ASUS unveiled its brand new gaming motherboard the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact during Computex, earlier this year. The mini-DTX form factor motherboard offers a range of cool features such as great thermal performance, DIY friendly design and reliable power design. Republic of Gamers (ROG) is a brand used by ASUS for its range of PC gaming hardware.
The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is currently on sale for $430 on amazon. This puts it on the higher end of motherboards available in the market. But given its specs and design, it definitely could be a worthy investment for you. In this article, we will be reviewing this motherboard in order to help you make that decision.
So, let’s get started!
ROG Crosshair VIII Impact: Key Features Summary
We will first be presenting a summary of the key features of the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact.
Design & Size
One of the first things you notice about this motherboard is its peculiar mini-DTX form factor. Mini-DTX isn’t a very popular form factor. It resembles the mini-ITX, but is slightly taller. This sort of helps the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact be the best of both worlds. The size allows it to fit into a mini-ITX case, but it is slightly taller than a Mini-ITX board, which means it comes with an extra expansion slot.
The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact features a SO-DIMM.2 design that is exclusive to ROG. This design features bundles expansion cards with heatsink that allows the user to connect two M.2 drives via a SO-DIMM interface. This design also helps regulate the thermal performance of the SSDs, thus improving their performances.
Double-capacity UDIMM Modules
The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact comes with two double-capacity UDIMM modules. This allows it to support up to 32GB per module, and a total of up to 64GB. Without the dual-DIMM design, this amount of memory would usually require 4 slots.
Lighting Fast Networking
In terms of networking, the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact features super fast networking, the latest Intel Ethenet and Bluetooth 5.0 connections among other things.
It features Intel’s latest Wi-Fi 6 AX200 with wide 160 MHz channels and 2×2 MU-MIMO. This allows for wireless connection speeds of up to 2.4Gbps. It also features Intel’s latest Ethenet, the I211-AT. And its inclusion of Bluetooth 5.0 allows for a connections that are faster and wider in range.
Great On board Audio
The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact features enthusiast-grade on board audios. First and foremost, it features a dedicated sound card with the S122O standard codec. It also features DTS’ Sound Unbound and Sonic Studio’s Virtual Audio Mixer.
Impact Control Card IV
The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact features ASUS’ Impact Control Card IV. This card makes it much easier to navigate and regulate the system functions of the board. These include features such as BIOS Flashback, Clr CMOS, FlexKey and Q-Code. These features will appeal both to the average user and to the enthusiast. They help the enthusiast in firmware access and debugging, and they help the average user in making timely updates.
ROG Crosshair VIII Impact
As the name suggests, The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is the latest in a long line of a successful series, the Crosshair. The first thing anybody would notice about this motherboard is it’s unusual Mini-DTX form factor. This has two distinct advantages. First of all, it still has a compact design that is compatible with most Mini-ITX cases. But the great thing about this form factor is the added length. This extra space has helped the designers to improve on the thermal performance and the voltage regulator module (VRM) of the Crosshair VIII Impact.
Gaming is a highly demanding activity, and one of the most important factor of any gaming hardware is its cooling. The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is definitely not lagging in this department. The voltage regulator module (VRM) and chipset-heatsink combo come in a single-body design unique to ROG, and are actively-cooled. The designers have also added a dual custom Delta Superflo fans. A Mini-DTX motherboard such as this usually goes with a compact case. So it can be difficult to maintain a good airflow. Fortunately, the designers have come up with a cool way to spread the heat out quick and evenly. A highly efficient copper heatpipe is included that can spread the heat out from the VRM into an aluminum backplate. The radiator fans have their own dedicated headers and there are also headers to monitor the temperature and cooling mechanisms of the board.
