If you're looking to build a compact system that is small in size but big in performance, a good place to start is with Asus ROG's Maximus VIII Impact. It is a mini-ITX board that normally runs close to $200 but is available today from Newegg for $145 after mail-in-rebate.
To get that price, you'll need to enter promo code EMCSRFRH4, which knocks $20 off its $195 sale price. There is also a $30 mail-in-rebate available that comes in the form of a prepaid card.
The Maximus VIII Impact is based on Intel's Z170 chipset. It has two DDR4 DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR4-4133 (OC) memory, along with a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, four SATA 6Gbps ports, and a U.2 port.
Built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi is part of the package here. Same goes for Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. External options include two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-A and one Type-C), four USB 3.0 ports, GbE LAN, and HDMI output. There is also a USB 3.0 header for connecting up to two additional USB 3.0 ports.
Asus makes much ado about the audio on this board.
"You benefit from the best gaming-audio inputs and outputs, with color-coded LEDs to guide to the right audio jacks and a collection of carefully-selected professional-grade audio components, including an ESS ES9023P digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with Hyperstream technology, ultra-low-jitter clock, Nichicon capacitors, 2VRMS headphone amp, and Sonic SenseAmp that automatically detects and optimizes any headset (32-600ohms) for purest sound quality," Asus says.
This board is also tuned for overclocking, provided your mini-ITX setup offers enough cooling to ramp up clockspeeds. The Maximus VIII Impact is a great board, and while we didn't pick it for our best Z170 motherboard list due to its higher price, it's s till a fantastic board, made better now at the discount.
Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.