Mini-ITX motherboards can be particularly expensive due to the niche market segment, space-constrained form factor and increased R&D costs. Thankfully, motherboard chipsets like H370 lower the platform costs for mini-ITX solutions. ASRock’s H370M-ITX/ac is a perfect example of this, bringing mini-ITX into a mainstream budget – but with what compromises?
Prospective buyers of Intel 8th Generation (Coffee Lake) CPUs looking to build to mini-ITX form factor systems have four supporting chipsets to choose from – Z370, H370, B360 and H310. These chipsets rank in the same order for performance and cost with Z370 being the most full-featured and expensive, H310 the least.
ASRock has been the most active motherboard vendor for mini-ITX options with product offerings for all four chipsets – the H310M-ITX/ac, B360M-ITX/ac, H370M-ITXac, Z370M-ITX/ac and Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming-ITX/ac. The subject of this review, the H370M-ITX/ac, is ASRock’s middle option for Intel 8th Generation and mini-ITX.
With a price point of around £100 (US$110) for the H370M-ITX/ac, there are considerable savings to be made against Z370 mini-ITX motherboards from other vendors, such as the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming (£180/$180) or Gigabyte Z370N-WiFi (£140/$150). Mini-ITX rivals in the H310, B360 and H370 segments are almost entirely absent making ASRock its own main rival, with only ASUS ROG Strix’s H370-I Gaming (£125/$135) and B360-I Gaming (£120/$125) worth a mention.
There is an element of simplicity about the design of the H370M-ITX/ac with no fancy RGB lighting, just one M.2 slot and an audio implementation that’s a couple of generations old. Yet the fundamentals are still in place with a decent quality VRM, dual Intel Gigabit LAN, support for USB 3.1 (10Gbps), onboard WiFi and competent all-round connectivity.
Keeping in mind the limitations of the H370 chipset compared to Z370 (notably a lack of CPU or memory overclocking) how well does ASRock’s H370M-ITX/ac stand up to scrutiny?
|Form Factor||mini-ITX, 17cm x 17cm|
|CPU Socket||Intel LGA 1151 Version 2|
|Memory||DDR4, 2 DIMMs, up to 32GB, up to 2,666MHz|
|On-board Graphics||Intel HD Graphics (supported CPUs)|
|Discrete Graphics||Single Graphics Card configurations only|
|Expansion Slots||1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 electrical, from CPU)|
|Storage||6 x SATA III 6Gbps (via Intel H370)
1 x M.2 (supports PCIe 32Gbps or SATA 6Gbps*)
*Either M2 in SATA mode or SATA3_1 port
|USB||4 x USB 3.1 (4 Rear, all Type-A, via Intel H370)
4 x USB 3.0 (2 Rear, 2 Front, via Intel H370)
4 x USB 2.0 (2 Rear, 2 Front, via Intel H370)
|Networking||1 x Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet
1 x Intel I211AT Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Wireless-AC 3168 802.11ac 1T1R WiFi
|Audio||Realtek ALC892 5.1 channel audio*
*7.1 channel output available by using front panel audio with rear audio and configuring via Realtek driver
|Fan Headers||3, all support 3/4pin fans (1xCHA1/W_PUMP @ 2 Amps, 1xCPU @ 1A, 1xCHA2 @ 1A)|
|Rear I/O||2 x Antenna Ports
1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
2 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
2 x USB 2.0 Ports
4 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A Ports (10 Gb/s)
2 x USB 3.0 (5 Gb/s)
2 x RJ-45 LAN Ports
3 x HD Audio Jacks: Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
|UEFI||1 x 128Mb AMI UEFI BIOS|