DIY Friendly Design:
One of the coolest things about the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is how DIY friendly it is. It is incredibly easy to setup and manage. The onboard connectors for instance are all at 90 degrees to the board. This makes for a very tidy cable management. The I/O shields are pre-mounted and are suitable for most cases. There are two headers dedicated to coolants: the Water Flow header and the Water In & Out header. Together, these help monitor the coolant temperatures and the flow rate, helping you regulate the temperature of your board. The onboard Impact Control IV card has features such as BIOS Flashback, Clr CMOS, FlexKey and Q-Code, making it extra easy to get updates, access the firmware or do some debugging. And finally the Addressable RGB headers make it possible to connect to a range of Aura Sync-capable PC gear.
Great Power Management:
A good and reliable power delivery is a must for any high-performance CPU. And the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is ready to deliver just that. It features a group of paired (8 + 2) TDA21472 power stages, each rated 70 amps. Paired with its latest state of the art voltage regulator module (VRM) design, they are able to swing current rapidly without compromising on thermal performance. Infineon’s TDA21472 power stages feature a very low RDS(on) (drain-source on resistance), which helps it keep the switching and conduction losses at a minimum.
You might have heard the buzz surrounding the new Ryzen 3000 processors. These processors have been designed to pair with the X570 chipset. The X570 chipsets are the first of their kind to bring PCIe 4.0 connectivity to mainstream desktop connectivity. And the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is in on this!
This motherboard features PCIe x16 and M.2 slots, both of which support PCIe 4.0. This allows for a I/O bandwidth of as much as 32GBps with the x16 slot. These are great for new generation graphics cards and NVMe drives.
The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact also features Intel’s latest Ethenet, the I211-AT, and its latest Wi-Fi 6 AX200 with 160 MHz channels and 2×2 MU-MIMO. All of these allow for lightning fast connectivity of up to 2.4 Gbps. It also features Bluetooth 5.0.
There are a few other features of the ROG Crosshair VIII Impact that deserve mentioning. First and foremost, it has a bundles expansion card with heatsink.This allows up to 2 M.2 drives to be connected through the SO-DIMM interface which is unique to ROG. All this helps keep the SSD temperatures at a minimum, improving performance.
The Crosshair VIII Impact also comes with a dedicated audio card for high quality sound and ROG Sonic III for surround sound. It also features a dedicated header for front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectors. It boasts transfer speed of up to 10 Gbps and also makes it future-proof in terms of USB evolution.
Finally, this motherboard also features OptiMem III. This mainly helps reduce noise and improve single quality. It also helps the memory kit run at increased frequencies, lowered voltages and lowered latencies.
A beast of a motherboard!
The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is a great high-performance gaming motherboard. It’s price may seem a bit steep for a motherboard. Some motherboards cost less than $50. But one wouldn’t expect this board from ROG to go with any low-end hardware or CPU. The ROG Crosshair VIII Impact will be able to support the latest graphics card and the latest CPU (like the Ryzen 9 3950X, coming out this month). If you are building a high-performance compact gaming PC, this is the motherboard to go with.
Was this review helpful? Drop a comment below!
Additional Note: Things to consider when buying a motherboard
If you are new to the PC building game, and are considering building a gaming PC in 2019/22, there are a few things you have to consider. Motherboards can cost anywhere from less than $50 to well over a $1000. It all depends on what kind of PC you are planning to build. But in any case, there are five points you have to consider:
- Most motherboards basically fall into one of three main categories: the ATX form factor, the Mini-ATX form factor and the smallest Mini-ITX form factor. The Mini-DTX form factor of the ROG Crosshair VIII is a rare exception.
- The socket and chipset of the motherboard are two very important things to consider. Make sure to get a motherboard with a socket/chipset that supports the CPU you are planning to get.
- Depending on how much memory you need, you need to consider the number and type of Memory slots on your board. You might also want to consider the expansion slots and their type based on what cards/expansions you are planning to get.
- The I/O ports that the motherboard has is very important. This is how you will connect your CPU to the rest of the computer. Here are some of the ports you might want to look for: USB 3, USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB 2, USB Type-C, HDMI, Audio Ports, Thunderbolt 3 and PS/2.
- We live in an era of the Web. So fast and reliable connectivity is a must. A good Wi-Fi adapter, Ethernet adapter and Bluetooth support is a must