ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Intel LGA 2066 Motherboard Review

Quickly to the right hardware equipment …

ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Layout, Design and Features
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Equipment and other features
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Expansion cards
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Memory
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Hard disk drive connectors
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac USB and Firewire
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Network
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Sound
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac ITX back panel connectors
ASRock X299E-ITX/ac PC System

Layout, Design and Features …

This X299 board is build for Intel LGA 2066 Skylake-X and Kabylake-X processors.

The new ASRock X299E-ITX/ac LGA2066 motherboard is delivered in this small board box.

The back of the package already shows some features like Triple Ultra M.2 slots, Intel Optane support, WiFi, Dual LAN, USB 3.1 Gen2, Premium 60A Power Chokes.

After opening the box, the well-packed motherboard appears.

After opening the box, the well-packed motherboard appears.

The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac High Density fiber glass Sapphire Black 10 layer PCB makes a very high quality impression. It features very durable Nichicon 12K Black Caps, Digi Power and 7.1 HD Purity Sound 4 over ALC1220 with Nichicon Fine Gold Audio capacitors, 120dB SNR DAC and TI NE5532 headset amplifier.

For power supply the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac motherboard offers 7 Power Phase Design with Premium 60A Power Chokes.

The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac has three! fast Ultra M.2 slots for PCIe Gen3 x4 modules with up to 32 Gb/sec. bandwidth. Two of them were placed on the underside of the board for space reasons. The following picture shows the two lower Ultra M.2 slots, which can be equipped with 2280 M.2 modules.

The module with the M.2 slot on the top of the board can be equipped with 2230/2242/2260/2280 M.2 PCI Express modules. We have tested the X299E-ITX/ac with a fast Plextor M8SeGN 512GB M.2 NMVe SSD.

This offers a PCIe 3.0 x16 steel slot.

Conventional RGB stripes can be connected to the white 4-pin 12V RGB headers, for example to illuminate the chassis. We show in the video on the OCinside YouTube Channel how to connect a water cooler with RGB CPU cooler, for example.

The RGB Header is controlled by the supplied ASRock RGB LED software. As with the ASRock Z270 motherboards, all settings can be made graphically via the UEFI. In the ASRock RGB LED software or in the BIOS, for example, you can select the colors in an RGB color selector. However, there is no lighting underneath the chipset, so you can only select the RGB header.

In the ASRock RGB LED menu you can set whether the LEDs should be lit continuously, breathing, randomly or to music.

This gives the user numerous possibilities of how and how fast the LED strips or special RGB coolers should light up and can of course also completely deactivate the lighting.

On the left side you can see the 24-pin ITX power connector, the cooler of the voltage regulator and the SATA module with USB 3.1 Gen1 header, as well as some of the high quality Nichicon 12K Black Caps capacitors and the 8-pin ATX 12V power connector on the right side.

The following picture shows the side view of the motherboard with the voltage regulator heat sink made of aluminium alloy.

Equipment and other features …

The X299E-ITX/ac motherboard from ASRock came with a manual, software setup manual, DVD, SATA data cables (angled and straight), three screws for the M.2 sockets, ASRock WiFi 2.4/5 GHz antenna and an ITX I/O cover. Additional USB slot covers or ASRock USB 3.1 Gen1 front panel are available optional.

The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac has a lot of features like the ASRock A-Tuning Tool, ASRock Instant Flash, ASRock Internet Flash, ASRock Easy RAID Installer, 7 Power Phase Design, Digi Power, ASRock RGB LED, ASRock FAN-Tastic Tuning and a Clear CMOS button, which can also be used as a power button by changing the Rear Button Switch from A to B.

Expansion cards …

The motherboard provides a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot for a graphics card with x16 bandwidth.

Memory …

The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac can be equipped with up to four DDR4 SO-DIMM modules and is expandable depending upon operating system used (see list) up to maximally 64 GB memory.

Here you can see a picture of the four DDR4 SODIMM slots with Quad Channel support:

The Intel LGA2066 motherboard supports SO-DIMM DDR4 memory modules and can be optimized in the BIOS for DDR4-2666 Quad Channel modules with an Intel Core i9 processor. The UEFI offers the selection from DDR4-1200 up to DDR4-4400. Higher clock-rates are possible with BCLK overclocking.

Thanks to XMP support (Extreme Memory Profiles), XMP memory modules are set correctly with one mouse click in the UEFI and of course there are far more memory adjustments and more OC-options, but more on that later. Before buying the RAM, you should check the officially supported 260-pin DDR4 SO-DIMM RAM modules at the ASRock memory support page.

