't enough for ideally what I'd want, nor does it allow for >10.5" video cards.

    C'est la vie, eh? Nothing is ever perfect for what I'd like.
    Reply
  • SunLord - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    That power cord connector looks like the standard one that comes with most pc laptop power blocks for the last few years my three hp and one gateway all have that plug Reply
  • Lonyo - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Indeed.
    I have just had a clear out and found about 3 of those as spares in various boxes and with various other junk.
    Sure, I have about 3x as many kettle leads, after throwing lots out, but they aren't that uncommon for people who tinker with their hardware/etc.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    It's the Mickey Mouse plug! :) Reply
  • Bassrockerx - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I am really interested in this chasis because i want my next rig to be a mobile mini itx system. Two things that anand did not mention about this chasis is that it holds two more ssds in a hidden compartment behind the psu. And the creative labs audio card has a built in headphone amp that is very powerful. This is a very valuable added extra in my book and makes this chassis great for a mobile gaming rig or potentially a portable recording studio. If i was to build this i would likely use either a i3 or a low power t series i5 for a processor. I would only load te internals with a 400gig intel ssd and i would take one of my Sli gtx 770s off my main rig and take it on the go. Hopefully by the time i would build this a 600w power suply in this form factor would be available. Although the 450w included would probably work fine. I suppose i could live with a 760 or a 7950 and just bear with the slightly lower detail because it would only be for traveling and going to friends houses and lans. Now if asrock. I wish asrock would make a carrying case for the m8 at 600 dollars one should be included! Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I'm the one that wrote the review, rather than Anand :) My name is up there at the top.

    I did mention that the chassis holds four 2.5" drives, as does the ASRock specifications, behind the GPU - right there on the first page. The ODD is behind the PSU, and users could put in more SSDs if they want to affix them with custom mods.
    Reply
  • 56tb - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Kind of think the M8 thing will be lost on the US. Australia and the UK, mate means 'buddy' in the US i'm pretty sure its just someone you procreate with. Reply
  • DARBYOTHRULL - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I think we'll get it. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Well it's co-designed by BMW, so the M8 Series of cars with an M8 series of PCs as well, I think that was the main association. Reply
  • codylee - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    "Cheers Mate" translated into American means "80's dive bar sex partner"... I like it. Reply
  • Mugur - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Is it me, or the case is almost ugly? Reply
  • hardwickj - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    They couldn't have used an uglier case. These guys need to start taking minimalist cues from Apple/Wasena/OriginAE! No self respecting person will let this sit next to their TV and invite their friends over. Reply
  • mwildtech - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    50' HDMI cable, Wireless Xbox 360 controller and Steam Big Picture = My Steam Box Reply
  • BPB - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    That would be me too. The 360 wireless setup is great! Reply
  • 56tb - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Tek Syndicate did a video of this, you can find it on youtube. They went into a lot of detail on thermals and suchlike, so worth checking out. They even used a Velociraptor to add some extra heat to the mix. Reply
  • pirspilane - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I bought an ASRock barebones system and would recommend steering clear of this. Their techs are either grossly incompetent, dishonest, or both. If you get one with a defect, they will claim your memory, processor, assembly (take your pick) is the problem and give you the runaround. You will waste endless hours of your precious time dealing with their ineptitude, not to mention the cost and time of trips to UPS. Reply
  • Sivar - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Please change the photographs in the article to JPG format.

    PNG is the best format by far for line art, technical drawings, charts, screen captures from Excel, -- anything without a lot of random color variability -- but is an absolutely terrible format for website photographs.

    The images load slowly and many mobile users have to pay for bandwidth past a certain point.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Noted for the future. Reply
  • nerd1 - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    At such a price, it actually seems more logical to get a powerful gaming laptop. You can spend $2K to get a 17" gaming laptop with QC cpu, 780M, SSD and that is actually mobile. Reply
  • nunomoreira10 - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    So true, win everywhere. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    That 780M is about as fast as a GTX 660TI, which is a bit more than half as powerful as some GTX 780 / R9 290X cards, which you can fit in here (450W is fine for the current crop of high end cards as long as your CPU isn't OC'ed to the max).
    So I don't see how there is even the slightest comparison. And once you get into 780M SLI territory, you are way up there in price.
    Reply
  • cgalyon - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I've read elsewhere that the default fan configuration is not ideal (because they are oriented one up, one down in the top and bottom of the case). Has AsRock changed this? I would like a more detailed look at us thermal characteristics of the case of possible, as it was one of the main things holding me back (the other being weight).

