Visual Inspection

With mini-ITX motherboards, there isn't a lot of room for aesthetics, so they tend to have a fairly basic black PCB. ASRock uses two heatsinks connected via heat pipes to cool part of the power delivery area as well as the PCH. The heatsinks are grey colored and have grooves running through them for the increased area as well as for the appearance. Outside of that, we are able to see the two DRAM slots, as well as the single PCIe slot which is reinforced to help with heavy video cards. The board includes six SATA ports all oriented vertically on the front while the single M.2 slot hides out on the rear. 

 

A total of three RGB LEDs line the back of the board under the PCIe slot which gives illuminates the board when on. An additional RGB LED header is located just above the 24-pin ATX connector and supports up to 12V/3A (36W) LED strip. Both the integrated LEDs and the attached are controlled by the ASRock RGB LED software. 

The ASRock Z370 Gaming ITX/ac has three 4-pin fan headers all located across the top. The chassis fan is located on the left by the Wi-Fi module while the CPU fan and CPU Opt/W Pump headers are to the right. The CPU fan connector supports a maximum of 1A (12W) while the Opt/W Pump header supports up to 1.5A (18W) and also auto-detects if it is a 3-pin or 4-pin device. 

The Mini-ITX board uses a 7-phase power delivery area split up into a 5+2 configuration. Controlling the power is an Intersil ISL69138 digital multiphase controller that can be configured to operate up to seven channels. This unit sends power to the Intersil ISL99227 Smart Power Stage Modules supporting up to 60A. Power is fed to these devices by a single 8-pin EPS 12V connector just above the CPU socket. This solution shouldn't have any issues driving the Coffee Lake CPUs. 

The right side of the board contains a lot of headers and ports with which to connect a plethora of peripherals. Starting on the bottom we are able to see a USB 2.0 header along with the front panel header just below it. To their right is a front panel USB 3.0 header as well as two (of six) SATA ports. The other four are located on the other side of the two DRAM slots. Of note on the SATA ports, when a SATA based M.2 module is used SATA 0 port will be disabled. The SATA ports support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10. To their right is the 24-pin ATX connector as well as the single RGB LED header in white. 

Audio duties are handled by the latest Realtek ALC1220 codec and use Nichicon audio caps to filter the sound. The board includes a Texas Instruments NE5532 OpAmp which auto-senses impedance and supports up to 600 Ohm headsets. The board separates the left and right channels in different PCB layers as well as other isolation methods to reduce EMI interference. 

The single full-length and reinforced PCIe slot runs at x16 speeds and also supports bifurcation and is able to split to an x8/x8 configuration with a riser card. 

Here is the Thunderbolt 3 controller, Intel's JHL6240 "Alpine Ridge", which is a low-power PCIe x2-based controller. This comes out to a USB Type-C port on the rear panel, which can also be used as a USB 3.1 port and supports Power Delivery 2.0 up to 36 W (12V at 3A) for fast charging. The port also supports DisplayPort USB-C modes up to full 4K at 60 Hz.

The back panel IO (below) is relatively busy with multiple stacks covering USB, audio, network, and video outputs. A complete list is found below ordered from left to right. 

  • Clear CMOS button
  • Wi-Fi module (802.11ac)
  • PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard port
  • 2 x USB 3.0 
  • SPDIF Output
  • HDMI 2.0
  • DisplayPort (1.2)
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3 (also USB 3.1, DP, PD)
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 6-plug audio stack

In The Box

ASRock Includes the following: 

  • Quick Installation Guide, Software Setup Guide
  • I/O Shield
  • Driver Disk
  • 2 x SATA cables
  • 1 x ASRock Wi-Fi Antenna
  • 1 x Screw for M.2 socket

For a gaming motherboard, this is pretty barebones, most likely to keep the price down.

ASRock Z370 Gaming-ITX/ac Overview BIOS and Software
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  • stanleyipkiss - Friday, July 13, 2018 - link

    Best buy for any situation right here. Amazing Z370 board. Reply
  • Samus - Saturday, July 14, 2018 - link

    Totally upgrading to this from my ASRock H87M-ITX, which has held solid for 4 years with an over locked i5-4670k.

