Articles: Mainboards

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ASRock is a unique mainboard manufacturer. However, they have managed to find a suitable market niche lately: they offer inexpensive products with maximum functionality. This approach helped ASRock to win many consumers who are eager to overlook certain engineering flaws, not the absolute best quality or shorter warranty periods than those offered by the market leaders for the sake of saving some money.

Among other things, ASRock currently has a Mini-ITX LGA1155 mainboard – H67M-ITX/HT. Just like many of the company’s other products, it is unique in its own way. Its functionality is truly impressive and the number of bundled accessories is even more extensive than the accessories included with some full-size mainboards. The distinguishing feature of this product is Wi-Fi support and a useful bonus in the form of a Windows Media center compatible remote control unit.

ASRock H67M-ITX/HT PCB layout is pretty typical of Mini-ITX mainboards for LGA1155 processors. The PCI Express x16 slot for the graphics card and two DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR3-1067/1333 SDRAM are located on two different sides of the PCB. Media drives on ASRock H67M-ITX/HT can be connected to two SATA 3 Gbps and two SATA 6 Gbps ports. Moreover, there are also a few internal onboard pin-connectors for four USB 2.0 and a serial port.

Despite pretty loaded PCB, ASRock engineers managed to allocate some space for a mini-PCIe x1 slot that can accommodate “half-size” expansion cards. On ASRock H67M-ITX/HT this slot is used for a Wi-Fi adapter, so it is already occupied on a standard mainboard model. This slot already holds AzureWave RTL8191SE module based on a Realtek chip with the same name. This module can work in 2.4 GHz range and supports 802.11b/g/n wireless network.

The mainboard back panel is not too busy. There are four USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports implemented using the not so popular EtronTech controller. However, ASRock is particularly proud of this controller, because they provided it with a special caching driver optimized for work with external drives. They call it XFast USB stressing that ASRock H67M-ITX/HT works with external USB 3.0 SSD and HDD faster than other mainboards.

Next to the back panel USB 2.0 ports there is an eSATA connector, RJ45 port for Gigabit network, PS/2 keyboard connector, Wi-Fi antenna connector, an optical S/PDIF out and five analogue audio-jacks. All corresponding interfaces are supported via additional onboard controllers: Realtek RTL8111E network controller and eight-channel Realtek ALC892 audio codec. And for the Intel HD Graphics core integrated into the Sandy Bridge processors there are three monitor outs of different types: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI.

The chipset on ASRock H67M-ITX/HT is cooled with a small aluminum heatsink attached with spring push-pins. The processor voltage regulator circuitry has no cooling of any kind. It has four phases and according to the manufacturer is built with only high-quality Japanese components with extended MTBF.

Specification doesn’t impose any restrictions on the list of supported processors, which means that ASRock H67M-ITX/HT should work fine with 95 W Core i5 and Core i7 models. Unfortunately, there is not that much free space to accommodate large CPU cooling systems: the LGA1155 processor socket is pushed into the corner between DIMM slots and PCI Express x16.

The mainboard supports a standard number of cooling fans for a Mini-ITX platform. It has two corresponding four-pin fan connectors. The rotation speed of fans connected to both of them can be adjusted using PWM method.

I absolutely have to say a few words about the bundled accessories. Besides the user manual, a disk with the drivers, a pair of SATA cables and the back panel I/O Shield, ASRock added a few very nice goodies. The first thing is a pair of cardboard anaglyph glasses for watching 3D video. Although if you really want to be able to use them properly, you will need commercial software player with the corresponding support, such as Cyberlink PowerDVD, for example. Unfortunately, this player is not included with the mainboard. The second interesting accessory is a compact Wi-Fi antenna. Although its sensitivity leaves much to be desired and you shouldn’t really count on it too much. The third item is a remote control unit with infra-red receiver, which we already mentioned above. Unlike most of the other accessories, this Windows Media center compatible kit is a very useful bonus that will be great for an HTPC system.

ASRock is one of the companies who have successfully migrated to UEFI, so the mainboard BIOS has very attractive interface.

OC Tweaker, the most interesting section for advanced users, has a few surprises for us. For example, there is an option for adjusting processor clock frequency multiplier, which can be not only reduced to a smaller value, but also increased. But don’t get too excited, because in reality this parameter only allows lowering the CPU clock speed. If you set the parameter to anything exceeding the nominal value, nothing is going to happen even if you have a K-series CPU with an unlocked multiplier. At the same time, ASRock H67M-ITX/HT doesn’t offer any options for changing the BCLK frequency, which means that this mainboard doesn’t allow overclocking the processor even a tiny bit by raising the base clock.



The interesting ability of ASRock H67M-ITX/HT to lower the processor clock frequency multiplier is, in fact, not very practical. The mainboard has no tools for adjusting the CPU Vcore, so it doesn’t make much sense to slow down the CPU on this ASRock mainboard for the purpose of improving its energy-efficiency.

The memory frequency settings are pretty standard. ASRock H67M-ITX/HT allows choosing between two modes: DDR3-1067 and DDR3-1333. As for the memory timings, you can change them as you please. It also supports low-voltage memory modules.

The only type of overclocking that can be performed on ASRock H67M-ITX/HT is graphics core overclocking. Here you will find all the necessary options for frequency adjustment and for increasing the graphics core voltage.

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