    Also, I would like to see a review comparing this case to another barebones case, the Shuttle SZ86R6. Don't know how feasible that would be...
    Reply
  • wperry - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    With cases like this, where size is a major factor, I'd love to see it photographed with a commonplace item so that we have a better sense of scale. Even something as simple as a soda can would suffice. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Here it is next to my Bitfenix Prodigy: https://twitter.com/IanCutress/status/397329549631... Reply
  • Gigaplex - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    That comparison shot actually makes it look pretty big. I've got a Prodigy and it's not a small case. This M8 looks taller. Reply
  • IanCutress - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    M8 is a few mm taller, and the bulk goes all the way up. The M8 is almost square, but again, half the width due to the PCIe riser. Compared to all my regular PC cases, the Prodigy is small and mobile - the M8 even more so, for something with a big GPU. Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - link

    Agreed, I was disappointed not to see it beside the likes of an Xbox 360 and AW X51. Reply
  • pierrot - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    I like the riser card design for a flatter size but jeez its ugly Reply
  • Xpl1c1t - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    With the industry's clear trend towards mitx and potential future adoption of picoitx, it puzzles me why there aren't reference GPU cards with any sort of gaming potential that are built on the half-height PCI standard. Palit's GTS 450 and AMD's 7750 were release years apart and yet remain in the same performance category.
    Utilizing cards meant for full atx chassis and with lengths exceeding that of a mitx board effectively limits the capabilities of system builders to increase the performance/square-inch factor without resorting to expensive designs requiring special mounting and riser cards... (pointing finger at the recent Mac Pro design, while cool, is a brick in the face of the enthusiast system builder who cannot and will not have the ability to upgrade using market components).
    Now, if laptops can run a GTX 880M with sufficient power and cooling... that same chip should as sure as hell me able to be integrated onto a half height card without exceeding the width of a mitx board. Please, add a few more layers on the pcb to accomplish it, we'll still end up saving money via not needing to utilize these sorts of compromising cases.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    Probably because sales for those two cards were too poor to justify creating newer cards on the same form factor. Reply
  • bobbozzo - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Hi, what does the KNOB do?

    thanks!
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, January 02, 2014 - link

    Top of page 2:

    The circular device in the centre is akin to the i-Drive button seen on certain BMW cars – this is the button to turn the PC on. It also shows the date and time, and when in the OS (with the appropriate drivers installed) can be used to adjust the OS volume, implement different power modes, or turn the machine off.
    Reply
  • brucek2 - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    Is the optical drive really DVD only (not Bluray?) If so that seems exactly wrong to me. I'd rather have either no optical drive at all and save the ~$70, or have one that can play Blurays. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    German website tweakpc.de says it is blu ray. But I have no idea how you get $70 for a slim DVD ODD. They retail for 20€ here. Reply
  • fuhgetaboutit - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    Minor nit - article should use one space after a period, not two.

    http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/TheChannel9Team/Bil...
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    Personal preference, was always taught to use two from the early days and it seems unnatural to my eyes to see only one. There are reams of articles, blogs and even societies and groups for each, just as there are the serial comma (which again I was taught to use, and leaving it out feels wrong), or that companies are plural entities, not singular. I always used double spacing for publishing to scientific journals, never heard a peep from their stylists. Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - link

    I've always been taught to use two spaces after a full stop, one after a comma and still do partially because it's what I'm used to but I think it looks better as well.

    John
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    Why did they bother using the Z87 chipset? With that minimal power deliver and recommendation to avoid overclocking, it would have been cheaper to use the H87 chipset. Reply
  • theNiZer - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    Ian Cutress - I am surprised that you seem to take heat and noise considerations so light, especially when many other reviews point out these weaknesses in the M8. And why did you not test these aspects more systematically in the review? Reply
  • IanCutress - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    I didn't see any issues with heat - I stuck to ASRock's recommended power limit on the GPU and used a low powered 35W CPU rather than a full fat 4770K and overclocking. As for noise, the only equipment I own to measure noise are my android devices, which are not calibrated in any shape or form. Plus I live right next to a main road, so there is always noise of cars going past, affecting any reading. Suffice to say, it is audible at idle at 1 ft away, and does not particularly bother me at full load, but I may be biased by a large threshold due to my location. Reply
  • colonelclaw - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    The key issue that Valve needs to convince the public about, with regards to Steam Boxes, is that the higher up front cost is considerably offset by the savings you will make on buying games from Steam, especially in tandem with the frequent Steam Sales, Daily Deals, Midweek Madness etc.
    The problem is that long-sightedness can be a bit of a hard concept for many. $500 for a console, versus maybe $800 for a Steam Box is a hard sell, even though we all know that 20 games at $60 dollars versus 20 games at $15-$20 is a no-brainer.
    And that might even be a conservative analogy - I have over 150 games on Steam, at least a quarter of which are AAAs. Being a bit of a cheapskate, I only buy games on sale, yet I never have to wait long after release to do so. The added advantage of this is that if the release was buggy it is more likely to have been fixed by the time it goes on sale.
    Reply
  • teldar - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    You guys need an editor who knows the English language. Reading some of your stuff is brutal. Reply
  • IanCutress - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    How so? Please send me an email (ian AT anandtech DOT com) with suggestions and comments. Reply
  • Navvie - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    BMW designed this? Clearly not the same guys who design their cars.... if their cars were this fugly, nobody would by them, ever.

