PC form small factories and game systems have emerged as a bright spot in the adult PC market for the last ten years or so. The introduction of the NUC form factor from Intel is a turning point in the SFF segment, although it comes with a few limitations for DIY enthusiasts. While the mini-ITX system is quite flexible and compact, Intel realizes that the market can do so with an option between NUC and a mini-ITX system. Mini-STX (5-inch by 5-inch, known as ‘5×5’) form-factor was launched in 2015. ASRock and ECS have introduced a number of mini-STX board and form factor systems. Today, we will see a mini-STX system based on the low-cost H310 chipset from ASRock: the DeskMini 310.

ASRock recently announced that their Desktop DeskMini 310 PC product now supports the Intel 9th ​​Gen “Coffee Lake-S Refresh” processor. Previously, this tiny Desktop PC with a body size of 15.5 x 15.5 x 8 cm only supports Intel 8th Gen “Coffee Lake-S” processors ranging from Celeron to Core i7 types. The latest BIOS update version P3.40 makes the ASRock DeskMini 310 support the processor line with the most sophisticated CPU architecture from Intel.

The DeskMini 310 is a very compact size for its capabilities, and while we have seen smaller mini-STX attachments, this design offers the additional height needed to use an Intel box cooler – which also helps reduce overall manufacturing costs if you buy a retail CPU.

It is 80 mm high with a square footprint measuring 155 x 155 mm, with a total volume of 1.92L. Front I / O includes a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports – Type A and C – and a pair of 3.5 mm audio jacks for headset and mic input. This is not labeled in this case, quite strange.

In hindsight we have the I / O option expected from a mini-STX motherboard, which is especially different from mini-ITX in that it compliments smaller connections available due to space constraints – although in this case a lot of available space is taken up with ventilation. There are three screen outputs, with full size HDMI (1.4), DisplayPort, and VGA output, a pair of USB Type A (2.0 and 3.0) ports, Gigabit LAN (Intel I219V), along with power input and Kingston unlock.

DeskMini 310 is designed to be installed in three different ways: either horizontally or vertically using the rubber feet provided, or at the back of the screen using the available VESA mounting kit. However you choose to use it, the process of opening the chassis is the same – because it only opens from the back after removing four screws (there is also a mount for the lock if you want to add one). Upon entry there is full access to all expansion on the mini-STX board, and the motherboard tray doubles as a double 2.5-inch drive mounted at the bottom. Punch-out on the back of the case allows the installation of a wireless antenna kit, and the result is a solid connection anywhere – and with this installation, the vertical orientation makes the most sense.

ASRock DeskMini 310 itself supports the use of Intel processors with a TDP Rating of up to a maximum of 65 Watts. Limited space inside the Casing indeed makes this Desktop PC unable to use a large size cooling system. While for the type of Intel 9th Gen “Coffee Lake-S Refresh” which is supported at this time is still limited in one variant, the Core i5-9400. It is not yet known whether more variants of the Intel 9th Gen “Coffee Lake-S Refresh” processor will be supported.

ASRock DeskMini 310 uses an Intel H310 motherboard with two DDR4 SO-DIMM memory / RAM slots that support 32GB capacity at 2666 MHz. This mini PC supports two 2.5-inch SATA SSD / HDD storage and one M.2 slot that can be used with SSD PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA III 6 Gbps. While for the complete connector available 1X D-Sub, 1X HDMI, 1X Display Port, 3X USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1X USB 2.0, 2X Audio Jack, and 1X Gigabit Ethernet.

And this is the resume of DeskMini 310 by AsRock Specification

ASRock DeskMini 310
Processor Intel Core i3-8100
8th Gen. (Coffee Lake), 4C/4T, 3.6 GHz, 14nm++, 6MB, 65W TDP
Memory Team Group TEAMGROUP-SD4-2400 DDR4 SODIMM
16-16-16-39 @ 2400 MHz
2×8 GB
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 630
Disk Drive(s) TEKQ PSE7 NVMe (comparable to Corsair FORCE MP500)
(240 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4; Toshiba 15nm MLC)
Networking Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
(1×1 802.11ac – 433 Mbps)
-Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet Controller
Audio 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (HDMI)
Miscellaneous I/O Ports 3x USB 2.0
2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
1x micro-SDXC
Operating System Retail unit is barebones, but we installed Windows 10 Enterprise x64
Pricing (As configured) $162 (barebones)
$523 (as configured, No OS)

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