We reviewed the motherboard here. There currently are no other options for a mini-ITX X299 motherboard, and that is because it's a risk for vendors to produce one. Going mini-ITX on the X299 platform negates one of the best parts of the Skylake-X CPU; the ability to run many PCI-E lanes. However, ASRock did include full PCI-E bifurcation so that you can use a breakout card, but you will still only get a total of x16 PCI-E 3.0. The motherboard ONLY supports Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X CPUs are not supported.
I have marked some of the more impressive features of the motherboard so that you can figure out where and how you will plug everything in. Before buying any M.2 drives for the motherboard, you should know a few things. The two rear M.2 slots are routed to the CPU and do not support SATA based M.2 drives, and they do not support RAID without a VROC key. The good news is that they are directly routed to the CPU so they bypass the DMI and PCH, meaning you can put a Samsung 960 Pro in each of the three M.2 slots, produce RAID 0 with a VROC key, and get full bandwidth without any bottlenecks.
The slot that supports both SATA and PCI-E based M.2 drives is on a daughterboard, and I would use this one first as the heat is better contained and less likely to spread too much. The switch to switch the functionality of the rear button is right above the PCI-E x16 slot.
The VRM on the motherboard is top notch; the issue is that the motherboard doesn't have enough space or thermal headroom for more VRM components. These 60A parts are some of the best you will find, but with the single 8-pin connector, so you are limited to about 350W, and that's only with the monoblock. While the specifications say that 300W is the limit for a single 8-pin CPU power connector, the truth is that in real life with solid component quality you can go up a bit higher. The VRM heat sink supplied with the motherboard is too small to be very effective, but if you don't want to go with the monoblock you can still have a fan blow hard at it and still overclock a tiny bit, but probably not too much with HCC (>10C) Core i9 CPUs.
Bitspower Monoblock and AIO
Bitspower has a neat AIO marked as the BP-LXAIO240-RGB and the monoblock marked as BP-WBMASRX299EI. The monoblock has an MSRP of $164.99, the total cooling solution you see costs $349.99. The AIO kit provides everything you need, and the tubes are already attached to the compression fittings. Each tube as one compression fitting that can rotate after it is installed. All you need is to buy liquid for the loop. The block even comes with extra o-rings, lots of thermal pads, and special screws to screw in the VRM portion of the block.
I took the cover off of the block to see how the water flows, and it does seem that the water hits the center of the CPU first, and then flows to the VRM from both outer edges and then back up to the radiator. The monoblock cools both the VRM power stages as well as the inductors, and the cold plate for the CPU is well designed and well made in Taiwan.
PRICING: You can find the product discussed for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The ASRock X299 Mini-ITX and SO-DIMM OC and Build Guide retails for $XXX at Amazon.
United Kingdom: The ASRock X299 Mini-ITX and SO-DIMM OC and Build Guide retails for £XXX at Amazon UK.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada`s website.
- Page 1 [Introduction and Specific Part Sourcing]
- Page 2 [The X299E-ITX/ac and Bitspower Cooler]
- Page 3 [Installing the Custom Mini-ITX Cooling System]
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