Sunday, June 8, 2014

Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac

The latest Z97 mITX effort from Asrock, it's back in Sapphire black.

Official Page

Just how much can one squeeze into a little mITX mobo? Long crazy list coming right up...

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • - Premium 60A CPU Choke
  • - Premium Memory Alloy Choke (Reduces 70% core loss compared to iron powder choke)
  • - Dual-Stack MOSFET (DSM)
  • - NexFET™ MOSFET
  • - Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps (100% Japan made high quality conductive polymer capacitors)
  • - Sapphire Black PCB 
  • Supports 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors (Socket 1150) 
  • Supports New 4th and 4th Generation Intel® Xeon®/Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors (Socket 1150) 
  • Digi Power 
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 3200+(OC), 15μ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots 
  • 1 PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 mini-PCIe for WiFi + BT Module, 15μ Gold Contact in VGA PCIe Slot (PCIE1) 
  • VGA Output/Input Options: DVI-I, HDMI, HDMI-In, DisplayPort 
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps, Supports DTS Connect 
  • TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier 
  • Intel® Gigabit LAN 
  • 1 SATA Express, 6 SATA3, 1 M.2 (Gen2 x2/SATA), 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear), 6 USB 2.0 (4 Front, 2 Rear) 
  • WLAN: 1 x 2T2R Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi + BT v4.0 Module, 1 x ASRock WiFi 2.4/5 GHz Antenna 
  • Supports ASRock Full Spike Protection, ASRock Cloud, APP Shop, A-Tuning, Full HD UEFI



The Mobo

Note the proper CMOS battery holder (beware brands which use much costlier replacements with PITA wire connectors*) and following features

  • Sapphire Black PCB
  • DisplayPort 1.2 supporting max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096x2304) @ 24Hz or 4K x 2K (3840x2160) @ 60Hz
  • Dual-Stack MOSFET for CPU Power 
  • NexFET MOSFET for Memory Power
  • Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps

More Angles

NB: those who want the original untouched full size jpeg of this last photo to read off chip markings, , just PM me :)

CPU Socket



Really amazing for a compact mobo
  •  6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel® Rapid Storage Technology 13 and Intel® Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug
  • 1 x SATA Express 10 Gb/s Connector (shared with SATA3_4, SATA3_5 and M.2 Socket)*
  • 1 x M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3, supports M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen2 x2 (10 Gb/s)

Nichicon Fine Gold Audio Caps

Made In Japan

UEFI Screenshot Samples

Test Rig Setup

★ Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac | i5-4670K@4.5GHz | NiCu HK 3.0-GTX360 | AMD R9 290 | Thermaltake Smart SE 630W ★

Ambient local air non-a/c

Vcore/uncore setting done in Adaptive Mode at 1.183V

RAM sticks used are 2 x 4GB ValueRAM KVR1333@1866@1.525V. These sticks happen to have a nice matching blue PCB rather congruous with the Asrock blue heatsinks as can be seen here.

The tiny Z97E-ITX/ac mobo is simply dwarfed by the AMD R290 video card and 120mm fan. The modded Noctua backplate works great as can be seen here doing its job with the open test rig custom water setup.

32M HyperPi



Cinebench 15

HWBot Prime



Initial Impressions

  • Feature packed for a compact mobo, fantastic!
  • Good onboard components
  • Loads of storage options
  • Back of mobo is designed clear enough to allow backplates for custom cooling (hooray!)
  • Capable of competing neck to neck with the full ATX siblings in performance - all round great overclocks with processor and RAM!

Can be improved...
  • Missed opportunity to include their own unique Ultra M.2 Gen3 x4 feature instead of the regular Z97 Gen2 x2 slot (since mITX does neither CFX nor SLI)
  • Colour of heatsinks subjectively less attractive than previous Z87 model

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