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.

Source: ASRock Industrial

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  • heffeque - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    Jasper Lake should also have AV1 HW decoding. Reply
  • npz - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    the android boxes/chromecast devices are limited to pure h/w supported formats so a lot of audio and video codec parameters and settings are not supported. Still no one has h.264 high profile 10-bit support in hardware, nor yuv4:4:4 colorspace (only 8-bit and 4:2:0) and are limited in the profiles which determine the resolution and the maximum keyframes. There's other encoding paramters like GOP length that can make or break hardware decoding support.
    h.265 fixed function h/w decoders finally get 10-bit support but only in main profile, and only in yuv 4:2:0 again. So any function which falls outside of the narrow h/w support requires software. As for AV1 I expect the same issues.
    Then there's lack of h/w support for audio codecs. Not a problem for full fledged htpc but a no-go for Android devices
    Reply
  • dromoxen - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    Android boxes are cheap becoz they dont pay for all the licences hdmi,av1 mpeg5? hevc Dobly n all Reply
  • Tarwin - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    Audio codecs should not be an issue. I use mx player with the ffmpeg custom codec to deal with "unsupported" audio codecs and it works like a dream.

    But I won't argue on the video codec front. Whether the SoC can handle software decode can be real hit or miss.
    Reply
  • Alistair - Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - link

    Nice! Been waiting for this! Reply
  • brucethemoose - Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - link

    Adorable! I wish the miniaturization didn't come with a price premium, as they would be great workstation boxes. Reply
  • phatboye - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    Take my money.... wait how much does this cost? I hope it'll cost less than Intel's NUCs! Reply
  • bobsmith1492 - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    I have an Intel version of this from ASRock with Atom processors, about 2 years old now. Unfortunately it's not held up well. The built-in WiFi conked out first, then the analog sound output, then the hardwired Ethernet. I'm limping by with USB WiFi dongle and sound out the HDMI port which also cuts out every few days requiring a reboot. :-( Reply
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    Install Windows ME and you'll have to reboot every couple of hours and never have to worry about the HDMI problem. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - link

    "...the performance of the Embedded R-Series made them a better fit for embedded systems..."

    Oh really?
    Reply

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