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Asus Maximus VI Hero Review

Asus Maximus VI Hero

Manufacturer: Asus
UK Price (as reviewed): £173 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $230 (ex. Tax)
Preferred Partner Price: 143.84 (inc VAT)

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Asus' Republic Of Gamers (ROG) motherboards have quite a following, and for good reason with them consistently being among the most highly rated models going. However, all that desirability generally comes at a price, which is why the Gene series has proven so popular.

LGA1155 versions retailed for as little as £140, and while some people loathed the thought of owning a micro-ATX motherboard, for more prudent enthusiasts it made a great buy: you get all the usual ROG features, plus a good overclocking motherboard and plenty of third-party waterblocks to choose from, thanks to the ROG branding.

With LGA1150, though, Asus is experimenting with a new ATX 'budget' ROG board - the first to enter the scene for quite a while. The Maximus VI Hero retails for about £170, making it identically-priced to the new Maximus VI Gene.

Looking in a little more detail at the Maximus VI Hero, it has fewer USB 3.0 ports - four on the I/O panel instead of six - and it lacks the mini PCI-E Combo II port that Asus is offering with several of its high-end motherboards. It supports CrossFireX and SLI, offering x8 speed a piece for the top two PCI-E 3.0 16x slots for dual graphics card setups. The Hero also has a fourth PCI-E 16x slot but it only offers x4 speed and is PCI-E 2.0 rather than 3.0 compatible, while the more expensive ROG motherboards such as the Maximus VI Extreme offer three x8 slots if you're lucky enough to own three graphics cards.

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Layout is excellent as you'd expect from an ROG motherboard, , although we can't help feel it looks a little spartan. There's no mSATA port, additional power connectors, WiFi, Bluetooth or fancy overclocking switches. However, there are power and reset switches, a CMOS clear button and LED post code readout, plus the usual ROG gubbins including DirectKey - a BIOS shortcut button, and USB BIOS Flashback.

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The SATA 6Gbps ports - six of which come via the Z87 chipset and a further two via an ASMedia ASM1061 controller, are all laid parallel to the PCB and there's a 1x PCI-E slot above the top 16x PCI-E slot meaning whatever graphics card setup you choose, this should be available for sound cards or TV cards and the like.

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Speaking of sound cards, the Maximus VI Hero also includes Asus' SupremeFX audio shielding , essentially cutting off the sound card section of the board from the rest, theoretically reducing interference. It's still just a Realtek-based sound card that's embedded into the PCB, though, although as most of the complaints we've had about on-board sound cards are related to electronic noise, there's still good reason for the seperation seen here.

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All the ports and switches are located on the edge of the PCB for easy cable routing. Asus is big on fan control with LGA1150, and as well as three chassis 4/3-pin fan headers, there's second CPU fan header and also one of Asus' new detection latch headers, which allows the board to control the speed of three and 4-pin CPU fans. Combined with standard 2-pin thermal probe attachment at the base of the PCB, you can use the EFI to control the fan based on thermal probe data, perhaps from G1/4in coolant temperature probe for example.

There's also Asus' hefty suit of ROG features such as RAMDisk, Sonic Radar and SSD Secure Erase - you can read more about them here.

  • Chipset Intel Z87
  • CPU support LGA1150 compatible
  • Memory support 4 slots: max 32GB DDR3 (2,400MHz)
  • Expansion slots SLI and Crossfire support, Three 16x PCI-E 3.0 slots (One at x16, two at 8x and one 4x), two three 1x PCI-E
  • Sound 10-channel HD audio via Realtek ALC898
  • Networking Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Bluetooth 2.1
  • Ports 8 x SATA 6Gbps (six via Intel Z87, two via ASMedia ASM1061 controller) 6 x USB 3, 8 x USB 2, LAN, audio out, line in, mic, optical S/PDIF out, HDMI
  • Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244 (ATX)
  • Extras USB BIOS Flashback, ROG RAMDisk, Sonic Radar