The push for small yet powerful computers has been evident over the past few years. Many enthusiasts are no longer happy with an ATX motherboard and full tower chassis to house their single graphics card and pair of storage drives. Instead, budding aficionados are challenging themselves to create smaller and smaller systems without compromising on performance. Other than the personal novelty of housing a powerful system in a chassis not much bigger than a desktop printer, functional benefits of the mini-ITX eco-system include greater portability and reduced space requirements.
Aiming to offer an entirely new level of performance which has previously been out of reach for the small form factor (SFF) scene, ASRock offers up the most powerful mini-ITX motherboard ever to reach consumer marketplaces. Can ASRock’s X99E-ITX/ac motherboard prove that you don’t need to go big to go X99?
Every iteration of Intel’s High-End Desktop (HEDT) platform sees enthusiasts question the possibility of a mini-ITX motherboard sporting the chipset. And each time the questions are posed on various forums, the common conclusion is that the gargantuan HEDT CPU socket seems simply too big to fit on a 17x17cm footprint and optimise it for consumer use. Clearly, cramming the HEDT platform and its armada of features into a 289cm2 PCB area was a challenge that ASRock’s engineers licked their lips at.
The X99E-ITX/ac cuts the number of DIMM slots to a pair and uses the LGA 2011-3 CPU socket with narrow ILM mounting holes. But that’s pretty much where compromise ends. A host of SATA 6Gbps connections, USB 3.1 ports, dual NICs, 802.11ac WiFi, 32Gbps M.2, and a full-speed PCIe expansion slots render the word ‘compromise‘ irrelevant. Oh, and don’t worry about overclocking capacity; ASRock removes the frequency-pushing shackles by means of a comprehensive UEFI and healthy power delivery system.
Is ASRock’s X99E-ITX/ac the go-to motherboard for a no-comprise SFF powerhouse? Or when it comes to Intel’s HEDT platform, does size really matter?
- ASRock Super Alloy
- Supports Intel® Core™ i7 and Xeon® 18-Core Processors Family for the LGA 2011-3 Socket
- X Series OC Socket, Digi Power, 6 Power Phase design
- Supports Dual Channel DDR4 3200+(OC)
- 1 PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 Vertical mini-PCIe for WiFi + BT Module
- 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Supports DTS Connect
- Intel® Dual Gigabit LAN with Teaming Function
- 6 SATA3, 1 eSATA, 1 SATA Express, 1 Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3)
- WLAN: 2T2R Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi + BT v4.0 Module, ASRock WiFi 2.4/5 GHz Antenna
- 2 USB 3.1 Type-A 10Gb/s, 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear), 4 USB 2.0 (2 Front, 2 Rear)
- Free Bundle : CPU Cooler, Water Cooling Mounting Plate, ASRock U3 to U2 Converter
- Supports ASRock Full Spike Protection, APP Shop, A-Tuning, Full HD UEFI