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Z77E-ITX Firmware

Four Z77-Based Mini-ITX Motherboards, Reviewed

Mini-ITX doesn’t leave much room for big voltage regulators, and the enclosures designed to support mini-ITX usually lack room for large CPU coolers anyway. So, we don’t expect much additional frequency from this format. On the other hand, fully unlocked multipliers are the primary reason to choose K-series processors and Z77 Express over H77. Some flexibility, at least, should be possible.

The Z77E-ITX doesn't let us down, pushing a stable 4.5 GHz through a simple multiplier change. Other options include ASRock’s pre-defined 30% and multi-level overclocks. We prefer to set our own voltage limits, though.

ASRock's Z77E-ITX had no trouble dialing in our test configuration’s DDR3-2666 XMP profile, saving us a bunch of time compared to manual memory configuration.

Though our expectations of overclocking on a mini-ITX platform are relatively modest, so are the voltage levels we're willing to apply to our CPU. The heat levels on Ivy Bridge-based processors increase far faster than attainable clock rates once you get up above 1.25 V or so. We were able to achieve our chosen voltage at the Z77E-ITX’s 1.225 V setting. A Load-Line Calibration setting of Level 5 kept that voltage nearly stable under changing loads.

We had to drop the board's XMP-defined 1.65 V setting to 1.6335 V in order to register an actual 1.65 V, as determined by a volt meter. Fortunately, the DRAM voltage regulator doesn’t need load-line calibration to remain stable.

Like most of ASRock’s enthusiast-oriented motherboards, the Z77E-ITX includes a full set of primary and secondary memory timing controls.

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