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ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced Maximus VII Impact, a Z97 chipset-based mini-ITX gaming motherboard ready for the latest 4th-, new 4th- and 5th-generation Intel Core processors, codenamed ‘Haswell’, ‘Haswell Refresh’, ‘Haswell Refresh K-Series’ (‘Devil's Canyon’) and ‘Broadwell’, and engineered with new and exclusive ROG game-boosting features to provide ATX-level power and performance.
Maximus VII Impact’s exclusive innovations includes the Impact Power II full-scale voltage-regulator module (VRM) for ultra-smooth, ultra-reliable power, SupremeFX Impact II dedicated sound card for flawless audio, Intel Gigabit Ethernet and GameFirst III for no-lag networking with a winning advantage and the fastest connectivity from the pre-installed mPCIe Combo IV module — dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and PCI Express 3.0 M.2 x4.
The combination of these premium technologies enables Maximus VII Impact to deliver the best gaming power, gaming audio, gaming networking and gaming boosts in a mini-ITX motherboard.
Best mini-ITX gaming power
Maximus VII Impact’s Impact Power II card is vertically-mounted, enabling ROG engineers to create a full-scale VRM that would otherwise be impossible on a mini-ITX board.
The completely-digital power-control architecture is engineered with premium components, including Japanese-made 10K black metallic capacitors for 20%-greater extreme-temperature endurance and a lifespan that’s up to five times (5X) longer than other capacitors. Impact Power II additionally benefits from 60A BlackWing chokes, whose wing-like fin design generates temperatures that are up to 5°C lower than other designs. A highly-conductive, gold-treated coating also increases conductivity for minimal-loss power delivery, while the NexFET MOSFET is just half the size of previous designs while delivering the same power for efficiencies of over 90% — and that means great energy savings and added stability for all operations.
Best mini-ITX audio
SupremeFX Impact II is Maximus VII Impact’s dedicated audio card, a blade of sound that brings to life soundtracks and every in-game effect.
Building on the original SupremeFX Impact card, which was acclaimed both by the media and by ROG customers, SupremeFX Impact II employs cutting-edge isolation technologies to minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI) and has exceptionally-premium components to deliver best-in-class audio.
SupremeFX Impact II is supported by Sonic Studio, a brand-new audio-tuning suite that provides an aural treat. Just one click enables 7.1-channel virtual surround sound through a stereo (2.0-channel) headset, providing immersive gaming experiences for all. Sonic Studio’s superb audio controls include Reverb, Bass Boost, Equalizer, Voice Clarity and Smart EQ.
Maximus VII Impact’s audio armory also includes Sonic Radar II. Designed for first-person shooter (FPS) games, Sonic Radar II displays a stealthy overlay that shows what opponents and teammates are up to. Players see the precise direction and origin of in-game sounds such as gunshots, footsteps and call-outs, so they’re able to practice enemy-pinpointing skills, and exclusive audio enhancement further enhances in-game sound for superb hearing awareness. This all-new version of Sonic Radar II includes a redesigned control panel with customizable game list, so settings are easily tailored to a personal games library.
Best mini-ITX networking
Maximus VII Impact is equipped with state-of-the-art Intel Gigabit Ethernet that delivers better throughput with lower processing power for superior speed and increased efficiency. By communicating directly with Intel processors, this technology offers exceptionally-high Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) throughput, lowering overall processing demands and improving efficiency — releasing more power for games and gameplay. Using independent network-assessment tools, ROG engineers calculated that Intel Gigabit Ethernet deals with the UDP data packets that are vital for responsive gaming up to two times (2X) faster than competing gaming-LAN technologies.
Maximus VII Impact gamers also enjoy ROG-exclusive GameFirst III technology for no-delay gameplay. This advanced network-optimization software assigns top priority to game-data packets, allocating them more bandwidth to ensure the best online-gaming experience and clear, stutter-free online team-chat — all controlled with ROG’s usual intuitive flair.
The new motherboard includes ROG’s reinvented RJ45 socket — LANGuard. Advanced signal-coupling technology and premium surface-mounted capacitors improve throughput, while surge-protected and electrostatically-guarded components (ESD Guards) protect against lightning strikes and static-electricity discharges.
Best gaming boosts
Maximus VII Impact is packed with innovations that give gamers vital boosts. These include the upgraded mPCIe Combo IV + 802.11ac / Bluetooth 4.0 module for the latest high-speed connectivity, with mini PCI Express (mPCIe) on one side and a PCI Express 3.0 x4 M.2 socket on the other for direct-from-processor transfer speeds of up to 32Gbit/s — that’s over six times (6X) faster than traditional M.2 solutions.
KeyBot provides games with another brilliant boost, offering a free upgrade for any keyboard. Plugging an existing keyboard into the dedicated USB socket activates Maximus VII Impact’s exclusive KeyBot microprocessor, allowing gamers to record 15-keystroke sequences as macros that can be assigned instantly to any key — a great way to automate almost any laborious task or speed up in-game actions.
Maximus VII Impact also boosts protection for gamers, with Gamer’s Guardian. This collection of high-quality, highly-durable components provides exceptional real-world protection, from onboard resettable fuses that protect the connection ports and DRAM against overcurrent and short-circuit damage to ESD Guards on the USB ports and audio connectors and LANGuard port to protect Maximus VII Impact from sudden electrostatic discharge (ESD).
The black nickel-coated Q-Shield protects hands from nicks and cuts, Q-DIMM makes fitting and removing memory modules easier and safer, and the corrosion-resistant, stainless-steel back input/output (I/O) panel lasts up to three times (3X) longer than traditional panels.