First Looks: ASUS Maximus VI Impact Mini-ITX Motherboard

Launch SRP: S$389 Latest Price From: S$322

First Looks: ASUS Maximus VI Impact Mini-ITX Motherboard

First Looks: ASUS Maximus VI Impact Mini-ITX Motherboard

With accolades as the first mini-ITX board from ASUS' Republic of Gamers series, the ASUS Maximus VI Impact mini-ITX motherboard is positioned as a "proper" small form factor Intel Z87 gaming motherboard. Despite its 6.7- by 6.7-inch dimensions, the engineers have managed to cram a lot of high-end features, typical of high-end ATX boards, onto the Maximus VI Impact. And whatever they were unable to squeeze onto the board's PCB, there are add-on expansion cards to further enhance the board's capabilities. Just launched a few days ago, we take a closer look at the board's distinguishing features in this article.

The ASUS Maximus VI Impact mini-ITX motherboard boasts of features that are typical of high-end Intel Z87 boards. From its digital 8 + 2 phase power delivery system to support for high-speed OC memory modules, this board also supports add-on cards for high-fidelity audio, as well as wireless-AC connectivity.

Due to a lack of PCB space, the board features an adapted version of the Extreme Engine Digi+ III where ASUS engineers have packed a portion of the 8 + 2 phase power delivery system onto a raised daughter board. The 60A BlackWing chokes and the NexFET MSOFETs are located behind the heatsink of the daughter board; while the onboard 10K black metallic capacitors are located below the heatsink (on the main PCB).

This is the daughter board that features the board's digital Voltage Regulator Module (VRM).

The rear of the Extreme Engine Digi+ III Impact Force daughter board.

The MOSFETs are marked by the red frames, and the BlackWing chokes are located south of them. (Image Source: ASUS Singapore)

The other space-saving daughter board is the SupremeFX Impact that the marketing collateral describes as a "blade of sound". Its 115db signal-to-noise ratio is nothing to shout about but it does feature four onboard Texas Instruments LM4562 op-amps, which have a reputation for producing stable and natural audio.

The SupremeFX Impact sound card features four Texas Instruments LM4562 op-amps, and a SupremeFX audio chip that is shielded from electronic magnetic interference (EMI).

The SoundImpact FX sound card plugs into a connector on the mini-ITX board. The SoundImpact FX connector is located just next to the ROG ProbeIt points, and you can use your multimeter to measure system's current voltage and OC settings. They are the round, slightly raised knobs.

The connector is highlighted by the red frame. Incidentally, the ROG ProbeIt points are located just next to the connector.

After the sound card is mounted, it stretches over the PCH heatsink of the board. There are three rear audio ports, from the top, a line-in, a line-out and microphone ports.

The SoundImpact FX sound card is installed and it needs to be secured with two screws from the bottom of the board.

The rear audio ports of the SupremeFX impact sound card.

The other bundled add-on card is the mPCIe Combo II expansion card, with an accompanying ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennae. These two items are also bundled with the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme motherboard as well. The expansion card provides an option to mount a M.2 (NGFF) SSD, and also houses a dual-band IEEE 802.1ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.0 module. However, do take note that NGFF SSDs are still hard to come across for end-consumers.

The mPCIe Combo II expansion card, and its accompanying ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennae.

After removing the aluminum shielding, we can see the slot for installing a M.2 (NGFF) SSD.

The dual-band IEEE 802.1ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.0 module of the combo expansion card.

There is one particular high-end feature of the Maximus VI Impact that has been ported over from its larger cousin, the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme. It is the ROG Extension connector for the ROG OC Panel. However, it isn't bundled with the board.

 The ROG Extension connector is located near the one for the SupremeFX Impact sound card.