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ASRock DeskMini B660 review

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The case is familiar, otherwise almost everything is new: With the ASRock DeskMini B660, Intel’s Alder Lake platform has arrived in STX format. The small PC offers a lot of performance, a home that is more than sufficient in the (home) office. Storage options and I/O are also convincing. But the mini-PC in the test is not entirely without flaws.

ASRock DeskMini: Between NUC and Mini-ITX PC

For years, ASRock DeskMini has stood for a mini PC series that can offer a lot of performance in a small space. With the test of the DeskMini 110, the topic found its place on ComputerBase for the first time in 2016.

With its approach, the PC series is located between classic Intel NUCs with soldered notebook processor and full-fledged Mini-ITX desktop solutions, but combines the same socketable desktop CPUs as Mini-ITX computers in the STX format on a spartan board – it doesn’t work without compromise. But ASRock succeeds again very well with the DeskMini B660, as it can prove in the everyday test.

ASRock DeskMini B660

ASRock does not throw the well-known virtues of the DeskMini series overboard, which a look at the first model from 2016, but also at the DeskMini X300 (test) released in 2020, brings to mind again.

Larger CPU socket brings challenges

In order to accommodate the large new socket LGA 1700 for the processors of the Alder Lake aka Core i-12000 series and probably also Raptor Lake aka Core i-13000, ASRock had to create a little more space on the board. The two DIMM slots had to move a little further outwards, especially since the drill holes for the cooling had to be accommodated somewhere. They are slightly further apart in the new socket than in Intel’s previous LGA desktop solutions.

At the upper end, as usual, the chipset connects almost seamlessly and is now surpassed by the cooler to a small extent, which is not bad at all, since the chipset itself is completely *text muted* and does not have a passive cooling element. On the other side is the SSD slot. In the end, the chipset is almost “buried” under the two elements.

ASRock DeskMini B660 without housing
ASRock DeskMini B660 without housing

The base, on the other hand, has almost no influence on the height. In this generation, the boxed coolers from Intel fit into the DeskMini again. The new Alder Lake model with a copper core also does its job in the 65-watt test subjects. There is no PCI Express slot.

The two SO-DIMM slots work according to the DDR4 standard. This is a good choice for the mini PC, this memory is very cheap on the market. The supported standard of DDR4-3200, for example, is loaded without any problems via the XMP profile. Alder Lake also broadly supports the DDR5 standard and the prices have recently dropped significantly, but they are still in a significantly more expensive league than DDR4: around 50 percent more costs can be expected.

Support for M.2 SSD with PCI Express 5.0

Speaking of the SSD slot: “BLAZING M.2” is what ASRock calls the most important slot for mass storage, because for the first time it offers official support for a PCIe 5.0 SSD with 4 lanes, which can then theoretically transfer up to 128 Gbit/s (16 GB/s) – twice that of a PCIe 4.0 solution. Since the 16 PCI Express 5.0 lanes of the processor for the graphics card do not have to or cannot be used in the mini PC, ASRock frees them for the memory slot.

The manufacturer takes a similar approach with the Z690 PG Velocita, among others. There, when using the fastest standard for mass storage, the graphics card has to make do with only 8 lanes, as ASRock describes in the manual (PDF document):

PCIE1 (PCIe 5.0 x16 slot) is used for PCIe x16 lane width graphics cards.
The Blazing M.2 Socket (M2_4, Key M) supports type 2260/2280 PCIe Gen5x4 (128 Gb/s) mode.
[…] If M2_4 is occupied, PCIE1 will downgrade to x8 mode.

ASRock on the Z690 PG Velocita

When asked by ComputerBase, the manufacturer confirmed that PCI Express 5.0 for M.2 SSDs works with Alder Lake processors without any problems. Now there is only the small obstacle that no suitable SSDs are available so far. But it’s not ASRock’s fault. The company has implemented it confidently, because the lanes are there and would otherwise always be unused. Now at least the option is there to pick them up at some point.

