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ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Review


ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Testing:

Testing this new platform will involve running it through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which includes both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and NVIDIA drivers for the NVIDIA GTX 770. In the past we had locked the clock speed on the processor to eliminate any easily controlled variables due to processor speed. However, there is a difference in how each manufacturer handles the CPU default and boost speeds, creating opportunity for one board to deliver a higher level of performance. This variable is a point of difference between boards. The majority of users will run the stock settings, making this point a valid concern, so we are changing up the test methods to capture this difference.

Testing Setup: Intel Socket 1151


Testing Setup: Intel Socket 1150


Comparison Motherboard:


Overclocked settings:


Much like I saw with the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 and ASUS' own Maximus VIII Hero, there are a myriad of options available to the end user when it comes to overclocking your Skylake processor. In this case I am beating on an Intel Core i7 6700K. ASUS makes it easy for the end user looking for a robust overclock that really takes little more than answering a couple questions when you overclock using the ASUS EZ Tuning Wizard. It's reached by pressing F11 while in the EZ or Advanced sections of the ASUS UEFI BIOS. Using this option will give you a stable overclock that helps improve system performance, since clock speed is usually king when it comes to some benchmarks. However, you can configure a more robust overclock by using the 5-Way Optimization tool in ASUS' AI Suite III software suite. On top of these means you can tune the board and hardware manually or even use the preset options in the BIOS under the Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS.

Right out of the box by manually tuning the operating parameters, I was able to reach the same overclock that the Maximus VIII Extreme was capable of thanks to the hardware configuration of the system. One caveat was that I had to push the CPU core voltage up to 1.35v in the BIOS to get to 4800MHz stable on the core while running 4700MHz on the cache bus. While the voltage increase was not that great when compared to the voltage needs on the Maximus VIII Extreme, I had to push the vcore higher to offset the small amount of droop that was present when under load. Memory tuning and training is fairly painless with this board, as well. Using the XMP settings on the installed modules, they easily hit 3000MHz with a boost in the applied voltage to 1.35v. Overall, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the overclocking chops on this Mini-ITX motherboard.

Once you get to the auto overclocking tools in the Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS, there are several options that you can use to set an easy, one stroke overclock. The first option I explored was the TPU option. There are three options including keeping your current settings. TPU I sets a very modest clock speed, with a maximum of 4300MHz when using just one core and 4100MHz when using all four cores. I found that this setting would perform right where it should under load with all four cores engaged, but when running the single core tests to see if the 6700K would boost up to 4300MHz, it would more often than not stay at 4200MHz with the memory set to 2666MHz. Looking at the way the core clock multipliers are set (43,42,41,41), the core clock should be at 4300MHz when a single core is used. TPU II, on the other hand, sets a 4600MHz core clock with a 4500MHz cache clock speed that runs true to the setting regardless of whether you are running a single or multi threaded test. Again with the memory locked at 2666MHz using the XMP profile settings.

A series of overclocking presets are located in the Extreme Tweaker section and include a Gamer's OC profile that sets the core clock speed to a maximum of 4800MHz with a minimum core clock speed under load of 4500MHz. Looking at the way the clock speed is managed by core clock, multipliers start at 48 for a single thread scenario with that speed dropping as more cores are used following this map: 48, 47, 46, 45. The final memory speed is set to 2133MHz with this profile, so depending on your memory maximum speed you may be leaving some performance on the table. Additionally there are 340MHz / 360MHz CPU bclk profiles as well as a couple of high speed memory profiles if you have the memory that can clock up and over 3733MHz. I found that my 6700K is about a 350MHz max chip, so setting the 360Mhz bClk profile ended up in a failed boot, but I could boot the 340MHz profile and bump up the bClk speed by 10MHz in the TPU section of AI Suite III. Bumping up the clock multiplier any higher than eight resulted in system lockup right away. BClk speeds this high are thanks to ASUS using a dedicated BCLK generator called Pro Clock that really enhances the bClk range that you can run, as long as the processor is capable.

The last overclocking option in the BIOS is the EZ Overclocking tool that runs you through a series of questions to determine the best possible scenario for your hardware. After answering the questions (gaming system and water cooling are my choices) I was given a 4635MHz overclock on the CPU core and a speed of 4221MHz on the cache ratio, while the memory was adjusted to 2198MHz; still leaving a bit of meat on the bone, but a very reasonable overclock since core clock is usually looked at as king when it comes to system operation. And do I have to mention this is a Mini-ITX board!

The last option is not the least, but is really just as easy as the BIOS options yet is managed in the operating system. ASUS' AI Suite III uses a 5-Way Optimization tool that works to manage the power, clock speed, and fan profiles through the inclusion of Fan Xpert III in the tool. After running the 5-Way Optimization tool, it gave up a 4.8GHz core clock, 4.1GHz cache clock, and a memory speed of 2666MHz using the XMP profile tuning for the 2800MHz XMP profile. It's hard not to like the fact that ASUS packs a ton of punch into such a little package, showing that regardless of how it's implemented its Extreme Engine Digi+ voltage control systems and T-Topology memory system deliver each and every time.





Maximum Core Clock Speed:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the listed overclocked speeds. These clock speeds will represent the level of performance shown by the overclocked scores in the testing.




  • Scientific & Data:
  1. PCMark 8
  2. SiSoft Sandra 2014
  3. Cinebench R15
  4. X.264 5.1
  5. AIDA64 3.00
  6. CrystalDiskMark
  7. ATTO 2.47
  8. iPerf
  9. Rightmark Audio Analyzer
  • Gaming:
  1. 3DMark
  2. Batman: Arkham Origins
  3. Metro: Last Light

  1. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Closer Look: Programs & Utilities
  3. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Closer Look: The BIOS
  4. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact: Specifications & Features
  5. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  6. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Testing: PCMark 8, SiSoft Sandra, Cinebench R15, X.264
  7. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Testing: AIDA64, CrystalDiskMark, ATTO, iPerf, RMAA
  8. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Testing: Gaming
  9. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact: Conclusion
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