ASRock X299E-ITX/ac stuffs Core i9s into mini-ITX systems

Geeks can be a fussy bunch. We want our hardware to be fast and capable, and we also want it to be as small and convenient as possible. Going small usually means sacrificing a bit of top-end power, but ASRock clearly thinks that's hogwash. The company just announced the X299E-ITX/ac motherboard, which is exactly what you think it is.

Yes, that's a tiny little mini-ITX motherboard with an Intel X299 chipset and a massive LGA 2066 socket on it. The socket alone takes up most of the front of the board. Surprisingly, ASRock claims that every Skylake-X CPU, including the monster Core i9-7980XE, will work in this board without issue. Because space is at a premium, the four DIMM slots only accept SO-DIMMs, and many of the board's peripheral connections have been placed on a small riser. ASRock claims the board will run its memory at up to 4000 MT/s, assuming you can find SO-DIMMs that will put up with such treatment.

Some folks might scoff at the idea of sticking an enormous Core i9 CPU in an ITX board, limiting the utility of Skylake-X CPUs' many PCIe lanes. You still get to enjoy that multi-core math-munching power, though. It's also not as if those PCIe lanes aren't being put to good use, either. ASRock puts a pair of M.2 sockets on the back of the board, and another one up front with the use of a short riser card. All three of those sockets support PCIe 3.0 x4 operation, and they're all available for storage use. ASRock further claims that the pair of M.2 sockets on the back of the board support Intel's Virtual RAID on CPU, or VROC, tech. There's also six SATA 6Gbps ports for traditional storage devices.

You won't lack for network connectivity on the X299E-ITX/ac, either. The board includes a pair of Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers, as well as Intel-powered 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Also on the back panel are a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one Type-C), the usual audio ports, and a CMOS reset button for the likely lads willing to overclock an X299 mini-ITX build. The aforementioned audio ports are powered by a Realtek ALC1220 codec.

There's been talk in the past of X299 motherboards being difficult to cool, and Jeff found recently that the problem can even extend to LGA 1151 boards. If overclocking on the X299-ITX/ac is a concern for you, just break out the water hoses. ASRock partnered with the liquid-cooling lovers at Bitspower to create a waterblock just for the X299E-ITX/ac that not only cools the CPU socket, but also the board's power delivery hardware. Best of all, it shouldn't block any of the board's expansion options.

If this is looking like the board for you, keep an eye out for it. ASRock didn't say when it would be available or for how much, but from past experience I can tell you that there probably won't be a whole lot of them to go around.

Comments closed
    • strangerguy
    • 2 years ago

    Practical? Not really.
    Bloody fine piece of engineering? Hell yes.

    I *would* very much see more of this than yet another #2342423430 oversized mainstream platform ATX board.

    • floodo1
    • 2 years ago

    I like!

    • freebird
    • 2 years ago

    What was it’s secret code name? Fire Starter???

    The original “Firestarter” is making the rounds on TV now to drum up interest in the remake of it recently announced. [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5K1fm56gI8[/url<] Another thought is the water block... why bother with the ITX form factor then? You still would need a good size radiator, fans, pump & reservoir somewhere to cool it right?

    • Krogoth
    • 2 years ago

    This board is meant for Kaby Lake-X. It makes little sense for any of the i9 SKUs. You probably want expandability of a full X299 board if you are shopping for an i9. I suppose you could throw in a 7800X or 7820X if you need a small gaming + streaming box.

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 2 years ago

      There are no Kaby Lake-X CPUs on the compatibility list for this board.

        • DrDominodog51
        • 2 years ago

        That isn’t surprising at all. Skylake X uses a FIVR whereas Kaby Lake X doesn’t.

        To support Kaby Lake X, at least another 3 VRMs would need to be on the board.

    • Martin the Kiteboy
    • 2 years ago

    Excellent. Now hurry up with Coffee Lake for X299, or make a similar board for Z370.

      • Lianna
      • 2 years ago

      [url<]http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z370%20Gaming-ITXac/index.us.asp[/url<]

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 2 years ago

    Talk about a work of art! Beautiful, just beautiful.

