The Intel Z77 chipset is a single-chip solution that is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports two SATA-600 ports and four SATA-300 ports, supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5). This motherboard has two SATA-600 ports and two SATA-300 ports. The mSATA connector is controlled by one of the spare SATA-300 ports of the chipset, while the other spare SATA-300 port was routed to the rear panel as an eSATA-300 port.
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Figure 6: SATA-300 (black) and SATA-600 (gray) ports
The Intel Z77 chipset supports 14 USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports. The ASRock Z77E-ITX offers six USB 2.0 ports, two soldered on the rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard; and six USB 3.0 ports, four located on the motherboard rear panel and two available on a header located on the motherboard. The two additional USB 3.0 ports are controlled by an ASMedia 1042 chip. (The two ports controlled by this chip are located on the rear panel.)
The ASRock Z77E-ITX doesn’t have FireWire ports.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the new Realtek ALC898 codec, which is an outstanding solution, providing an impressive 110 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. This means you are able to capture and edit analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.) with this motherboard without adding any background noise.
The motherboard has on-board optical SPDIF output.
The analog audio outputs are independent only if you use a 5.1 analog speaker set. If you install a 7.1 analog speaker set, you will need to use either the “mic in” or the “line in” jacks.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by a Broadcom BCM57781 chip.
As already shown in Figure 3, this motherboard comes with a Wi-Fi card supporting the IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel with a shared PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector, four USB 3.0 ports, connectors for the Wi-Fi antenna, DVI-I output, DisplayPort output, HDMI output, clear CMOS button, two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA-300 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.
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Figure 7: Motherboard rear panel