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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 09 > ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

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Republish review

14-09-2014


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ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT motherboard: review and testing

ASUS has pleased not for the first time by the release of high-performance motherboard of size Mini-ITX, and does not bypass the fans of powerful, ultra-compact systems. Such solutions are not only able to act as a standard HTPC, but also allow the owner to get the most from the PC with a powerful processor, powerful graphics, as well as excellent opportunities for acceleration. Such model is motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

MAXIMUS VII IMPACT (rev 1.01)

Chipset

Intel Z97

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th and 5th generation: Intel Haswell, Intel Haswell Refresh, Intel Devil`s Canyon, Intel Broadwell

Memory frequency

3300* / 3200* / 3100* / 3000* / 2933* / 2800* / 2666* / 2600* / 2500* / 2400* / 2200* / 2133* / 2000* / 1866* / 1800* / 1600 / 1333 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM- slots with memory support up to 16 GB

Expansions slots

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 x mini-PCIe 2.0 x1

 

Intel Z97 chipset supports:

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

1 x M.2 x4 PCIe GEN3 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

LAN

1 x Intel WGI218V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Wi-Fi

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2,4 / 5 GHz)

Maximum  data transfer rate up to 867 Mb/s

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 4.0

Sound subsystem

Codec ROG SupremeFX Impact II

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1x24-pin ATX main power connector

1x8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

1 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)              

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)

2x additional sockets (4-pin) on the module Impact CoolHub

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on the chipset

Aluminum radiators on power subsystem elements

External I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

3 x audio jacks

1 х PS/2 (for mouse or keyboard connection)

1 х CMOS

1 x button «ROG Connect»

1 x diagnostic LED-indicator

1 х button «KeyBot» 

1 x button «Sonic SoundStage»

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

1 x USB 2.0 joined with socket ROG_EXT

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 х button «Power»

1 х button «Reboot»

1 х TPM

10 х sockets to measure the key voltages (ProbeIt)

1 х socket LN2 Mode

1 x socket mPCIe Combo IV

1 x socket Impact CoolHub

1 x socket SupremeFX Impact II

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.8, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc 1 х ASUS Q-Cable

4 x SATA cables

1 x sound card ROG SupremeFX Impact II

1 х module Impact CoolHub

1 х module mPCIe Combo IV

1 x module Impact Control II

1 х combined Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antenna

1 х interface panel plug

Form factor,

Dimensions

Mini-ITX

170 х 170 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

The motherboard is shipped in a compact but enough spacious box. Dark red design is made in the corporate style of series ASUS ROG. The front side of the package attracts attention by logos of series ASUS ROG, the manufacturer, as well as the model name. Additionally there is a sign about the support of modern resolution 4K Ultra HD and the operating system Wind ows 8.1.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

All the most interesting information is under the lid where the description of all the key advantages of ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT is focused:

  • ROG SupremeFX Impact II - preset audio codec offers the support of eight-channel audio. In order to avoid interference caused by electromagnetic interference, a special screening technology EMI Shielding is used, and to maximize the quality of sound there is audio capacitor ELNA. Also here you can find the support of technologies DTS Conneсt and BD Audio Layer Content Protection, as well as the presence of the S/PDIF out port on the interface panel on the motherboard.
  • Sonic Studio is company software allowing to activate the function of virtual sound playback in a format 7.1 and provides a wide range of audio settings.
  • Sonic SoundStage - provides hardware switching of audio profiles with a special button on the preset module Impact Control II.
  • Sonic SenseAmp - hardware and software technology that allows you to adjust the playback sound with the level of headphone impedance.
  • Impact Power - modified digital power system provides stable operation due to high-performance components: Japanese solid capacitors of series Black Metallic with increased up to 10, 000 hours lifespan (at 105°C) and 20% extended temperature range; NexFET FETs with increased by more than 90% efficiency; 60A BlackWing chokes with ferrite core.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Instead of the expected viewing opening under a flip cover, we found a further description of new item benefits:

