ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Impact MITX Review
Published: 30th November 2015 | Source: ASUS | Price: £187.99 @ OCUK |
The Z170 chipset has been around for a little while now and if anything is obvious from our graphs it's that ASUS seem to be about the only manufacturer who has got a firm grip on the BIOS, thus enabling us to benchmark and review their motherboards without a lot of toing and froing.
The Maximus VIII range has, so far, been as much about providing enormously feature-rich offerings as it has been about busting out some records. It's almost like their ROG arm has accepted that the Rampage/Maximus Extreme offerings of old were too expensive for the average user and so have tried to keep the features the same whilst reducing the price point to a more affordable level. Indeed the Maximus VIII Hero and Gene both are quality items.
You might imagine that having said that we're about to tell you that the Impact isn't such a motherboard. It is, but its niché is less obvious than the aforementioned. Certainly there are few challengers who can put together such an array of features whilst keeping the packaging as tight as an mITX board requires. Performance is fair to middling. It's a motherboard that you definitely need to get your overclocking chops out to make the most of. The stock speeds are okay but by no means anything to write home about, whilst the results we saw with the 4.8GHz overclock in place are worthy of the ROG branding.
Pricing is where we think the issues with the Impact lay. At current retail cost the Ranger, the Gene and the Hero all manage to undercut the street price of the Impact. Admittedly the Gene and Hero only do it by a tenner or so, but they are still cheaper offerings. You need to keep in mind that Asus have gone to great lengths to make sure that the Impact although it is small, even tiny, it still packs a huge amount of features into that tiny PCB.
This leaves the Maximus VIII Impact in a strange no-mans land. It's compact, because an mITX motherboard is compact by its very nature. The various features such as the standalone SupremeFX III audio take up slots and make the whole affair more cramped than it already is. When you have such a small system it's natural for it to be a tight squeeze, but adding to the already cramped nature is hardly helping. Secondly, it's some it's a motherboard which you really need to overclock to get the best out of it. Sure it's nice that the Impact manages to respond so well to an overclock, but again when space is at a premium - and it must be otherwise why would you buy a mITX motherboard - then cooling options also become limited. That said when comparing the market this is probably best Z170 ITX board available right now.
You have to be in a very specific audience to justify purchasing this board, namely you want a power house of a PC with a small footprint and want to overclock the chuff out of it then the ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Impact will tick all your boxes and so wins our OC3D Gold Award.