Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts
One thing that I absolutely love about the Mini-ITX platform is the price that the boards tend to come in at. The Z87E-ITX retails at $164.99, which is a really good price point for a Z87 motherboard. Sure, it's going to be cheaper than other options due to the fact that the smaller size means that it can't quite hold as many features. Out of the box, though, you can see that performance is still very strong, and it has no trouble going up against more expensive full size boards.
Paired with the BitFenix Prodigy, truly one of my personal favorite cases, you're able to really build quite a power house system with a small foot print. While small, though, the board continues to carry a strong list of features that make for a quality product.
Features like Gold Caps, Digi Power, 802.11ac networking, six SATA III ports and still some great overclocking options make for a small board that really has the ability to stand out from the pack. It really feels like ASRock have become quite the master of the ITX platform. They chose to embrace it probably a little earlier than others, and making sure ITX options are available day one of new chipset launches seems to be something they're concentrated on offering.
The platform on a whole, though, is a bit of a funny one. For the most part unless you're in the market for an ITX case, you're probably better off not buying an ITX board. While you can of course put a Mini-ITX motherboard in an M-ATX case or an even larger ATX / E-ATX case, you're probably better off not doing so.
The ITX platform does come with a slight premium. For example, the M-ATX Z87M Extreme4 motherboard from ASRock comes in at $137.99. For that reason, if you're buying a case that supports an M-ATX board, you may as well save yourself a little money and buy something like that.
It's for this reason that Mini-ITX motherboards aren't for everyone. Not everyone is going to see the value in them. If you're in the market to build an ITX system, though, and still want something that is able to push out some serious performance, your options are indeed limited. And for that reason, the Z87E-ITX is a good option.