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Digging into the details
If you're already familiar with our test methods and don't need a detailed rundown of the Z68-ITX's specifications and UEFI options, feel free to skip ahead to the performance results.

Clock speeds Base: 100-300MHz in 0.01MHz steps
IGP: 800-3000MHz in 1MHz steps
DRAM: 1066-2133MHz in 266MHz steps
Multipliers CPU: 34-59X in 1X steps
Voltages Additional CPU Turbo: +0-1.02V in 0.001V steps
Additional GPU Turbo: +0-1V in 0.001V steps
DRAM: -0.1 - +0.16V in 0.02-0.04V steps
PCH: +0.03-0.15V in 0.03V steps
Fan control CPU start temp: 30-60°C in 5°C steps
CPU max duty cycle: 70-100% in 10% steps
CPU min duty cycle: 20-60% in 10% steps
System static speed: 20-100% in 10% steps

The UEFI's overclocking options are pretty limited, but that didn't stop us from turning the screws on a Core i7-2600K. More on our overclocking exploits in a moment.

CPU power 8+1
DIMM slots 2 DDR3-1333 DIMM
Expansion slots 1 PCIe x16
1 Mini PCIe
Storage I/O 2 6Gbps SATA RAID
2 3Gbps SATA RAID
Audio 8-channel HD via Realtek ALC892
Ports 1 PS/2 keyboard/mouse
2 HDMI

1 Mini DisplayPort
2 USB 3.0 w/ 2 headers via Via VL800
4 USB 2.0 w/ 4 headers
2 RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet via 2 x Realtek RTL8111E

1 analog front out
1 analog bass/center out
1 analog rear out
1 analog mic in
1 analog line in/surround out
1 optical S/PDIF output

Don't let the length of the spec sheet fool you—if you don't count expansion slots, the Z68-ITX is nearly as loaded as quite a lot of other Z68 boards.

Our testing methods
To see whether it can keep up with the desktop crowd, we've pitted the Z68-ITX against a range of Z68 and P67 motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI. We've also thrown in a couple of 990FX-based AMD boards for additional flavor. The AMD results have been greyed out in the graphs to avoid confusion.

Before getting into those results, we should note that the Z68-ITX doesn't follow Intel's rules for Turbo multipliers to the letter. The Core i7-2600K is supposed to use a 38X Turbo multiplier when one core is engaged and a 35X multiplier when all four are fired up. However, the Z68-ITX applies a 38X multiplier whenever the CPU is under load—regardless of how many cores are in use. We've seen similar behavior from Asus' recent Z68 and P67 motherboards, so it's nothing new. I suspect mobo makers are loosely interpreting Intel's Turbo guidelines to offer a little more performance. For what it's worth, neither the Z68-ITX nor the Asus boards that exhibit similar behavior has had any problem maintaining a 38X CPU multiplier with all cores at full utilization for extended periods of time.

Because the higher-than-normal Turbo multipliers are a part of the default behavior of the Zotac and Asus boards, we haven't taken steps to rein them in. As a result, you'll see slightly better performance from those mobos in some of our tests.

With few exceptions, all tests were run at least three times, and we reported the median of the scores produced.

Processor AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2GHz Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz
Motherboard Asus Sabertooth 990FX MSI 990FXA-GD80 Asus P8P67 PRO Asus Sabertooth P67 Asus P8Z68-V PRO Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 MSI Z68A-GD80 Zotac Z68-ITX
Bios revision 0138 E7640AMS.B0I 1502 1502 8801 F2d E7672IMS V17.0B17 XXX
Platform hub AMD 990FX/SB950 AMD 990FX/SB950 Intel P67 Express Intel P67 Express Intel Z68 Express Intel Z68 Express Intel Z68 Express Intel Z68 Express
Chipset drivers Catalyst 11.5 Catalyst 11.5 Chipset: 9.2.0.1025
RST: 10.1
Chipset: 9.2.0.1025
RST: 10.1
Chipset: 9.2.0.1025
RST: 10.5
Chipset: 9.2.0.1025
RST: 10.5
Chipset: 9.2.0.1025
RST: 10.5
Chipset: 9.2.0.1025
RST: 10.5
Memory size 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Memory timings 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T
Audio Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers
Graphics Asus EAH5870 1GB with Catalyst 11.3 drivers
Hard drive Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB
Power Supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64

We'd like to thank Asus, Corsair, and Western Digital for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. Thanks to each of the motherboard makers for supplying their boards, too, and to Intel for providing the CPU.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at a 60Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.