Zotac's Mini-ITX Z68 motherboards have received some fresh competition with the arrival of ASRock's new Z68M-ITX/HT motherboard. Perfect for high-end HTPCs, the new board offers seemingly all the goodies commonly associated with Intel's latest chipset, including support for Sandy Bridge's IGP, K-Series processors and Smart Response Technology.

SRT is a hybrid storage solution that boosts performance by moving frequently accessed data to a low-capacity flash-based cache drive, while your operating system and other files are stored on a conventional hard drive. That speed increase varies depending on the situation, but we saw some impressive gains in our Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-iSSD review.

Unlike the Gigabyte board we examined, this ASRock's Mini-ITX unit won't ship with an onboard cache drive, so you'll have to purchase an SSD separately if you want to utilize SRT. In addition to hybrid storage, the Z68M-ITX/HT comes with Lucid's Virtu graphics switching technology, which can dynamically assign tasks to integrated or discrete GPUs.

asrock z68 mini-itx

ASRock's board supports all LGA1155 Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, 16GB of dual-channel DDR3 2133MHz RAM, and one PCIe 2.0 x16 graphics card. Connectivity includes Gigabite Ethernet, two SATA 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s ports, four USB 2.0 ports (four more via headers), two USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, as well as HDMI, DVI-D, D-Sub, and Optical SPDIF outputs.

The board also comes with a Windows MCE-compatible remote for home theater users and the company isn't shy about mentioning its XFast USB, XFast LAN, AXTU, UEFI and other in-house features -- there's really too much to cover without a lengthy review. We haven't seen anything about pricing on the Z68M-ITX, but the company's H67M-ITX is only $87.