In today's review, we will be entering the niche computer market of the small form factor (SFF). The platform comes with a set of targeted parameters and long list of challenges to overcome. With ITX motherboards being the backbone of every SFF build, these small systems generally come in two flavors with little middle ground for compromise. Either it is designed for silent low-power personal computers, similar to an ultra-thin laptop, or maximum performance—both in as little space as possible.
While dozen of SKUs exist from each motherboard vendor, only a handful are SFF compliant for each generation. With the release of Intel's 12th Gen Core processors comes a new socket, and the ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 aims to fill this niche market for those who prefer a small, but powerful computer. Those who choose this route already understand that the road taken is a balancing act with a narrow window for accommodating anything outside of the necessities.
ASRock has a wide range of AMD and Intel motherboards with the Phantom line both in the entry level and mid-range sectors. Packed into the ITX form factor, the ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 has a robust VRM deploying ten 105 A power stages. It also includes DDR5 and PCIe 5.0-ready solutions for those looking for the newest technology. The features found on the more common ATX form factor are present and accounted for. Equipped with 2.5 GbE Ethernet powered by the Killer E3001G, DDR5-6400+ memory support, ASRock's software suite, and Wi-Fi Ready, the time has come to jump in and find out what this ASRock Z690 ITX motherboard is all about!
2x Antenna Ports 1x HDMI Port 1x DisplayPort 1.4 1x Optical SPDIF Out Port 4x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A Ports (10 Gb/s) 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A Ports (5 Gb/s) 1x USB 4.0 Thunderbolt™ 4 Type-C Port (40 Gb/s) 1x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED 1x Clear CMOS Button 5x HD Audio Jacks
1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec
ATX Form Factor: 6.7 x 6.7 in.; 17.0 x 17.0 cm
ASRock USB 4.0 Thunderbolt™ 4 Type-C Port
ASRock Front Panel Type-C USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Header (20 Gb/s)
ASRock USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A Port (10 Gb/s)
Premium Power Choke
105A Smart Power Stage
Nichicon 12K Black Caps
Matte Black PCB
High Density Glass Fabric PCB
10 Layer PCB
Killer 2.5G LAN
Killer 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E
Killer Double Shot™ Pro
ASRock steel Slot
ASRock Full Coverage M.2 Heatsink
ASRock Hyper M.2
ASRock POST Status Checker
ASRock Full Spike Protection (for all USB, audio, LAN ports)