Razer’s First Modular PC, The Tomahawk: A Fully Custom NUC 9 Extreme

Razer, a company that styles itself as ‘by gamers, for gamers’, has today unveiled its latest product, a modular NUC dubbed the Tomahawk. Available as both a barebones package and a high-tier gaming solution, the Razer Tomahawk looks to offer a ‘cutting edge’ mixture of functionality, performance, and graphics card compatibility, all within a NUC inspired chassis. Some of the key specifications include an Intel 9th generation Core i9 processor, with a 512 GB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD, 2 TB of HDD storage, 16 GB of DDR4-2667 memory, and an optional RTX 3080.

The term NUC (Next Unit of Computing) gets thrown around a lot when it comes to super small form factor desktop computers, even when NUC is technically an Intel term. Going all the way back to 2014, when Razer’s CEO unveiled a conceptual design for a modular PC dubbed ‘Project Christine,’ Intel looked to have taken the idea a step forward with what it called Element. We’ve seen many Intel NUCs hit the market this year, including the NUC 9 Extreme (NUC9i9QNX), which we reviewed back in April. Razer being Razer has gone one step further on this idea and created its own version of the NUC, with the Razer Tomahawk.

What sets the Razer Tomahawk apart from other NUCs on the market is its full-scale capability to install a full-sized graphics card with a maximum length of up to 320 mm, with a maximum height of 140 mm. This moves away from common small form factor systems, which generally have to opt for smaller alternatives such as the NVIDIA GTX 1650. The Razer Tomahawk features a tool-less sled that allows users access to the system, which could be to upgrade the storage or even install a new graphics card.

While this is a ‘modular’ system, it is essentially a PCIe backplane with two PCIe slots. In one slot goes the graphics card, and in the other is ‘the rest of the PC’. That rest of the PC includes a 45 W overclockable mobile processor (unupgradable), memory (upgradeable), and storage (upgradeable). Despite there being a barebones option, Razer pre-populates all models with a 512 GB NVMe SSD, a 2 TB HDD, and 16 GB of DDR4-2667 (Razer doesn’t say if this is 1×16 or 2×8). On both models there is a spare M.2 NVMe slot, and the barebones simply lacks the discrete GPU, but the integrated GPU can be used if there is not a discrete GPU present.

It wouldn’t be a Razer product if it didn’t have RGB LEDs. It includes an illuminated green Razer logo on the front panel, with addressable RGB LEDs on the underneath of the chassis to provide a bit of flair. Focusing on the size, the Tomahawk chassis is 19.23 x 24.15 x 1.60 inches (HxWxD), so it is svelte, and it also weighs in at 16.2 lbs. In terms of volume, the chassis itself is 10 L, which is big enough to fit all of the components in when designed efficiently. 

Razer Tomahawk Gaming NUC Desktop
Component Barebones Full System
CPU Intel Core i9-9980HK (Coffee Lake)
8 Core / 16 Thread
2.4 GHz Base
5.0 GHz Turbo
45 W TDP
GPU Optional

(Intel UHD 630 if none)

NVIDIA RTX 3080 Founders Edition
1.71 GHz Boost
10 GB GDDR6X
Memory 16 GB DDR4-2667
Storage 512 GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4
2 TB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
1 x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 (open)
Networking 2 x Gigabit LAN
Wireless Intel AX200 (Wi-Fi 6/BT 5.0)
I/O 2 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-C (Thunderbolt 3)
4 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A
 1 x 3.5 mm audio jack 
2 x Gigabit RJ45
1 x HDMI 2.0a
Audio 3.5 mm TOSLINK combo port
Power 750 W SFX Power Supply
Dimensions 19.23 x 24.15 x 1.60 inches (HxWxD)
Weight 16.2 lb/7.35 kg 18.3 lb/8.3 kg
Pricing $2400 $3200
Availability ???

Given the nature of the hardware installed, Razer has opted to cool the processor actively and includes two top-mounted 120 mm chassis fans, with ventilation on both side panels and the top panel. Powering the Tomahawk is a preinstalled 750W SFX power supply, although Razer hasn’t specified the exact model.

In terms of connectivity, the Tomahawk includes four USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports, with two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, and a single HDMI 2.0a video output. Users opting for the full package, including an NVIDIA RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card, adds three DisplayPort 1.4b and a single HDMI 2.1 video output. Networking includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports driven by unspecified controllers, while there’s also an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 interface, which includes support for BT 5.0 devices. Nestled in between the motherboard and graphics, I/O is a single 3.5mm audio jack that can accommodate speakers or act as a TOSLINK combo port.

A few possible use case scenarios for those with bottomless pockets or shallow desks could find this an ideal system to take to LAN, to and from work, or even for an on the go content creator. While Razer did unveil its own chassis called the Tomahawk Elite back at CES 2019, the Tomahawk Gaming System is a higher-grade and RGB infused version of Intel’s NUC 9 Extreme. 

