I think the first thing we need to cover is the overclocking side of things. With the ASRock Z77E-ITX we saw that board get our 3770k up to a solid 4.79GHz while on the other hand the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe came in at only 4.5GHz today. While this does make the ASRock offering look more attractive from an overclocking standpoint, there's one important factor.
At 4.79GHz we saw our 3770k CPU hit 104c during load. While our system was rock solid the whole time, this just isn't a temperature you'd want to have your CPU running at every time you did something that was intensive. On the other hand the 4.5GHz we got out of the ASUS offering today is still a very strong overclock and at load we see our CPU get into only the 70s.
When it comes to the overall design of the board the ASUS offering also feels a little cleaner. The DIGI+ VRM card helps make the board look a bit neater and the placement of the 8-pin CPU connector by the side of the board near the 24-pin ATX power connector also helps make for a really clean setup.
Out of the box performance on the ASUS offering is also slightly stronger across the board in a number of areas. It's nothing major, but you can see it's consistent under a lot of our benchmarks and you can't deny that if you want the fastest board out of the box, the ASUS offering does manage to sneak out ahead in a couple of areas.
The P8Z77-I Deluxe isn't without its flaws, though. At $199.99, this isn't just an expensive Mini-ITX motherboard, but an expensive motherboard period. It comes in at $50 more than the ASRock offering and lacks the mSATA connectivity seen on the ASRock offering.
The motherboard is all quality, though, and it feels so polished from top to bottom with everything just looking and feeling great. As always the BIOS is also one of the nicest to use on the market and if you've used a ASUS BIOS in recent times, you should have no issues at all working your way around.
Mini-ITX motherboards continue to be limited when it comes to options. The awesome news, though, is that while we don't have a lot of options on the market, we're seeing awesome quality motherboards from companies that carry a large amount of features while packing some awesome performance in this small size setup.
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