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ASRock's M8 barebone rig could make a decent, rugged mini-PC

The ASRock M8 has just arrived in the office and it's one of the best-looking mini-ITX boxes I've seen in a long time. It's a high-end barebone PC, which means you'll need to provide your own processor, graphics card, memory, cooler and storage, but it uses a PCIe riser board so you can lie your dual-slot graphics card in line with the motherboard.

In spite of the riser, you couldn't really call the M8 barebones small , and it's costly, too. Prices start at £413, which includes the chassis, fans, ASRock Z87-M8 mini-ITX motherboard, a slimline optical disk drive and a 450W SFX power supply.

It may not be in the realms of SilverStone's Raven RVZ01 , in terms of getting as small as possible while still allowing for dual-slot GPUs, but it's still a pretty small form factor machine when you compare it with a full tower PC. The M8 has enough space to house some high-power components, so you're unlikely to notice any lack of performance compared to a full tower PC either.

As well as a beautifully rugged Steam Machine, you could build an excellent LAN party machine into it too. It may not be particularly light, but that chassis - co-designed with BMW DesignWorksUSA - is seriously solid and comes with a selection of carry handles at each corner.

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.