So now that we have had a look at the ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard and have put it through its paces on the test bench, what is my final verdict on what looks to be a great option at a great price for those looking to build a small form factor system? Does the Z97E-ITX/ac punch well for its size or does it fall flat on its face?
Well performance wise, the Z97E-ITX/ac does pretty well considering it is an M-ITX board. With its 4+2 power phase design, it happily overclocked my i7 4770k to 4.9GHz and although this isn’t considered good for the chip, the motherboard is at least capable of holding a pretty high stable overclock which is important for those wanting a small, but powerful gaming system. When you look at the synthetic benchmarks, it does get beat by boards like the ASUS MAXIMUS VII HERO but given the difference in price and the target market, I can’t really fault the Z97E-ITX/ac in terms of performance one little bit; it performs exactly how I would expect an ITX board to perform.
Moving onto the aesthetics, the motherboard itself doesn’t exactly scream style and uniform but it doesn’t look bad which is probably a good thing considering. As I mentioned earlier on in the review, the heat sinks have a stunning metallic blue finish which I feel is probably the high point of the design. ASRock have however done a good job to keep the cable connecting the antenna points to the actual Wi-Fi card; something other ITX boards with Wi-Fi capability seemed to quite frankly, fail at. Overall, aside from adding a little more colour to the motherboard with the heat sinks, the board is average looking to say the least but as previously mentioned it isn’t ugly!
Price wise the ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard comes in at around £115 (price fluctuates daily) which isn’t a bad price at all considering what you get for your money. You get a plethora of features such as the ASRock cloud, APP shop, A-Tuning and ASRock full spike protection, couple this with the premium for M-ITX motherboards; and you can’t really quibble at the price. Although I would have liked to have seen slightly better overclocking performance, 4.9GHz is still a solid overclock and should please many. Combine this with the built in Wi-Fi and quality components and you are onto a winner; if only the motherboard was a little more appealing aesthetically!
Based on the performance I take great pleasure in awarding the ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard our silver award; great job ASRock.
Big thanks to ASRock for sending us in a sample and I look forward to seeing more in the near future!
ASRock have done a good job with the Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard and it oozes great quality. With its 4+2 power phase, it has enough power to tame an i7 4770k when overclocked and did I mention those gorgeous metallic blue heat sinks? If you are in the market for a Z97 board and more particular, M-ITX, then make sure you consider the Z97E-ITX/ac!
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