Overall and Final Verdict
When the first Impact board came out I didn’t have the chance to check it out. We used the Z87I-Deluxe for our LunchBox build. This time around using the new Z97 Impact in our black and red In Win D-Frame Mini was just too good to pass up. I came into the review with high expectations, previous Asus Mini-ITX board have been great and the Impact promised to be even better than that. So how did it turn out? Well in nearly every test the Impact out performed my expectations. Asus packed the Impact with more features than a lot of full sized motherboards, they managed to do this by really packing every single thing in together as tight as possible. They also took advantage of riser cards for additional space. In the end you get a Mini-ITX board that doesn’t compromise. In addition we still get Asus’s kick ass software. In fact the only complaint I had with the Impact was with the clearance between the ram and the lock on the PCIe lock. It is nearly impossible to get at.
When it comes to Mini-ITX boards, this is going to be the most expensive board on the market. But I’m not including that as a con because I feel that Asus did a great job justifying the cost with a long list of features. If you are looking for high end audio in a Mini-ITX format you don’t have any other options unless you are willing to give up the only PCIe x16 slot and I know I’m not willing to give up my video card in my LAN rig.
So is the Maximus VII Impact for you? I think most people could get away with one of the lesser models for their LAN rig but if you are looking for the best there isn’t anything else even close to the Impact when it comes to features.