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Asus Maximus VIII Impact (Z170) Motherboard Review

SATA

For SATA 6Gb/s testing we use a Kingston HyperX 3K (SandForce SF-2281) SSD.

SATA

SATA 6Gbps performance from Asus' board is slightly faster than competing vendors' offerings. In the real world, this small transfer rate differential is unlikely to be noticeable, however it is undeniably present.

USB 3.0

We tested USB 3.0 performance using the Kingston HyperX 3K SSD connected to a SATA 6Gb/s to USB 3.0 adapter powered by an ASMedia ASM1053 controller. The test system uses Windows 7 with SP1 as the OS.

USB 3

Thanks to the USB 3.1 Boost software provided by Asus, users of the Windows 7 test system can benefit from activation of UASP and enhanced USB 3.0/3.1 transfer rates.

Asus delivers USB 3.0 transfer rates that are significantly faster than all of its competitors thanks to the included software. This is important if you regularly transfer large files or perform backups to USB 3.0 drives.

The performance discrepancies will likely be smaller using the Windows 8.1 and 10 operating systems thanks to updated UASP driver support native to the OS.

Audio

We use RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) to analyse the performance of the motherboard’s onboard audio solution. A sampling mode of 24-bit, 192 kHz was tested.

audio

According to RMAA, general performance of the Maximus VIII Impact's audio system is Excellent. There are very few weaknesses to the SupremeFX Impact III audio system, with frequency responses and the dynamic range being particularly strong.

WiFi Performance

We use Totusoft’s LAN Speed Test software to measure the real-world throughput offered by the Asus Maximus VIII Impact motherboard’s WiFi solution. The test motherboard was located in close proximity to our Linksys EA6900 AC1900 802.11ac wireless router.

Unfortunately we were only able to test the 2.4GHz frequency band performance. Our 5GHz connectivity gave issues and the problem seems to be related to a driver issue with our Windows 7 SP1 test OS. Asus are currently looking into this issue.

WiFi

2.4GHz 802.11N networking results do not really show what performance the Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A 802.11ac wireless adapter is capable of. However, reduced wireless performance is the price that we have to pay due to a 5GHz networking issue with our Windows 7 SP1 test system.

There was a large amount of wireless clutter in our test environment, so expect different results with your system. We would also expect 5GHz 802.11ac networking speeds to be in the region of 300Mbps and above for real-world testing.

Power

We measured the power consumption with the system resting at the Windows 7 desktop, representing idle values.

The power consumption of our entire test system (at the wall) is measured while loading only the CPU using Prime95′s in-place large FFTs setting. The rest of the system’s components were operating in their idle states, hence the increased power consumption values (in comparison to the idle figures) are largely related to the load on the CPU and motherboard power delivery components.

power

Asus' low voltage levels at stock (MCT) speeds deliver chart-leading power consumption numbers. Manual overclocking to a similar voltage level used by competing boards sees similar power being drawn from the socket.

There is little information in the power consumption results to speak for the efficiency of Asus' customised power delivery system, however there's nothing to show it struggling either.

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14 comments

  1. Looks like a great ITX board but no m.2 = no purchase from me 🙁

  2. No M.2 = no purchase.

  3. I have the z170i Pro Gaming, which has a lot of these features (but has M.2 NVMe), minus the additional soundcard and VRM cooling (but still has decent of both) and can go as high as 4GHz on the RAM (though my BIOs shows 4.133Mhz). Same Software, same Wifi… about £50 cheaper.

    That said, I’m in the process of returning it to Scan as the WiFi died on me. Let me just say that Scan have a horrendous returns policy. No advanced return. Offered to just buy a new board and they refund me when they received mine… they said ok, but were only willing to refund £125 (the price I paid). It’s now £133 + £12 postage on their website, so I’d be out of pocket. So, I have to wait 5-7 days to return. Moral of the story – buy from Amazon (sold and fufilled by) Free next day delivery for Prime and they ship a replace before you return.

    EDIT:

    Those VRMs would interfere with most cooling in ITX cases too. At least in my Corsair Obsidian 250D, which is a squeeze with my H100i GTX as it is.

