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ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac Review

Detailed Specifications:

General
Unique FeatureASRock 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
ASRock 802.11ac WiFi
ASRock HDMI-In
ASRock Full Spike Protection
ASRock Cloud
ASRock APP Shop
CPU– 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 design
– 6 Power Phase design
– Supports Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology
– Supports Intel® K-Series unlocked CPUs
– Supports ASRock BCLK Full-range Overclocking
Chipset– Intel® Z97
Memory– Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Technology
– 2 x DDR3 DIMM Slots
– Supports DDR3 3200+(OC)/2933(OC)/2800(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 non-ECC, un-buffered memory
– Max. capacity of system memory: 16GB*
– Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 1.3 / 1.2
-15μ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots

*Due to the operating system limitation, the actual memory size may be less than 4GB for the reservation for system usage under Windows® 32-bit OS. For Windows® 64-bit OS with 64-bit CPU, there is no such limitation.
BIOS– 64Mb AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with multilingual GUI support
– ACPI 1.1 Compliant wake up events
– SMBIOS 2.3.1 support
– CPU, DRAM, PCH 1.05V, PCH 1.5V Voltage multi-adjustment
Audio, Video and Networking
Graphics– Supports Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals : Intel® Quick Sync Video with AVC, MVC (S3D) and MPEG-2 Full HW Encode1, Intel® InTru™ 3D, Intel® Clear Video HD Technology, Intel® Insider™, Intel® HD Graphics 4400/4600
– Pixel Shader 5.0, DirectX 11.1
– Max. shared memory 1792MB
– Three graphics output options: DVI-I, HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2
– Supports Triple Monitor
– Supports HDMI with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096×2304) @ 24Hz
– Supports DVI-I with max. resolution up to 1920×1200 @ 60Hz
– Supports DisplayPort 1.2 with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096×2304) @ 24Hz or 4K x 2K (3840×2160) @ 60Hz
– Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI Port (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
– Supports HDCP with DVI-I, HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2 Ports
-SupportsFullHD1080p Blu-ray (BD) playback with DVI-I,HDMIandDisplayPort 1.2 Ports

*Intel® HD Graphics Built-in Visuals and the VGA outputs can be supported only with processors which are GPU integrated.

**Due to chipset limitation, the Blu-ray playback of Intel® HD Graphics is only supported under Windows® 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit.

***Intel® InTru™ 3D is only supported under Windows® 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit.

Audio– 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec)
– Premium Blu-ray Audio support
– Supports Surge Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection)
– Nichicon Fine Gold Series Audio Caps
– TI® NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier (Supports up to 600 Ohm headsets)
– Supports DTS Connect
LAN– Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s
– Giga PHY Intel® I218V
– Supports Intel® Remote Wake Technology
– Supports Wake-On-LAN
– Supports Lightning/ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection)
– Supports Energy Efficient Ethernet 802.3az
– Supports PXE
Wireless LAN– Supports IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
– Supports Dual-Band (2.4/5 GHz)
– Supports high speed wireless connections up to 867Mbps
– 2 antennas to support 2 (Transmit) x 2 (Receive) diversity technology
– Supports Bluetooth 4.0 / 3.0 + High speed class II
Expansion / Connectivity
Slots– 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slot (PCIE1: x16 mode)
– 1 x mini-PCI Express Slot: For WiFi + BT Module
– 15μ Gold Contact in VGA PCIe Slot (PCIE1)
Storage– 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 PCIExpressmoduleuptoGen2x2 (10 Gb/s)

