Asrock has announced the launch of two new mainboards, the Micro-ATX N100M and Mini-ITX N100DC-ITX, both of which come equipped with an Intel processor N100. This latest CPU is from the Alder Lake-N series and comes with four E-cores with Gracemont microarchitecture. These are the same as those found in the Core i-12000 and Core i-13000, however, unlike those processors, the N100 only has E cores, but they are very strong and capable of keeping pace with the dual cores from AMD and Intel that were introduced six years ago.
One important aspect to be aware of is that the processors are soldered and cannot be replaced. Coolers are supplied, and because the thermal design power (TDP) is only six watts, a simple aluminum heat sink without a fan is sufficient. Both boards have VGA sockets for old displays which may be useful for those with legacy equipment.
The GPU on the N100 also has video decoders for VP9 and AV1. There is an M.2 slot for an NVMe SSD (PCI Express 3.0 x2) as well as two SATA ports and Gigabit Ethernet enhancing the potential usage for these boards as small servers and self-made NAS. The N100DC-ITX also has an RS-232 port (COM port) and a pin header for a parallel port (LPT).
Testing the Morefine N9 N100 mini PC with fan cooling, the Intel N100 scored 919 points in the Cinebench R23 benchmark for single threading (ST/single core) and 2921 points for multithreading (MT/all cores). The Intel Core i3-7100 from 2017 has 1039/2638 points, the AMD Ryzen 3 1200, which was introduced a little later, delivers 860/3059 points. With this computing power, the Intel N100 is an attractive upgrade for some older computers whose processors Microsoft no longer supports with Windows 11.
Asrock grants the N100 only one memory channel on both boards which accommodates a DDR4 DIMM with a maximum of 32 GB. Besides an HDMI 2.0 socket, the N100M also has one for DisplayPort 1.4 (N100DC-ITX: only HDMI 2.0), so it controls two 4K displays with a frame rate of at least 60 Hertz.
The USB-C socket of the N100M transmits up to 10 Gbit/s (USB 3.2 Gen 2), but does not deliver any DisplayPort signals nor accept any power, whilst the Asrock N100DC-ITX is designed for direct current of 19 volts. The N100DC-ITX is expected to be more expensive and is designed for operation with a single DC voltage of 19 volts, so unlike the N100M, it has no connection for an ATX power supply.
Asrock’s new mainboards are set to be an exciting addition to the market, but so far, there is no information regarding their prices. For those currently looking to upgrade their systems, the Asrock J4125M with Celeron J4125 can be found for approximately €100.