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ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Review

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ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Conclusion:

When I went into this review, I was not really expecting the Maximus VIII Impact to deliver overclocking on par with the Maximus VIII Extreme in such a compact package. I was actually pretty blown away by the clock speeds it could deliver on demand when pushed. That being said, the package put together by ASUS makes the Maximus VIII Impact a serious small form factor contender if you want a high performance Mini-ITX build as your LAN system.

When you look at the stock performance, the Maximus VIII Impact is going to deliver results in a narrow envelope when compared to other motherboards. That's a given. However, running out of spec is where this little board will shine, much like the rest of the ROG Z170-based motherboards in ASUS' product stack. From the PCB up, ASUS ROG DNA is piled up in every corner of the board. Things like ASUS' Impact Power III 6+2+2 phase implementation of ASUS' Extreme Engine DIgi+ VRM controls equipped with Microfine alloy chokes, 10K Black capacitors, and Power PowlRstage® MOSFETs that allow it to overclock just as well as any ATX form factor board. Backing all that up, ASUS uses its Pro Clock technology to allow for extended bClk ranges that exceed what are commonly available as seen by the 350MHz bClk shots in the overclocking section. The ASUS T-Topology DRAM trace layout and memory training algorithms make it easier to push for big memory overclocks that don't compromise performance for the sake of clock speed, although you can take that route as the M8I supports memory speeds of 4133MHz right out of the box.

Going back to the performance delivered by the Maximus VIII Impact, I found that it really does not give up anything to its larger brethren when you look strictly at the performance curves both at stock and at the overclocked speeds. It just keeps pushing the envelope. The only places it gives up anything to the larger boards are in the amount of ancillary connections including USB port count, storage options, on-board 7.1 SupremeFX 2015 sound, SATA ports, and the amount of expansion slots available to the end user. It gives these things up because, well, there just isn't room on this small 6.7" x 6.7" square PCB.

What you will find is that there is everything here that you need thanks to innovative layouts. Things you do get are ASUS' SupremeFX Impact III Realtek ALC 1150 5.1-based sound solution that takes the parts of the PCB and puts them on an add-in card. If horizontal doesn't work, go vertically to get the space. You get U.2 storage connectivity with NVMe support; ASUS UEFI Crash Free BIOS 3 that is just as fluid and functional as ever; an intuitive software package, including AI Suite III and Fan Xpert III to control up to five fan headers thanks to the add-in fan extension card; all the OC functionality you need from the Q-LED, power, and reset buttons on the I/O panel; LAN Guard technology; and the list just keeps on going.

At the end of the day, you have a well rounded motherboard that looks spectacular with the latest ROG color scheme. It fits into any chassis designed for Mini-ITX motherboards and can be built as mild or wild as you want. Fitted with a high end GPU, Core i7 6700K. and some high speed memory and storage, and you have a killer rig that starts with a retail price of $238.

 

Pros:

  • Full-size board overclocking
  • Performance
  • SupremeFX Impact III sound
  • ROG feature set
  • Crash Free UEFI BIOS
  • Software package
  • USB performance
  • Looks 
  • Small Form Factor
  • ROG sound 
  • Storage options

 

Cons:

  • Obstructed V-Checkpoints
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