As previously mentioned, the Razer Tomahawk gaming desktop will be available as barebones without a graphics card for a base price of $2400, while the full model equipped with an RTX 3080 Founders Edition will cost $3200. It’s not a cheap outlay, especially for an Intel system featuring an RTX 3080, but the latter hasn’t been easy to source of late.

Related Reading

Razer, a company that styles itself as 'by gamers, for gamers', has today unveiled its latest product, a modular NUC dubbed the Tomahawk. Available as both a barebones package and a high-tier gaming solution, the Razer Tomahawk looks to offer a 'cutting edge' mixture of functionality, performance, and graphics card compatibility, all within a NUC inspired chassis. Some of the key specifications include an Intel 9th generation Core i9 processor, with a 512 GB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD, 2 TB of HDD storage, 16 GB of DDR4-2667 memory, and an optional RTX 3080.

The term NUC (Next Unit of Computing) gets thrown around a lot when it comes to super small form factor desktop computers, even when NUC is technically an Intel term. Going all the way back to 2014, when Razer's CEO unveiled a conceptual design for a modular PC dubbed 'Project Christine,' Intel looked to have taken the idea a step forward with what it called Element. We've seen many Intel NUCs hit the market this year, including the NUC 9 Extreme (NUC9i9QNX), which we reviewed back in April. Razer being Razer has gone one step further on this idea and created its own version of the NUC, with the Razer Tomahawk.

What sets the Razer Tomahawk apart from other NUCs on the market is its full-scale capability to install a full-sized graphics card with a maximum length of up to 320 mm, with a maximum height of 140 mm. This moves away from common small form factor systems, which generally have to opt for smaller alternatives such as the NVIDIA GTX 1650. The Razer Tomahawk features a tool-less sled that allows users access to the system, which could be to upgrade the storage or even install a new graphics card.

While this is a 'modular' system, it is essentially a PCIe backplane with two PCIe slots. In one slot goes the graphics card, and in the other is 'the rest of the PC'. That rest of the PC includes a 45 W overclockable mobile processor (unupgradable), memory (upgradeable), and storage (upgradeable). Despite there being a barebones option, Razer pre-populates all models with a 512 GB NVMe SSD, a 2 TB HDD, and 16 GB of DDR4-2667 (Razer doesn't say if this is 1x16 or 2x8). On both models there is a spare M.2 NVMe slot, and the barebones simply lacks the discrete GPU, but the integrated GPU can be used if there is not a discrete GPU present.

It wouldn't be a Razer product if it didn't have RGB LEDs. It includes an illuminated green Razer logo on the front panel, with addressable RGB LEDs on the underneath of the chassis to provide a bit of flair. Focusing on the size, the Tomahawk chassis is 19.23 x 24.15 x 1.60 inches (HxWxD), so it is svelte, and it also weighs in at 16.2 lbs. In terms of volume, the chassis itself is 10 L, which is big enough to fit all of the components in when designed efficiently. 

Razer Tomahawk Gaming NUC Desktop
Component Barebones Full System
CPU Intel Core i9-9980HK (Coffee Lake)
8 Core / 16 Thread
2.4 GHz Base
5.0 GHz Turbo
45 W TDP
GPU Optional

(Intel UHD 630 if none)
NVIDIA RTX 3080 Founders Edition
1.71 GHz Boost
10 GB GDDR6X
Memory 16 GB DDR4-2667
Storage 512 GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4
2 TB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
1 x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 (open)
Networking 2 x Gigabit LAN
Wireless Intel AX200 (Wi-Fi 6/BT 5.0)
I/O 2 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-C (Thunderbolt 3)
4 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A
 1 x 3.5 mm audio jack 
2 x Gigabit RJ45
1 x HDMI 2.0a
Audio 3.5 mm TOSLINK combo port
Power 750 W SFX Power Supply
Dimensions 19.23 x 24.15 x 1.60 inches (HxWxD)
Weight 16.2 lb/7.35 kg 18.3 lb/8.3 kg
Pricing $2400 $3200
Availability ???

Given the nature of the hardware installed, Razer has opted to cool the processor actively and includes two top-mounted 120 mm chassis fans, with ventilation on both side panels and the top panel. Powering the Tomahawk is a preinstalled 750W SFX power supply, although Razer hasn't specified the exact model.

In terms of connectivity, the Tomahawk includes four USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports, with two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, and a single HDMI 2.0a video output. Users opting for the full package, including an NVIDIA RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card, adds three DisplayPort 1.4b and a single HDMI 2.1 video output. Networking includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports driven by unspecified controllers, while there's also an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 interface, which includes support for BT 5.0 devices. Nestled in between the motherboard and graphics, I/O is a single 3.5mm audio jack that can accommodate speakers or act as a TOSLINK combo port.

