ASRock Builds World's Only Mini-ITX Intel Haswell-E Motherboard

With a CPU socket the size of Jupiter and more ports than Cthulhu has feelers, Intel's X99 platform, home to mega-expensive Haswell-E Core i7 and Xeon processors, mostly rides on ATX form-factor boards. SFF people need not apply - until now. ASRock has announced its X99E-ITX/ac, managing to shoehorn the essentials into the space of a 6.7 x 6.7" niche.

 

Yes, the processor socket alone hogs nearly a quarter of the board surfaceYes, the processor socket alone hogs nearly a quarter of the board surface

 

Of course, there's caveats. Due to lack of space, only two of four total DDR4 memory channels is implemented, and one x16 slot plus x4 M.2 socket are all you get for PCIe 3.0 expansion. The LGA2011-3 socket employed is also the narrower ILM type, so most off-the-shelf coolers are unusable.

Still, ASRock includes a compatible air cooler, plus bracket for Cooler Master Seidon 120V/Plus water coolers, in the box, and the firm hasn't shied away from filling every free speck of PCB with other stuff.

 

With the included CPU cooler and WiFi antenna installedWith the included CPU cooler and WiFi antenna installed

 

That other stuff includes a mix of USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 ports on the back panel, alongside dual Intel-driven gigabit LAN jacks, optical S/PDIF output, eSATA, and BIOS reset button. There's a mini PCIe card doing WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.0; up to six SATA ports with SATA Express, and two headers for more 2.0 and 3.0 USB. Among other things.

Being a high-end product, premium board components are used, including Nichicon Platinum 12K capacitors, 15-micron gold fingers in some of the slots, and a "Sapphire Black" colored PCB.

 

The back panel portsThe back panel ports

 

But how much will all of this cost you? ASRock's reported MSRP for the X99E-ITX/ac is at $249.99 USD, which happily isn't appreciably higher or lower than normal X99 offerings. No word on an availability date, though.