Raptor Lake-P Impresses, as well as Surprise ECC

Low-power processors have traditionally been geared toward laptops and other mobile platforms. However, the enduring popularity of ultra-compact desktop systems has meant that UCFF PCs also serve as flagship vehicles for the latest mobile processors. Such is the case with Intel’s Raptor Lake-P – they were the processor SKUs Announced earlier this month At CES 2023, final products using the processor are scheduled to appear in a few weeks. Intel officially allows its partners to start selling their products in the channel today, and also allows third-party evaluation results for Raptor Lake-P-based products to be published.

ASRock Industrial I entered A Raptor Lake-P-based NUC clone as soon as Intel announced the parts to the public. With the new platform, the company decided to step away from its offerings – a slim version (sans 2.5-inch drive support) with DDR4 SODIMM slots in the NUCS BOX-13x0P / D4, a regular-height version with 2.5-inch drive support in the NUC BOX- 13x0P / D4, And a slightly modified version of the latter with DDR5 SODIMM slots in the NUC BOX-13x0P / D5. The NUCS BOX-1360P is the leader in the first category, and the relative maturity of DDR4-based platforms has allowed them to start pushing product into the channel early.

ASRock Industrial sampled it for us with a file NUCS BOX-1360P/D4 from the first production process. We expected a factory upgrade with improvements in performance and energy efficiency. In the course of our review process, we found that the system allowed control of a new Raptor Lake-P feature/switch that Intel didn’t bother to bring up during the CES announcement—within the scope of ECC. This review provides a comprehensive look at Raptor Lake-P’s feature set for desktop platforms along with detailed performance and power efficiency analysis for SFF PC workloads.

Introduction and product impressions

Intel’s Raptor Lake-P builds on Alder Lake-P and its heterogeneous processor architecture by moving to a more efficient manufacturing process. Unlike the desktop version with its improved cache size per performance core and doubled the number of efficiency cores, the -P series provides improvements primarily from updated VF curves. This has allowed Intel to increase the turbo clocks of both cores to deliver better performance and power efficiency – all while maintaining the same 28W nominal TDP of Alder Lake-P. There are also a number of I/O improvements such as additional Thunderbolt 4 ports and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support on them, but adoption of these improvements depends on other board component choices by the system manufacturer.

ASRock is a well-known company in the consumer PC market. In 2011, the company established the ASRock Industrial Business Unit to focus on industrial motherboards. The division branched out in 2018 as an independent vendor focusing exclusively on B2B products. The company has products for deployment in small business (office), automation, robotics, security, and other industrial/IoT applications. Primarily, the company develops motherboards, and sells them to various system integrators who can do their own value additions. In addition, the company also sells mini PCs based on upgraded motherboards in the retail channel. We’ve taken a closer look at the performance profile of several ASRock Industrial UCFF computers before, including those for NUC BOX-1260P Based on the Core i7-1260P Alder Lake-P processor.

The company presented us with a sample of its first Raptor Lake-P mini PC – NUCS BOX-1360P / D4. This is essentially a follow-up product to the NUC BOX-1200 series, but it’s not exactly a replacement. Whereas the NUC BOX-1200 Series comes with dual LAN capabilities, and a choice of both HDMI and Display Port outputs, the NUCS BOX-1300 Series replaces the Display Port output with another HDMI port and eliminates one of the LAN ports.

While the NUC BOX series uses a chassis that traces its roots back to ASRock’s now defunct bee box project The NUCS BOX line is a first for ASRock Industrial. Without the need to support a 2.5″ drive, the chassis height has been reduced from 48mm to 38mm. The original fingerprint magnet of the upper chassis has also been replaced with matte plastic. The relative distance between the motherboard and the top of the chassis has not been changed, though (the height is completely reduced on the underside where the 2.5-inch drive tray used to be). The cooling solution for the processor is time-tested within this case design, and all ASRock Industrial did for the NUCS BOX-1300 series was slightly change the I/O slots to match the new board.

ASRock Industrial’s main focus is on B2B customers. Not surprisingly, their systems are packaged in a nondescript way. Within the package, however, the company includes everything an end user would need — a VESA mount and associated screws, M. 2 SSD mounting aids, a geolocation-specific power cord and a 90W power adapter.

ASRock Industrial markets its mini PCs in a stripped-down configuration, leaving the choice of RAM and SSD to the end user. Installing these components involves removing four screws from the bottom side of the unit, a hole in the SODIMM modules, and attaching the M.2 SSD with the screw. It should be noted here that installing an M.2 SSD in the NUCS BOX-1360P is much easier compared to the NUC BOX-1200 series as the screw hole is located directly on the board and not on a separate plastic tab. The side of the case is perforated for air intake and the back has a vent hole that allows a laptop-style blower fan to expel air after passing it through a heat spreader.

In order to do an apples-to-apples comparison, we opted to use the same set of components used in our review of the NUC BOX-1260P. The NUCS BOX-1360P/D4 is equipped with an ADATA XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite and 2x 32GB Kingston FURY Impact DDR4-3200 SODIMMs. Our review sample’s full specs (as tested) are summarized in the table below.

ASRock NUCS BOX-1360P / D4 specifications
(as tested)
Healer Intel Core i7-1360P
Raptor Lake 4P + 8E / 16T, up to 5.0GHz (P) up to 3.7GHz (E)
Intel 7, 18MB L2, Min/Max/Base TDP: 20W/64W/28W
PL1 = 28 watts, PL2 = 64 watts
memory Kingston FireImpact KHX3200C20S4/32GX DDR4-3200 SODIMM
20-22-22-48 @ 3200MHz
2 x 32 GB
graphics Intel Iris X graphics
(96EU @ 1.50GHz)
drives) ADATA XPG GAMMIX S50 Lite
(2TB; M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe)
(Micron 96L 3D TLC; Silicon Motion Controller SM2267)
networks 1x 2.5Gb RJ-45 (Intel I226-LM)
Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 (2×2 802.11ax – 2.4Gbps)
My voice Realtek ALC233 (3.5mm audio jack on the front)
Digital audio with bitstream support via HDMI and Display Port
Video 2x HDMI 2.0b (rear)
2x Display Port 1.4 over Type-C Alt-Mode
Various I/O ports 1 USB4 Type C (front, up to 40Gbps)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (front, with DP Alt Mode)
2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (front)
2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (rear)
Operating System Windows 11 Enterprise (22000.1455)
pricing (Street pricing as of January 25thy2022)
we $700 (exposed bones)
$1050 (depending on configuration, without operating system)
Full specifications ASRock Industrial NUCS BOX-1360P/D4 specifications

In the next section, we look at BIOS options along with a platform analysis of your motherboard. It also includes an overview of the in-band ECC feature that Intel underestimated at launch. Next, we have a number of sections focusing on different performance aspects with and without ECC within scope before finalizing the analysis of the value proposition of the system.

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