Colorful isn’t a well-known brand to US tech consumers, who are much more likely to be familiar with the likes of Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI. If the motherboard and GPU manufacturer has its way, however, its devices may soon be grabbing headlines — especially if the company brings its proof-of-concept B150 motherboard with an integrated GTX 1070 to market in the United States.
The B150 is a budget chipset from Intel that supports the latest Intel Skylake processors, but doesn’t include overclocking options, RAID support, or nearly as many PCI-E lanes devoted to the chipset itself. Nvidia’s GTX 1070 is, of course, the lower-end cousin of the GTX 1080, with significantly improved performance over its Maxwell counterpart. Combine the two of them, and you get something like the below:
On the left you’ve got Nvidia’s GTX 1070, while the rest of the motherboard is over on the right. The chip at the bottom center of the page is probably a bridge chip to connect the motherboard to the integrated GPU card, and there are two mini-PCI Express chips (labeled 5A71B). If we had to guess, the top-left block might be a power connector with two USB ports on the top of the board, front-mounted audio jacks and USB ports at the bottom right. That’s just a guess, however — it’s genuinely not clear which direction the board is meant to orient in.
This obviously isn’t a board designed for the ATX standard; it’s more akin to something you’d see in an Intel NUC or Gigabyte Brix. These kinds of custom kits have gotten more popular in recent years, but no one has recently tried to stuff a high-end GPU alongside a top-end Skylake chip in such a small chassis. While both the GTX 1070 and Intel’s Skylake are relatively power-efficient, the GPU alone is still capable of drawing 160W. Even if you believe the rumors that Nvidia will use desktop Pascal chips as mobile GPUs, we’d still expect a system built around these components to draw 180-200W under load. That’s quite svelte for a gaming desktop, but way too hot for diminutive boxes.
While it’s definitely cool to see a board like this, consumers may not be interested in significant numbers. The typical tradeoff between desktops and laptops is that you buy a laptop for portability but sacrifice upgrade options, while a desktop is bulkier but much less portable. Tiny systems like NUCs are integrated like laptops with a few upgrade options, but they don’t attempt to pack in large GPUs with expensive price tags — and make no mistake, no PC that integrated a 1070 is going to be particularly cheap, especially if it uses a mobile chip to keep the TDP lower.
That’s not to say a box like this would find no audience. It could be useful to people who want a tiny living room PC and gaming box, or anyone for whom space is at a premium. The 1070’s overall excellent performance should keep it fresh for years to come, and the Skylake CPU will have no trouble running gaming titles for a similarly long time. Colorful has yet to reveal details on the product or whether it will bring the hardware to market; we’ll be curious to see if the company releases the board in North America.