Overclocking and Conclusion

Overclocking

To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the Maximus VII Impact board, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. We were easily able to get the board running stable for over 4hrs at a 4.67GHz CPU speed, a 2340MHz memory speed, and a 4.0GHz ring bus speed with a 167MHz base clock. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 2x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 16GB (2 x 8GB) of Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3-2400 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.

Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.

Performance

The Maximus VII Impact's performance is a testament to ASUS design prowess. The board performed on-par or better than comparable full-sized boards. Even the overclocking did not cause the board to flinch.

Pricing

As of December 04, the ASUS Maximus VII Impact motherboard was available at Amazon.com for $229.99 with Prime shipping. The board was also available from Newegg.com for $239.99.

Conclusion

ASUS again proves the strength of their ROG designs with the Maximus VII Impact board. The board may have a small status, but its got the heart of a champion. ASUS designed the board's layout masterfully, providing sufficient space between all integrated peripherals while maintaining a rich feature set with the board. They were able to do this by relocating the CPU power circuitry on to an upright board to the right of the CPU socket, some of the enthusiast functions, like the debug LED and buttons, to an upright integrated into the rear panel, as well as the inclusion of several PCIe add-in cards. The PCIe add-in cards house sound functionality, dual-antenna 802.11ac WI-FI ports, and a PCIe M.2 slot. Additionally, several of the controller chips were placed on the rear side of the board to further free up space on top. While the price of the Maximus VII Impact is a bit on the high side, it can be justified in light of the quality and breadth of the boards included feature set and bundled accessories.

Strengths

  • Stock performance
  • Overclocking performance
  • Board layout and design
  • Motherboard manual details and quality
  • UEFI BIOS design and usability
  • Space saving features such as CPU power circuitry daughter card, add-on sound card, and diagnostic led/button placement integration into rear panel
  • Quality of included power circuitry
  • mPCIe Combo IV card with support for 802.11ac wireless and PCIe-based M.2 10Gbps device
  • Intel GigE network controller performance
  • KeyBot hardware keyboard macro chipset
  • Impact CoolHub fan header card
  • USB BIOS Flashback function

Weaknesses

  • High CPU utilization when using Intel NIC for download testing
  • Price

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