ASRock DeskMini B660 without housing

ASRock DeskMini B660 without housing

The underside offers space for two HDDs/SSDs and another M.2 solution - hidden between the circuit board and tray

The underside offers space for two HDDs/SSDs and another M.2 solution – hidden between the circuit board and tray

However, an SSD is not the end, although it is the only one that can be found on the top. On the back there is still space for a second M.2 SSD on the board, here now according to the classic PCIe 4.0 standard with four lanes. The mainboard tray was also designed in such a way that two 2.5-inch HDDs/SSDs can be accommodated on the underside. Two suitable mini-SATA interfaces can be found there. In the end, the system can thus accommodate four mass storage devices.

The features of the ASRock DeskMini B660 as a barebone

Wi-Fi still only optional

Some things in the equipment stand out – unfortunately also because they are only optional. As last time, Wi-Fi comes first here, which is only available as an option. Although not everyone prefers a WLAN connection, it is cumbersome to connect a thick LAN cable, especially with small PCs, especially if the computer can be stowed away in a small corner.

Inside, using the M.2 2230 port for the optional Wi-Fi module is rather a hindrance, because it’s big and takes up a lot of space on such a small board. The soldered variants used in NUCs and notebooks today are only a fraction as expansive. The hope dies last that ASRock will use it at some point, but Wi-Fi should no longer be an option. The manufacturer might then no longer have to banish the second M.2 slot for mass storage to the back. To get to him is currently very cumbersome.

Board ASRock DeskMini B660
Board ASRock DeskMini B660

In the past, small PCs almost always included a mounting kit so that the PC could be stowed directly behind the monitor. ASRock has also banished this to the “optional” department. However, since the PC is a bit larger anyway and can easily be positioned elsewhere on the desk, the circumstance weighs less heavily. In the end, market analyzes at ASRock should have shown that very few DeskMini users hang the PC behind the screen.

In the end, that makes some things easier too. The I/O panel offers almost the same connections as a regular desktop PC, four small ports are also easily accessible via the front.

Back of ASRock DeskMini B660
Back of ASRock DeskMini B660
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The best contents of the week in MuyPymes

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Los mejores contenidos de la semana en MuyPymes 1

As every Sunday we end the week with a new review of the best content that we have published in MuyPymes. This compilation will allow you to find the most important information of the last seven days just one click away. Have a good Monday.

  • How Digital Transformation enables the four-day work week.
  • Production with robots would be paralyzed for weeks, in the event of a cyber attack.
  • These are the main novelties that the self-employed will face in the next two years.
  • Renting Finders joins the Lanzadera program.
  • How do I know if I’m eligible for Windows 11?
  • Cybercriminals are using OneNote to spread malware.
  • 85% of Spanish workers will not ask for a salary increase this year.
  • 70% of Spanish managers avoid the mental health problems of their teams.
  • What future does face-to-face events hold: the opinion of the expert.
  • The Christmas campaign closed with an increase in online purchases of 13%.
  • Four reasons why consumers opt for chatbots.
  • Google for Startups creates a specialized cybersecurity program.
  • Samsung will launch the new Galaxy Book3 on February 1.
  • Canon reinforces its digital services thanks to its Document Services Hub.
  • 86% of users will prefer pay-as-you-go over long-term licenses.
  • Digital workers do not want to return to the office: 80% would leave the job.
  • Four out of 10 self-employed expect a drop in activity due to inflation.
  • NVIDIA launches new Studio Drivers drivers, we review their keys.
  • Sony introduces new Crystal LED BH and CH series monitors.
  • Epson and Yuima Nakazato together for a sustainable future in the world of fashion.
  • AOC launches its new range of P3 monitors for professionals.
  • New NUC with Intel Alder Lake-N CPU, powerful and compact.
  • Acer launches a 16-inch ultraportable with 4K resolution.

The entry The best content of the week in MuyPymes is original from MuyPymes

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The most frequent problems regarding time control

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As indicated from Woffu, time control managementIn addition to being a legal necessity, it is one of the main headaches for HR managers. The company highlights the main difficulties when it comes to managing the presence and absence of workers and how to solve them.

