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ASRock X99E-ITX/ac Motherboard Review

X99E-ITX/ac Details

The X99E-ITX/ac’s greatest design weakness may be those four pins at the leading edge of the PCIe x16 connector, according to my colleagues. It’s a fan header, and the connectors of some fans won’t fit under some graphics cards. Mine fit, but it did smash the wires flat against the top of the plastic, and there’s always a chance that their fan plugs were taller than mine. It’s also one of three connectors though, where many mini-ITX boards only have two.

My biggest concern instead is the rectangular "narrow ILM" cooler mount, which is an alternative specification previously defined for tightly-spaced multi-socket server boards. Where will we find a cooler?

That’s right, ASRock actually includes a cooler with the X99E-ITX/ac! Designed for 2U servers, this little thing is pretty amazing, beginning with its specs. Dynatron says its 60x28mm fan produces 47.5 decibels at 7000 RPM, but our measurements show that it spins all the way up to 7500 RPM, producing a whopping 54 decibels in the process. Thankfully, non-overclockers don’t need to worry about it generating much more than 33 decibels as long as they don’t run an extended full load. And since heavy workloads are the reason you bought an X99 platform for your mini-ITX case, ASRock also includes a liquid cooler mounting bracket for Cooler Master’s Seidon 120V. Other readily-available upgrades include Dynatron’s R27, which is an 80mm alternative to the included cooler. Cooler Master may be the real winner here.

Accessing the M.2 connector immediately adjacent to the CPU socket requires a narrow CPU cooler. We found several big-air coolers that provide enough clearance, but can’t be screwed down due to the unusual mounting pattern. The USB 3.0 header just south of the M.2 mounting screws would provide even more heat sink clearance, if only more cooling options were available to take advantage of the space.

Shown in the motherboard images, the X99E-ITX/ac includes a separately-wrapped mini-PCIe Wi-Fi card in addition to the parts shown. The installation kit’s greatest weakness might be its inclusion of only two SATA cables, though a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter points to the motherboard’s single USB 2.0 header in a market where more than two ports are often needed.

  • SoerenHedemand
    How about a test of the ASRock EPC612D4I. It has four memory slots.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15937166 said:
    How about a test of the ASRock EPC612D4I. It has four memory slots.
    Sorry, I don't have any DDR4 SODIMMs yet.

    Reply
  • uglyduckling81
    Is it just me or does the lets compare to other boards bit not contain any other boards to to compare against?
    Reply
  • wtfxxxgp
    Is it just me or does the lets compare to other boards bit not contain any other boards to to compare against?

    True. However, that section is pointless as it has no direct rivals - I think they're using a standard template and they had to fill something in there.
    Reply
  • apache_lives
    For that socket/platform its almost a complete waste - all those unusable memory channels and pcie lanes that make the 2011 platform high end have been stripped away
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15937458 said:
    For that socket/platform its almost a complete waste - all those unusable memory channels and pcie lanes that make the 2011 platform high end have been stripped away
    it's really just for people who want more cores. So, feel free to ridicule anyone who tries to pair it with an E5-1620 :p
    Reply
  • Daniel Ladishew
    Testing this on the stock cooler is useful information, but this mobo will only shine when water cooled. I'd like to see the tests repeated with a closed loop cooler attached. Either the Cooler Master or Corsair H100 (which i've heard will work with that bracket as well). If the point is to pack lots of cores into a small form factor, not overcoming the thermal throttling seems like a weak test.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    While not as good as it's micro atx counterparts (obviously), I am very impressed by this motherboard.

    So if somebody that doesn't need all the PCIE lanes or memory lanes but just the pure power of a hexa/octo core CPU in a small package, then this is the best solution.
    Reply
  • Bossyfins
    The cooler bracket also seems to fit a Corsair H100i/h80i as seen in Linus's video.
    Reply
  • goinginstyle
    So other X99 boards get ripped for not being able to do 4-way SLI or 3-way with a PCIe RAID controller but this one gets a pass on those items plus numerous others (lower OC, lack of memory expansion, high price, etc) and receives an award. The board reviews here are just becoming a joke.
    Reply