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ASUS Maximus VII Impact Review : Mini-ITX Rocket
ASUS Maximus VII Impact Review : Mini-ITX Rocket
Date: 03-03-15
Topic: Reviews & Previews
Author: ChironX

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Motherboard Visual Analysis 
Index

ASUS Maximus VII Impact Review


Even five years back, the term mini-ITX was generally paired with HTPCs or small-scale, low-power servers. It was not a wrong mindset at that time, since most of the mini-ITX boards came with limited feature sets. From the manufacturer’s point of view it was a safer route since most of the mainstream CPUs were power hungry and there weren’t enough technological advances to control the heat generated around the CPU socket/VRM section. Add to that the restricted PCB space and you got a cramped version of a full sized ATX motherboard with compromises anywhere. It worked great for applications which did not require much power, like a downloading rig or video playback machine, but for anything else, people consorted to bigger options.

Cut to today and one gets astonished seeing how much the picture has changed. The need for small form factor (SFF, in popular terms) PCs are on a substantial rise, and even a consumer like me who had once almost bought a Corsair 900D is now thinking about building myself a mini-ITX rig for daily purposes. The continuous improvement on processor TDP and thermal envelope has played a big factor in this regard, and now with mini-edition cards from several vendors available (in flavors as powerful as the GTX970) along with plenty of fantastic cases, the mini-ITX gaming/productivity build is not an oxymoron anymore.

ASUS first introduced the Impact SKU during the release of their Haswell motherboards. With the increase in mini-ITX based builds, there was an obvious question amongst the users if ASUS would bring out an ROG mini-ITX board, and the Maximus VI Impact was born out of that very demand. With the 1st generation Impact, we saw ASUS trying to retain most of its ROG exclusive features available in bigger boards, and due to the extreme size limitation they had to implement some of them in innovative ways. As a result, we had a board with some standout features that no other mini-ITX board offered, and even though the price was quite steep for a board like that, the Maximus VI Impact was highly regarded by the enthusiast community as one of the best mini-ITX boards in the Haswell platform. With the release of Devil’s Canyon, ASUS refreshed their entire ROG lineup, so the release of the successor to the Maximus VI Impact was only a matter of time. Today I will be testing that successor, the smallest ROG Z97 board – Maximus VII Impact.


What maketh the ROG Impact? As I said before, there are some standout features that ASUS has implemented in this board to give users the complete ROG experience. Let’s surf through them briefly before we begin delving deeper.

- The VRM/Power Delivery section of the board is housed in a separate PCB/daughterboard which is soldered vertically to the motherboard itself, just north of the CPU socket. We have seen ASUS follow the same route in their *I-Deluxe motherboards as well. The heatsink is ROG themed, and for sturdiness the VRM PCB has a backplate.

- The SupremeFX audio and WiFi/BT options are also on separate daughterboards which plug in to the motherboard using proprietary connectors. Like we have seen in a couple of ATX ROG motherboards, the mPCIe Combo IV module contains a mini PCI Express (mPCIe) on one side and PCI Express 3.0 x4 M.2 socket on the other. The WiFi/BT card is installed in the mPCIe connector.

- The two-digit debug LED and most of the onboard buttons are pushed to the I/O section of the motherboard in a separate soldered daughterboard. ASUS calls this section Impact Control.

Unlike we have seen in some mini-ITX motherboards, ASUS does not stack the Impact with dual NICs or dual BIOS – a move that is quite understandable since the form factor is extremely restrictive. The ROG based features get priorities here above everything else, and we will see in the performance that the design choices are mostly justified.


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  #1  
By ankalamuller 27-09-15
Re: ASUS Maximus VII Impact Review : Mini-ITX Rocket

hi,

i have not been able to locate asus rog impact or gene z97 anywhere online. i have been searching for these two boards. even mails to asus have not been replied to. is there anywhere i can buy them in india
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  #2  
By jhononweed 05-01-16
Re: ASUS Maximus VII Impact Review : Mini-ITX Rocket

Hey did this board ever made it to our Indian shores ?
Any source or contact to acquire this board from either distributor or local back channel asus will be helpful.

Thank You.
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asus, impact, maximus, miniitx, review, rocket, vii

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