Hands-on With ASRock’s NUC-Like 4X4 BOX-4800U Mini PC

AMD has been steadily creeping into what once was mostly Intel’s territory for years now, first with desktop CPUs and then with laptops. Now the company’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) Mini PC team better watch their backs. Because ASRock’s 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC, powered by AMD’s top-end mobile Ryzen 7 4800 CPU, is impressively speedy, and comes equipped with a cadre of next-gen connectivity. If you’re after a capable desktop in a tiny 4.3 x 4.6 x 1.9-inch form factor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better.

Just know that gaming performance is limited to lower settings with the integrated Radeon Vega graphics. And while the $599 price doesn’t sound too bad, you’ll have to provide your own storage, RAM and operating system. If you have room for a larger desktop, you can get a much better deal — or at the very least, better performance — by opting for one of the best gaming PCs. The 4X4 BOX-4800U does, though, come with a VESA mounting bracket, so you can mount the system behind most (or at least many) monitors for a tidy DIY AIO solution.

Also, just as we’ve seen with other 4800U-based devices throughout the year (like Lenovo’s Yoga Slim 7), the 4X4 BOX-4800U can be tough to find in stock. ASRock tells us that the stock of the system it’s supplied to Newegg has sold out very quickly. So keep an eye out for it if you’re after the best possible performance (you can sign up to be notified of new stock at the link above). But if you can get by with a bit less CPU and GPU grunt, the company will also offer up a 4×4 BOX-4500U (for $429) and a 4×4 BOX-4300U (for $339). So if you don’t need 16 threads and a CPU that clocks above 4 GHz, there will be other Ryzen-based options, which (if the history of other 4800U-based products is any indication) should have much better supply. But note the Ryzen processors on those lesser models lack multithreading, and have lesser integrated graphics.

ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U Specifications

Processor AMD Ryzen 7 4800U Additional Cost
Memory Patriot RAM PSD432G32002S (x2) $110 (x2)
Graphics
Storage Patriot M.2 SSD P300P512GM28 (512GB) $60
Networking Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5GbE
Realtek R8111FPV 1GbE
Intel intel AX200NGW Wi-Fi 6 module
Ports Front: Headphone/mic jack, one USB 3.2 Gen2 Type A, two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C
Rear: Two USB 2.0 Type A, two Ethernet, lock slot
Video Output 1x HDMI 2.0a
1x DisplayPort 1.2a
Power Supply 90W external power adapter
Operating System Windows 10 Home $139.00
Dimensions 4.3 x 4.6 x 1.9 inches (110 x 117.5 x 47.85 mm)
Price as Configured $599 $419
Total cost for ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U and Additional Components $1,018

ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

As noted earlier, the top-end $599 Ryzen 7 4800U-powered ASRock 4X4 BOX doesn’t come with storage or RAM (and neither do any of the lesser models). ASRock sent along some for testing, in the form of a 512GB NVMe P300P512GM28 M.2 SSD ($60) and two 3200MHz PSD432G32002S SODIMM sticks ($110 each), both from Patriot. If you add a full-priced license for Windows (although there are ways to get Windows 10 for free or cheap), that puts the total price at $1,018 as of this writing.

For that price, you could of course build a desktop that’s much more capable at gaming or high-end productivity. So what you’re paying for here is for high-end Laptop-like performance in a very small package. That said, if you don’t need quite as much performance, the lesser 4500U and 4300U models might be worth considering.

ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Regardless of which model of the 4×4 BOX you opt for, you get fairly impressive IO for a system this compact. The front is outfitted with a headphone/mic combo jack, two USB-C ports and a USB-A port. All of these are speedy USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) ports.

ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Around back, there’s the barrel connector for the external laptop-like 90W power brick, a pair of USB 2.0 ports (handy for your keyboard and mouse) and DisplayPort and HDMI ports for video. Also here is a lock slot and a pair of Ethernet jacks — one 1Gb and one 2.5Gb, both powered by Realtek.

ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Despite being tiny, the chassis is well vented with mesh windows on both sides and vents at the back, above the ports.

Of course, you’ll have to install your storage and memory and an operating system before getting the ASRock 4×4 Box up and running. This process should be very familiar to anyone who’s ever set up an Intel NUC.

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ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

To get into the 4X4 BOX-4800U, you’ll need to remove four Philips-head screws embedded in the feet on the bottom.You can then pop the underside off to get access to the storage and RAM slots. Adding the M.2 drive and a pair of SODIMM sticks is pretty much the same here as you would do in a laptop, just in a more confined space.

ASRock 4X4 BOX-4800U mini PC

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Intel AX200NGW Wi-Fi 6 module comes pre-installed in a slot below the NVMe SSD M.2 slot, so you’ll install the SSD atop it. If you want to add bulk storage or a SATA SSD, there’s a mounting tray for a 2.5-inch drive in the base of the chassis, and a SATA data/power combo cable is pre-attached to the small motherboard.


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