  • KeyBot - using proprietary software, a special controller and buttons on the surface of the printed circuit board you can record macros and create functional buttons even for ordinary keyboards.
  • mPCIe Combo IV - supplied module which for installation has slot mini-PCIe 2.0 x1. It has not only the support of wireless interfaces Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0, but the connector M.2 x4 PCIe GEN3 with increased up to 32 Gb/s bandwidth, which can have SSD-drive of formats M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280 and M.2 22110.
  • Intel Ethernet is preinstall Intel network controller that has a high capacity and consumes less CPU resources than competing solutions.
  • LANGuard - as part of a LAN port, a special safety device that will help prevent damage to the system due to shock or static electricity during a thunderstorm.
  • GameFirst III - technology designed to optimize Internet traffic in order to increase the priority of online games, which should reduce the delays and accordingly make the gameplay more comfortable. You can also select the priority “media streaming”, VoIP or file sharing.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

On the reverse side of the package in addition to a brief technical specification and diagrammatic representation of interface panel there is a repeated mention of support of the modules mPCIe Combo IV, Impact Power, SupremeFX Impact II and Impact Control II. The last includes LED-indicator and buttons “CMOS”, “ROG Connect”, “KeyBot” and “Sonic SoundStage”.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Also the site of ASUS has the information about the compatibility of ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT with module OC Panel. The review of features can be found in our ASUS RAMPAGE IV BLACK EDITION.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Delivered package of motherboard is consistent with its high level. In addition to the usual CD with software, user’s guides and plug of the interface board in the box we found:

  • four SATA-cables;
  • cable ASUS Q-Cable, which greatly simplifies the process of connecting the front panel in a compact HTPC;
  • module mPCIe Combo IV;
  • sound card ROG SupremeFX Impact II;
  • module Impact CoolHub;
  • module Impact Control II;
  • combined Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antenna.

Design and features of the board

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Due to its small size PCB layout is very tight. Basic principles of the elements layout do not differ from motherboards of ATX and microATX. Perhaps the main complaints about the layout is that when installing an expansion card will be blocked by the latch of RAM slots, so the replacement of modules will be possible only after removing the card. Also we note the difficulty in removing the graphics card, which is associated with limited access to the latch of slot PCI Express 3.0 x16.

As you can see, the manufacturer has applied already familiar to us decision and put the power components of the power subsystem on a separate printed circuit board. These aspects allowed the use the enhanced power circuitry with eight phases, as well as cover the power components by the massive radiator required for overclocking.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

On the reverse side of the board with the power components is a small low profile heatsink which is responsible not only for cooling the power components, but also protects the board against possible problems in contact with the frame of the PC. All other connectors are available on the optimal positions and do not cause discomfort during building of the computer. Also note that despite its small size and the number of additional cards, ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT was designed to be compatible with the majority of current cooling systems.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Looking at the back side, you can see the traditional base plate of CPU socket, screws that secure the heat sink on the chipset, as well as a number of chips which are too large to fit on the front side of the PCB.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by M.2 x4 PCIe GEN3 on the module mPCIe Combo IV which supports SSD-drives of format 2 2260 and M.2 2280 and four SATA 6 GB/s ports. There is support of SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.

Specified socket M.2 x4 uses four lines of standard PCI Express 3.0, so its carrying capacity is 32 Gbit/s. However, it is not connected to the chipset Intel Z97, but the integrated bus controller PCI Express 3.0. In this regard, it shares lines with a single slot PCI Express 3.0 x16, the carrying capacity of which is limited by mode x8 if the drive is installed in the connector M.2 x4 PCIe GEN3.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

In the lower right corner is the module of remote panel with ports USB 3.0, connector for the front panel, one socket of the system fan, as well as a button "Power" and "Reboot". As for the support USB 3.0, novelty contains six USB 3.0 ports: two internal and four on the interface panel.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

