Byline: By Din
While high performance hardware is often associated to large and bulky designs, there are still performance junkies out there that prefer their PCs to be small and as simple. Think Home Theatre PC like – with its compact form factor, but offering high-spec performance that rival its larger brethren. Championing that concept is ASUS with the release of its smallest Republic of Gamers (ROG) entry – the Maximus VII Impact.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
While ASUS had cut back on the size of the motherboard, the box it comes in features lots and lots of extra bundled stuff. This includes the I/O backplate, SATA cables, stickers, drivers, manuals, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi modules, and an audio system module. The last two are somewhat exclusive to the Impact.
In keeping with the ROG theme, the board is fully black with hints of red accents, something that I am never bored of seeing. Surprisingly, there is enough space between the CPU slot and its surroundings to fit a large third-party cooler. This is very rare for a small format motherboard.
Enough is Enough
Since the Impact is small, you definitely won’t be getting the same features found on the larger systems. Present is only one single x16 PCIe slot, which means having no support for SLi or CrossfireX configurations here. While Z97 chipsets generally can support up to 6 SATA 3 ports, only four are included here. There is no SATA Express connector here as well though you can install an M.2 SSD on this motherboard using the included mPCIe Combo III slot. By default, you can install the included Bluetooth/Wi-Fi combo module in this slot.
While small in stature, the Impact still shows it can perform. For me, it is the best compact Z97 motherboard I have ever encountered. Simply put, it is certainly something you can get right now if you are looking for a motherboard to fit your small LAN Party PC build. While you constricted in terms of specs (only two banks of DDR3 RAM, and no multi GPU), you will realise the Impact is more than suited for the job.
Processor: Intel Socket 1150, Supports Intel 22 nm CPU
Supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Chipset: Intel Z97 Wildcat Point
Memory: 2 x DIMM, Max. 16GB, DDR3
C.)/2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Connectivity: 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) 4 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
Expansion: 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16, mPCIe Combo IV, 802.11 AC/BT 4.0
Graphics: Integrated Graphics Processor
Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DisplayPort ports
– Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
– Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz
PC Mark 8 Results
Home: 4375 (4982 OC)
Creative: 4122 (4753 OC)
Work: 4049 (4354 OC)
Verdict: A really small, yet ferocious beast.