A few possible use case scenarios for those with bottomless pockets or shallow desks could find this an ideal system to take to LAN, to and from work, or even for an on the go content creator. While Razer did unveil its own chassis called the Tomahawk Elite back at CES 2019, the Tomahawk Gaming System is a higher-grade and RGB infused version of Intel's NUC 9 Extreme. 

As previously mentioned, the Razer Tomahawk gaming desktop will be available as barebones without a graphics card for a base price of $2400, while the full model equipped with an RTX 3080 Founders Edition will cost $3200. It's not a cheap outlay, especially for an Intel system featuring an RTX 3080, but the latter hasn't been easy to source of late.

Related Reading

ASRock Industrial’s NUC 1100 BOX Series Brings Tiger Lake to UCFF Systems

Intel’s introduction of the Tiger Lake U-series processors with support for a range of TDPs up to 28W has resulted in vendors launching a number of interesting systems with a twist to the original NUC’s 100mm x 100mm ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF). Notable among these have been the GIGABYTE’s BRIX PRO (3.5″ SBC form-factor), and ASRock Industrial’s STX-1500 mini-STX board, with the latter adopting the embedded versions of the Tiger Lake-U processors. ASRock Industrial also happens to be one of the first to adopt the Tiger Lake-U series for traditional UCFF systems with the launch of their NUC 1100 BOX series.

Intel’s Tiger Lake-based NUCs (Panther Canyon and Phantom Canyon) are an open secret in tech circles, but are yet to be officially announced. ASRock Industrial’s Tiger Lake NUCs such as the NUC BOX-1165G7 have also been hinted at in Intel’s marketplace – a retail follow-up to the embedded market-focused iBOX 1100 and NUC 1100 solutions. Today’s announcement makes the Tiger Lake NUCs from ASRock Industrial official. The company is launching three models in this series – NUC BOX-1165G7, NUC BOX-1135G7, and NUC BOX-1115G4. The specifications are summarized in the table below.

ASRock Industrial NUC 1100 BOX (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model NUC BOX-1115G4 NUC BOX-1135G7 NUC BOX-1165G7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 – 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 – 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 – 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 4.02″ x 4.09″ UCFF
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct) or SATA III)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for 2.5″ drive)
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × GbE port (Intel I219-V)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-LM)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 2.0a
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
2 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Front Panel Type-C ports)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek ALC233)
PSU External (90W)
Dimensions Length: 117.5 mm
Width: 110 mm
Height: 47.85 mm
MSRP ? ? ?

The striking aspect of the NUC 1100 BOX-series chassis is the similarity to the 4X4 BOX-4000U series.

According to the products’ datasheet, ASRock Industrial plans to get the two Type-C ports in the front panel certified for USB4. Since the certification plan is still pending, they are being advertised as USB 3.2 Gen 2 for now. They also believe that Thunderbolt 3 devices can be used in the front Type-C ports (since Intel claims four USB4 / Thunderbolt 4 ports on Tiger Lake) – that would be interesting to test out, given the logo on the chassis only indicates SuperSpeed 10Gbps with DP-Alt Mode support.

The key updates compared to the existing NUCs from various vendors (based on Comet Lake-U) are the support for four simultaneous 4Kp60 displays along with the 2.5 GbE wired LAN interface. The performance advantages provided by the 10nm Tiger Lake with its new microarchitecture may probably help the NUC BOX-1100 series get the edge over the 4X4 BOX-4000U series (based on the Renoir APUs) in single-threaded workloads. On the multi-threaded side and GPU-intensive workloads, it is shaping up to be an interesting tussle – one we hope to analyze in more detail in our hands-on review.

Since the unit targets the embedded market also, it has the usual bells and whistles including an integrated watchdog timer and an on-board TPM. Pricing is slated to be announced towards the end of October 2020.

Intel's introduction of the Tiger Lake U-series processors with support for a range of TDPs up to 28W has resulted in vendors launching a number of interesting systems with a twist to the original NUC's 100mm x 100mm ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF). Notable among these have been the GIGABYTE's BRIX PRO (3.5" SBC form-factor), and ASRock Industrial's STX-1500 mini-STX board, with the latter adopting the embedded versions of the Tiger Lake-U processors. ASRock Industrial also happens to be one of the first to adopt the Tiger Lake-U series for traditional UCFF systems with the launch of their NUC 1100 BOX series.

