ASUS MITX Motherboard Roundup
Published: 15th April 2016 | Source: ASUS | Price: £66 £135 £190 |
So there we have it. Three very different takes upon the mITX format, and three very different price points. Which should you settle down with though? It depends, as these things always do, on your chosen use.
Maximus VIII Impact
If you're an enthusiast then it's difficult to look much beyond the Maximus VIII Impact. Certainly it is costlier than the other two, but you're getting a motherboard that has everything you have come to expect from a Republic of Gamers motherboard. USB 3.1, U.2 socket, highest quality SupremeFX audio and enough power phases to squeeze the very most out of your processor.
Certainly you need to have the very specific requirements of a motherboard which will overclock at the same heights of a Maximus VIII Extreme, have support for all of the highest bandwidth storage devices around and still have room left over to support DDR4 of speeds heading into the stratospheric and yet do all this in a 17cm x 17cm footprint.
If that sounds like you then for the lofty sum of £190 it can be yours.
Z170I Pro Gaming
If the Maximus VIII Impact is the frothing at the mouth, straining at the leash, take upon a Z170 chipset in an mITX package, then the Z170I Pro Gaming is the more moderate approach. The move from a product in the ROG range to one in the regular ASUS range doesn't mean a massive compromise in technologies though. There is still support for some blazing fast DDR4 speeds, we still have USB 3.1 and, although it's underneath the PCB, space for a M.2 drive should you so require it.
It's almost the thinking persons choice. It might not be full of flash and flair in the same way a Maximus is, but it's so well rounded it's nearly spherical. It reminds us a great deal of the ASUS Z170-A. It just does everything you could realistically demand in a no-nonsense manner. We like it very much indeed. It's the perfect balance of performance and cost effectiveness. If it interests you then for a mere £135 it can be yours.
B150I Pro Gaming
If you're not an ultra-demanding enthusiast or someone likely to want to do a variety of tasks then the B150I Pro Gaming can be a surprising little package. Every time we review motherboards or processors we see how games are so GPU limited these days that the difference between a stock dual-core i3 6320 and a monster overclocked i7-5960X is slim at best. If the plan is to just game with it, a PC sized console if you will, then you are far better off saving wherever you can and buying the beefiest graphics card around. The B150I Pro Gaming is unquestionably a product aimed squarely at that market. The three big areas where it lacks compared to the models above are the lack of a USB 3.1 port, hardly vital in a gaming scenario, a limit on the DDR4 of 2133MHz, again not a big problem if you're just gaming, and reduced power phases.
That isn't to say that you can't overclock the B150I, merely that it will be under a much greater strain than the plentiful overclocking options of the Z170 offerings. Plus, once again, CPU clock speed doesn't - to a point - make a massive difference to your frame rate. Which makes the B150I Pro Gaming Aura the perfect choice for anyone who is looking to do nothing but play games. Plus at a mere £66 (until April 17th 2016) you're saving nearly enough to upgrade from a GTX960 to a GTX970 or a R380 to a R390 on your build. Which is a much better use of your limited funds.
If you would like to discuss your options when choosing the correct ITX board for your needs then join in on the OC3D Forums.