*Support to be announced.
** The M.2 Socket, SATA3_4, SATA3_5 and SATA Express share lanes. If either one of them is in use, the others will be disabled.
Connector– 1 x Chassis Intrusion Header
– 1 x TPM Header
– 1 x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin)
– 1 x Chassis Fan Connector (4-pin)
– 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector
– 1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector)
– 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector
– 2 x USB 2.0 Headers (support 4 USB 2.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 1 x USB 3.0 Header (Supports 2 USB 3.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
Rear Panel I/O– 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
– 1 x DVI-I Port
– 1 x HDMI-Out Port
– 1 x HDMI-In Port
– 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
– 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
– 2 x USB 2.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 4 x USB 3.0 Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
– 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
– 1 x Clear CMOS Switch
– HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
Other Features / Miscellaneous
Software and UEFISoftware
– ASRock A-Tuning
– ASRock Disk Health Report
– ASRock USB Key
– ASRock APP Charger
– ASRock XFast LAN
– ASRock XFast RAM
– ASRock Restart to UEFI
UEFI
– ASRock Full HD UEFI
– ASRock My Favorites in UEFI
– ASRock UEFI Guide
– ASRock Instant Flash
– ASRock Internet Flash
– ASRock Crashless BIOS
– ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard)
– ASRock UEFI System Browser
– ASRock UEFI Tech Service
– ASRock Dehumidifier
– ASRock Easy RAID Installer
– ASRock Easy Driver Installer
Support CD– Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), Google Chrome Browser and Toolbar, Start8 (30 days trial), Orbweb.ME Professional (Win 8.1)
Accessories– Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
– 2 x SATA Data Cables
– 1 x ASRock WiFi 2.4/5 GHz Antenna
– 1 x Screw for M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3
– 1 x Standoff for M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3
Hardware Monitor– CPU/Chassis temperature sensing
– CPU/Chassis Tachometer
– CPU/Chassis Quiet Fan (Auto adjust chassis fan speed by CPU temperature)
– CPU/Chassis Fan multi-speed control
– CASE OPEN detection
– Voltage monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, CPU Vcore
Form Factor– Mini-ITX Form Factor
– High Density Glass Fabric PCB
OS– Microsoft® Windows® 8.1 32-bit / 8.1 64-bit / 8 32-bit / 8 64-bit / 7 32-bit / 7 64-bit
Certifications– FCC, CE, WHQL
– ErP/EuP ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)

As for the motherboard layout. There isn’t much to discuss. The board is small…

ASRock-Z97E-ITX-AC (63)

The back I/O panel has two USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port, DVI-I, WiFi, HDMI in, HDMI out, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, one DisplayPort (1.2), one Optical SPDIF Out Port, a clear CMOS button, and HD audio jacks.  Yes, you did read that correctly, there is a clear CMOS button.

ASRock-Z97E-ITX-AC (64)

The CPU socket area is clean… very clean. In fact, it feels like there is more room around the socket here than there actually is. On the upper edge of the motherboard, towards the left, is the CPU fan header.

ASRock-Z97E-ITX-AC (60)

Just to the left of the CPU socket is the ATX 12v power connection. It is relatively close to the socket, but the standard CPU cooler or a nice little water cooling setup should provide you with ample room.

Just to the right of the CPU socket are two DDR3 DIMM slots that can support a maximum capacity of 16GB running at a whopping 3200+ (overclocked). The motherboard supports dual channel DDR3, Intel Extreme Memory Profile 1.3 and 1.2 and sports 15μ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots. The Z97E-ITX/ac also features single sided locking for easy memory installation and removal. Just to the left of the DIMM slots is a chassis fan header.  You also find the CMOS battery, the ATX Power Connection, USB 3.o, TPM Header, Chassis Intrusion Header, System Panel Header, the Clear CMOS Jumper, and the Speaker Header.

ASRock-Z97E-ITX-AC (56) ASRock-Z97E-ITX-AC (58)

If you look closely, the CMOS battery is upright! Space saving!

Just below the CPU socket is the Chipset cooler, the Broadcom 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi card, the four SATA3 ports, and SATA Express. SATA3_4, SATA3_5 are shared with SATA Express. The M.2 Socket is around back. Similar to the Asus Z97-AR we reviewed, the M.2 Socket, SATA3_4, SATA3_5 and SATA Express share lanes. If either one of them is in use, the others will be disabled.

 ASRock-Z97E-ITX-AC (59)

 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Board Layout & Features
  3. UEFI BIOS
  4. UEFI BIOS Cont.
  5. Included Software
  6. Test System Setup
  7. Benchmarking: Ethernet Performance
  8. Benchmarking: SATA Performance
  9. Benchmarking: AIDA64 Benchmark
  10. Benchmarking: PCMark 8
  11. Benchmarking: Handbrake
  12. Benchmarking: Cinibench R15
  13. Benchmarking: HyperPi
  14. Overclocking & Final Thoughts

About Joe DiFiglia

I have always had a passion for everything computing. In early 2000, I decided to take my passion to the web. Thus, C.O.D. was born. Through the years we have made many great friends at C.O.D. and hope to continue our journey for years to come.