Intel's Tiger Lake-based NUCs (Panther Canyon and Phantom Canyon) are an open secret in tech circles, but are yet to be officially announced. ASRock Industrial's Tiger Lake NUCs such as the NUC BOX-1165G7 have also been hinted at in Intel's marketplace - a retail follow-up to the embedded market-focused iBOX 1100 and NUC 1100 solutions. Today's announcement makes the Tiger Lake NUCs from ASRock Industrial official. The company is launching three models in this series - NUC BOX-1165G7, NUC BOX-1135G7, and NUC BOX-1115G4. The specifications are summarized in the table below.

ASRock Industrial NUC 1100 BOX (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model NUC BOX-1115G4 NUC BOX-1135G7 NUC BOX-1165G7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 - 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 - 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 - 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 4.02" x 4.09" UCFF
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct) or SATA III)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for 2.5" drive)
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × GbE port (Intel I219-V)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-LM)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 2.0a
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
2 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Front Panel Type-C ports)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek ALC233)
PSU External (90W)
Dimensions Length: 117.5 mm
Width: 110 mm
Height: 47.85 mm
MSRP ? ? ?

The striking aspect of the NUC 1100 BOX-series chassis is the similarity to the 4X4 BOX-4000U series.

According to the products' datasheet, ASRock Industrial plans to get the two Type-C ports in the front panel certified for USB4. Since the certification plan is still pending, they are being advertised as USB 3.2 Gen 2 for now. They also believe that Thunderbolt 3 devices can be used in the front Type-C ports (since Intel claims four USB4 / Thunderbolt 4 ports on Tiger Lake) - that would be interesting to test out, given the logo on the chassis only indicates SuperSpeed 10Gbps with DP-Alt Mode support.

The key updates compared to the existing NUCs from various vendors (based on Comet Lake-U) are the support for four simultaneous 4Kp60 displays along with the 2.5 GbE wired LAN interface. The performance advantages provided by the 10nm Tiger Lake with its new microarchitecture may probably help the NUC BOX-1100 series get the edge over the 4X4 BOX-4000U series (based on the Renoir APUs) in single-threaded workloads. On the multi-threaded side and GPU-intensive workloads, it is shaping up to be an interesting tussle - one we hope to analyze in more detail in our hands-on review.

Since the unit targets the embedded market also, it has the usual bells and whistles including an integrated watchdog timer and an on-board TPM. Pricing is slated to be announced towards the end of October 2020.

ASRock Industrial’s NUC 1100 BOX Series Brings Tiger Lake to UCFF Systems

Intel’s introduction of the Tiger Lake U-series processors with support for a range of TDPs up to 28W has resulted in vendors launching a number of interesting systems with a twist to the original NUC’s 100mm x 100mm ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF). Notable among these have been the GIGABYTE’s BRIX PRO (3.5″ SBC form-factor), and ASRock Industrial’s STX-1500 mini-STX board, with the latter adopting the embedded versions of the Tiger Lake-U processors. ASRock Industrial also happens to be one of the first to adopt the Tiger Lake-U series for traditional UCFF systems with the launch of their NUC 1100 BOX series.

Intel’s Tiger Lake-based NUCs (Panther Canyon and Phantom Canyon) are an open secret in tech circles, but are yet to be officially announced. ASRock Industrial’s Tiger Lake NUCs such as the NUC BOX-1165G7 have also been hinted at in Intel’s marketplace – a retail follow-up to the embedded market-focused iBOX 1100 and NUC 1100 solutions. Today’s announcement makes the Tiger Lake NUCs from ASRock Industrial official. The company is launching three models in this series – NUC BOX-1165G7, NUC BOX-1135G7, and NUC BOX-1115G4. The specifications are summarized in the table below.

ASRock Industrial NUC 1100 BOX (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model NUC BOX-1115G4 NUC BOX-1135G7 NUC BOX-1165G7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 – 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 – 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 – 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 4.02″ x 4.09″ UCFF
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct) or SATA III)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for 2.5″ drive)
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × GbE port (Intel I219-V)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-LM)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 2.0a
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
2 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Front Panel Type-C ports)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek ALC233)
PSU External (90W)
Dimensions Length: 117.5 mm
Width: 110 mm
Height: 47.85 mm
MSRP ? ? ?

The striking aspect of the NUC 1100 BOX-series chassis is the similarity to the 4X4 BOX-4000U series.

According to the products’ datasheet, ASRock Industrial plans to get the two Type-C ports in the front panel certified for USB4. Since the certification plan is still pending, they are being advertised as USB 3.2 Gen 2 for now. They also believe that Thunderbolt 3 devices can be used in the front Type-C ports (since Intel claims four USB4 / Thunderbolt 4 ports on Tiger Lake) – that would be interesting to test out, given the logo on the chassis only indicates SuperSpeed 10Gbps with DP-Alt Mode support.