    Also some of the sentence structures in this article are hard to read...
    eg. "ASRock now come to the market with the M8 barebones based on a BMW design for the Z87 platform, at half the width of the Bitfenix Prodigy and a high build quality."

    Makes me think the design for the case is based on BMW's design for the Z87. Some far off successor to their Z3 and Z4 cars.

    "ASRock now come to the market with the M8, a barebones for their Z87 platform, designed by BMW." Would be better, but still not right.
    Reply
  • CknSalad - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    It's good to see the SFF market finally gaining much needed steam with intriguing products such as this one. That said, I honestly prefer small shoebox-sized cases like the sg05 or the small tower cases like the crowd-funded Ncase M1, which I actually currently own :D.

    I'm okay with mid-tower and full tower cases as there will always be a want/need for an enthusiast market, but the DIY desktop market really needs to start making a lot more M-Atx cases that are around the size of the Silverstone SG10 or TJ08-E. If more cases like the Asrock M8 come up, I'm sure that the desktop market will garner more interest from the Average Joe consumer.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    "The mini-ITX motherboard designed specifically for the chassis forgoes any significant power delivery and heatsink design, which is perhaps an oversight – for this build I went for a an i7 CPU but a low power 'T' model SKU so as not to overload or burn out the power delivery. ASRock state that the fans they supply below the motherboard help with the VRM cooling and thus nothing should stop a user placing an i7-4770K into the system, but overclocking longevity might be limited. I decided to apply some brain and use common sense for our test build here."

    This paragraph feels a little un-Anandtech.

    I'm used to reasoned arguments supported by buckets of objective data. This paragraph feels further from that and closer to FUD territory.

    Granted, I have no reason to agree or disagree with the point raised in that paragraph, but that's really the problem. For me, an Anandtech article educates its audience and let's the audience do most of the conclusion-determining.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - link

    Can't say I agree. This is a tech blog, not a science journal. The writers' personal opinions and foibles come into play all the time, and that's fine. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    So he should have pushed the platform until it burns out to prove or disprove what they said? What exactly is the FUD part for you? Seems like he gave us the AsRock PR line and his assessment of it. Going much further would increase the cost and risk by quite a lot, something he probably thought was not needed, and I have to agree. Reply
  • ol1bit - Friday, January 03, 2014 - link

    Seems pricey. I built a media/steam PC with Window 7 for much cheaper than that. Runs everything I want it to, plus is stylish. an i3, 4GB, Nivida 650.

    Case isn't made anymore, but can be seen here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CQBISA/ref=oh...
    Reply
  • Jonpet - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - link

    What`s with that presentation? Please place common object for size reference in at least one photo!Thanks. Reply
  • CalaverasGrande - Saturday, January 04, 2014 - link

    at that BOM it is almost getting into New Mac Pro price range.
    Though the comparable Mac would have less storage, but a better CPU and GPU (well...debatable).
    It certainly would have faster ram and external connectivity.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    How is 50% cheaper getting into Mac Pro price range? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    Other way around: How is 50% more expansive in the M8's price range? :) Reply
  • HeavyClocker - Sunday, January 05, 2014 - link

    I'm definitely going to build something with that chassis.
    It's portable as I desire :) I am currently using SG09 for portability :)
    Reply
  • Origin64 - Sunday, January 05, 2014 - link

    At least it looks like a computer for 2014 instead of 1992 like the grey uninspired rectangles most brands still sell today. Also Steam machines will end the console as we currently know it; an x86-pc with a very limited OS and a very big pricetag. In its place: linux for free. A dream come true. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    I haven't seen something grey in retail for close to 5 years. It's all black and silver these days. Reply
  • cylemmulo - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    Now that cyberpowerpc announced their $499 steambox, this seems like a horrible deal for 500 with nothing in it Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 06, 2014 - link

    Interesting. I wouldn't mind something like this, but get rid of the BMW stuff, which presumable just makes the thing cost more. And give me a CPU cooler that is tailored to the case, plus some more power phases for driving an i7 at around 4.2 to 4.5GHz. And a 500W PSU would put my mind at ease while running an overclocked CPU and a 300W GPU. :) Riser cards really need to take off, when I tried them once nothing worked. :/ Reply
  • chenedwa - Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - link

    I've had good success with a LianLi PC-Q27B. Accomodates full size power supply and full height card. Anyone else have success with this? Reply
  • koreandude - Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - link

    How much smaller is it than a EVGA Hadron Air? I've currently got a EVGA Hadron Hydro with a i7-4770K, GTX 780, and two SSDs. I can't imagine this would be that much smaller than the Hadron. Reply

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