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[Discuss] mini-ITX boards for Haswell CPUs

On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 10:21:03PM -0400, Tom Metro wrote:
> ASRock[5] is pretty brief in addressing the multi-monitor capabilities,
> saying, "This motherboard supports Triple Monitor. You may choose up to
> three display interfaces to connect monitors and use them
> simultaneously." The trick, though, is that each of the 3 ports are
> different, and the ones you get vary depending on the board. The low-end
> board has D-Sub (analog VGA I presume?), DVI, and HDMI, while the
> high-end ($165)[4] board uses DVI, Display Port, and HDMI.
> What's strangely missing from the NewEgg specification is any mention of
> the GPU. My understanding was that Haswell came with on-die integrated
> graphics[6] - in fact this is supposed to be the first time integrated
> graphics (or at least Intel graphics) are competitive with add-on GPUs -
> yet strangely no mention of this. The one review[7] I found also makes
> no mention of either the graphics or the multi-monitor capability,
> though it was a review of the high-end board, which has a PCIe x16 slot,
> with the assumption that you'll be using a add-on GPU.

That's because the GPU varies directly with the CPU. Pop in an
old i3, you might get no GPU at all. 

> Fortunately the manufacturer's site does have specs on the GPU, showing
> that the low-end board[8] tops out at 1920x1200 @ 60Hz (which feels
> dated), while the high-end board[9] can handle 4K x 2K @ 24Hz on all but
> the DVI port. Only 24Hz refresh? Is that typical at 4K? (I'd be more
> interested to know what max resolution it can handle at 60 Hz.)

That's not the GPU. That's the DAC(s) which sit on the
motherboard and are fed by the CPU's integrated GPU. Get better 
DACs and you can drive better ports.

> I was surprised to see that these boards max out at 16 GB of RAM, which
> seems on the verge of obsolescence. I haven't looked to see if this is a
> limitation of the Intel chipset, of merely the physical constraints of
> these tiny board that only have room for two DIMM slots. A search on
> NewEgg suggests that DIMM densities haven't yet surpassed 8 GB per
> module, or at least not in the mainstream, so I guess that explains it.
> Then the question is whether the chipset and BIOS will support 16 GB
> modules when they become available.

Physical constraints. If you wanted lots of RAM handling, lots
of expansion ports and slots, or much of anything, you would go
to a mini-ATX or full ATX board. ITX is specialized for a


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