The key updates compared to the existing NUCs from various vendors (based on Comet Lake-U) are the support for four simultaneous 4Kp60 displays along with the 2.5 GbE wired LAN interface. The performance advantages provided by the 10nm Tiger Lake with its new microarchitecture may probably help the NUC BOX-1100 series get the edge over the 4X4 BOX-4000U series (based on the Renoir APUs) in single-threaded workloads. On the multi-threaded side and GPU-intensive workloads, it is shaping up to be an interesting tussle – one we hope to analyze in more detail in our hands-on review.

Since the unit targets the embedded market also, it has the usual bells and whistles including an integrated watchdog timer and an on-board TPM. Pricing is slated to be announced towards the end of October 2020.

Intel's introduction of the Tiger Lake U-series processors with support for a range of TDPs up to 28W has resulted in vendors launching a number of interesting systems with a twist to the original NUC's 100mm x 100mm ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF). Notable among these have been the GIGABYTE's BRIX PRO (3.5" SBC form-factor), and ASRock Industrial's STX-1500 mini-STX board, with the latter adopting the embedded versions of the Tiger Lake-U processors. ASRock Industrial also happens to be one of the first to adopt the Tiger Lake-U series for traditional UCFF systems with the launch of their NUC 1100 BOX series.

Intel's Tiger Lake-based NUCs (Panther Canyon and Phantom Canyon) are an open secret in tech circles, but are yet to be officially announced. ASRock Industrial's Tiger Lake NUCs such as the NUC BOX-1165G7 have also been hinted at in Intel's marketplace - a retail follow-up to the embedded market-focused iBOX 1100 and NUC 1100 solutions. Today's announcement makes the Tiger Lake NUCs from ASRock Industrial official. The company is launching three models in this series - NUC BOX-1165G7, NUC BOX-1135G7, and NUC BOX-1115G4. The specifications are summarized in the table below.

ASRock Industrial NUC 1100 BOX (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model NUC BOX-1115G4 NUC BOX-1135G7 NUC BOX-1165G7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 - 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 - 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 - 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 4.02" x 4.09" UCFF
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct) or SATA III)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for 2.5" drive)
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × GbE port (Intel I219-V)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-LM)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 2.0a
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
2 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Front Panel Type-C ports)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek ALC233)
PSU External (90W)
Dimensions Length: 117.5 mm
Width: 110 mm
Height: 47.85 mm
MSRP ? ? ?

The striking aspect of the NUC 1100 BOX-series chassis is the similarity to the 4X4 BOX-4000U series.

According to the products' datasheet, ASRock Industrial plans to get the two Type-C ports in the front panel certified for USB4. Since the certification plan is still pending, they are being advertised as USB 3.2 Gen 2 for now. They also believe that Thunderbolt 3 devices can be used in the front Type-C ports (since Intel claims four USB4 / Thunderbolt 4 ports on Tiger Lake) - that would be interesting to test out, given the logo on the chassis only indicates SuperSpeed 10Gbps with DP-Alt Mode support.

The key updates compared to the existing NUCs from various vendors (based on Comet Lake-U) are the support for four simultaneous 4Kp60 displays along with the 2.5 GbE wired LAN interface. The performance advantages provided by the 10nm Tiger Lake with its new microarchitecture may probably help the NUC BOX-1100 series get the edge over the 4X4 BOX-4000U series (based on the Renoir APUs) in single-threaded workloads. On the multi-threaded side and GPU-intensive workloads, it is shaping up to be an interesting tussle - one we hope to analyze in more detail in our hands-on review.

Since the unit targets the embedded market also, it has the usual bells and whistles including an integrated watchdog timer and an on-board TPM. Pricing is slated to be announced towards the end of October 2020.

GIGABYTE Unveils BRIX PRO Mini-PCs with Tiger Lake-U

Intel’s Tiger Lake launch was focused on ultrabooks and notebooks, as various SKUs with TDP ranging from 7 to 28W were launched. The performance of Intel’s low-power parts (U- and Y-series) have been good enough to land them inside small and ultra-compact form-factor systems. These systems have become an big hit in the market (not least, Intel’s own NUC systems) since they gained prominence in the early 2010s. Vendors such as ASRock, ASUS, ECS, and GIGABYTE also jumped on this bandwagon to market ‘NUCs’ under their own branding. GIGABYTE was one of the early ones to do so with their BRIX series of mini-PCs. These SFF and UCFF systems find applications in multiple areas including content creation, productivity, and gaming, as well as embedded systems applications such as digital signage.

Intel’s Tiger Lake-based NUCs (Panther Canyon and Phantom Canyon) are an open secret in tech circles. ASRock Industrial’s Tiger Lake NUCs such as the NUC BOX-1165G7 have also been hinted at in Intel’s marketplace – a retail follow-up to the embedded market-focused iBOX 1100 and NUC 1100 solutions. GIGABYTE, however, became the first vendor to officially announce Tiger Lake-based mini-PCs targeting the retail market with the launch of the GIGABYTE BRIX PRO. Three models (BSi3-1115G4, BSi5-1135G7, and the BSi7-1165G7) are being introduced. Their specifications are summarized in the table below.