The lower left corner has: slot mini-PCIe 2.0 x1 for installation of module mPCIe Combo IV, connector for a complete sound card ROG SupremeFX Impact II, as well as the module to activate USB 2.0 ports, which is combined with the connector ROG_EXT. Total number of USB 2.0 ports is six: two internal and four on the interface panel. Also note ten points for the measurement of the voltage on the key components of the system with a multimeter.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Behind the interface panel there are: port TPM; preset module Impact Control II, which includes diagnostic LED-indicator and buttons "Reset CMOS», «ROG Connect», «KeyBot» and «Sonic SoundStage», as well as the connector of module Impact CoolHub.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Last has two additional 4-pin fan connectors and switch of mode «LN2».

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Mainboard ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT is equipped with two DIMM-slots for memory modules DDR3. Modules operating at frequencies from 1333 to 1600 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 3300 MHz overclocking are supported. Maximum memory capacity may be up to 16 GB which is enough for almost any tasks.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Cooling system of the product includes two aluminum radiators: one for heat removal from chipset Intel Z97 while the second covers elements of power subsystem. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 31.8°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 38.3°C.

The received results are characterized as good.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Processor power supply is performed via 8-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1257 with integrated Extreme Engine DIGI+ III power consumption subsystem control. All power components of CPU have high reliability level: Japanese solid capacitors Black Metallic, MOS transistor NexFET and chokes with ferrite cores 60A BlackWing are used.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.    

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

To extend motherboard functionality the user has 2 slots:  

  1. mini-PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (if you have installed the drive into the slot M.2 x4 PCIe GEN3, in this case the slot operates in mode x8).

If you want to use new item as a basis for a compact gaming system with a discrete graphics card, you can use the model ASUS GeForce GTX 760 DirectCU Mini OC, which has been specially designed for perfect compatibility with the format of Mini-ITX.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

If you decided to take advantage of the integrated on the CPU graphics core then you have two modern digital video outputs: HDMI and DisplayPort, switching is carried out by chip ASMedia ASM 1442K.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Multi I/O capabilities are based on NUVOTON NCT6791D chip which controls the operation of the system fans, PS/2 ports, as well as provides the monitors.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

To support network connections there is one GB LAN-controller Intel WGI218V. And to optimize the allocation of network resources among applications became possible via application GameFirst III.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Sound subsystem of the model is implemented as a separate sound card based on the 8-channel HDA-codec ROG SupremeFX Impact II, which supports external system sizes 2/4/5.1/7.1. To avoid potential interference caused by electromagnetic interference, audio codec is shielded according technology EMI Shielding, and to maximize the quality of sound there are special audio capacitors ELNA. Also there is a support of technologies DTS Conneсt and BD Audio Layer Content Protection.

Separately we note that the connector for the front panel audio ports is placed a bit unusual, on the PCB of the sound card.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Interface panel of ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x PS/2 (mouse or keyboard connection);
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 3 x audio jacks;
  • 1 x CMOS;
  • 1 x button «ROG Connect»;
  • 1 x diagnostic LED-indicator;
  • 1 x button «KeyBot»;
  • 1 x button «Sonic SoundStage».

In addition to the main benefits as a complete module with support of standards Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.0, an interface panel features with eight USB ports and two modern video outputs to output the image on the display with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 p (4K Ultra HD). Also note a number of useful buttons.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

The possibilities of organizing the cooling system inside the case of ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT are very good. There are four 4-pin fan connectors, one of which is used for the cooling system CPU, the second is designed for system fans and two additional connectors are located on the module Impact CoolHub.

UEFI BIOS

Motherboard uses a modern pre-loader with UEFI basis. To provide the setting is possible using the mouse. It offers two main ways of usage.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

“EZ Mode” where all the necessary settings are grouped on one screen, and overclocking is carried out using the “EZ Tuning Wizard”.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Or used “Advanced Mode” where all settings should be done manually.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

All overclocking settings can be found in “Ai Tweaker” section.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-3400MHz.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

If necessary you can get the access to memory latency adjustments.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

To increase the stability during overclocking process you can use the setting of DIGI+ digital subsystem control.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

We would like to pay special attention to very interesting section called “Tweakers Paradise”, which contains the settings for the most experienced overclockers.

