ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact - A High-End Motherboard in A Small Package
Last time we talked about a standard mid-range motherboard that can take your PC to the next level. But what about a high-end motherboard, and what if it comes in a small package? Well the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact is that motherboard, comes with tons of features for a small form factor motherboard and it looks just awesome. So let’s see what does the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact has to offer.
Design and First Impressions
The first thing that we noticed when we first saw this motherboards was the I/O area, which is the upper left, where the USBs are located and not only. Well, ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact has this area covered by a kind of armor that has several roles. The first time we saw something like this, it was on an ASUS Sabertooth motherboard, but in the meantime, the old "shield" that covered the entire plate has lost popularity, but it is still a new addition that we see here.
Under that lid placed over I/O, we find, together with the classic connectors, two small fans that provide thermal stability for both the above-mentioned area, as well as for VRM and the power components of the board.
Another noteworthy aspect is that the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact is not a mini-ITX board, but its format is actually a mini-DTX. In human language, this means that from the dimensions of 17x17cm, as it has an ITX plate, the subject of this article has gained three centimeters in height, so we have a 20 × 17 size.
Okay, maybe you wonder what this extra three inches are for. The extra surface extends the format known to most people and offers a few extra features, without actually messing with the installation in any way. The major difference is that the ITX motherboards have the PCI-Express X16 slot just at the bottom edge of the board, and a thicker video card, which occupies two or more slots, will not actually stand above the motherboard, but "in the air" . The mini-DTX format uses the space under the video card to expand the motherboard and allows, in this model, the audio card to be mounted under a heatsink.
On the back, the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact is covered by a shield similar to the one from the Sabertooth series, which, apart from its aesthetic role, serves as an additional "layer" of protection. Also on the aspect side, it should be mentioned, the support for AURA Sync, a software by which you can create a lighting ecosystem in your PC without too many headaches.
ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact Connectivity
What ASUS has managed to achieve with the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact is worth admiring, especially considering the solutions that the manufacturer has used. In addition to the audio chip connected through an mSATA port housed under its own heatsink, ASUS has also included a proprietary port that offers the possibility of mounting two M.2 SSDs on a vertical plate covered by a heatsink that ensures their operation at good temperatures. . The SSD set comes fixed above the PCI-Express x16 port, so it won't mess with you when you mount a video card, either thicker.
Besides the support for two high-speed M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSDs, the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact also offers an addressable RGB port and two fan headers in case you want to mount a water cooling system. As it is, on the surface of the board we find four SATA III 6Gb/s ports. Another interesting aspect is the front panel connectors, which are oriented at 90 degrees, facilitating cable management, which is a bit more difficult in an SFF housing.
On the back, the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact offers eight USB ports, one of which is Type-C, two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, along with three audio jacks and an optical audio input. An interesting feature is the inclusion of the Clear CMOS and Reset BIOS buttons along with a small restart button and the small screen for debugging on the back of the board, for easy access; a feature that reinforces even more the claim that ASUS understands the requirements and limitations of a small system and tries to offer some solutions that will ease the experience of installation and use.
A Powerfull Chipset Underneath
Let's talk about the technical side, namely the X570 chipset. It offers support for top-of-the-line Ryzen third-generation processors, along with very high frequencies for DDR4 memory as well as a PCI-Express 4.0 port, a slot introduced by AMD on the market with the launch of the aforementioned generation. It offers higher bandwidth, and for such a small format it is welcomed, as it allows the installation of a high-end video card such as Radeon RX 5700 XT or NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti, cards that use GDDR6 memory. This port provides double bandwidth compared to PCIe 3.0, so the new cards can use the maximum memory they have.
With the support for high-end processors, the power delivery side of the board had to be adresed as well, so we have a special connector with eight pins for powering the processor. This port, called ProCool II, offers increased hardness and longer life cycle by lowering the impedance to prevent connection problems. The new connector design also includes metal armor and solid pins for better dissipation. If yout thought that only the connector is the smart thing on the motherboard, we have to tell you about the VRM. It is made up of 8 + 2 power phases that support 70 amps per piece, which ensures efficient power delivery that does not cause problems for any processor, even for the Ryzen 9.
The ROG mini motherboard offers the features of a full ATX board and the performance that the latest components need, so you no longer have to have a middle or even a full tower to enjoy the latest hardware from the PC world. Besides, the software support provided by ASUS is very solid, so you can control every aspect of your components in an easy-to-use interface.
Of course, everything good comes at a cost, and the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Impact is the definition of premium. The board comes at around $430 so it is not that cheap as you might thought, but if you are planning to build a new PC or upgrade your existing one with no compromises this might be the right motherboard for you.
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