It's not very often that we get excited when a mini-ITX motherboard passes through our labs as they don't usually offer much in terms of overclocking performance. For this reason we were very surprised when we started testing the ASRock Z77E-ITX and managed to hit 4.7 GHz with our Intel Core i7-3770k.
Even more impressive is the fact that this performance is accessible to everyone as we managed to achieve this clock speed using the automatic overclocking feature. This is something that isn't even possible with many full-size ATX motherboards so it is a heck of an achievement for a mini-ITX board.
ASRock haven't compromised in any other areas either as the Z77E-ITX is very well featured. Some of the most interesting features include an on board Wi-Fi card and an mSATA connector which is ideal for enabling Intel Smart Response technology.
We would recommend this motherboard to anyone looking to build a very powerful HTPC or compact gaming PC as it offers amazing performance in a compact form factor.
The only negative aspect of the board in our opinion is the CPU socket placement which isn't ideal for installing large heatsinks as they can easily obstruct the PCI Express x16 lane. We would highly recommend using something such as the Corsair H60 which doesn't take up much room around the CPU socket.
This is something which affects most mini-ITX motherboards, though, so it doesn't lower the overall score. This is just one of the necessary compromises when moving to the mini ITX platform.
It's not unusual for you to pay a slight premium for a mini-ITX motherboard when compared to similarly featured micro-ATX or ATX motherboards due to the complications of cramming so many components into such a small space. The ASRock Z77E-ITX can be yours for a shade under £123.98 from Overclockers UK meaning it's priced similarly to many mini-ITX alternatives.
In this regard we feel it is a bargain.
- Excellent overclocking performance.
- Attractive colour scheme.
- On board Wi-Fi card.
- Generous bundle.
- Reasonably affordable.
- Limited space for large CPU coolers.
KitGuru says: An excellent motherboard that we wouldn't hesitate to recommend as a first choice.