Waste of time solving incidents

One of the main problems that HR managers encounter is the time invested in solving incidents caused by disconnected tools, which do not have the technology to integrate vacations and absences with the presence in the same tool.

Many companies manage absence requests by email, paper or Excel sheets, for example, which do not allow them to attach supporting documents. In this way, as they point out from Woffu “team leaders waste hours and hours searching for and requesting receipts, reviewing who is working and who is not available. This prevents them from focusing on valuable tasks.”

Non-digitized HR processes

In the same way, one of the obstacles in the management of time control is the lack of digitization. Since the Time Control Law does not specify whether it must be done with a tool designed for it, there are many companies that choose for continuing to register on paper or in Excel sheets. “Companies waste a lot of time by manually recording the hours worked and the reasons for absence, in addition to the fact that the margin of error is greater and the data obtained is not reliable”, They comment from Woffu.

In addition, in many companies, the tools used do not allow managing the signing of a hybrid work model or a work model only remotely. Therefore, by not having this digitization, the company lacks data and information that helps to understand its reality, such as the absenteeism rate, departments that telework the most, etc.

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Lack of visibility of the days of absence and presence

Another of the common problems is that the company usually lacks visibility of the days of absence and presence of employees or between teams. This translates into a waste of time asking or searching emails or notifications for the availability of the rest of the team. Related to that lack of visibility is the fact that employees may believe that their overtime is not being recorded. This leads to disgruntled and distrustful employees.

Tools that do not meet the needs

It may happen that HR software has been hired, but when employees and managers use it to record the workday, or to request medical hours, the tool does not meet usability standards. Or it does not allow a real-time connection with visualization on any device. In this case, it is best to test the tool before entering into a deal. Make sure that it is user friendly and that it responds to the needs of both employees and HR managers. We must try to make the use of the labor registration tool as easy and bearable as possible, so it will be possible to ensure its daily use and full adoption by the workforce.

Time Control Law

Despite the fact that it has been more than four years since the implementation of the Control Law, it is still an aspect of business management that continues to generate controversy and controversy. In fact, according to data published by Grupo SPEC, half of the companies would not pass an inspection by the hourly register three years after the law. In fact, from September 2019 to May 2022, inspectors have detected a total of 3,299 violations in the registration of working hours throughout Spain and have imposed a total of 4.7 million euros in fines.

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Acer launches a 16-inch ultraportable with 4K resolution

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The new Acer Swift Edge is presented as a new high-performance ultraportable, and despite everything it maintains a very contained weight. This computer comes configured with a Ryzen 7 Pro 6850U APU, a chip that can be configured with a Zen 3+ CPU and a Radeon 680M GPU based on RDNA2 architecture. The processor has 8 cores and 16 threads at 2.7 GHz base frequency and 4.7 GHz speed in turbo mode, and the GPU has 768 shaders.

Despite being a low power solution, that APU is capable of delivering an excellent level of performance, and its integrated GPU can outperform dedicated solutions like the NVIDIA MX450so it’s a really interesting APU. The memory configuration that Acer has used in this equipment impresses, since we have a total of 16 GB of LPDDR5 memory at 6,400 MHz in the most powerful version, which translates into high bandwidth.

The screen of the Acer Swift Edge is 16 inches, you can mount a OLED panel with 4K resolution capable of reproducing 100% of the DCI-P3 color space and is TUV RHEINLAND certified, indicating both high quality color reproduction and low blue light emissions. The rest of its specifications are completed with a 1 TB M.2 SSD with PCIe 4.0 x4 interface, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and a FullHD webcam.

The range of connectors that the Acer Swift Edge brings is up to the equipment, and we can highlight the presence of two USB 4 connectors, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, a 3.5 mm jack and an HDMI output. In its base configuration, this equipment weighs only 1.17 kilograms, its chassis is made of a magnesium aluminum alloy and offers a range of up to 7 and a half hours for each battery charge. Its price will be 1,200 euros in its base configuration.

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