  4. there are u2 to m2 converters… and as someone who has the Intel 750 SSD, this board was exactly what i needed.

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  6. Do you have a link for U.2 to M.2 adapters? I have seen M.2 to U.2 but have yet to come across the other way around.

    Indeed USB 2.0 devices will work fine in USB 3.0 ports, however the lack of an internal header could be a problem to somebody who has a mini-ITX chassis with front panel USB ports, in addition to something like a card reader. There’s not enough internal USB (including 2.0, which is small and easy to fit on the PCB) connectivity in that case.

    Yes, there are quite a few enthusiast mini-ITX cases (Corsair 250D, Phanteks Enthoo ITX, etc.) that will take four SATA devices or more. And that’s without just placing 2.5″ SSDs in some free space, without an actual drive mount (which is quite common and perfectly fine). Some people will want more than 4 SATA devices, especially with the lack of M.2, so it would have been better to include another two SATA ports (especially because the Z170 chipset has plenty of spare lanes). If 4 SATA ports is fine for somebody’s needs, then great – that point is not an issue at all.

    Which CPU cooler are you using? The NH-D14 fit fine in our testing. Make sure to send some pics to our Facebook page when you’ve completed the build :)!

  7. i dont understand why so many insist on a PS/2 keyboard/mouse connector. This is a High end board. Thus majority will have New-ish USB keyboard mouses? why waste the space. Get real Kitguru. Your spending a solid Few hundred on a Motherboard, your going to have a decent mouse/keyboard combo too.

  8. If the U.2 port is positioned under the board like my Z170i Pro Gaming then an adapter might be an issue…

    Showing my ignorance, though, as I’m unfamiliar with U.2. The bus link is the same PCI-E x4, though, so I don’t see the advantage on this board. Surely a topside M.2 with a U.2 adapter would be the best case scenario?

  9. I wouldn’t say the Z170 has spare lanes. SLI/XFire is more limited than the 2011-3 X99 boards due to less lanes on the CPU

  10. When I say Z170, it refers specifically to the chipset, not the LGA 1151 CPU or the platform as a whole. The CPU’s lanes are generally reserved for the wider PCIe links (x4, x8, x16) for graphics and other expansion cards, however that’s not really important with this board as all 16 lanes get delivered straight to the one full-length PCIe slot.

    The Z170 chipset has spare lanes available for use, compared to what has been deployed on this motherboard. The Z170 chipset itself actually supports up to 26 IO lanes, however there are some limitations as to how many of these can be deployed as PCIe, USB, and SATA 6Gbps.

  11. I think youre right, I cant find a link, must have been thinking of M.2 to U.2, once there is a market for it im sure adapters will exist though.

    Like a said, for my use case all of the above are non issues.

    I am going to be putting a build together in the RVZ02 and trying either the Scythe BIG Shuriken 2 Rev. B or the Zalman low profile. Not sure yet, Im overseas and the mobo is stuck in customs.

  12. yeah max lanes for m.2 is the same as u.2, but if im not mistaken some of the boards that have m.2 and more additional connectivity options share some of the lanes? Like depending on your configuration and what you are using, your m.2 is limited?

    if the u.2 was am m.2 instead, would one of the converter cards fit in there?

  13. Yeah, sure, but X99 boards can support x16, x16 and x8 configurations on PCI-E with some spare for I/O… Just saying the z170 is lacking in the PCIE lanes department

  14. Using this board in a HTPC build with a ML07 case and a gtx 1060sc gpu Ive run into an issue with the sound card connector for the front panel jacks,,it appears most low profile coolers end up right up against the sound card, leaving no room to connect the HD audio cable for the front jacks, if there was a cable that would allow the sound card to be mounted off the board somewhere it would help but I havent found a cable yet that would allow one to mount it elsewhere much like the included fan header card. As it stands now I will just cover the male connectors with insulating tape to keep them from contacting the cooler fins on my Geminii M4 cooler and forego using the front jacks until i get a different cooler or find a jumper cable that allows moving the sound card to a better mounting position in the silverstone case.