If you're wanting to build a small form factor PC that packs a mean punch, a good place to start is with the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Gene motherboard. The compact board is on sale at Newegg for $185, though combined with a promo code and mail-in-rebate, you can nab it for $145.
Promo code EMCSRDCB5 drops the price down to $170, which in and of itself is a good deal (Amazon sells this same board for $206 and change). However, there's also a $25 mail-in-rebate available, which only adds to the overall value proposition.
There is a lot of motherboard here for $145, at least in terms of features. It's a micro ATX board, so physically it's a compact foundation for your build.
This is equipped with an LGA 1151 socket and is based on Intel's Z170 chipset. The biggest difference between the Z170 and Z270 chipset is that the former has fewer PCI-E lanes (20 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, versus 24 on the Z270).
There are two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and a single PCI 3.0 x4 slot on this motherboard. It also features six SATA 6Gbps ports, two SATA Express ports, an M.2 socket, six USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports (Type-A and Type-C), a GbE LAN port, gold plated audio jacks, and HDMI 1.4b and DisplayPort 1.2 outputs.
On the audio front, this motherboard uses a SupremeFX audio processor with 10 DAC channels and simultaneous 7.1-channel playback. It also has a built-in headphone amp.
Other enthusiast amenities include a dedicated water pump header, a fan extension header, and an overclocking friendly BIOS.
You can grab the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Gene on sale here.
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