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THEOVERCLOCKER PRESENTS

ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT


TheOverclocker Presents

ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT W

elcome to the Crosshair VIII Impact. This board has been making, quite literally - an impact in the overclocking circles and with good reason. As it stands it is the board with the best DRAM OC money can buy right now. That’s not to say there aren’t others which are within striking distance, but in the world of overclocking where even 1MHz counts, the Impact VIII is leading. For several reasons, the IMPACT is the most interesting of all ROG X570 motherboards (be sure to check out AHOC's PCB and power circuitry breakdown) of course. Mostly due to the confines of the form factor imposes. That said, I'm not sure what prevented the ROG engineers from endowing a regular sized ATX board with the same functionality/features etc. It’s akin to imposing a restriction upon oneself, then working around it to ultimately deliver the best XOC experience money can buy for AM4. Even from a user perspective, the size makes a generally busy experience when overclocking, even more so. For all intents and purposes, the Mini-DTX form factor, together with what ROG has done here, is far from ideal. Yet it is undeniable that this is part of the charm. That however has other consequences, including a $430 USD price tag. No matter how you look at it, that's a lot to ask for such a tiny board. It costs more than the Crosshair VIII Hero, a formidable motherboard in its own right.


THEOVERCLOCKER PRESENTS

ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT

...in as far as being overclocker

friendly, I don’t think it gets much better than this right now.

So, we have a small, inconvenient and expensive board, which manages to overcome it all through sheer overclocking ability. Regardless of how one views the IMPACT VIII, you have to respect what it’s capable of. Once you get over all the compromises the size imposes, what you’re left with is a board that delivers when and where it counts - in performance/overclocking ability. True, just about any competent board can be shown achieving crazy overclocks, but the test is in how much of this is repeatable by overclockers in the wild. With the IMPACT, just about anyone can show a ridiculously high memory frequency with some seriously tight timings. It’s astonishing that 4800MT/s and higher is serviceable not only for regular use, but competitive overclocking as

well. The IMPACT even supports DDR 4800 (O.C) DRAM officially which goes a long way into making the current DDR4 record of 3,027.2MHz by OGS achievable. Such milestones need a capable DRAM kit (Crucial Ballistix this time), an above average overclocker (in this case - the world’s number 1 overclocker) and most importantly an extremely well-designed motherboard with the appropriate memory layout, tuning and signaling. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re aware that two DIMM slots as close as possible to the CPU, helps in DRAM overclocking. We’ve seen this on multiple OC boards for years on end. The IMPACT further optimizes on this formula and the end result are these insane DRAM performance figures. When we speak records, the IMPACT has quite a number of them. We can start with the already mentioned DRAM frequency world record by OGS at 6,054MT/s, a good deal higher than the previous record also on the X570 platform. SAFEDISK also has three 12 core records using the IMPACT VIII and ALEX@RO has at least one 8 core record in CineBench R11.5 There are many more leading scores with


TheOverclocker Presents

ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT the IMPACT as a testament to its capabilities. In as far as being overclocker friendly, I don’t think it gets much better than this right now. It’s not just this motherboard as the platform is inherently good at memory overclocking, but the IMPACT VIII clearly takes this much farther into uncharted territory. Even for those not necessarily looking for benchmark performance, performing tuning outside the context of extreme overclocking is quite incredible. Overclocker, Ry Dumo, has been able to achieve incredible memory overclocks with insanely tight timings, I’m talking 2,442MHz~ C14. Proving once again just how proficient this motherboard is at all things overclocking related.

Safedisk’s 8 Core record breaking Crosshair VIII Impact setup

RyDumo’s C14 DDR4 4884MT/s run with G.Skill’s Trident Royal Z


THEOVERCLOCKER PRESENTS

ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT

OGS Setting the DDR4 World record with the Crosshair VIII Impact

...the Crosshair VIII Impact, is for the most part without any competition for the X570 overclocking crown. As is, the overclocking credentials of the IMPACT speak for themselves. I’ve also a strong suspicion that when the 16 core Ryzen 9 3950X arrives, it’ll be the IMPACT claiming a number of the 16 core records. We often hear how the higher core count CPUs require copious amounts of power, so the most natural instinct is to seek a board with plenty of power phases etc. The Impact bucks this, offering instead a four (each with two TDA21472 power stages) phase PWM, that's clearly more than up to the job. If you’re thinking that the PWM must be working overtime and therefore running hot, you’d be mistaken. The active cooling via the 30mm fan results in lower temperatures than on every other X570 board I’ve used. So once again, the IMPACT takes a difficult, less obvious path to CPU power, but ends up delivering one of the best solutions available for overclockers today. One that not only runs cooler, but can deliver plenty of current and fast transitioning between high core count CPU load states. Fortunate, as this aligns with the audio circuitry as well which I’ll only touch on briefly. In an uncommon fashion, the IMPACT VIII has all it’s audio

