ASRock has announced one of the industry’s first Mini-ITX motherboards for Intel’s latest Core X processors in the LGA2066 packaging. The new X299E-ITX/ac is small, but it takes full advantage of Intel’s new X299 platform, offering support for all CPUs with up to 18 cores, quad-channel DDR4 memory on the higher-end CPUs, three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots as well as everything that one might expect from a Mini-ITX board, including Wi-Fi.

Besides being a miniature motherboard for Intel's HEDT processors, the most important aspect of the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac is support for quad-channel memory in this form-factor. The company’s previous-gen Intel X99-based Mini-ITX mainboard was feature-packed, but one of the things it missed was the quad-channel memory sub-system, which had an expected negative effect on performance in applications that required high memory bandwidth. By contrast, the new unit has four SO-DIMM DDR4 memory slots and even supports DDR4 overclocking (assuming that there are SO-DIMMs that can be significantly overclocked). In fact, putting four memory slots onto a small motherboard while also fitting the LGA 2066 socket and required high-capactiy VRMs is a rather remarkable engineering achievement. The flip side however is that the very tightly packed design of the X299E-ITX/ac may impose certain limitations on compatibility with large cooling systems.

Just like every other Mini-ITX motherboard around, the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac has only one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot for graphics cards. In the meantime, the X299E-ITX/ac is the first miniature mainboard to feature three M.2 slots (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA) for SSDs. In addition, the board carries six SATA 6 Gbps headers for builds that require multiple storage devices in drive form-factor. It is noteworthy that in order to fit everything it wanted onto a Mini-ITX PCB, ASRock had to place the USB 3.1 controller, SATA ports and one M.2 slot on custom DIMM-like modules - essentially going vertical when they ran out of horizontal space. Such modules add certain dimension-related limitations to the size of CPU radiators (plus, it remains to be seen how higher-end M.2 SSDs perform when located near a CPU cooler), but this is a tradeoff that the manufacturer had to take.

As for connectivity, the X299E-ITX/ac comes with a 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 module (based on an Intel controller), two GbE ports (Intel controllers too), two USB 3.1 headers  (Type-A and Type-C), six USB 3.0 connectors, 7.1-channel audio sub-system (enabled by the Realtek ALC1220 controller) and so on.

ASRock's Mini-ITX Motherboard for Intel Core X-Series
  X299E-ITX/ac
CPU Support Intel Core i9
Intel Core i7
Intel Core i5

CPUs in LGA2066 form-factor
Graphics PCIe 3.0 x16
Chipset Intel X299
Memory Four DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Ethernet 2 × Intel GbE controllers
Storage 6 × SATA 6 Gbps
3 × M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA)
Audio Realtek ALC1220
7.1 channel audio
USB 6 × USB 3.0 Type-A
1 × USB 3.1 Type-A
1 × USB 3.1 Type-C
Other I/O Dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2
Form-Factor Mini-ITX
MSRP $280 ~ $300

The ASRock X299E-ITC/ac will be available in the coming months for about $280 - $300, depending on the region and other factors. Such a price point is considerably higher than MSRPs of most Mini-ITX motherboards, but given the fact that this is a very high-end platform (with equally high component requirements) aimed at enthusiasts, it is not unusual. In fact, from many standpoint it may be considered as an entry-level X299 board simply because it does not provide opulence of its bigger brethren.

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  • frenchy_2001 - Thursday, June 1, 2017 - link

    Intel HEDT processors usually do NOT accept ECC, so not sure why you would ask this.
    Here is the i9 7900X, not the ECC support: NO line:
    http://ark.intel.com/products/123613/Intel-Core-i9...
    Reply
  • Hurr Durr - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    Yes, let`s have endless articles about the upcoming dud without even a price announcement to show.
    That will surely put out that eternal amd backside fire.
    Reply
  • Cygni - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    There are multiple AMD articles in the last few days, so I don't really know what you are talking about. Plus AMD didn't really announce anything that they haven't already covered before or strongly hinted, so there isn't a lot to say yet.

    When Vega actually lands, or AIB partners launch designs, or threadripper actually shows up, or we actually get more than 3-4 board designs... sure! But none of that has happened yet.
    Reply
  • Gothmoth - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    with such a small board for most likely small cases... what is the best AIO watercooler?
    i mean for small case and overall.

    i have a nanoxia deep silence 6b so size is not a problem.
    but i want a watercooler that is a silent as my noctua nh-d15. and can cool a 160-200 watt cpu.
    Reply
  • jab701 - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    So....they went to all that effort, multiple M2 slots etc and didnt bother to include thunderbolt 3? Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    Even with risers, after a certain point you just run out of space to jam more controllers on a board. Reply
  • ajp_anton - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    So remove one m.2, still leaving two of them, and put the TB3 controller there. Reply
  • jab701 - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    <quote>ASRock had to place the USB 3.1 controller, SATA ports and one M.2 slot on custom DIMM-like modules</quote>

    If they did indeed put a USB 3.1 Controller on there, why not stick an alpine ridge and have TB3 too?

    I am starting to wonder if Intel has refused to validate Mini-ITX boards with TB3 on them...I dont think I have seen one on the market yet.
    Reply
  • keebs63 - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac has Thunderbolt 3. My understanding is that it's more of a manufacturer thing rather than Intel (especially now that they're pushing it so hard), adoption rates are quite low for desktops so they generally only add it onto really high end/expensive boards to fluff them up. It's also quite possible that they literally did not have room, but who knows, seems like a lot of manufacturers are doing this kind of crap but even worse is when they don't even include USB 3.1 at all. Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - link

    Interesting; I didn't know this generation of CPUs was backwards compatible with Socket LGA2011-3 ;-) Reply

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