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ASRock X99E-ITX/ac Mini-ITX (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Apr 29, 2015 2:05 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASRock

Packaging and the X99E-ITX/ac

 

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The box is almost as tiny as the board. The box shows all the main features of the X99E-ITX/ac including the free heat sink which is included and the X Series OC socket. Everything is packaged very securely, and it's quite fun to unpack everything.

 

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Accessories are plenty; DYNATRON LGA2011-V3 U2 CPU cooler, 2x SATA6G cables, IO Shield, socket adapter for Cooler Master Seidon 120/V AIO Watercooling kit, AzureWave Broadcom BCM94352HMB 802.11/ac/867Mbps WLAN + BT4.0 card with bracket, WIFI/BT Antenna Kit, USB3 to USB2 internal header converter, manuals, case badge, and driver DVD.

 

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I have circled all three fan headers on the board in red; they are all 4-pin PWM headers. Full control of the headers through the UEFI and Windows is provided by ASRock. The board is super tiny, and the funny thing is that it boasts features that even many full sized boards don't carry. Granted that this is a Mini-ITX board, it is still a little let down that there aren't four DIMMs or more than one PCI-E slot. The heat sinks are very low profile, I will see if they do their job later on in this review. The blue aesthetics will be covered up when the system is installed as all the slots will be filled up. The back of the board isn't bare, and it usually isn't on Mini-ITX board since there is so little PCB real-estate.

 

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The back panel IO features a 2x 1GBit NIC (2xIntel), 2x USB 3.1 ports, 4x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, eSATA 6G, PS/2 keyboard or mouse, a 7.1 TOSLINK for audio with S/PDIF out, mini-PCI connector for WIFI/BT, and a Clear CMOS button. The IO panel has the holes for the WIFI/BT antennas.

 

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The PCI-E layout on this board is the most simple of all boards since it only supports one GPU. The single GPU will get 16X PCI-E 3.0 from any X99 CPU. There is also a SATA Express connector which can be used as two normal SATA6G ports if you are not using SATA Express. A USB 3.0 front panel header is located above the SATA Express port.

 

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Four SATA6G ports are located in the lower right corner along with a chassis fan header. Near the VRM heat sink are the front panel headers along with a USB 2.0 header and a CPU fan header. Another chassis fan header is located near the DIMMs. Notice that this is a special server socket, with the extra pins and a different layout for coolers.

 

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The DIMMs are located at the top of the board and the 24-pin connector is right above them. This is a special X Series OC socket which features many more pins than the normal Intel LGA2011-V3 socket. The extra pins help with cache overclocking and reducing required IMC voltages for high speed memory overclocks.

 

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The M.2 slot is located behind the IO panel and you can also get a glimpse of the Nichicon audio capacitors for the audio and the HD front panel audio header. The positioning of the HD audio header means it will be a tight fit when a GPU is installed. The image on the right showcases the included U3 to U2 converter, which will turn the internal USB 3.0 header into a USB 2.0 header.

 

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I installed the AzureWave Broadcom BCM94352HMB 802.11/ac/867Mbps WLAN + BT4.0 Half Mini PCI-E card and hooked up the antenna kit.

 

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This is a DYNATRON U2 Socket 2011 cooler meant for high performance servers. It is included free with the board.

 

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The cooler comes with a powerful little fan and thermal paste already applied. For my testing, I used the stock thermal paste. It's also quite easy to assemble; it literally just snaps together.

 

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All the heat sinks on this board seem really tiny; however they do their job well.

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