ASUS Maximus VI Impact: Enthusiast Mini-ITX Motherboard

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Most Intel-based mini-ITX boards released in the past few years use a layout with the CPU socket very close to the PCI-E expansion slot, creating interference with larger CPU coolers. Today, there are quite a few models going against this trend, the Maximus VI included. Given the enthusiast nature of the Maximus series it's a no-brainer.

The most notable feature is "Impact Power," a heavy duty advanced voltage regulation system sitting perpendicular to the board's PCB. The CPU socket's location is similar to most mATX/ATX models and is separated from the PCI-E slot by a PCH heatsink.

The chipset cooler has an imposing look and a significant footprint but lacks surface area.

The daughterboard is equipped with 60 amp BlackWing chokes and longer lasting, more heat resistant 10K capacitors, and there's a heatspreader as well. This gives the board an 8+2 phase power design. There isn't enough room on most mini-ITX boards to include this, so ASUS had to go vertical.

Enthusiast/test friendly start and reset buttons are available directly on the board.

The included wireless and audio cards plug into connectors near the rear ports.

The rear panel is home to S/PDIF, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs, an eSATA connector, and plenty of USB 2.0/3.0 ports along with some extras. The LED display show diagnostic codes, while the DirectKey switch underneath sends the system into the UEFI/BIOS menu the next time the system is rebooted (no need to tap the DEL key repeatedly) and the MemOK button at the bottom helps recover from bad memory settings. The button with what looks like a refresh symbol activates an automatic BIOS update feature that can work with just a USB key and power (GPU, CPU, RAM, etc. not required). The ROG Connect button below it allows users to remotely change overclocking settings from a secondary PC (the two systems must be linked with a proprietary USB cable).

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