GIGABYTE BRIX PRO (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model BSi3-1115G4 BSi5-1135G7 BSi7-1165G7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 – 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 – 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 – 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 – 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 3.5″ SBC
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct))
1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for SATA DOM? No space for 2.5-inch drive?)
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × GbE port (Intel I219-V)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-V)
USB Front 4 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Thunderbolt 1 x Thunderbolt 4 (Type-C Rear Panel)
Display Outputs 4 × HDMI 2.0a
1 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Thunderbolt 4 Type-C)
(Only four simultaneous display outputs are supported)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek ALC255)
PSU External (135W)
Warranty Typical, varies by country
Dimensions Length: 196.2 mm
Width: 140 mm
Height: 44.4 mm
MSRP ? ? ?

THe Tiger Lake-based BRIX PRO eschews the NUC form-factor (approx. 4″x4″ / 100mm x 100mm) for a 3.5″ single-board computer one that is popular in embedded markets. The motherboard’s actual dimensions are 5.75″ x 4″ (146mm x 102mm), and the system’s dimensions come in at 196.2mm x 44.4mm x 140mm. At 1.16L in volume, it is still a compact machine. The Tiger Lake-U processors in the BRIX PRO units are configured to run at their maximum cTDPup of 28W.

One of the unique aspects of the units is the availability of 4x HDMI 2.0 ports – each capable of driving a 4Kp60 display. In addition, a Thunderbolt 4 port (with a display output capability of 8Kp60) is also available. The system can drive four of those five display outputs simultaneously. Segments of the chassis are metallic, allowing for the Wi-Fi antenna to magnetically clasp to it.

The Tiger Lake-U processor can be configured with different PL2 values depending on the power delivery circuitry. GIGABYTE believes that the robustness of its board design, coupled with the 135W external power adapter can sustain upwards of 70W for the PL2 setting.

Retail availability of the new BRIX PRO units is expected in November 2020. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet. GIGABYTE also hinted at the possibility of UCFF BRIX systems sporting Tiger Lake-U processors reaching the market soon.

Intel's Tiger Lake launch was focused on ultrabooks and notebooks, as various SKUs with TDP ranging from 7 to 28W were launched. The performance of Intel's low-power parts (U- and Y-series) have been good enough to land them inside small and ultra-compact form-factor systems. These systems have become an big hit in the market (not least, Intel's own NUC systems) since they gained prominence in the early 2010s. Vendors such as ASRock, ASUS, ECS, and GIGABYTE also jumped on this bandwagon to market 'NUCs' under their own branding. GIGABYTE was one of the early ones to do so with their BRIX series of mini-PCs. These SFF and UCFF systems find applications in multiple areas including content creation, productivity, and gaming, as well as embedded systems applications such as digital signage.

Intel's Tiger Lake-based NUCs (Panther Canyon and Phantom Canyon) are an open secret in tech circles. ASRock Industrial's Tiger Lake NUCs such as the NUC BOX-1165G7 have also been hinted at in Intel's marketplace - a retail follow-up to the embedded market-focused iBOX 1100 and NUC 1100 solutions. GIGABYTE, however, became the first vendor to officially announce Tiger Lake-based mini-PCs targeting the retail market with the launch of the GIGABYTE BRIX PRO. Three models (BSi3-1115G4, BSi5-1135G7, and the BSi7-1165G7) are being introduced. Their specifications are summarized in the table below.

GIGABYTE BRIX PRO (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model BSi3-1115G4 BSi5-1135G7 BSi7-1165G7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4
2C/4T
1.7 - 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7
4C/8T
0.9 - 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7
4C/8T
1.2 - 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)
12 - 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 3.5" SBC
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct))
1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for SATA DOM? No space for 2.5-inch drive?)
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × GbE port (Intel I219-V)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-V)
USB Front 4 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Thunderbolt 1 x Thunderbolt 4 (Type-C Rear Panel)
Display Outputs 4 × HDMI 2.0a
1 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Thunderbolt 4 Type-C)
(Only four simultaneous display outputs are supported)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek ALC255)
PSU External (135W)
Warranty Typical, varies by country
Dimensions Length: 196.2 mm
Width: 140 mm
Height: 44.4 mm
MSRP ? ? ?

THe Tiger Lake-based BRIX PRO eschews the NUC form-factor (approx. 4"x4" / 100mm x 100mm) for a 3.5" single-board computer one that is popular in embedded markets. The motherboard's actual dimensions are 5.75" x 4" (146mm x 102mm), and the system's dimensions come in at 196.2mm x 44.4mm x 140mm. At 1.16L in volume, it is still a compact machine. The Tiger Lake-U processors in the BRIX PRO units are configured to run at their maximum cTDPup of 28W.

