The M8 is a funky little computer that BMW Designworks styled, and ASRock manufactures and sells. It’s unique for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a barebones kit. This means you only get half the parts, and it is a build-it-yourself style affair. It also features a cool AMOLED screen/control on the front that has been dubbed A-Command.
Before you get too excited, note that this is BMW Designworks, not BMW itself. Much like Porsche Design , BMW Designworks is a separate division that designs products with a certain aesthetic for third-party groups around the world.
Despite that, it still has a super-cool design, and being able to tell your friends you have a BMW computer is pretty awesome, even if it’s not really a BMW. Best of all, it makes a great addition to any car-guy office or study. For bonus points, you can also pick up a BMW Designworks-designed mouse or headset from a company called Thermaltake. If you had a keyboard and monitor from BMW, you could have a whole BMW Design works computer.
AS Rock was kind enough to loan us a test unit of the M8 for a few weeks to test out. Here is what we learned before we sent it back.
This thing looks like a million bucks. From the squared off shape, integrated cable holder with M8 logo, and the geometrically shaped vent holes, every detail of this case looks thought out and designed for purpose.
For having a case so small, the fact that you can fit up to four hard drives, a full-size video card and it has a DVD drive amazes me. It is a solid combination of size and usability. It also comes with a high-end SoundBlaster sound card and a wi-fi card built in to help save room.
That fancy A-Command switch lets you alter computer volume, see the date and more all with a quick spin.
With an asking price of $500+ for a machine that is only half built, it can be hard to justify the cost. It may be very well designed, and the built in sound card and wi-fi help offset the cost, but there is no two ways around it; half a grand is a ton of money for a fancy computer case.
If you are not at least a little familiar with how to assemble a computer, this build will destroy your psyche and melt your soul. With so much crammed into such a tiny area, it is complicated, cramped and dark. Even with dozens of builds under my belt, I had to break out the instructions to figure out how to slap this thing together.
If you are looking for a compact and powerful system that can be customized to your exact usage scenario, the M8 can be a good choice; as long as you are okay with the high price associated with high design and quality materials. The fact that BMW Designworks designed it adds a special cool factor, but make no mistake, you are paying for that name.
If you just want a nice computer, there are literally hundreds of other options on the market that are more affordable and easier to use.