ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact Review 20

ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact Review

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Final Thoughts and Conclusion

  • The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is available for US$429.99.
  • Attractive neutral aesthetic
  • Good "out of box" performance
  • Extremely feature packed
  • Great BIOS
  • Powerful VRM
  • Expensive
  • Software bloat
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is an incredible feat of engineering and design. Nothing about the Impact follows a standard motherboard layout, and I can only imagine the amount of time ASUS spent working to cram features into this board without any compromise. Moving the chipset and 8-pin CPU power connectors is just the start. The separated audio section on an M.2 style card and the SO-DIMM.2 expansion card are unique and expensive accommodations to allow for as much as is here on an SFF board. While I do wish the SO-DIMM.2 card were shorter, I like that the extra height serves to add two more 4-pin fan headers and another RGB header.

The VRM is built for the extreme, ready for anything AMD wants to throw at it. ASUS has ditched doublers under the assertion that a blind-parallel VRM design significantly improves transient response times because it does not have to divide the PWM signal from the controller in half for each phase. The real-world results in my testing show generally equivalent performance. With so much more going into VRM design, it is very hard to compare two different implementations. This is at the very least a cost saving for ASUS as high-quality doublers are not cheap components. A maximum theoretical Vcore output of 560 A along with a full loadout of extreme overclocking aids make the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact a great candidate for exotic cooling and competitive overclocking. Additionally, the top of the line power stages and active cooling result in some truly impressive VRM thermal performance.

Speaking of performance, memory stability was pretty good, but not quite top tier. I have seen higher clocks out of this memory kit on other boards, and I was really hoping that with a 2-DIMM layout, the Crosshair VIII Impact would have more headroom. However, ASUS gets a lot of points for the safeguards and aids they have put in place, which make overclocking simpler and less stressful. CPU overclocking went well, but failed to match the best overclock I have seen on this Ryzen 5 3600X, falling 25 MHz short of 4.5 GHz all-core at 1.45 V, which is practically within margin of error. With one of the most comprehensive BIOSes in the industry, ASUS has plenty of tweaking built into these boards to keep even the most avid enthusiasts occupied.

The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact isn't perfect. ASUS still has a lot of software bloat built into their utilities. I would have liked a third M.2 slot crammed into the back of the board, so that there is at least one option for those who do not have the height clearance for the SO-DIMM.2 card. The RGB LED implementation is good overall, but I would have liked a little diffusion on the zone under the right side of the board. Finally, there is the price. All of this innovation can't come cheap, and at US$430, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact definitely commands a premium.

The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is a marvel of modern motherboard design. While the price tag is hard to swallow, the features and performance should put the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact at the top of the list for those in the market for a high-end no compromise SFF solution.
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