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  • kwrzesien - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    I'm confused by their choice of cheap wifi and dual Realtec NICs. So can the wifi board be removed and replaced with mSATA SSD? For example for a wired HTPC setup? Is it easy to find replacement mimo or 802.11ac board? Reply
  • Meaker10 - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Yes it's the same slot notebooks use so you can get any chipset you want from the kilker 1202 t9 theintek 7260ac. They are also pretty cheap to pick up. Reply
  • fritodorito - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    How well will the 2.4 GHz antennas work for the 5 GHz band? Reply
  • DMisner - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    The wifi board is mini pci-e, not msata Reply
  • bobbozzo - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    No one said otherwise.

    mSATA SSD's typically go into mini PCIe slots.
  • Meaker10 - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Incorrect. While msata and mini pci-e are the same physically they are not electrically compatible so a slot can be designed to either take a mini pcie card or msata but can't take the other. Reply
  • chubbypanda - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Just to make it clear: mSATA and mini PCIe are indeed electrically compatible. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    I think they could cram a lot more onto these boards (like another mPCIe slot) if they shrunk the socket area and forced you to use water cooling, something most people buying this board are likely to do anyway. Reply
  • 1Angelreloaded - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    I like the vertical design Asus chose, If you can't build out why not up. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, September 03, 2013 - link

    Water cooling is stupid. Reply
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    No they are not, while the devices will plug into both slots, a mSATA drive will not work in a mini PCI-E slot and a mini PCI-E card will not work in an mSATA slot meaning they are physically compatible but not electrically compatible.

    There are a few SSDs that have a SATA to PCI express bridge and these will only work in mini pci express slots and wont be bootable.
  • Jason33 - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    mSATA and mPCIe are electrically compatible. You only need to mux the data signals on the motherboard to either go to the SATA controller or the PCIe controller.

    Using this mux chip on the motherboard would work:
  • Meaker10 - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    Yes they are compatible with a MUX, so how is that going to help with an mSATA/PCI-E slot that is not muxed?

    I have yet to see a consumer device with that muxed in so it's a pointless argument to make.
  • Jason33 - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    Several ThinkPads and notebooks for a few years now have done this. I'm running an mSATA drive in my ThinkPad that used to have a mPCIe WWAN card. There are also mini motherboards that can accept either type of card. Reply
  • Jason33 - Friday, August 30, 2013 - link

    Also, I do agree that slots that don't have a mux will only allow one type of card. However, most consumer boards, notebooks and pre-built systems I've personally encountered that support mSATA cards also support mPCIe cards for the same slot.

    To answer kwrzesien's original question, MSI doesn't advertise it as supporting mSATA. If it did, they'd definitely say so. No reason to not advertise a feature. If you really want a Z87 ITX board with an mSATA slot then the ASRock Z87E-ITX has a full height mSATA/mPCIe slot in addition to the half height mPCIe slot holding the 802.11ac WiFi module.
  • 1Angelreloaded - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    You are right and wrong, MSATA was initially made to use as a caching flash for Laptop hardrives, an MSATA port is different from MPCIe look at the combo card Asus gives in its ROG series Mobos, trust me they are incompatible. Reply
  • 1Angelreloaded - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    No different channel slot type , do yourself the favor pay 50$ more and get the Asus Maximus Impact, much better. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Something's not consistent here:

    6 x USB 3.0 (Chipset) [4 back panel, 1 header]
    4 x USB 2.0 (Chipset) [2 back panel, 2 header]

    Assuming the totals are correct you're counting USB3 headers on one line, and USB2 ports from headers on the second.
  • IanCutress - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Ah yes, I normally have a header equal to two ports unless otherwise stated. Table is fixed.
  • The Von Matrices - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Unfortunately a few of the motherboard articles posted in the past few weeks are incorrect regarding the Flex IO configuration. In this article, it states "This amount of extra network controllers is due to the Flex IO allocation – as the board only has four SATA 6 Gbps and six USB 3.0 from the chipset, this gives the other 8 Flex IO lanes all the PCIe 2.0 for these controllers." However, the Flex I/O allocation in the specifications table states that there are 6/4/8 SATA/USB 3/PCIe 2.

    Similarly, the review of the ASRock Z87 Extreme6/AC is incorrect in this regard as well. It states that "Out of our total 18 PCH Flex IO ports on board, this means we have six for SATA 6 Gbps ports, we also have four for USB 3.0 (PCH are headers, ASMedia on Rear IO) leaving eight for PCIe 2.0 lanes." I own a Z87 Extreme6, and I can tell you that this is not correct. The Flex I/O allocation in this board is 6/6/6 SATA/USB 3/PCIe 2. The rear USB 3.0 ports are driven by an ASMedia ASM1074 USB hub, not an ASMedia PCIe USB 3 controller, as would be implied by the Flex IO table in the article.
  • Schmov17 - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Do the dual NICs support teaming? Reply
  • bobbozzo - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    If you want gbps or higher performance, you shouldn't be using Realtek NICs; it's almost impossible to get full gbps speed out of them.
    Intel, Broadcom, and possibly Qualcomm Atheros are currently the best choices, and the server-model NICs have more virtualization / offloading capabilities than the standard embedded or desktop models.
  • TheButton - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    I know beggars can't be choosers but I'd love to see a review of the B75(IvyBridge) or B85 (Haswell) mITX motherboards. They are cheap (can be had for <$100) and seem to have all the right features, USB3.0, PCI-E 3.0x16, SATA 6Gbps, 2 Dimm slots. I know they are marketed for small business but they seem ideal for small form-factor gaming machines and I'd love to see how B85 compares versus H81 and/or Z87 especially in the mITX form factor.

