SFF.Network [SFF Network] ASUS announces the ROG Maximus VIII Impact

confusis

John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
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About dang time.. Although the VRM daughterboard thing does annoy me - it does restrict cooler and case compatibility. Also, I see one sided ram retention - the other side will be blocked by a GPU! (and many more issues I have with the layout.. SATA port location.. sound card thing.. at least they got the power connectors in a decent spot)
 

BirdofPrey

Standards Guru
Sep 3, 2015
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Wait, so it does NOT have an M.2 slot?
That's extremely disappointing. I know space is tight, but the space the Mini-SAS is, they could have moved the ethernet to that spot and had room for two risers like they did last time, and it's not all that difficult to find an M2 card with a mini-SAS port on it for U.2 connectivity. I can't think of many examples of the other way around.

Like I said in the other thread, though. With boards getting this packed, they need to look at smaller solutions for components. SO-DIMMS, replacing 4 SATA ports with a mini-SAS connector, there's even a smaller heatsink mounting for that socket, albeit harder to find coolers for (still, if you build it, they will come, if boards start using those mountings, companies will make coolers for them, and ROG is popular enough the Maximum VII had waterblocks specifically for it.)
 

Phuncz

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Although it has the U.2 port, the lack of a M.2 port on a mITX board is much more important. It has probably been a choice between beefing out the audio solution in a metal casing and the M.2 daughterboard for space, but I honestly would like to have seen better solutions. The audio solution is now basically impossible to use in some scenarios due to its size and extreme overclocking on mITX is not something the SFF community massively desires.

The EXT-FAN daughterboard PCB is nice, offering an additional three fan headers and three temp sensors, for a total of five 4-pin fan headers. If these are all truely PWM, we'll have to find out by testing. The box includes two L-brackets for the daughterboard, but I'm not sure where it's supposed to be attached to.

Daughterboard: https://www.asus.com/websites/global/products/6LPvJB3Wo4uZiUT7/img/M8E/rog_performance_3.png
Box of contents: https://www.asus.com/media/global/p...3KIwJycjpf13Jtl_setting_000_1_90_end_1000.png
Link to manual: https://a248.e.akamai.net/f/1828/22..._IMPACT/E10809_MAXIMUS_VIII_IMPACT_UM_WEB.pdf
 

EdZ

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May 11, 2015
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Any sort of SFF-8643 to m.2 adapter would also need an external power connector, as SFF-8643 carries data lanes only.

I'm really not sure what Asus were thinking here. They seem to be targeting someone who wants to use an ITX board, but in an ATX case.
 

veryrarium

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jun 6, 2015
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I'm stupid but how does a 5-pin mobo header with two pairs of Sense and Control signals allow independent PWM control of 3 PWM fans? I searched to see if any X99-Deluxe user has confirmed 3 extended fans PWM-controlled independently but no results.
 

Phuncz

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I was thinking the same thing when I saw the pin-out. Maybe they encode the signal and something decodes it on the PCB ? Same with the temp sensors, otherwise it couldn't work.
 

veryrarium

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Jun 6, 2015
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Maybe you're right, but then it'd make better sense to me if the header consisted of two senses (one for the triplet of fans, one for triplet of temp sensors) and one control (for the fans).
 

Gray

What's an ITX?
Oct 6, 2015
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As a ASUS fanboy, I've been feeling severe buyers remorse and guilt ever since I bought my Asrock fatal1ty gaming. After reading this, It all magically vanished. Closure is bliss.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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As a ASUS fanboy, I've been feeling severe buyers remorse and guilt ever since I bought my Asrock fatal1ty gaming. After reading this, It all magically vanished. Closure is bliss.

Welcome to the forum! And I'm the same way, I like my Impact VI and I was considering a Skylake upgrade but now I'm not sure.
 

Vittra

Airflow Optimizer
May 11, 2015
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I'm in agreement with BirdofPrey - with all the connectivity options now offered, we're running into a limit on ITX without shrinking the size of some of the components used onboard. I haven't been impressed with any mATX or ITX offerings in the Z170 - sad to say the only boards I think have truly hit the mark are those of the ATX variety. The Gene is probably the closest to "ideal" mATX option wise, and the Fata1ty for ITX.

Asus seems to have made the gamble of 'firsts' with this board - first for U.2 and for a comprehensive audio option - we'll see how this plays out. They'll probably have no issue selling all the boards but enthusiasts are not happy.