Hard disk drive connectors …

The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac offers a total of six SATA3 ports via the ASRock X299E-ITX front card module.

The SATA3 ports are supporting RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, NCQ, AHCI and the Hot Plug function in AHCI mode (AHCI stands for Advanced Host Controller Interface and can/should be selected in the UEFI, especially when using SSDs). Thanks to the UEFI BIOS also drives with more than 2 TB for the installation of Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 x64 can be installed. Installing the drivers was absolutely no problem with Windows 10 and the Windows 10 installation was done very quickly. But even Windows 7 could be installed without any problems.

The RAID drivers can be installed via the Easy RAID Installer point in the UEFI, are supplied on DVD for 32-bit / 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 and are currently available for download on the ASRock support page, whereby the Windows 10 installation is currently preferred.

USB and FireWire …

The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac has four USB 3.1 Gen1 ports (formerly USB 3.0) and two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports on the ITX panel. The picture shows the USB 3.1 Type-A at the top and the USB 3.1 Type-C port at the bottom.

Internally there is one more USB 2.0 connector for up to two optional USB 2.0 ports, as well as one USB 3.0 connector for up to four optional USB 3.1 Gen1 ports (formerly USB 3.0). The 20-pin connector can be connected either to an optional USB3.1 Gen1 front panel or to an enclosure with USB3.0/USB3.1 Gen1 support.

Network …

The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac has been equipped with an Intel I211AT and an Intel I219V, through which the 10/100/1000 network ports are realized on the ITX panel. The LAN ports are WoL-capable, offer LAN cable detection, support energy efficient Ethernet according to the 802.3az standard, PXE and more.

Additionally the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac has onboard WLAN 2,4/5 GHz IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with up to 433 Mbps transfer rate as well as Bluetooth 4.2/3.0 + High Speed Class II.

Sound …

The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac motherboard is equipped with the ALC1220 audio codec with content protection, 120dB SNR DAC, TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier and Purity Sound 4, which supports 7.1 surround sound at the internal front panel audio connector and has analog output over 5x 3.5mm connectors on the ITX panel. Additionally, there is an optical SPDIF digital output and premium Blu-Ray audio support. So most users do not need to buy an additional sound card with digital outputs.

ITX back panel connectors …

From left to right you can see two WiFi antenna connectors, the ASRock BIOS Clear CMOS or Power Button, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A Port and 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C Port, RJ45 Gigabit LAN and 2x USB 3.1 Gen1, RJ45 Gigabit LAN and 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 and optical SPDIF output as well as 5x 3.5mm jacks for the sound.

Test System …

Now we come to the Intel LGA 2066 CPU socket.

Here you can see the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac motherboard with four 260-pin DDR4 SO-DIMM modules from Kingston. In order to offer the Intel LGA 2066 CPU a high memory throughput, we used four Kingston HyperX 8GB DDR4-2400 CL15 260 Pin SODIMM modules.

Intel Skylake-X with 28 or 55 PCIe Lanes processors support the Quad Channel Mode, Intel processors with 16 PCIe Lanes only support the Dual Channel Mode. The four possible memory modules on the Intel X299 motherboard were used to get Quad Channel support with the Intel Core i9-7900X CPU Quad Channel.

For the previous ASRock X399 Taichi Threadripper motherboard review we ordered the Arctic Freezer 33 TR Cooler from ARCTIC, which is also suitable for the Intel LGA 2066 processors.

Here you can see the tiny Intel LGA 2066 ITX test system including Arctic Freezer 33 TR cooler, MSI Radeon R9 280 graphics card and Icy Dock MB171SP-B Turbo Swap Swap for a quick exchange of the SSD and HDD.

As you can see on the thermal image of the PC system, the Intel X299 chipset remains pleasantly cool and even the passive cooler of the voltage regulator stays below 50°C.

But we wanted to test something special and that is the very special Bitspower Leviathan Xtreme All In One 240 RGB water cooler, which was specially adapted by Bitspower to this motherboard.

And this is how the thermal image with the Bitspower water cooler, general terms and conditions, pump, etc. looks like. The special feature is that the cooler not only cools the CPU, but also the voltage converters and coils, which enable a more stable overclocking.

Here is again the ASRock X299E-ITX video with Bitspower Leviathan Xtreme All In One 240 water cooling and RGB lighting from our OCinside YouTube Channel:
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This is how the 10-core (20 threads) of the Intel Core i9-7900X CPU looks like in the Windows 7 task manager at Prime95 full load.

And this is what the 10-core (20 threads) of the Intel Core i9-7900X CPU looks like in the Windows 10 task manager.

ASRock X299E-ITX/ac BIOS and Overclocking …