    • Questors
    • 2 years ago

    I would like to see a board like this for mainstream CPU, either Ryzen or Intel or both. A good feature set, more of what I am looking for in the form factor preferred for a particular application.

    In general I prefer full sized ATX and larger, but have found reason for M-ITX/ATX builds for daily use.

    I also water cool, so it’s right on the mark.

    • moose17145
    • 2 years ago

    I think it would be kind of fun to built a tiny little powerhouse of a system with this board.

    This little ITX board, an 18 core proc, some fast SO-DIMMs and a 1080 Ti all crammed into a tiny little package…

    I understand that would be ridiculous using the HEDT platform in this manner… which is exactly why I think it would be fun.

      • Vigil80
      • 2 years ago

      You say it’s ridiculous, but what is the probable use case here besides “because we can?”

        • Questors
        • 2 years ago

        For many of us, “because we can,” is the only reason we need. We end up using these builds for whatever purpose we create any other build.

        The idea is the same at dropping a big block engine into a subcompact. What’s the real purpose? It’s challenging, novel, different, etc.

        • moose17145
        • 2 years ago

        Pretty much “because I can”, like Questors said.

        Never said it had a practical use case beyond being an overpowered little cube.

        I just think it would be a fun system to try to put together is all. Im obviously not going to do it as I do not have that kind of disposable income available for such side projects (unless someone else wants to pay for it and have me put it together for them). Was simply stating that I think it would be a fun little build.

        And I agree with RAGEPRO, water cooling would likely be a requirement. But I also think that would be part of the fun. Trying to squeeze water cooling into such a tiny enclosure while still trying to keep the water cooling setup keeping things sufficiently cool. If nothing else, it would certainly be one heck of a different approach than my current air cooled system housed inside of it’s 900D

          • Vigil80
          • 2 years ago

          Sure. All I meant is that this thing seems like ASRock doing something for the heck of it in the first place. The “ridiculous” scenario is the intended one.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 2 years ago

      I was thinking about the same thing, but man, you’d HAVE to have that waterblock. With apologies to the original author of this remark, this board looks like it has all the VRM cooling of a Raspberry Pi, and you don’t want to see [url=http://www.overclock.net/t/1337304/asrock-fm2a75m-itx-motherboard-fire<]what happens[/url<] when you rev up those AVX units.

    • crabjokeman
    • 2 years ago

    But where are the RGB LED’s and the sacred Fatal1ty logo?

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 2 years ago

      Good riddance!

      • juzz86
      • 2 years ago

      On the waterblock. That header’s not just for show!

    • Vigil80
    • 2 years ago

    I don’t get miffed about ITX because I like big cases and I cannot lie. But it seems like they could do worse than to release essentially this same board in each of the major socket types.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      You know, I was actually trying to picture a ThreadRipper mITX mobo….haha.

        • moose17145
        • 2 years ago

        Don’t worry… I was doing the exact same thing…

        • Mr Bill
        • 2 years ago

        ditto, but I can’t picture how to hang enough gear off it to use up all those PCIe lanes.

      • Mr Bill
      • 2 years ago

      Look at the size of that…. case.

    • Takeshi7
    • 2 years ago

    I feel like the only reason anyone would ever buy this is that they need lots of cores, but they hate every single other reason everyone pays more money for the HEDT platform.

      • Mr Bill
      • 2 years ago

      Backpack HEDT VR platform

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    New chip launches: [b<]WHERE ARE THE MINI-ITX MOTHERBOARDS?!!?!?! ZOMG!![/b<] A couple of months later: [b<]HERE'S YOUR MINI-ITX MOTHERBOARD![/b<] Response: [b<]BUT SO-DIMMS SUCK! AND WHERE'S MUH PCI EXPANSION?!!?[/b<]

      • tay
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah I think these boards are amazing, but it’s too rich for my blood. I don’t mind SO-DIMM and would rather 4 RAM slots even on dual channel boards.

      • defaultluser
      • 2 years ago

      Yeah, I think there was only one x99 MITX board, and not surprisingly it was from AsRock.

      This will also be a small seller. But at least they put four memory sticks on this one, and three m.2 slots is an attempt to actually do something with all those wasted PCIe lanes.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This