    The main appeal isn’t just that coffee lake is finally a worthy upgrade from previous generations, especially Haswell, but that platforms simply lacked PCIe m.2 until recently and that’s where the performance gain will be most noticeable. Going from 500MB/sec SSD to 2800MB/sec is huge. And with 12 thread CPU’s to back it up I can’t wait to unrar 8GB 1080p videos in 3 seconds.
    Reply
  • n13L5 - Sunday, August 5, 2018 - link

    Really? With Cocaine Lake 8-cores and Z390 boards imminent? Reply
  • foxen - Friday, July 13, 2018 - link

    minor typo: in the visual inspection when you list the I/O on the back panel, you miss the GigE nic. Reply
  • Gunbuster - Friday, July 13, 2018 - link

    Warning to prospective buyers. Today's date is 7/13/2018. Check out the driver and software page for this board. Nearly everything is from 2017.

    You will not get timely support from ASRock.
    Reply
  • npz - Friday, July 13, 2018 - link

    You're doing it wrong. You or anyone else should never, ever use the mobo driver page for ongoing and latest support. At best, it's just there to get you booted. Everyone is the same. You never get the latest drivers. Never.

    ALWAYS use the chip manufactures drivers. In fact, a better and more convenient and safer way is to use the latest MS certified version (basically slightly older but more stable) just by going to the Device Manager > select device - right-click > Update driver > Search automatically for updated driver

    That's it.
    The only thing you should expect timely support on from the mobo maker is the BIOS
    Reply
  • npz - Friday, July 13, 2018 - link

    And with regards to BIOS updates, Asrock is the best. They're also the only to actually make beta versions public and will respond to customer issues. Reply
  • Samus - Monday, July 16, 2018 - link

    True, I wouldn't put any weight into "drivers" from partners. You get drivers from OEMs. When was the last time you went to evga.com to get nVidia drivers? Think about it.

    And as far as BIOSes go, ASRock is pretty good. They aren't as good as ASUS or major OEM's like HP or Dell, but they're pretty good and have patched most of their recent boards for Spectre.
    Reply
  • ikjadoon - Friday, July 13, 2018 - link

    Do you still have this motherboard? I have this board and, for the life of me, I can't figure out what that white 8-pin header does next to two of the SATA ports.

    https://i.imgur.com/aBTTB07.png (it's missing even in the motherboard manual!)

    Thought mine was weird, but even your sample has it--most mysteriously, none of ASRock's other Z370 motherboards have it nor the ASRock Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac!

    Isn't space a premium in mini-ITX boards? Why would you leave an extra 8-pin header on such a board? It barely fits anyways between the SATA ports and the front panel I/O header.
    Reply
  • ikjadoon - Friday, July 13, 2018 - link

    Oh, right: I love this motherboard. Absolutely fantastic: excellent list of full-fat features, runs cool (def. disabled MCE, though), excellent RAM overclocking support, proper 2x2 WiFi, BIOS is complete and full-featured, ASRock updated expeditiously for Spectre/Meltdown (big kudos from me as software support starts to differentiate these commodity products), simple layout, no real gotchas (except the TB3 is only wired as PCIe 2x instead of 4x--but who is honestly driving eGPUs or wild iGPU-heavy docks from a gaming mini-ITX motherboard?!), and the built-in RGB is fun to play with (and syncs nicely with proper lighting).

    The most minor of cons which some random dude/dudette just has to have, but should be noted for completeness: TB3 is 2x lanes, no USB 3.1 header (though ITX case support is even worse), RGB header is the standard 4-pin and not the fancy RGBW 5-pin, single M.2 slot (but, if you deeply care, you can bifurcate the PCIe x16 and add a $20 PCIe M.2 slot adapter), and the WiFi antenna could be better (a million replacements on Amazon, though, and fine to keep the price down).
    Reply

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