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ASRock Z77E-ITX Motherboard Review

ASRock have decided to use a black and gold colour scheme for the Z77E-ITX which consists of a black PCB with black fittings and gold capacitors.  There are also a few gold highlights scattered across the motherboard.  We expect that this colour scheme will be admired by most people as the gold isn't intrusive and the black will compliment almost any other components you choose to install.

It seems that ASRock has tried to make room for as many features as possible on the Z77E-ITX despite the compact mini-ITX form factor. There is even a small heatsink covering some of the power regulation circuitry next to the CPU socket.

We will see if this helps the overclocking performance later in the review.  The 8-pin CPU power connector is located just above this heatsink.

The only slight issue with the CPU socket placement is that it's very close to the PCI Express x16 connector.  This means that large coolers may obstruct this lane, preventing you from installing a graphics card.

As a result of the form factor of the motherboard, the CPU socket sits lower than it would on an equivalent ATX motherboard.  Above the CPU socket we find the majority of the motherboard components and connections.

Along the top edge of the board there are four SATA connectors which are hooked up to the Intel Z77 chipset.  Two of these support SATA-600 while the other two are restricted to SATA-300 speeds.  The motherboard supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 as well as Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel Rapid Start Technology and Intel Smart Connect Technology.

ASRock have thoughtfully included an mSATA connector on the back of the motherboard which supports speeds of up to 3.0 GB/s.  We expect that a number of users will use this to enable Intel Smart Response Technology.

We also find some other connections along the top edge of the motherboard including two USB2.0 front panel headers, a USB3.0 front panel header and two 4-pin fan headers.  There is also a mini-PCIe wireless card installed on the motherboard which is a welcome addition and will be useful for quite a number of users.

There are only two DDR3 RAM slots on the Z77E-ITX which are located along the right hand edge.  These support up to 16 GB of non-ECC unbuffered memory with speeds of 2800+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 MHz.

Due to the size limitations of the mini-ITX form factor, the Z77E-ITX only features a single PCI Express x16 slot which is located along the bottom edge of the motherboard.  As a result, this motherboard doesn't support any kind of dual graphics configuration.

The rear I/O panel supports:

  • 2 x Antenna Ports
  • 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
  • 1 x DVI-I Port
  • 1 x HDMI Port
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
  • 2 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1 x eSATA2 Connector
  • 4 x Ready-to-Use USB 3.0 Ports
  • 1 x RJ-45 LAN Ports with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
  • 1 x Clear CMOS Switch with LED
  • HD Audio Jack: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone

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