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ASUS Maximus VIII Impact Review

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Author: MAC
Date: December 17, 2015
Product Name: Maximus VIII Impact
Part Number: Maximus VIII Impact
Warranty: 3 Years

 

Although we have already had the privilege of reviewing one wonderfully compact ASUS Z170 motherboard – the Maximus VIII GENE – we still had our sights on something even smaller. With that in mind, we bring you today a review of the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact. This Mini ITX powerhouse falls under the Republics of Gamers (ROG) product line, so it represents the pinnacle of ASUS’ engineering know-how, which really comes into play when you’re dealing with such a small PCB footprint. You can either decide to leave features off or get clever with the design, and needless to say the Maximus VIII Impact is one clever piece of work.

First and foremost, thanks to the vertically-mounted Impact Power III module, this tiny Impact model is still outfitted with a robust power delivery subsystem in the form of an 8-phase digital power design, 60A MicroFine alloy chokes, and 10K Black Metallic Capacitors. This is basically the same high-end components that you see on all RoG models, so we expect precise power management and very high overclocking capabilities. Case in point, ASUS has certified this model’s two DDR4 DIMM slots for speeds up to DDR4-4133. There’s also an encyclopedia’s worth of unique ASUS-only overclocking features onboard like KeyBot II, LN2 Mode, MemTweakIt, ProbeIt, and much more in the UEFI BIOS and various utilities.

The Impact features a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, which is the only expansion slot on the motherboard if we discount the M.2 socket that is occupied by the pre-installed Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module. Speaking of which, this Wi-Fi module is a dual-band 802.11ac solution with MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1, and a 2×2 external antenna. Those who prefer wired connections won’t be disappointed since the single gigabit LAN port is powered by Intel’s latest i219-V controller. When it comes to storage connectivity, this model features four SATA 6Gb/s ports, one NVMe U.2 connector, and both USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports courtesy on an Intel Alpine Ridge controller. Regrettably, there is no M.2 NGFF connector on this model, despite it seemingly being an ideal fit for this form factor.

Despite an obvious shortage of PCB space, ASUS have maintained this model’s gaming roots by including an upright PCB module that houses the new SupremeFX Impact III sub-system. This audio module houses a Realtek ALC1150 audio codec that simultaneously supports 7.1-channel playback and 2 channels of stereo output, a protective EMI cover, a renowned ESS ES9023P DAC, a dedicated headphone amplifier, and audio-grade Nichicon capacitors. It should be every bit as competitive as the SupremeFX 2015 audio found on the larger motherboards, and it supports the same Sonic SenseAmp, Sonic Studio II, and Perfect Voice features. One unique feature is the addition of color-coded LEDs inside the actual audio jacks, which helps you more easily select the appropriate output without having to be staring at the jacks head-on. We have really only scratched the surface here, and as you will see, this Mini ITX model packs a truly impressive number of features and capabilities despite its petite proportions. It might even make you think twice about the need for a standard ATX motherboard.

As is usually the case in the tech world, smaller dimensions don’t usually mean a small price tag and that holds true with the Maximus VIII Impact. This model comes in at around $240 USD / $330 CAD, which makes it the second most expensive RoG model on the market right now, behind only the extravagant Maximus VIII Extreme. While we’ve already listed a lot of what you get for that money, it’s whether it all works as flawlessly as expected that will be the big selling point. Keep reading to find out.

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