ASRock Z87E-ITX Intel Desktop Motherboard Review
By Steven Iglesias-Hearst
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by ASRock Inc.
Small form factor PC’s have been gaining a lot of momentum and favor with hardware enthusiasts and hardcore gamers these past couple of years. Since more features are integrated into the CPU in recent releases, it means more real estate has been made on ITX form factor motherboards for extras that may well have not fit previously. With the release of Intel Haswell CPU’s and Z87 chipset, motherboard vendors are now more than ever able to condense the features of a full size ATX motherboard into the ITX form factor without much (if any) sacrifice. See for yourself, take a look at an average Z68 or Z77 ATX motherboard and you will start to notice just how much space isn’t occupied. In this article Benchmark Reviews takes an in-depth look at the ASRock Z87E-ITX motherboard, reporting back on special features and performance as well as giving a visual commentary on the aesthetics of this tiny beast.
Maybe you want to build your own small form factor PC, or maybe you are intrigued by the sheer size of this motherboard and you wonder how can it pack in so many features. The ASRock Z87E-ITX features 6 x SATA3 ports, 1 x eSATA port, 6 x USB 3.0 ports (2x internal), 6 USB 2.0 (4x internal). There is only one PCI-e x16 slot as with all ITX motherboards, but the ASRock Z87E-ITX also features 1x half mini-PCIe and 1x mSATA/full mini-PCIe for extra expansion capabilities. In the front mini-PCIe slot ASRock have included a WiFi 802.11ac + Bluetooth v4.0 module. It is surprising also to learn that the Z87E-ITX motherboard from ASRock has a 6 Phase power design and also supports dual channel DDR3 memory speeds up to 2933+(OC), this will make for some interesting bench testing as we try to find the upper limit of the Haswell CPU design and the capabilities of the motherboard as a whole.
ASRock have competition from ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI in the ITX form factor market as is expected. The ASUS ROG ITX board may pack more features but it will also be more expensive. MSI and Gigabyte will be able to compete on price but not on features. Please read on to find out more about the ASRock Z87E-ITX motherboard.