With the MAXIMUS VI IMPACT, ASUS proved that a Mini-ITX motherboard can be as powerful as high-end ATX motherboards. This tiny socket LGA1150 motherboard based on the Intel Z87 chipset is part of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) series and brings high-end audio interface, high-end voltage regulator circuit, and a lot of other features. Check it out!

The Intel Z87 chipset provides two important upgrades compared to its predecessor, the Z77: six USB 3.0 ports instead of four and six SATA-600 ports instead of only two. Another important difference between the two chipsets is where the video outputs of the motherboard are connected. While with both chipsets the video is generated by the CPU, on the Z77 the video signal was routed to the chipset, and the video outputs were connected to the chipset. On the Z87 chipset, the video outputs are connected directly to the processor. Both chipsets support up to three independent video monitors. The Z87 supports all other features provided by the Z77, such as Smart Response (installing an SSD as a cache for the main hard drive), Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while in sleep mode), and Rapid Start (faster boot times) technologies.

You can see the ASUS MAXIMUS VI IMPACT motherboard in Figure 1. As mentioned, it uses the Mini-ITX form factor.


In Figure 2, you can see the trick used to build a high-end voltage regulator circuit on a Mini-ITX motherboard: the use of a second PCB soldered to the main board.

ASUS MAXIMUS VI IMPACTFigure 2: Voltage regulator board

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Author: Rafael Coelho

Rafael Otto Coelho is a physicist with a master's degree in Education, and is a college professor in Brazil.

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