No square millimeter of the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac circuit board has been left unused. The large socket 2066 takes up a lot of the board and for that reason there was simply no room left for a lot of functionality. To be able to offer some of this functionality anyway, the designers have used various vertically mounted daughterboards and the back of the mini-ITX board is almost fully utilized as well.
Although the cpu-performance is slightly worse than most other X299 motherboards, in practice you will not notice that you are working on a motherboard full of compromises. The audio quality is excellent, the networking possibilities are just as good and we have nothing to complain about in terms of the usb 3.1 speeds. ASRock has made the right choices over and over again, and that pays off.
There is no doubt that the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac is a piece of high quality design. What the manufacturer had to save on simply due to a lack of space is the power supply of the motherboard. Not only is the number of phases on the low side in comparison with other X299 motherboards, but also the heatsink on the vrms is very compact. ASRock, in collaboration with Bitspower, has developed a beautiful monoblock that removes all concerns about the cooling, but that block alone has an average price of 207 dollars – this does not include the rest of the custom loop. You soon come to the point that an X299 ITX system can only be justified if mini-ITX is a goal in itself.
If we have to answer the question ‘should you purchase the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac?’, the honest answer is: not really. However, this is far too little credit for a motherboard in which so much craftsmanship has been incorporated. ASRock has created a truly unique product that is perfectly executed, only hindered by the limitations that result from its size. They are big enough to prevent us from issuing a regular award, but the Hardware.Info Innovation award is certainly more than appropriate.