    Can we expect any such reviews to be forthcoming Ian?
  • DMisner - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Just curious if under 'Visual Inspection' you could add a picture of the back of the motherboard. I know sometimes motherboard manufacturers place some small parts on the back and often they get in the way of aftermarket cooler back-plates (especially on m-ITX motherboards) which can be a frustrating surprise to find upon delivery. Reply
  • Razorbak86 - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    For this particular motherboard, check Newegg product #4 (out of 5). Reply
  • Razorbak86 - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    ... Newegg product photo #4 (out of 5) Reply
  • Ammaross - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    "ALC892 audio solution which performed average in our audio tests. If MSI were aiming more at a HTPC or gaming market, we might have seen an ALC898"

    Wouldn't most gamers be utilizing a USB-audio headset?
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    One of the reasons I wouldn't want to ever share an apartment is that I can game on speakers; and no one can tell me otherwise. Reply
  • LordHaHa - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    Was there any investigation into undervolting the system? The OC results are positive, but I'd rather use mATX+ for higher performance purposes. On the other hand, I could think of some applications for a low-footprint, low-power, no-to-little-default-performance-sacrifice mITX system. Reply
  • londiste - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    that's what i think when i see any mitx review...
    additionally, why not give power consumption a go with 35/45w tdp cpu and minimal needed hardware attached. for example 4670t, 1 stick of ram and 1 hdd/ssd, omitting a dedicated gpu entirely? i have several mitx boxes running off picopsu (or similar prebuilt solutions from case manufacturers).
  • BansheeX - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - link

    For $20 more, you can get the Asrock Z87E-ITX, which has an mSATA port on the back and a better audio DAC. Reply
  • abscoder - Wednesday, September 04, 2013 - link

    +1 So far the Asrock Z87E-ITX has been serving me very well. Built a 12TB HTPC/file server around one. Reply
  • Hixbot - Thursday, September 05, 2013 - link

    I personally have no need for a DAC on my motherboard. I'll use the digital output and my own DAC thank-you very much. Reply
  • 8steve8 - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    is this shipping with the c2 stepping?

    the tech media is amazingly quiet about the usb3 lga1150 bug... and the coming fix.

    they are also quiet about i7-4770r lack of availability, along with any iris pro solution actually being buyable... is everyone waiting for c2 chipsets to launch significant products with haswell?
  • meacupla - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    The reason for that is because the Haswell USB3.0 bug is not that relevant in desktops. It affects notebooks more and only affects USB3.0 storage devices when waking up from an S3 state, in which the data becomes unreadable off of the device.

    So unless you never turn your computer off, always have some sort of USB3.0 device connected and set aggressive power saving, you will be completely unaffected by the bug.

    i7-4770R is BGA and needs to be packaged together with a mobo, so it's only natural that it has a slower development cycle. It's also likely that it's going to get a similar treatment to NUC or BRIX, so that's going to be an even longer delay.
  • 8steve8 - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    not relevant on desktops? any computer that goes to s3 is effected...
    most people don't turn "off" their computer anymore... they let it idle and sleep.
    lots of people use USB storage devices, when they plug in their phone its a usb storage device, their camera, their backup external HDD, etc.. some people use USB drives as their primary storage for music/movies..

    you don't have to "always have" a usb device connected... just once... and you may see the bug.

    I think more people should be aware of it, and yet no one is talking about it.... not enough.

    It's on the worst thing in the world, but either is waiting a month or two for the fix.

    I imagine apple is buying all the iris pro cpus up and will ship computers with them when c2 is ready...
  • 8steve8 - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link


    It's not the worst thing int he world, but either is waiting a month for the fixed hardware.
  • meacupla - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    CPU socket area looks low, like the majority of Z77/H77 mITX boards that also couldn't fit a high performance dual tower heatsink. Reply
  • lopper - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    Wish my vishera could be in mini-itx without blowing itself up. Reply
  • jardows2 - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    I stopped reading when I saw the mini pci-e slot taken up by a wireless card. It doesn't look like you could fit a mSATA card without interfering with the CPU Heatsink. Again, another model packing all sorts of features that I will not use. Reply
  • Touche - Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - link

    Do you test DPC latency with MBO software installed/running or without it? Reply
  • SteelRing - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    Is that a TOSLINK/Optical above the HDMI? Why is that not listed? Reply
  • TrevorH - Monday, September 02, 2013 - link

    Glad to see that there are so many others who stopped reading this as soon as they saw "Realtek". Manufacturers, please note: Realtek NICs are not a selling point. Reply
  • Tujan - Friday, September 06, 2013 - link

    I would be interested in any problem running these smaller boards with a graphics card . Then how if any problems or changes would occur within the specs. performance when a graphics card is used. Then how the board/board manufactures/bios handles the controls-settings differently. Or the feature set with the board manufacturer to do so (run with,disable onboard video within cpu).
    I've noticed some articles that describe certain inconsistency with mb components when utilizing them (the small boards) with graphics cards. Instead of the apu . Thanks.
  • smayonak - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    Hello Ian, would you happen to know if this board is capable of undervolting (voltage offset)? I read through the article a couple times, but couldn't find anything relating to this. My apologies if you've mentioned it already. Reply
  • ozark - Sunday, September 29, 2013 - link

    I just got this myself but hasn't had the chance to put things together. One thing I noticed is the connector next to hdmi port (1 pin-blank-4pins). They don't have it listed in the manual. Any one know what it is? Reply

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