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The ASRock QC5000-ITX is a Mini-ITX motherboard that comes with an A4-5000 “Kabini” quad-core CPU soldered. It has six USB 3.0 and four SATA-600 ports, but its highlights are actually its low TDP and low cost, besides, of course, its small footprint.
The AMD A4-5000 is an SoC (System on a Chip), meaning it has the CPU, GPU, memory controller, and chipset in the same chip. Even with all these components, the chip dissipates only 15 W. The A4-5000 has four processing cores, runs at 1,5 GHz and has 2 MiB of L2 cache. The chips brings an integrated Radeon HD8330 GPU, which has 128 graphics cores running at 500 MHz. The CPU comes with a small cooler with a 40 mm fan.
You can see the ASRock QC5000-ITX motherboard in Figure 1. It uses the Mini-ITX form factor, measuring 6.7” x 6.7” (170 x 170 mm).
The ASRock QC5000-ITX comes with one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot, running at x4 speed, and one Mini PCI Express slot for installing a Wi-Fi card based on this form factor. Actually, there is another version of this motherboard that comes already with an Wi-Fi adapter installed: the QC5000-ITX/WiFi.
We missed an M.2 slot, which would allow us to install an SSD module on the motherboard.
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The A4-5000 CPU can access DDR3 memory up to 1,600 MHz, in single channel mode. According to ASRock, the QC5000-ITX supports memories up to 1,600 MHz.
The motherboard has two DIMM memory sockets, so you can install up to 32 GiB on this motherboard if you use two 16 GiB modules.
[nextpage title=”On Board Peripherals”]
The AMD A4-5000 CPU supports two SATA-600 ports, and the ASRock QC5000-ITX motherboard brings those two ports, plus two SATA-600 ports controlled by one ASMedia ASM1061, as shown in Figure 4.
The A4-5000 CPU supports six USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports. The ASRock QC5000-ITX offers six USB 2.0 ports, two on the rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard, and six USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel (two controlled by the CPU and two controlled by an Etron EJ188H chip) and two available through a header on the motherboard (controlled by the same Etron EJ188H chip).
The motherboard does not support FireWire or Thunderbolt ports.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format using a Realtek ALC892 codec. The main specifications of this codec include 97 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. These specs are good for the mainstream user, but if you are looking into working professionally with audio editing, you should look for a motherboard that provides an SNR of at least 97 dB for the analog inputs.
The analog audio outputs are independent only if you use a 5.1 analog speaker set. If you install a 7.1 analog speaker set, you will need to use the “line in” jack.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by a Realtek RTL8111E chip.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a metallic frame for two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, one PS/2 connector for keyboard, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, VGA output, DVI-D output, DisplayPort output, HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet port, optical SPDIF audio output, and the analog audio jacks.
[nextpage title=”CPU and Voltage Regulator”]
In Figure 7, you can see the A4-5000 CPU without its small active cooler, and Figure 8 shows the voltage regulator of the ASRock QC5000-ITX, which uses only two phases. Since the TDP of the chip is only 15 W and there are no overclocking options, the voltage regulator circuit is not really critical on this motherboard.
The ASRock QC5000-ITX uses only solid capacitors (with Hi-c a.k.a. SMD capacitors on the voltage regulator circuit), and all coils on this motherboard are ferrite ones.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the ASRock QC5000-ITX include:
- Socket: FT3 (AMD A4-5000 1.5 GHz CPU soldered on the motherboard)
- Chipset: embedded in the CPU
- Super I/O: Nuvoton NCT5573D
- Parallel ATA: none
- Serial ATA: four SATA-600 ports, two controlled by the CPU and two controlled by an ASMedia ASM1061 chip
- External SATA: none
- USB 2.0: four USB 2.0 ports, two on the rear panel and four available through two headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0: six USB 3.0 ports, four on the motherboard rear panel (two controlled by the processor and two controlled by an Etron EJ188H chip) and two available on a header on the motherboard (controlled by an Etron EJ188H chip)
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): none
- Thunderbolt: none
- On-board video: Radeon HD8330, controlled by the CPU
- On-board audio: produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC892 codec (7.1 channels, 24-bit resolution, 192 kHz sampling rate, 97 dB SNR for the outputs, and 90 dB SNR for the inputs)
- On-board LAN: one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by an Realtek RTL8111E chip
- Buzzer: no
- Infrared interface: no
- Power supply required: ATX
- Slots: one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x4), one Mini PCI Express slot
- Memory: two DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to DDR3-1600, 32 GiB maximum)
- Fan connectors: one three-pin connector for the CPU cooler, one four-pin connector and one three-pin connector for an auxiliary fans
- Extra features: none
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: one
- Programs included: motherboard utilities and drivers
- More Information: https://www.asrock.com/
- Average Price in the U.S.*: USD 73.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this First Look article.
The ASRock QC5000-ITX motherboard is an excellent option for compact and inexpensive desktop computers. Unlike the ASRock D1800B-ITX that we analyzed recently, which is focused on office and commercial applications, the QC5000-ITX is aimed at home multimedia and HTPC applications, because of the good number of USB 3.0 ports, audio connections, and the four-core CPU with Radeon graphics, also allowing you to install a video card in order to improve video performance.
The low cost and low TDP are also highlights of this motherboard, as well as the presence of a Mini PCI Express slot (and a rear panel with room for up to two Wi-Fi antenna connectors).
The only feature we missed was one M.2 slot, which would allow us to install an SSD using this form factor.
With all those features, the ASRock QC5000-ITX is a good choice for building a quiet, low-cost multimedia PC.