ASRock Z77E-ITX Motherboard Review

[section_title title=P4 :  Motherboard Layout]

Motherboard Layout:


The board looks pretty nice overall. As you would expect on a board of this size, there is a fight for space. First thing you would notice, its got just 2 RAM slots. These are DDR3 slots capable of running speeds of up to 2800MHz. Above that, we see the mini PICe slot with the Wifi module. Below the slots we see the 24 pin motherboard power connector and next to that, the Power/Reset switch and HDD/system LED connectors. You will also find a chassis fan connector next to it. Sadly, it is the only chassis fan connector on the board, which is slightly disappointing.




On the other side, we find most of the motherboard connections. We have 4 Sata ports (2-Grey Sata 3 6Gb/s, 2-Black Sata 2 3Gb/s). On their left you see 2 USB 2.0 headers and the superspeed USB 3.0 connector. Further on the left we see the clear CMOS jumper and the CPU fan connector.


On the opposite side, we have the lone PCIe x16 (PCIe 3.0) slot. Right in front, we have the Realtek ALC898 HD audio codec along with the front panel audio connectors.


Now moving to the rear panel, we see PS/2 port above 2 USB 3,0 ports. Then you got the DVI-I port and above that you got 2 pins for the Wireless. Then you have HDMI and display port outputs, if you want VGA, you can use the bundled DVI-to-VGA converter. Then we have the Clear CMOS button, which is great for overclockers. Moving on, we have 2 USB 2.0 ports above the eSATA port (red). Then we have the Ethernet LAN port (Broadcom BCM57781) above 2 more USB 3.0 ports. Then we see the 5 audio jacks and the SPDIF out as well.


When I was installing the system, I assumed the ports below the PS/2 port to be USB 2.0, so when I booted up the system first time, they just did not respond. The USB 3.0 ports need drivers, else they would not work. It would have been nice if all the USB 3.0 ports where bunched and the USB 2.0 ports were below the PS/2 port.

On the bottom of the board, we have the mSata port (Sata 2.0 3Gb/s), which can be used for enabling Intel SRT technology (SSD caching). Be careful while installing the cooler backplate, it comes pretty close to the mSata port.


The socket position is very important when it comes to mini ITX boards, it can really restrict your options in terms of cooling (air cooling). That is the case with this board. The socket is too close to the PCIe slot, so you can not use any dual rad kind of coolers with this board, until unless you are read to sacrifice your PCIe slot. What they could have done is, shifted the socket away from the PCIe slot by swapping positions of the Z77 chipset and wifi module with that of the CPU socket. If you are going for liquid cooling, there should be no issues. Larger 120mm heatsinks can be used, I used the SVG Tech AOC 120ST, but you cant do a push pull configuration.

The position of the ports is pretty good. They are fairly easily accessible. The front panel headers end up under your graphics card, not an ideal place for them IMO.

Leave a Comment