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Parameter

Menu name

Range

Pitch

System bus frequency

BCLK Frequency

80,0 – 300,0

0,1

 

CPU Strap

100, 125, 166, 250

 

RAM frequency

Memory Frequency

3400, 3200, 3000, 2933, 2800, 2666, 2600, 2400, 2200. 2133, 2000, 1866, 1800,

1600, 1400, 1333, 1066, 800

 

RAM timing

DRAM Timing

CAS Latency, RAS to CAS, RAS PRE Time, RAS ACT Time, DRAM COMMAND Mode, RAS to RAS Delay, REF Cycle Time, Write Recovery Time, READ to PRE Time, FOUR ACT WIN Time, WRITE to READ Delay, Write Latency

 

 

Min. CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

 

Max CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

Profiles of automatic overclocking

CPU Level Up

Auto,

4.600G, 4.400G, 4.200G

 

Operation frequency of PWM-controller of the CPU power converter

Fixed CPU VRM Switching Frequency(KHz)

250 – 500

50

 

Long Duration Package Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

 

Package Power Time Window

1 - 127

1

 

Short Duration Package Power Limit

1 - 4096

1

 

CPU Integrated VR Current Limit

0,125 – 1023,875

0,125

 

Power Current Slope

Auto, Level -4 – Level 4

 

 

Power Current Offset

Auto, -100% - 100%

12,5 %

 

Power Fast Ramp Response

0,00 – 1,50

0,001

 

Power Saving Level 1 Threshold

0 – 80

1

 

Power Saving Level 2 Threshold

0 – 50

1

 

Power Saving Level 3 Threshold

0 – 30

1

 

CPU Core Voltage

1,050000 – 2,200000

 

0,001

 

CPU Cache Voltage

1,050000 – 2,200000

0,001

 

CPU Graphics Voltage

0,800000 – 1,920000

 

 

CPU System Agent Voltage

0,850000 – 2,200000

0,001

 

CPU Analog I/O Voltage

1,000000 – 2,200000

0,001

 

CPU Digital I/O Voltage

1,000000 – 2,200000

0,001

CPU Input Voltage

Initial CPU Input Voltage

0,800 – 2,440

0,001

Eventual CPU Input Voltage

0,800 – 2,440

0,001

DRAM Voltage

DRAM Voltage

1,20000 – 2,40000

0,00500

Chipset voltage

PCH Core Voltage

0,70000 – 1,80000

0,01250

 

PCH VLX Voltage

0,80000 – 2,00000

0,01250

 

VTTDDR Voltage

0,60000 – 1,40000

0,01250

 

DRAM CTRL REF Voltage

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

 

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHA

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

 

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHB

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

 

Clock Crossing Boot Voltage

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

 

Clock Crossing Reset Voltage

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

 

Clock Crossing Voltage

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

 

VCCIN Shadow Voltage

0,800 – 2,440

0,010

 

Initial PLL Termination Voltage

1,00000 – 3,00000

0,00625

 

PLL Termination Reset Voltage

1,00000 – 3,00000

0,00625

 

Eventual PLL Termination Voltage

1,000000 – 3,00000

0,00625

 

PCH ICC Voltage

0,60000 – 2,20000

0,00625

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

ASUS MAXIMUS VII IMPACT

“Monitor” section provides the access to monitor the temperature of the processor, chipset and VRM module, as well as voltage on the key components of the system and on the lines +12V, +5V and +3.3V. Additionally note the sidebar that appears in all the sections and carries the key information about the parameters of the CPU, RAM and power lines +3.3V, +5V and +12V.
We should also mention the possibility of taking screenshots in the BIOS.


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