A Tech Report Review may Inadvertently Point to something Huge for Overclocking
I’d have to hang up my writer’s badge if I failed to mention what I just saw. Sometimes it’s helpful to have nothing to do but slowly watch the Twitter feed tick down to the next, newest thing. In this case, ASUS pointed out a review in which their ROG Maximus VIII Impact had achieved nearly as high of an overclock as other full ATX boards that The Tech Report had previously reviewed. While that’s impressive for a mini-ITX system to achieve such potential, the way it happened could signify a design change for all high end overclocking boards in the future.
Apparently, 3D concepts aren’t meant to only be used by memory and storage chips. Even motherboards themselves can decide to go up rather that out. This is how the Impact manages to squeeze in an eight-plus-two phase VRM on that tiny mini-ITX form factor. By using a daughterboard that juts up from the top of the mainboard, ASUS can squeeze those extra VRMs on there while still keeping the small size. I think this could have another inadvertent effect. We all know those VRMs are right next to the CPU socket and we know that both parts are the largest heat sources on the actual mainboard. By sticking the VRMs on a separate board, it could possibly create a little heat island that doesn’t affect the CPU socket nearly as much and allows the cooling to more thoroughly handle the chip, allowing it to be pushed farther!
I could be reading way too much into this. Of course, the biggest reason was to give users a strong overclocking mini-ITX motherboard. On the other hand, what if this design could really help separate the VRM heat from the CPU heat and we start seeing it implemented on all kinds of overclocking boards, not just mini-ITX ones? I could imagine a VRM daughterboard with mounts that line up to 120/140mm fan holes so you can mount it on the rear exhaust and use a cable to connect to the motherboard. This could be a huge step to larger frequency boosts that are not only record setters, but even practical for everyday use. I’m not sure if ASUS saw my reply tweet, but I hope we find out an answer from some engineers who would know more about it than I do!