One of the unique aspects of the units is the availability of 4x HDMI 2.0 ports - each capable of driving a 4Kp60 display. In addition, a Thunderbolt 4 port (with a display output capability of 8Kp60) is also available. The system can drive four of those five display outputs simultaneously. Segments of the chassis are metallic, allowing for the Wi-Fi antenna to magnetically clasp to it.

The Tiger Lake-U processor can be configured with different PL2 values depending on the power delivery circuitry. GIGABYTE believes that the robustness of its board design, coupled with the 135W external power adapter can sustain upwards of 70W for the PL2 setting.

Retail availability of the new BRIX PRO units is expected in November 2020. Pricing hasn't been announced yet. GIGABYTE also hinted at the possibility of UCFF BRIX systems sporting Tiger Lake-U processors reaching the market soon.

The Armari Magnetar X64T Workstation OC Review: 128 Threads at 4.0 GHz, Sustained!

Blitzing around a race track in a fast car only ever convinces you of one thing: I need to go around the track even faster. I need a better car, I need a better engine, better brakes, or better tires. I need that special go faster juice, and I need to…

Blitzing around a race track in a fast car only ever convinces you of one thing: I need to go around the track even faster. I need a better car, I need a better engine, better brakes, or better tires. I need that special go faster juice, and I need to nail the perfect run. The world of professional computing works the same, whether it comes down to rendering, rapid prototyping, scientific compute, medical imaging, weather modelling, or something like oil and gas simulation, the more raw horsepower there is, the more can be done. So enter the new Armari Magnetar X64T – an overclocked 64-core Threadripper 3990X that holds the new SPECworkstation3 world record. We got hold of one. It’s really fast.

ASRock Industrial’s 4×4-BOX UCFF PC Series Goes Premium with Ryzen 4000U Renoir APUs

ASRock Industrial has been at the forefront of AMD-based UCFF PCs, being one of the first to bring out systems based on the Ryzen Embedded APUs in mid-2019. In fact, their boards have been adopted by vendors such as OnLogic in their ML100G-40 systems. These 4×4 BOX systems definitely got the footprint right, matching the Intel NUCs in that department. However, the performance of the Embedded R-Series made them a better fit for embedded systems with single-purpose use-cases. On the general purpose computing front, they could not match up against the large variety of Intel-based NUCs with different performance profiles. Today, this aspect is being rectified with the launch of three new SKUs in the 4×4 BOX-4000 series. These systems use the latest AMD Ryzen 4000U series APUs with TDPs ranging from 10W to 25W. In addition to the markets served by the first-generation 4×4 BOX systems (digital signage, kiosks, thin clients, and other embedded applications), the 4×4 BOX-4000 series will also make its presence felt in the general-purpose small form-factor computing space.

The second-generation systems have a slightly smaller foot-print, coming in at 110mm x 117.5mm x 47.85mm. The system is slightly heavier by around 300g, coming in at 1kg. The specifications of the three SKUs are reproduced in the table below. The move to Ryzen 4000U brings premium features to the UCFF PC space – in fact, surpassing the features offered by Intel NUCs in the same form-factor – these include support for NBASE-T with a 2.5 Gbps LAN port (backed by the Realtek RTL8125BG controller), native support for DDR4-3200 without overclocking, and support for four simultaneous 4Kp60 display (including two via the front-panel USB Type-C ports) outputs. Intel’s AX200 module brings in Wi-Fi 6 support. Another welcome upgrade is the support for M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe SSDs (the first-generation SKUs only supported 2242 and 2260)

In addition to usage as a UCFF desktop PC, the 4×4 BOX-4000 series also targets embedded applications. As a result, it is equipped with a watchdog timer and is rated to run at temperatures of up to 40ºC. It also comes with a TPM module.

ASRock Industrial’s 4X4 BOX-4000 PCs
Model 4X4 BOX-4800U 4X4 BOX-4500U 4X4 BOX-4300U
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 4800U
8C/16T
1.8 – 4.2 GHz
10 – 25 W (15W)
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
6C/6T
2.3 – 4.0 GHz
10 – 25 W (15W)
AMD Ryzen 3 4300U
4C/4T
2.7 – 3.7 GHz
10 – 25 W (15W)
GPU AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 Graphics @ 1.75 GHz AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 Graphics @ 1.5 GHz AMD Radeon RX Vega 5 Graphics @ 1.4 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard Proprietary
Storage SSD M.2-2280 (PCIe x4 or SATA)
DFF 1 ×  2.5-inch/7.5-mm SATA 6 Gbps
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module
Ethernet 1 × GbE port (Realtek RTL8111FPV)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Realtek RTL8125BG)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 2.0 Type-A
Display Outputs 1 × DisplayPort 1.2a
1 × HDMI 2.0a
2 × DisplayPort 1.2a (using Type-C)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek ALC233)
PSU External (90W)
Warranty Typical, varies by country
Dimensions Length: 117.5 mm
Width: 110 mm
Height: 47.85 mm
MSRP ? ? ?

