ASUS MITX Motherboard Roundup
Published: 15th April 2016 | Source: ASUS | Price: £66 £135 £190 |
ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Impact
With nothing nearby to give you a sense of scale it would be easy to look at the Impact box in photographs and believe it's just another ROG box. That mITX element, or even the size of the standard 4K logo in comparison to the packaging, should clue you in to the "almost fits in your pocket" nature of the Maximus VIII Impact.
Because we see so many motherboards pass through the OC3D offices, of which only a handful are mITX, it's easy to forget just how small they are. At under 8 inches both sides the Impact definitely falls into the compact category. With careful use of the vertical daughter boards ASUS have managed to install a full set of power phases, as well as a particularly capable audio solution. This thinking outside the box should unleash some useful overclocking performance from the little Z170.
With vertical SATA ports sitting between the Supreme FX III audio card and the two DDR4 DIMM slots, it might take some particular wizardry to get the cables on your build neatly tidied away. There is also a U.2 connector which is wasting some vertical I/O real estate on the back of the board but for those of you looking to purchase an Intel NVME 2.5" hard drive or future proof yourself for upcoming SSD's with mind boggling speeds will only really be challenged by keeping the cabling tidy, when you look at the board from above if they had put it anywhere else something that could be viewed as more important right now would have had to be sacrificed so it is a case of better to have the option than not.
Every where you look there is something to highlight, such is the compact nature of the Impact. This extreme form-fitting does mean you have to be particularly careful in your choice of components. If ever something was designed for an AIO cooling solution then this definitely is it.
The entire Maximus VIII Impact fits into a space smaller than most IO areas. Despite this there are the full selection of USB 3.1 ports, display outputs, WiFi and even RJ45 should you require them. We know we keep harping on about how small everything is, but when you're used to a full ATX motherboard you do start wondering how the PCB designers managed to fit everything on.
We know from our review that the M8I is a capable overclocker, with far more performance than its diminutive size would lead you to guess at. It has all the latest bells and whistles, just in the dinky mITX form factor. You would have to be a particularly choosy enthusiast to complain about any of the technologies available on the Maximus VIII Impact, even if the price point is high enough that you also would need to require a mITX motherboard to make it worth purchasing over something like the Maximus VIII Hero. But what if you do want the compact form factor without breaking the bank? Read on.