ASRock, BMW Put the SFF Pedal to the Metal and Crash the Living Room

Paul Lilly

When subsidiaries get together, SFF happens

ASRock and BMW Group DesignworksUSA collaborated on a small form factor (SFF) system called M8 that offers "unstoppable gaming" and lots of other hyperbole, though before we get into the nuts and bolts of the machine, a little background is in order. ASRock, as you probably already know, is a player in the PC space and was originally formed as a subsidiary of Asus. It's now a part of Pegatron, which itself was spun off from Asus.

Meanwhile, DreamworksUSA is a global creative consultancy that was acquired by BMW in 1995 and is now a wholly own subsidiary of BMW Group. We're not sure how these two firms bumped into each other or why they decided to jointly design an SFF gaming PC, but the end result is the M8, a highly hyped and unique looking system built around Intel's Z87 platform.

The barebones system measures 372mm (W) by 123mm (H) by 400mm (L) and is made from steel, aluminum, and plastic. Inside is an ASRock Z87-M8 mini ITX motherboard with support for Haswell processors and up to 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM (two DIMM slots). It can also house a dual-slot graphics card, though bear in mind the built-in PSU is 450W, so you can't go too crazy here.

Other features include a slim slot loading optical drive, support for a 3.5-inch HDD and 2.5-inch SSD, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, 4-in-1 memory card reader, eSATA, GbE LAN, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a few other odds and ends.

From the available press shots, the chassis would easily add some flare to a home theater setup. Hidden magnets hold the whole case together, and both sides are partially transparent so that parts inside are "ambiguously visible, adding a sense of mystery."

Finally, the system features an intergrated A-Command with G-sensor, which is a fancy way of describing the OLED display on the front of the chassis. The display allows users to tune or check the system's stats, adjust the volume, toggle three power management modes (Eco, Standard, and Speed), play with the lights, and more.

The M8 is coming soon, though ASRock didn't spill the beans on price.

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