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Reviewed: ASUS Maximus VII Impact (Intel Z97) Motherboard

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Shawn Baker

Page 1: Reviewed: ASUS Maximus VII Impact (Intel Z97) Motherboard

IMG 4 logoWhile not for everyone the Mini-ITX format is one that allows users to squeeze a large amount of power into a very small form factor. Expanding on the popular Maximus Impact Series; ASUS has blessed us with the brand new Z97 based Maximus VII Impact. Being part of the popular Republic-of-Gamers series places a lot of pressure on such a tiny board as a high level of performance and features are expected. Join us today to find out if such a small motherboard deserves to sit under the ROG tag.

The Mini-ITX format isn't for everyone; the simple fact is that as you go smaller, you're going to lose features that would otherwise be seen on larger motherboards. Falling in under the ROG label from ASUS, though, means that even when it comes to such a small form factor we expect more from the tiny motherboard than we'd expect from another manufacturer. A year ago when we had the chance to look at the Maximus VI Impact, the previous generation Z87 version of the board we found ourselves impressed with just how much ASUS could offer in such a tiny package. 

Taking a quick overview of the Maximus VII Impact you can see that due to the limited space we've got just two DDR3 DIMM memory slots, four SATA 6G ports and a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. Along with these items we can see from the top, we've also got six USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports along with networking connectivity via both a Gigabit LAN port and a wireless solution which expands even further to offer Bluetooth 4.0 support via an included mPCIe combo card. Along with all this we've got improved audio via a high-quality add on board that is included in the box.

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The ASUS Maximus VII Impact from above.

Being part of the ROG series means that we've got the typical red and black combination that is so prominent in models under this label. While majority of the board is black you can see our four SATA 6GB ports, USB 3.0 header, two DDR3 DIMM slots and a small onboard power button are all highlighted red.

Specifications

The following technical features are included on the Maximus VII Impact:

The data of the ASUS Maximus VII Impact in the overview
Mainboard form Mini-ITX
Manufacturers and
Designation
ASUS
Maximus VII Impact
CPU socket LGA1150
Street Price 185 ?
Homepage http://www.asus.com/de/
Northbridge / CPU features
Chipset Intel Z97 Express Chipset
Memory banks and Type 2x DDR3 (Dual Channel)
Memory expansion max. 16 GB (8 GB DIMMs)
SLI / Crossfire -
Onboard features
PCI Express

1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16, x8 3.0 when using the Pattern 2 slots)

PCI -
Serial ATA, SAS and
ATA controller

4x SATA 6G RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 Intel Z97
M.2 1x slot with 32 Gbit/s (PCIe 3.0 x4) on mPCIe Combo IV

USB 6x USB 3.0 (4x on the I/O panel, 2x via headers) on Intel Z97
6x USB 2.0 (4x on the I/O panel, 2x via headers) on Intel Z97
Graphics interfaces 1x HDMI 1.4a-out, 1x DisplayPort
WLAN / Bluetooth Wi-Fi 802.11a / b/g/n / ac, Bluetooth 4.0 over mPCIe Combo IV
Thunderbolt -
LAN

1x Intel I218-V Gigabit LAN

Audio 8-Channel ROG SupremeFX (Realtek ALC1150)

Taking a look at the front of the box you can see it follows the typical ROG design with the dark red color prominent and model number clearly shown in the middle of the box. Across the bottom we have a couple of logos which include our Intel Inside logos along with ones showing support for both 4K and Windows 8.1.

Maximus VII Impact accessories

Inside the package we've got the following accessories.

  • I/O shield
  • Motherboard manual incl. Driver and software DVD
  • Four SATA cables
  • MPCIe Combo IV module
  • WLAN antenna
  • SupremeFX audio module
  • FAN header extension module
  • ROG Drive Sticker
  • Q cable
  • Four washers for CPU cooler backplate
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While we might be dealing with both a tiny motherboard and box, ASUS have done an excellent job of cramming a large amount of accessories into the bundle. While we've got our standard inclusions of the manual, driver CD, I/O Shield and four SATA cables. ASUS also manage to squeeze a number of other extras including the mPCIe Combo IV module, wireless LAN antenna, fan header module, ROG Supreme FX module along with a few other accessories including the Q-cable, drive label stickers and four washers for mounting the motherboard in your case.