Closer Look: ASRock Z87E-ITX Motherboard
It’s good to see ITX form factor motherboards with so many features. In this section we will take an overview look at the ASRock Z87E-ITX motherboard, and in the next section we will look at the highlighted features in more detail.
The front of the box tells an avid enthusiast what they need to know, but average Joe won’t have a clue what this motherboard is all about. The design is stylish but the main info regarding features etc are found on the reverse side.
To appeal to PC enthusiasts I imagine ASRock had to spend quite some time to figure out the best layout in order to squeeze in full ATX features into an ITX motherboard.
I wouldn’t normally expect to find features on the reverse side of a motherboard, but this is ITX we are looking at, and it’s a nice surprise to see an mSATA / full mini-PCIe expansion slot available.
As we continue looking around the motherboard I am struggling to find what has been sacrificed, other than PCIe slots and space of course. Some things have an odd location which will make neat cable routing difficult. There aren’t many fan headers available (only two) but it’s a very small sacrifice in my eyes.
Plenty of room is available around the CPU socket for the larger CPU coolers should you decide to stick with an older air CPU cooler. I had initially installed my Noctua NH-D14 behemoth CPU cooler without too much hassle (install RAM and PSU power first) but it absolutely dwarfed the tiny ITX motherboard. I have since purchased a sealed loop CPU watercooler as this will enable me to fit the Z87E-ITX motherboard in a much smaller chassis.
From left to right the rear I/O of the ASRock Z87E-ITX is as follows: 2x USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 keyboard port, 2x WiFi antennae headers, a DVI-I port, DisplayPort and HDMI connections, a Clear CMOS button, an eSATA port, 4x USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit LAN port, and finally we have analogue HD audio connections with SPDIF optical interface. When using the integrated CPU graphics the Z87E-ITX motherboard supports triple monitors, connect a monitor to each of the display interfaces and use them simultaneously.