- CPU Support: Intel Core Processor
- CPU Socket: LGA 1150
- Chipset: Intel Z87 Chipset, Intel Z97 Chipset
- Memory Type: Dual Channel Memory
- Excellent performance
- Feature-packed, despite compact size
- Accessing certain components can be difficult
- Benchmark Results
- PCMark 8 (Home): 4,501 points
- PCMark 8 (Creative): 4,028 points
- PCMark 8 (Work): 4,745 points
Go Small Or Go Home
Mini-ITX boards have started to become all the rage these days, even amongst enthusiast PC builders, and capitalising on this niche is none other than ASUS, who has brought us quite a number of compelling solutions when it comes to small form factor components, and with the ASUS Maximus VII Impact, we’re seeing no slowdowns in Mini-ITX motherboards.
Despite its compact size, the Maximus VII Impact is packed with quite a number of goodies, features-wise. On the board, it has two DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 16GB of memory, up to 3,300MHz, and comes with Intel XMP. As for storage spaces, the motherboard has four SATA III 6.0Gbps ports, and one PCIe 3.0 port, which, from our tests, supports a full-sized GPU such as an NVIDIA GTX 970 or an AMD R9 290 with no problems.
As far as I/O ports are concerned, ASUS are also quite generous with the allocation on the Maximus VII Impact, as it has six USB ports, four of which are USB 3.0, one DisplayPort and HDMI port each, as well as an S/PDIF port and a PS/2 port for either mouse of keyboard.
One interesting thing to note about the Maximus VII Impact motherboard is the fact that its physical audio driver is separated from the motherboard. It is packaged together, but you will have to plug in the soundcard in yourself when building the PC.
As far as performance goes, the Maximus VII Impact motherboard is one heck of a performer. Testing our Devil’s Canyon Intel Core i7 proessor, we managed to overclock the processor to 4.3GHz from the base 4.0GHz which is very impressive, all things considered. Those who are looking to build an ultra-compact gaming PC with this will definitely not be disappointed by its performance.
Overclockers will also be happy to know that the Maximus VII Impact comes with a few overclocking functionalities, including support for accessories such as the ASUS OC Panel and Front Base.
CHIP CONCLUDE: We’ve seen some pretty impressive Mini-ITX motherboards, and ASUS definitely ranks as one of the best when it comes to such a niche form factor. If you lack the space to build a big gaming computer, we highly recommend that you start things off with this motherboard.
(previously published in issue December 2014)