CPU & Motherboards

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT ITX Motherboard Review

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx.: $219.99 – ASUS Maximus VII Impact on Amazon
PH – Approx.: Php12,995

We’ve always been fascinated by ITX products mainly due to the fact that a lot of the brands stretch out the form factor so much and provide uncompromising features despite the limited board space they can work with. None even more so than ASUS with their IMPACT line of Republic of Gamers motherboards (ROG) which have proven they can hang with the big boys like the Maximus VI Impact we reviewed before. Now we’re back with the latest iteration of the Maximus Impact series, the Maximus VII Impact. While its not a full revolution in terms of offering, this new board showcases some refined touches to the features set we’ve come to love at the ROG Impact series like the beefy VRM and inclusion of a dedicated audio solution amongst others. Let’s take a closer look at this MAXIMUS VII IMPACT and see if it continues what’s hot from the series.

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Official product page

Closer Look

There’s really nothing much ASUS has changed here except for the inclusion of new connectors on the rear I/O side for some of the included daughter cards. Otherwise, the layout is the same as the previous edition with the SATA ports still inconveniently placed next to the DIMM slots. The VRM raised PCB also gets a new heatsink design to match the rest of the series.

Test Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 4790K
Motherboard: ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VII IMPACT
Memory: Kingston HyperX BEAST DDR3-2400 16GB
Storage: Kingston HyperX FURY SSD 240GB
PSU: Corsair AX860i
Cooling: Custom loop (XSPC Raystorm block, XSPC D5 Dual Bayres (set to medium), BlackIce Stealth GT 360 rad)
Monitor: BENQ XL2420T
VGA: Palit Jetstream GTX 780Ti

We’re refreshing our motherboard comparison tables because we will now be using a i7-4790K on our test system to accommodate the upcoming Broadwell and Skylake launches and keep our charts readable. You may refer to our other motherboard reviews for comparatives but note that we use a 4770K on those systems. Please bear with us as we expand our new charts in our future reviews. All methods are still the same for all tests.

Performance Testing – Synthetic

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Performance Testing – Real World

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Performance Testing – 3D Benchmarks

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Power & Temperatures

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We check to see how motherboard makers tune their default BIOS settings and see how it impacts temperatures and power consumption. The system is left to idle for 30 minutes before readings are taken and load data is taken 30 minutes while AIDA64 System Stability Test is running. Power readings are taken for the entire system from the socket.

At a glance: The ASUS Maximus VII Impact packs a large VRM and despite its smaller footprint, it does draw much more from the socket given its higher voltage settings compared the other board’s more conservative voltage feed. ASUS has always set its BIOS to draw enough for processors to run Turbo at the maximum multiplier on all cores and this is what causes the slightly higher power draw and higher temps. Overall though, these are fairly reasonable draws and nothing really out of the ordinary here.

Overclocking

Maximum CPU Clock

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Maximum Base Clock

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Maximum Memory Clock

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OC’ing at a glance:  ASUS doesn’t skimp on the overclocking feature set on the IMPACT series and the MAXIMUS VII IMPACT shows its just as powerful as its larger counterparts. Overall very impressive and nothing short of what I’ve expect from the expansive VRM although we’ve seen far lesser boards with smaller VRMs handling

Conclusion

We’ll be honest, ASUS has set our expectations of this board very highly and for good reason: our previous review the Maximus VI Impact saw it nearly racing past every other board on the charts. That said, the Maximus VII Impact is practically the same board with an updated chipset and a few enhanced features. Let’s break down the score further for our verdict:

Performance.  We’re still rebuilding our charts but the Maximus VII Impact trades blows with a full sized board in this review. The Max 7 Impact however edges the other board completely with overclocking squeezing out our new processor further which should really be interesting for ITX builders who want a maxed out 4790K on a small build.

Build Quality.  This is really where its at for the Maximus VII Impact. ASUS has done a great job designing this board and making sure every inch gets used to their potential. While we appreciate a lot about this board there’s really that question of why they still place the SATA ports behind the DIMM slots which makes the SATA cable arc above the RAM which doesn’t look too good. While you can deal with this by just ignoring it or buying those skinny SATA cables, I really wish they can find a way to loop them back out to the edge. Yeah I can see the PCB engineering issues here but that’s where innovation comes in.

Functionality. There’s really plenty of features here to compare with a full-sized board but if you’re planning on expanding, you’re very limited here because of the single GPU restriction. Otherwise, this is the most powerful ITX platform for the Z97 series.

Bundle. You really don’t get much in terms of extras but the slew of daughter cards included really make this seem like a fat bundle and it is really but most of the features is what makes up the bulk of it rather than extras in the box.

Value.  For around $219.99, this is one of the most expensive ITX boards out right now. It can easily be said that its pretty loaded but again its mostly the ROG tax that’s making up the most of that cost. While that may sound like something Apple would do, ASUS however does stuff their boards pretty nicely with solid components and that 3-year warranty really makes it so much more worth the premium.

While the price is easily a roadblock for anyone whose idea of an ITX rig is something more on the affordable side, there’s a unique market out there that demand high-performance in a small package. This market includes yours truly and I’ve had my fair share of builds featuring configurations running highly-overclocked i7 processors with GTX 780 Ti or GTX 980s on these small boards, fully outfitted with custom watercooling loops. That said, the Maximus VII Impact is ideal for such setups and definitely worth considering if you want a build that will fit in a space but squeeze out all it can out of your system and not hold back whichever GPU want pair it with.

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx.: $219.99 – ASUS Maximus VII Impact on Amazon
PH – Approx.: Php12,995

The ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT is backed by a 3-year warranty. We give the ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT our B2G Performance Award. Albeit just a very good repeat performance.

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BossMac Suba

Owner and lead reviewer for Back2Gaming. More than 10-year of corporate IT experience as well as consumer IT journalism. His extensive skill set and experience in communicating complicated technical details into easily understandable bits. He's been with you since dial-up and the ISA slot. His favorite animal is the scapegoat.

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