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Asrock Z77E-ITX Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

Posted

Pros: Great price, onboard wifi, Z77

Cons: Cheap construction, flimsy PCB, dead after a simple cooler install, warranty nightmare, very poorly explained service.

I've heard horror stories about Asus in the past, but oddly they're the hero in this story.

This board came from a friend on OCN shipping it from his local microcenter. Originally my previous board didn't support a 3770k, which I needed for workstation stuff. However when this board came in it also supported overclocking. I installed windows on it and drivers, and about 5 days later I purchased an H100i. I popped it in my bitfenix prodigy after a simple cooler install, no visible issues. GPU fan failed, no lights on board, nothing on screen. After several hours of trouble shoot I take the rig apart to find no visible damage. I contact Asrock who tells me to go through a bunch of basic troubleshooting, and then contact microcenter about an instore warranty. Well Micro center doesn't have one. Well Asrock tells me okay, ship the board to us at MY expense, and if there is physical damage on the board or open box. So basically, spend 40 dollars in shipping twice, or spend 90 bucks + potentially more to have it replaced and have my warranty cut to three months.

This is very not acceptable to me, and frankly has heavily tarnished my intel experience. I seen many users in the prodigy club having mixed opinions on this board, however I firmly believe that under a week of use at stock clocks is essentially DOA, I am now still engaged in this warranty night mare, and honestly, I doubt I'll buy Asrock again. Go gigabyte.

Posted

Pros: Great overclocking, up to 16gb of ram, built in wifi, msata connector

Cons: cpu socket really close to pcie slot, might not overclock ram the best, msata slot can interfere with backplate, wifi antenna is awkward

This is a great motherboard at a good price if you want to build the best gaming rig in the smallest amount of space. It has plenty of sata connectors (4) for any mini itx computer case out there, and even has a msata connector on the back of the motherboard for use as a hdd cache or boot drive. The motherboard has a mini pcie slot, which is occupied by a wifi card that you would find on a laptop. It runs connectors out the the back of the motherboard were a rather bulky wifi antenna connects; The wifi antenna is about the size of a credit card with around a foot and a half of cabling to run the antenna to a good place, which can look ugly. I bought replacement antennas that you would find on a router, which performed the same, and looked a lot nicer.

The motherboard is high quality with japan made gold capacitors, and features digi power vrm. The whole motherboard in general is built well and didnt feel low quality by any means. My only problems with the layout of the motherboard is that the cpu socket is right up against the pcie slot, so close that the intel stock cooler is almost touching any graphics card installed. If you are building a high end gaming machine in a mini itx form factor, you are going to need a robust heatsink to handle any overclocking you would demand. Since the socket is so close to the pcie slot, I would recommend a closed loop watercooler, which will give you the best performance, and will give you desktop quality cpu temperatures. The msata connecter will get in trouble if installing any backplate for an aftermarket heatsink. It can easily be remodied by slightly cutting the backplate to fit.

This motherboard overclocks great, I am able to run my intel core i5 3570k at 4.7ghz without any problems, and I have gotten up to 5ghz, but my temperatures became a problem. I have mildly overclocked my 1333mhz ram to 1600mhz with no problems, but I know for a fact that upwards of 2000mhz is possible when using the correct ram. The bios are uefi, and really easy to navigate and overclock with.

So, some of the problems you might run into are the socket being close to the pcie slot, but in my opinion, any sff gaming computer should have a closed loop watercooler to begin with. Some backplates will interfere with the msata slot, which can easily be modified, and I have heard that it can be difficult to get ram to run above 2133 mhz, but the majority of people are going to be using 1333, 1600, or 1866mhz ram at most.

Overall, I will give this a 4.5/5 because it is near perfect except for the placement of the msata slot and cpu socket. I am very pleased with this motherboard, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great mini itx motherboard with performance in mind.
Asrock Z77E-ITX Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
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Description:

Number of Memory Slots: 2×240pin Memory Standard: DDR3 2800+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/ 1600/1333/1066 Onboard Video Chipset: None Audio Chipset: Realtek ALC898 Max LAN Speed: 10/100/1000Mbps SATA 3Gb/s: 2 CPU Type: Core i7 / i5 / i3 (LGA1155) Supported CPU Technologies: Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology Supports Intel K-Series unlocked CPU Supports Hyper-Threading Technology

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