ASUS has introduced its first miniature workstation, the Mini PC ProArt PA90. The new system has Intel’s eight-core CPU, NVIDIA’s Quadro graphics, a high-performance storage subsystem, and has four display outputs. One of the interesting features of the Mini PC ProArt PA90 is its form-factor that loosely resembles that of Apple’s Mac Pro launched five years ago.

The ASUS Mini PC ProArt PA90 tiny workstation is based on Intel’s Z390 platform and can be equipped with eight-core Core i7-9700K or Core i9-9900K processor paired with NVIDIA’s Quadro P2000 (GP106GL, 1024 cores) or Quadro P4000 (GP104GL, 1792 cores) graphics. Using such components inside a miniature PC is tricky to say the least. The Core i9-9900K features a TDP of 95 W, but it can get higher under high loads when the CPU runs at Turbo clocks, unless ASUS is manually adjusting peak consumption (as other mini-PCs do). As for the GPU, the Quadro P4000 can dissipate up to 105 W. To ensure that the processor delivers consistent performance, it is equipped with a custom  designed all-in-one liquid cooler. When the CPU temperature exceeds 80°C, the PC automatically lifts its top cover to enable a better airflow. Meanwhile, keeping in mind that the system will come with a 180 W or a 230 W external PSU, cooling may not be the main bottleneck here.

Moving on to DRAM and storage. Memory subsystem of the machine is comprised of up to four SO-DIMMs supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4-2133 memory, which is standard for PCs of this class. As for storage subsystem, the Mini PC ProArt PA90 can be equipped with two M.2-2280 SSDs (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA) and one 2.5-inch storage device.

Being aimed at professionals, the small form-factor workstation from ASUS has an appropriate set of connectivity options. The PC is equipped with four DisplayPort 1.4 outputs (depending on the GPU), two Thunderbolt 3 connectors, four USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, one GbE, and audio jacks.

Time to talk about the key selling point of the Mini PC ProArt PA90: its dimensions. The system is 365 mm tall, features a diameter of 176 mm, and weighs 5.8 kilograms. The SFF workstation is larger and heavier than Apple’s Mac Pro, though not dramatically. Furthermore, larger dimensions may mean that ASUS has managed to integrate a better cooling solution, which is clearly welcome in case of an SFF system.

General Specifications of ASUS SFF Workstation
  Mini PC ProArt PA90
CPU Options Intel Core i7-9700K (8C/8T, 3.6 - 4.9 GHz, 12 MB LLC)
Intel Core i9-9900K (8C/16T, 3.6 - 5 GHz, 16 MB LLC)
Graphics Options NVIDIA Quadro P2000 (GP106GL, 1024 cores)
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 (GP104GL, 1792 cores)
RAM 4 × DDR4 DDR4-2133/2666 SO-DIMMs
Up to 64 GB DDR4-2133 memory
Storage SSD 2 × M2-2280 SSDs (SATA or PCIe 3.0 x4)
HDD 1 × 2.5-inch 500 GB or 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2x2) Wi-Fi
Bluetooth ?
USB 4 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
Thunderbolt 3 2 × Thunderbolt 3
Display Outputs 4 × DisplayPort++ 1.4
GbE 1 × Gigabit Ethernet
Other I/O Audio out, Microphone in, Line In
PSU 19.5Vdc, 9.23A 180W
19.5Vdc, 11.8A 230W
External Power Bricks
Dimensions Width 176 mm
Depth 176 mm
Height 365 mm
Weight 5.8 kilograms
Price ?

ASUS plans to start sales of its in the coming months, but it has not announced when exactly. Pricing of the SFF workstation is something that remains to be seen as well, but keep in mind that we are talking about a workstation-class machine that will use appropriately-priced components.

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Source: ASUS

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  • MarcusMo - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    What's the point of this if you have to have a 230W, no doubt atrocious, external PSU? At least apple manages to stuff its PSUs inside the case. If I wanted a giant brick on the floor, I could get, you know, a normal PC.
  • Inteli - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    A 230W PSU isn't that big. Lenovo's for example, is 4x8x1". That's significantly lower profile than a standard tower.
  • MarcusMo - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    Yes, I do understand that even a 230w PSU is smaller than a PC chassis. Thank you. My point is that its an inelegant solution that diminishes the value proposition of the product, which is pretty limited to begin with.
  • lazarpandar - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    Do you expect people to acknowledge your point when you're being a dick about it?
  • MarcusMo - Saturday, January 5, 2019 - link

    You’re right. Sorry, the dickishness was uncalled for.
  • mooninite - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    I'll fill in the blanks for you with my best guess.
    Base Price: $1999
    Max Spec Price: $2999
    People buying this: 0
  • sharath.naik - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    11.3 liter volume. You can build a cheaper one on Dan case a4sfx which is only 7 liters and use a psu up to 800watts
  • sharath.naik - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    A4sfx 300$+600watt psu 150$+motherboard 300$+ 1080ti 600$+CPU 400$+ram 16gb 200$+ SSD 150$+ CPU cooler 60$
    Around 2000$
  • PeachNCream - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    A considerable majority of the market for workstation hardware comes from business and corporate entities and their acquisitions departments are generally uninterested in a DIY box using consumer-grade parts.
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, January 4, 2019 - link

    Needs more work. The design tries too hard to be cute, rather than competent. It looks like an air purifier, or an iMac Pro that was left in the dryer for too long and shrunk. And, a 230W power supply (external, apparently) is supposed to power an i9 9900K AND the Quattro card? That is, let's say, very optimistic. Lastly, no HDMI 2.0b or 2.1 connector? Not impressed.

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