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.
When you were little, you may have asked your parents for a pet dinosaur (or maybe a pony) only to receive a funny look instead. Well, you're an adult now, and if you still want to bring home a beastly pet, have a look at today's top deal for a Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB hard drive for $100 with free shipping (normally $140 - use coupon code DYMHD40). It feeds on data and races along at 10,000 RPM with a SATA 6Gbps interface and 32MB of cache.
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Flagship board also features dual Thunderbolt ports
At times an unsung hero in the motherboard market, ASRock has picked up its game in the past year or so and has begun kicking out some high-end silicon at tempting price points. Clearly ASRock is interested in the enthusiast sector these days, and if you need proof of that, just spy a glance at its new Z87 Extreme 11 /TB20 motherboard that it's showing off at IDF 2013 in San Francisco.
If you really wanted to, you could assemble a PC inside a cardboard box (we hear a former Maximum PC editor did such a thing). We shudder to think of the fire hazard that presents, so before you go that route in order to save a few nickels and dimes, have a look at today's top deal for a Cooler Master Storm Stryker case for $136 with free shipping (normally $170 - use coupon code CMCW20A2013; $10 additional mal-in-rebate). It's a full tower ATX case with 9 external 5.25-inch bays, dual-removable HDD cages, 2.5-inch hotswap X-dock, and a host of other features.
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Let's say you own a muscle car, maybe a Dodge Challenger or a Ford Torino. Would you slap a set of budget tires on your ride? Of course not! You'd make sure you invested in rubber that can handle a V8 on long stretches and around curves, and for the same reason, you shouldn't subject your rockin' studio speakers to onboard sound. Contratry to popular belief, there's still a market for discrete audio, and for those who can take advantage of superior audio, have a peek at today's top deal. It's for a Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion Sound Card with Sound Blaster I/O for $100 with free shipping (normally $150). This thing is powered by a quad-core audio processor and boasts a 102db SNR. Make those speakers roar!
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Building a new system around Intel's Haswell architecture? We like the way you think, and we'd like to help. That's why today's top deal is for an ASRock Z87 Extreme6 LGA 1150 motherboard for $175 with free shipping (normally $190). This ASRock board is the real deal with HDMI input, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi support, USB 3.0, and more. Heck, it's even waterproof (to an extent) thanks to a special layer of Conformal Coating!
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Before self-contained liquid cooling solutions (LCS) became mainstream, water cooling enthusiasts would march over to places like Danger Den (R.I.P.) and order custom parts, fit them together, and then pray to Poseidon that he'd have mercy against leaks. Back then, water cooling aficionados sure could have used a board like any of ASRock's new specially coated 8 Series mobos. Using a layer of "Comformal Coating," ASRock says its treated mobos aren't afraid to get wet, a trait the company hopes the professional overclocking crowd will embrace.
ASRock, once a subsidiary of Asus and now owned by Pegatron (at least until when/if Asus buys the brand back), ended the work week by unveiling its Z77 Extreme6/TB4 motherboard with dual Thunderbolt ports. Using the Daisy Chain feature, the Z77 Extreme6/TB4 supports up to twelve Thunderbolt devices, six in each port, ASRock points out. Thunderbolt isn't the only thing the board has going for it.
Asus, the top motherboard maker ahead of Gigabyte, may be looking to further strengthen its position by acquiring ASRock, the third largest player in the mobo business. It's an interesting development, not just because it would combine the world's first and third largest motherboard entities, but because it would be the second time Asus has owned ASRock. A quick history lesson is in order here.
Have you ever seen a peacock spread its feathers for all to see as it struts casually and confidently with its head held high? That's ASRock, the spunky company spun-off by Asus a decade ago and owned by Asus subsidiary Pegatron Corporation, which gleefully claims it's the first motherboard manufacturer in the world to pass Windows 8 hardware certification.