circuitry on a small, socketed daughter board dubbed the Supreme FX IMPACT IV. Its diminutive size hides, its power decoupling & trace layout optimizations. The ESS 9023 DAC in conjunction with the Realtek S1220 codec come together to deliver audio that rivals many high-end, full-sized offerings. For high speed storage, the IMPACT VIII handles M.2 drives by way of a small riser card, the SODIMM.2. It supports two M.2 drives, one wired directly to the CPU and another connected to the chipset. In addition to the drives, the SODIMM.2 houses a couple of additional fan headers and an addressable 2nd gen RGB header. Everything is small on this motherboard, yet it still manages to offer more than most ATX boards. As is; the audio is top tier, the M.2 drive capacity at least on par with others and power delivery is superior to most. That’s not even going into the memory and extreme overclocking Bonafede’s. It’s not all rosy though as the size does mean compromises for those who would use it as the basis for their gaming rig or what have you. For overclocking, there aren’t any as such, but


TheOverclocker Presents

ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT

certainly some minor inconveniences. For instance, the POST code LED is situated on the rear IO, so for you to see the post code you’ll have to change the orientation of your bench rig/platform or whatever you use. Retry and safeboot buttons are quite small and located in a rather awkward place towards the edge of the motherboard. Perhaps it would have been better to have these on the rear IO, given that the reset, clear CMOS and Bios flash back buttons are located here anyway. That said, these are literally my greatest grievances

with the motherboard and the concessions one has to contend with. Outside of this, the board is pretty much everything an overclocker could ask for from the platform. In fact, I'm of the opinion that the IMPACT is the apex of what’s currently possible for the X570 chipset and has earned the APEX moniker like no other. I've no idea how that would work for naming, but it would be warranted. All the hardware aside, I can’t end this without speaking about the ROG UEFI which at this juncture is more than familiar. It's over a decade old, which isn't an issue in itself, but does leave room for

DDR4 6054MT/s memory World record by OGS


THEOVERCLOCKER PRESENTS

ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT

Safedisk’s CineBench R15 8 core record

Alex@Ro’s Number 1 Cinebench R11.5 8 core score

improvement. Especially when you consider ROG software is generally sublime barring GPU-Tweak. It would be nice to see ROG boards, receive similar treatment in UX for the UEFI. It's serviceable of course, but when you have a motherboard that has near perfect execution everywhere else, the UEFI’s less than ideal functionality is made ever more vivid. As I’ve previously mentioned, the inability to write more than a handful of characters for the user profiles is puzzling. I know it’s possible as at least two competing boards allow far longer profile descriptions. Not specific to the Crosshair VIII IMPACT, but worth mentioning.

In closing, the Crosshair VIII Impact, is purely by the numbers (records, propensity for high frequencies, low DRAM timings etc.) without any competition at present. That’s not to say a worthy competitor won’t come, but as it stands, it’s difficult to make an argument against it being the best XOC board for the platform. It took ages to make it to market and now that it has, it costs a handsome amount. Would I have preferred a full size ATX board at a more reasonable price? - For sure, but as it is, all the sacrifices it asks of one are worth it. The Crosshair VIII Impact has cemented itself as the most obvious, perhaps even the only choice for serious AMD Ryzen overclocking.


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TheOverclocker Presents - ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT  

What is unquestionably the most anticipated board for AMD Ryzen extreme overclocking has arrived. It's tiny, has a high price and may be har...

TheOverclocker Presents - ROG CROSSHAIR VIII IMPACT  

What is unquestionably the most anticipated board for AMD Ryzen extreme overclocking has arrived. It's tiny, has a high price and may be har...

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