I can't help but shake the feeling that this board caters to those who are using ITX but are using non-SFF options - Bitfenix Prodigy's and the like. At a time when the market is starting to fully understand the options available in true SFF machines, it's odd to see Asus go this way after the excellent and very well thought out Z97 Impact.

I actually like the inclusion of the U.2 personally, I just don't like that it was at the cost Socket 3 M.2.
 
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veryrarium

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Jun 6, 2015
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With three SKUs having an SFF-8643 port onbaord maybe ASUS is promoting U.2 with a plan to release a 2.5" PCIe NVMe SSD under its own brand or something. Like a sequel to their RAIDR SSD.
 

Phuncz

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Or they know of other brands' intention to release U.2 drives soon, which doesn't seem too far-fetched. I personally hope M.2 and U.2 become the two viable storage choices for the next 5 years or so as they both offer their own advantages and disadvantages. A board with M.2 and U.2 isn't inconceivable but Skylake may be too soon to expect this on mITX as long as more than two SATA ports are important.
 

BirdofPrey

Standards Guru
Sep 3, 2015
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It would hardly surprise me to see more drive mounted NVMe SSDs to start coming out soon.

I don't think the number of SATA ports people want should be a factor keeping U.2 off boards with M.2 and vice versa (Though I can see why it is), due to the existence of mini-SAS connectors since you can fit a couple in the space of a half dozen individual SATA connectors. The only problem with that is likely a lack of familiarity and concerns it could lead to consumer confusion.
 

Phuncz

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It was about the same when IDE was slowly replaced by SATA: most motherboards had two IDE (master + slave) headers, some had more ofcourse. When SATA first arrived, it was with one or two ports, not touching the IDE headers. Slowly after SATA started gaining traction, SATA ports were added, but only later were IDE headers being limited to one. Only to disappear completely much later.

I think we should expect the same happening with SATA and M.2/U.2, altough I foresee that M.2 will be mainly limited to one socket for mITX and mATX, with U.2 being offered in multiples. dependant on board size. Since a single U.2 port is the size of SATA, I do hope we'll be seeing some "splitting" cables to split a single U.2 port into two U.2 connectors for two U.2 devices. Since we won't be needing 40Gbit for (secondary) data storage anytime soon, just like we don't need SATA 6Gbit for HDDs now.

(I'm using the U.2 name for the board connector as I'm very much doubting anyone will use Mini-SAS HD or what it's supposed to be)
 

Arboreal

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Oct 11, 2015
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Not in the market for Skylake, but always interested to see what the latest ITX developments are, and I'm also not sure about the way this board has been implemented. Loss of 2 USB could be a problem, and the U.2 is pretty much uncharted territory at the moment.
Aibo, I have an Impact VI that I'm happy with; the VII wouldn't add anything for me and the Asrock Z170 looks a more accessible board right now.
As has been said, unless something accessible in U.2 comes along soon, it's an odd move.
Just joined, as I usually frequent Bit-Tech, and have followed Nova by lurking on [H] for a while. Nice site guys.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Welcome! Yes, the ASRock is probably my top contender right now. Unfortunately all the big names have now launched their high-end Z170 ITX boards so we probably won't see anything new until Kaby Lake.
 

Vittra

Airflow Optimizer
May 11, 2015
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With three SKUs having an SFF-8643 port onbaord maybe ASUS is promoting U.2 with a plan to release a 2.5" PCIe NVMe SSD under its own brand or something. Like a sequel to their RAIDR SSD.

Whats the third SKU? Impact, Extreme, and? I've actually been looking to see what else may have it.
 

brams

Case Bender
Oct 11, 2015
2
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Has anybody noticed in the manual is mentioned ASMedia 1142k on the motherboard drawing. Can anybody tell me why they would use an ASM USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller seeing as the Alpine Ridge does USB 3.1 Gen 2?. Are some of the ports controlled by the ASM and some by the Alpine Ridge?
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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It's hard to read but it kinda does look like that chip says ASM1142K.

On the other hand, that chip that's labeled Intel I211-AT is incorrect. The I211-AT is a gigabit ethernet controller but the board only has one NIC and the other chip in the diagram that's labeled Intel I219 looks like it says I219V, which makes sense. That's the Intel gigabit ethernet controller that goes with the Z170 chipset.



The mystery chip looks the same as the Alpine Ridge controller on the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5: http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/7326/gigabyte-z170x-ud5-intel-z170-motherboard-review/index4.html