Intel Z390 Motherboard Overview: 50+ Motherboards Analyzedby Ian Cutress & Gavin Bonshor on October 8, 2018 10:53 AM EST
ASRock Z390M ITX/ac
The ASRock is the only manufacturer to release two mini-ITX motherboards at the launch of the Z390 chipset and the Z390M ITX/ac stands out for quite a number of reasons. First of all the Z390M ITX/ac has dual Gigabit NIC with two LAN ports on the rear panel. Secondly, ASRock has managed to cram six SATA ports onto this board with every port featuring straight angled connectors. Memory support on the Z390M ITX/ac is provided from two RAM slots with a capacity of up to 32 GB and support for up to DDR4-4000.
Design wise the Z390M ITX/ac is very simplistic with what seems like a 6-phase power delivery which looks to be running in a 4+2 configuration. The heatsink doesn't look up to much, but the board does feature a single 8-pin 12 V ATX input which does show that the board is more than capable of running the new 9th generation Intel Core i9-9900K, but perhaps not with an overly aggressive overclock applied. There is no RGB LEDs integrated into the board which says this board is more aimed towards professional users and power users looking to build a high spec small form factor system without too much fluff. The board also features a single PCIe 3.0 full-length slot with ASRock Steel Slot reinforcement and just above is a single PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA M.2 slot.
On the rear panel are a pair of USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-A and Type-C), four USB 3.0 Type-A and two USB 2.0 ports. Users running processors for the integrated graphics capabilities of the 8th and 9th generation Intel CPUs will be pleased to know the Z390M ITX/ac has dual HDMI outputs along with a single DisplayPort. A combo PS/2 keyboard/mouse port is ever present and the board uses a cheaper Realtek ALC887 HD audio codec which is supplemented by three 3.5 mm audio jacks. Wireless networking is supported through an Intel-based 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter.
While the ASRock Z390M-ITX/ac shares similar traits as the Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac, the latter is aimed at gamers while the Z390M-ITX/ac is aimed more towards professional users. This is characterized by the inclusion of dual Intel LAN and a lower quality ALC892 audio codec. The price of the ASRock Z390M-ITX/ac is also another indicator with a recommended retail price of $150 along with the lack of gaming-themed stylings as the board features a basic, yet subtle aesthetic.