ASRocks Debuts Micro-ATX X399 & X299 Motherboards

by MAC     |     January 8, 2018

Over the last few years, ASRock have proven themselves masters at building compact motherboards by daring to design small form factor models that other manufacturers won't even attempt, such as the X99E-ITX/ac which is the world's first and only X99 LGA2011-3 mini-ITX motherboard.

Today's announcements are not quite as petite, but they are still impressive. Starting off with the world's first Micro-ATX X399 motherboard, the X399M Taichi.

Although the TR4 socket that houses ThreadRipper processors is far too large to allow the creation of a Mini-ITX motherboard, those wanting the power of AMD's high-end desktop platform in a smaller than ATX form factor finally have an option. Actually, calling it a mere 'option' is downplaying ASRock's engineering accomplishment since this motherboard is actually quite incredible.

Not only does X399M features an 11-phase CPU VRM - just like the flagship Fatal1ty X399 Professional Gaming model that we reviewed earlier - but it has three full-speed PCI-E x16 slots, three full-size M.2 slots, one U.2 port, and eight SATA 6Gb/s ports.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, since this model also has a debug LED, power and reset buttons, a clear CMOS button, RGB LED lighting, a light strip header, a Realtek ALC1220 onboard audio solution, two front-panel audio header, two gigabit LAN ports, onboard Wi-Fi, USB3.1 Gen2 Type A+C ports and up to 16 additional USB ports. This level of features far exceeds what we are used to seeing on even high-end ATX-sized motherboards. We definitely look forward to getting the X399M on our test bench.

While the X299M Extreme4 is not actually the smallest LGA2066 motherboard in ASRock's lineup - that honour goes to the Mini-ITX X299E-ITX/ac - this new Micro-ATX model does have significantly greater capabilities. First and foremost, it has a capable 11-phase CPU VRM that is cooled by a beefy MOSFET heatsink, which is an absolutely necessity when dealing with power-hungry Skylake-X processors.

This model also has three PCI-E x16 slots, eight SATA 6Gb/s ports, two full-speed M.2 slots, USB3.1 Gen2 Type A+C ports and up to fourteen additional USB ports, dual gigabit LAN ports, three RGB LED light strips headers, and a Realtek ALC1220 onboard audio solution with five analog outputs and one S/PDIF jack.

Although not a motherboard, ASRock are also introducing an update to their compact DeskMini GTX barebone system lineup:

The principal upgrade to this Micro STX system is the brand new Z370M-STX MXM motherboard, which is based on the Intel Z370 chipset and has an upgraded CPU VRM in order to better support Intel's latest Coffee Lake processors. Although this system takes SO-DIMM memory modules, ASRock have validated memory speeds of DDR4-3200+, which is downright impressive for a compact system.

The killer feature of the DeskMini GTX is the MXM slot, which carries over from the previous generation. This MXM slot allows users to install their preferred GPU, ranging from the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB to the GTX 1080 8GB or the Radeon RX460 4GB up to the RX580 8GB on the AMD side.

Connectivity is pretty remarkable as well. There are two SATA 6Gb/s ports and a jaw-dropping three full-size M.2 slots. If that isn't sufficient there is also a smaller M.2 Key-E slot for a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module. If wired networking is more your preference, there is also a gigabit LAN port powered by an Intel i219V controller.

At first glance, you would be hard-pressed to stuff more capabilities into such a small 2.7 liter volume.

Our CES coverage of these new ASRock motherboards can be found below:


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