There's plenty to like when it comes to the Impact's EFI and all the latest ROG features are here, such as integrated Secure Erase and Sonic Radar, all of which you can read about in our Maximus VI Extreme review. The red and black colour scheme still lends itself well to easy viewing and the layout, despite being pretty crammed full of options, is easy to navigate whether you're going all out overclocking or just tweaking a few settings.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
The addition of the VRM daughterboard has lead to consistently good returns when it comes to overclocking Asus' enthusiast mini-ITX motherboards and the Impact was no different. We came straight in at our usual 1.28V and 4.7GHz - a feat missed by several other Z87 mini-ITX motherboards we've tested. What's more, the power circuitry proved capable enough to see the vcore lowered to 1.23V, yet still stable at 4.7GHz. With water cooling, it's likely even higher results could be obtained, but getting the most out of it in our case was a simple matter of increasing the multiplier and finding the lowest stable vcore.
With the majority of Asus' motherboards topping our performance graphs both at stock and overclocked speeds, we had high hopes for the Impact. Thankfully it didn't disappoint, with only the Asus Z87i-Pro posting faster stock speed scores in our image editing and video encoding tests and the Asus Maximus VI Extreme pipping it in the multi-tasking test.
However, overall it claimed the top spot, albeit by one point and is currently the fastest Z87-based motherboard we've tested in our Media Benchmarks. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim represents a CPU-limited game when paired with our GeForce GTX 680 2GB, which highlights any lack of grunt at stock speed due to poor EFI optimisation. The Impact has no issues here, again topping the benchmark here and also in the Shogun 2: Total War CPU Test.
Once overclocked, being one of only a few Z87 motherboards that has hit a stable 4.7GHz, it was unsurprising to see it dominate the graphs again, coming top with a score of 2,896. The overclock saw the idle and load power consumption for the system as a whole rise from 78W and 138W respectively, to 88W and 189W with our overclock settings. SATA 6Gbps speeds were spot on too, again, coming top of our graphs with read and write speeds of 545MB/sec and 520MB/sec.
Click to enlarge
There's no getting away from the fact that the Maximus VI Impact is pricey, however the cash you'll splash is, in all honesty, the only bad thing about this motherboard. It looks stunning, is dripping with features, is fast at stock speed and when overclocked, and is one of a select few mini-ITX motherboards to have been given the full-cover waterblock treatment too.
In addition, it also sports a decent sound card, going some way to appeasing the lack of expansion slots. MSI's Z87I overclocked our CPU nearly as far and costs a substantial £70 less - enough to buy a Bit Fenix Prodigy - so clearly there are other options if you can't justify the outlay or are keen to keep your mini-ITX gaming rig to a tight budget. However, given how much extra you get for that £70, the Impact is unquestionably a highly desirable bit of kit that's not totally lost on value either.