ASRock’s product range cannot be called modest, but compared to its competitors, the number of solutions it has is much less. Perhaps, thanks to this, it is still possible to maintain their intelligible positioning in the composition of the lines, and models of miniature dimensions make up a small representation there, therefore each board turns out to be interesting and original. What exactly the engineers offer together with the Intel Z370 hub, we will find out today.
Here they took care of the enhanced power supply of the processor. This concept also includes a composite cooler that combines two radiators into a single structure through a heat pipe. The Thunderbolt controller developed by Intel is unsoldered, there is a pre-installed wireless network adapter from the same company, six SATA sockets, an older audio codec from Realtek, a compact M.2 socket.
In a word, excluding a large number of PCI-E slots, the capabilities of the device can be safely presented as quite sufficient for preparing a system for both gaming and professional purposes. You can get acquainted with the capabilities of the device in more detail by examining the table with the characteristics.
|Model||ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming-ITX/ac|
|Official product page on the Web||asrock.com|
|Processor socket||Socket 1151|
|Processors||Core i7, Core i5, Core i3 (Coffee Lake-S)|
|Memory||2 DIMM DDR4 SDRAM 2133/2400/2666/2800*/2933*/3200*/3600*/3733*/3800*/3866*/4000*/4133*/4266*/4333+*(OC), 32 GB maximum|
|PCI slots||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16|
|M.2||1 x PCI Express 3.0 x4
SATA 6Gb/s (Key M, 2260/2280)
|Integrated video core (in the processor)||Intel HD 630|
|Video connectors||DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI, Thunderbolt|
|Number of connected fans||3x 4pin|
|PS/2 ports||1 (keyboard/mouse)|
|The port is USB||1 x 3.1 Gen2 (1 rear panel connector (C), Intel JHL6240)
8 x 3.1 Gen1 (6 connectors on the rear panel, Z370)
2 x 2.0 (no connectors on the rear panel, Z370)
|Serial ATA||6 x SATA 6Gb/s (Z370)|
|RAID||0, 1, 5, 10 (SATA, Z370)|
|Built-in sound||Codec — Realtek ALC1220 (7.1, HDA)
Op Amp — Texas Instruments NE5532
|Networking||Intel I219V (Gigabit Ethernet), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (Wi-Fi 2.4/5GHz (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2)|
|Dimensions, mm||170 x 170|
|Additional features||RGB LED strip connector, CMOS reset button (on the rear panel), external Wi-Fi antenna kit, Fatal1ty Mouse Port, Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3|
|Retail price, $||256|
Packaging and equipment
The design is entirely characteristic of all products from the «game» series of the manufacturer, the size of the box is small.
The features of the Thunderbolt interface implemented here are described in detail at the back. You can also find the presence of a bonus utility for a sound system and an antenna for wireless networks. There is a schematic of the rear panel and a small table with the main features.
In addition to the board, inside the box is:
- multilingual quick installation guide;
- UEFI and F-Stream manual in English;
- postcard with the emblem of the series (there is a place for the stamp);
- disk with drivers and proprietary software;
- company logo sticker;
- one mounting screw for M.2 format device;
- a plug for the body, complete with a black sticker with color and symbol designation of all sockets;
- two SATA 6Gb / s cables, one of which has an L-shaped connector on one of the ends;
- remote Wi-Fi antenna, for fixing and fixing the position it is planned to use double-sided tape (a small piece is attached, on a foam basis).
There is nothing on the surface of the board that could facilitate the operation of the system and diagnose possible problems — buttons, switches, jumpers, and various status indicators are excluded. But even without them, there is absolutely no free space, even the battery had to be glued to the shielded case of the wireless network adapter. The latter uses an M.2 slot of the Key-E type.
Many elements are placed on the reverse side of the product. Of particular concern is the PWM controller and its related parts, soldered very close to the mounting hole for the CPU cooling system. There were no problems with the clamping bar from our cooler due to its equipping with rubberized legs, but a number of other designs use plastic elements, there can definitely be conflicts with them.
As I have already noted, the cooler forms a single structure of two heatsinks with the help of a connecting heat pipe, which are attached to the board with screws.
M.2 devices can be mounted in lengths of six and eight centimeters. You will have to perform this operation before installing the board in the case. At the bottom there are three multi-color LEDs, the number is small, but they will be responsible for the illumination effects. In any case, until the user begins to use an external LED strip, one socket has been prepared for it.
The component density is very high. The block for the system «speaker» was lowered to the very bottom. We had a conflict when using a discrete video adapter — it rested on the most common type of cabinet loudspeaker, or rather, on its cable connector (the elements on the video card itself interfered). There is no need to talk about longitudinal types of sockets, all soldered on the board are transverse. In particular, both pads for USB body cables are of the second and third generations.
It is interesting to note two different racks for audio outputs. There are only two special capacitors, but there was also a place for an operational amplifier.
There is enough space to place the processor cooling system in the vicinity of the socket. The radiator on the power elements is not too high, so here the problems can be solely due to the RAM modules. Speaking of them, a pair of the G.Skill TridentZ kit was installed very close to each other, probably even here one or two millimeters played an important role for the developers.
The power system is based on a PWM controller, which we already met when considering a larger model from ASRock. This is ISL69138 from Intersil Corporation. Moreover, the power organization scheme turned out to be exactly the same — 5 + 2 «phases» for the CPU and integrated GPU. But instead of external drivers and transistors, assemblies from the same manufacturer are soldered here — ISL99227F (Smart Power Stage module in the developers’ terminology). It is very interesting how such elements will manifest themselves in the work. I will add that five pieces are reserved for CPU voltage, and two more for the built-in GPU, these will work without a heatsink.
Perhaps someone could not see it right away, but the heat pipe is not located at the base of the main heat sink, but is built somewhere closer to the middle of the radiator, so it is he, and not the whole system, that will dissipate the main heat. Of course, a part will still go to the chipset cooler. There are no remarks to the clamp and the area of the thermal pads.
The rear panel looks very rich and quite modern. There is even a button for resetting the settings, but I never had to use it during the experiments.