The 4×4 BOX-4000 series UCFF PCs are not the first to use the AMD Ryzen 4000U APUs in this form-factor. The Asus PN50 was introduced a few weeks back, though its availability in the North American market has not been confirmed. Given that the first-generation 4×4 BOX series has been available for purchase at many US e-tailers, it does look like the 4×4 BOX-4000 SKUs from ASRock Industrial are going to be the first set of AMD Ryzen 4000U-series based UCFF PCs on this side of the pond. In addition, the premium features of the 4×4 BOX-4000 series is sure to invoke keen interest in the SFF computing community.

ASRock Industrial has been at the forefront of AMD-based UCFF PCs, being one of the first to bring out systems based on the Ryzen Embedded APUs in mid-2019. In fact, their boards have been adopted by vendors such as OnLogic in their ML100G-40 systems. These 4x4 BOX systems definitely got the footprint right, matching the Intel NUCs in that department. However, the performance of the Embedded R-Series made them a better fit for embedded systems with single-purpose use-cases. On the general purpose computing front, they could not match up against the large variety of Intel-based NUCs with different performance profiles. Today, this aspect is being rectified with the launch of three new SKUs in the 4x4 BOX-4000 series. These systems use the latest AMD Ryzen 4000U series APUs with TDPs ranging from 10W to 25W. In addition to the markets served by the first-generation 4x4 BOX systems (digital signage, kiosks, thin clients, and other embedded applications), the 4x4 BOX-4000 series will also make its presence felt in the general-purpose small form-factor computing space.

The second-generation systems have a slightly smaller foot-print, coming in at 110mm x 117.5mm x 47.85mm. The system is slightly heavier by around 300g, coming in at 1kg. The specifications of the three SKUs are reproduced in the table below. The move to Ryzen 4000U brings premium features to the UCFF PC space - in fact, surpassing the features offered by Intel NUCs in the same form-factor - these include support for NBASE-T with a 2.5 Gbps LAN port (backed by the Realtek RTL8125BG controller), native support for DDR4-3200 without overclocking, and support for four simultaneous 4Kp60 display (including two via the front-panel USB Type-C ports) outputs. Intel's AX200 module brings in Wi-Fi 6 support. Another welcome upgrade is the support for M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe SSDs (the first-generation SKUs only supported 2242 and 2260)

In addition to usage as a UCFF desktop PC, the 4x4 BOX-4000 series also targets embedded applications. As a result, it is equipped with a watchdog timer and is rated to run at temperatures of up to 40ºC. It also comes with a TPM module.

ASRock Industrial's 4X4 BOX-4000 PCs
Model 4X4 BOX-4800U 4X4 BOX-4500U 4X4 BOX-4300U
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 4800U
8C/16T
1.8 - 4.2 GHz
10 - 25 W (15W)
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
6C/6T
2.3 - 4.0 GHz
10 - 25 W (15W)
AMD Ryzen 3 4300U
4C/4T
2.7 - 3.7 GHz
10 - 25 W (15W)
GPU AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 Graphics @ 1.75 GHz AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 Graphics @ 1.5 GHz AMD Radeon RX Vega 5 Graphics @ 1.4 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard Proprietary
Storage SSD M.2-2280 (PCIe x4 or SATA)
DFF 1 ×  2.5-inch/7.5-mm SATA 6 Gbps
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
2x2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module
Ethernet 1 × GbE port (Realtek RTL8111FPV)
1 × 2.5 GbE port (Realtek RTL8125BG)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 2.0 Type-A
Display Outputs 1 × DisplayPort 1.2a
1 × HDMI 2.0a
2 × DisplayPort 1.2a (using Type-C)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek ALC233)
PSU External (90W)
Warranty Typical, varies by country
Dimensions Length: 117.5 mm
Width: 110 mm
Height: 47.85 mm
MSRP ? ? ?

The 4x4 BOX-4000 series UCFF PCs are not the first to use the AMD Ryzen 4000U APUs in this form-factor. The Asus PN50 was introduced a few weeks back, though its availability in the North American market has not been confirmed. Given that the first-generation 4x4 BOX series has been available for purchase at many US e-tailers, it does look like the 4x4 BOX-4000 SKUs from ASRock Industrial are going to be the first set of AMD Ryzen 4000U-series based UCFF PCs on this side of the pond. In addition, the premium features of the 4x4 BOX-4000 series is sure to invoke keen interest in the SFF computing community.