ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact review: A powerful heart for your gaming mini PC!
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact motherboard has a special form factor called mini-DTX and it shows off with some impressive specifications and a cool design. If you're looking for a small motherboard to build a small monster gaming computer, and you want to have every "trick or treat" available in the world of AMD 3rd Gen of Ryzen processors, check out our review. You might have found the motherboard that you were looking for:
ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact: Who is it good for?
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact should be in your to-buy list if:
- You aspire to build a powerful mini-PC using the mini-DTX form factor
- You are a gamer who wants to play the newest titles
- You want a motherboard that is optimized to work with AMD's 3rd Gen Ryzen processors
- You want solid overclocking options on your motherboard
Pros and cons
There are many things that we like about the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact motherboard:
Where To Buy
- It looks fantastic, and the layout is well designed
- It handles the fastest AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen processors
- Supports very high RAM frequencies
- It allows you to mount two M.2 SSDs
- It has plenty of fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports
- It has RGB LED headers and supports ASUS' Aura lighting system
- The cooling system is excellent at its job and is also quiet
The only drawback is this motherboard's price, which might be too high for many users.
We love the small but powerful ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact motherboard. It has a cool design, it is powerful, and generous in the number of ports and goodies that it has to offer. It can handle even the fastest of the Ryzen 3000 processors, it supports extremely high frequencies for the RAM modules, and the way it lets you add two solid-state drives on a vertical mount is quite ingenious. If its high price is not an issue for you, and you want a small motherboard that fits any top-tier two-slot graphics card, you should consider buying the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact. It is a great motherboard for your next mini-monster gaming PC!
Unboxing the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact
ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is a motherboard released by ASUS under their premium gaming brand Republic of Gamers. As such, its packaging is premium too. It comes in a medium-sized box made of hardened cardboard, and it features the ROG red and black colors with Mayan-inspired lines.
On the back of the box, there are a lot of details about the specifications and features of the motherboard, plus more than a few images of it and its main components. When you open the box, you get to see everything that you've paid for: the motherboard, the user manual, 4 SATA 6Gb/s cables, one DVD with drivers and software, one ROG big sticker, two M.2 screw kits with short screws and mounts, one Wi-Fi antenna, one extension cable for RGB strips with a length of 80 cm, one extension cable for Addressable LED, one panel cable, one ROG coaster, a ROG "Thank you!" card, one ROG SO-DIMM.2 with heatsinks, and one 2-in-1 rubber pad.
Unboxing the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is a delight worthy of a premium device. The motherboard looks exquisite from the first encounter, and the bundle of accessories is generous.
Hardware specifications and design
The form factor for ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is mini-DTX, which is a format that's somewhat unconventional. It is a bit larger than mini-ITX, which is the most common form factor for small computer cases. What does that mean for you as a user? Well, it means that, before you buy this motherboard, you should check whether it fits your small PC case. ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact is 8 inches long and 6.7 inches wide or 20.3 x 17 cm.
The motherboard is based on AMD's newest X570 chipset and supports AMD Ryzen processors from the 3rd and 2nd generations, and AMD Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics processors from the 2nd and 1st generations. Evidently, the motherboard uses the Socket AM4 specification. If you want to check the full list of officially supported processors, you can do so here: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact - CPU Support.
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact can also accommodate 2 DIMM RAM modules with a total capacity of 64GB and a maximum frequency of 4800 MHz in overclocking mode, together with a 3rd Gen Ryzen CPU. With a 2nd Gen Ryzen CPU, the maximum RAM speed is 3600 MHz.
Because the Mini-DTX form factor is bigger, it offers more space than mini-ITX. ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact takes advantage of this specification by offering enough space for you to mount a two-slot external PCIe 4.0 x16 graphics card. One small aspect that we couldn't help but notice is the fact that ASUS's designers were inspired and chose to reinforce the GPU slot with a metal frame, to accommodate even the heaviest graphics cards.
Right underneath the graphics card slot, there is also another PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slot, but this one is already used by the hardware audio codec built-in on the motherboard. The audio chipset is one of ASUS' top-range choices: a SupremeFX S1220A HD audio codec with ESS ES9023P DAC.
Above the graphics card slot, ASUS chose to do a rather interesting thing: it mounted a dual M.2 riser module, otherwise known as a SO-DIMM.2 slot. If you are wondering what this is, you should know that it's a small card that can fit two PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 solid-state drives and which you mount in its slot vertically, thus saving quite a lot of space on the motherboard.
Another interesting design choice is how ASUS chose to create the cooling system. On top of the input/output panel, there are two fans that take the heat from the processor's VRMs and from the X570 chipset and blow it out of the case. The cooling system not only looks good, but it is also efficient at its job.
To help with heat dissipation, the motherboard also has a large metal backplate. Besides its utility factor, it comes with a cool design, as you can see in the picture below.
And, as we reached the input-output panel, we should also check the ports and connectivity options available on this motherboard. You can't be anything but satisfied when you get so many options on such a small motherboard: Intel 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet, six USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (one of them is Type-C), four SATA 6 Gbps ports, and two M.2 SSD slots that we've already mentioned (on their special vertical mount).
On its IO panel, the motherboard also comes with a BIOS POST code display, a button for clearing CMOS, one for USB BIOS Flashback, and one for reset. Additionally, directly on the motherboard plate, you also get buttons for power, retry POST, and load failsafe BIOS settings.
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact looks and feels premium, and the build quality is exquisite. We were impressed not only by how beautiful it is, but also by its premium specifications and the generous number of ports, connectivity options, and features.
On the next page of this review, you see the benchmark results we got from the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Impact.