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ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VII IMPACT (Intel Z97) Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VII IMPACT (Intel Z97) Mini-ITX Motherboard Review
We take a look at a tiny Mini-ITX Intel Z97 based motherboard under the ROG name from ASUS. Here's Shawn's full review of the ROG MAXIMUS VII IMPACT.
By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Nov 27, 2014 9:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASUS





Over the past few months, a lot of the focus when it comes to motherboards and video cards has been on the higher-end market with the X99 chipset. The X99 chipset brought with it a new crop of high-end CPUs and DDR4, while the new Maxwell video card series from NVIDIA saw the GTX 970 and GTX 980. The GTX 970 and GTX 980 are high-end models, and although they are priced extremely well, they are still quite expensive for many people.


Today we're looking at a motherboard from ASUS that uses the impressive Z97 chipset. Using DDR3, and with a large range of processor options available, the cost of getting into a Z97 build is much more attractive than the cost associated with the X99 platform.


The particular board Z97 board we're looking at today comes from ASUS, and is part of the popular Republic of Gamers (ROG) series. The Maximus VII Impact is a Mini-ITX motherboard. This is a platform that we probably won't see on the new X99 chipset due to the fact that installing four DIMM slots for the quad channel memory support is going to be nearly impossible.


So, if you're looking for a motherboard that carries the more cost-effective Z97 chipset, while also being extremely small, then this might be just the motherboard you're looking for. Now, let's start with the package before moving forward to see just how much ASUS could pack into this small package.



Package - What comes inside the box






As you can see, we don't have a whole lot happening on the front of the box; because the box is small, there just isn't a whole lot of room. With that said, though, there is a ROG logo at the top, the Maximus VII Impact name in the middle, and a couple of logos across the bottom. After flipping the top open, you can see ASUS gives us a rundown on some of the main features offered.


You can see the big feature marketed here is the improved audio, which comes via the Supreme FX Impact II technology. The improved audio technology also brings Sonic Studio, a one-click virtual surround sound technology; Sonic SoundStage, which brings hardware level audio profiles; and the Sonic SenseAmp, which is able to auto-detect headphones and instantly optimize the amp level to bring the highest quality of sound. Across the bottom, you can see the Impact Power II feature, which brings improved power stability and performance, which is normally only reserved for larger boards.






On the other half of the box, you can see the interface features, which includes KeyBot, a feature that lets you adjust settings like CPU speeds and XMP profiles on-the-fly. We've also got the mPCIe Combo IV card, which provides 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, mPCIe, and PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2. We'll take a closer look at this technology on the next page. We finish up across the bottom with the networking features that include Intel Ethernet, LANGuard, and GameFirst III, all of which help improve your networking experience.


Turning over to the back of the box, you can see some of the main features are highlighted again, including the SupremeFX Impact II, mPCIe Combo IV, Impact Power II, and Impact Control II. Along with this, you can see the main specifications of the board, and get a look at the rear I/O. We will take a closer look at all of this in just a moment.




Inside of the package, you can see all of the normal inclusions, starting with the user guide and driver CD. Along with these, we've got the SATA cable labels which often go with the four included SATA II cables, and our I/O back plate protector.




Finally, we finish up with a lot of the features that you saw mentioned on the box. Starting from the top left, we've got the SurpremeFX Impact II, a card that brings some extra fan headers, the mPCIe Combo IV card we mentioned earlier, and our Wi-Fi antenna to round things off. Considering the small size of the board and box, we've got quite a lot going on.



PRICING: You can find the ASUS ROG Maximus VII Impact for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.


United States: The ASUS ROG Maximus VII Impact retails for $229.99 at Amazon.


Canada: The ASUS ROG Maximus VII Impact retails for CDN$287.47 at Amazon Canada.

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