- Slot: Intel LGA 1151
- CPU: Intel Z170
- RAM Slots: 4 (Dual Channel)
- RAM Type: DDR4
- Ports: USB 2.0 x4, USB 3.0 x2, USB 3.1 x2 (Type A x1, Type C x1)
Become A Hero
ASUS wasted no time updating its line of motherboards for the newly minted Intel Skylake processor, the latest desktop processor, which is meant to reinvigorate the enthusiast spirit that have been waiting for a new CPU to play with for some time now. The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero is one of ASUS’ many Z170 motherboards that have been lined up to take the market by storm, and we’re about to see what it’s capable of.
DDR4 memory was first introduced on Intel’s X99 platform, and with Skylake, is now introduced to the more mainstream market. On board are four DIMM DDR4 slots, configured in dual-channel memory configuration, supporting up to 32GBs of memory, and supports overclocking up to a whopping 3,733MHz. The Maximus VIII Hero is also quite generous with its distribution of SATA ports as it features not only eight SATA III ports, but also an M.2 SATA Socket 3 Type M port that goes up to 32Gbps in speed.
As far as the I/O ports go, the Hero is configured with two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports and one each of USB 3.1 Type A and Type C. Rounding up the ports are a RJ-45 LAN port, one DisplayPort and one HDMI port. If you’re looking to build a multi-GPU gaming PC, you’ll also be happy to know that the Hero supports NVIDIA’s SLI and AMD’s CrossFireX multi-GPU configurations.
As far as performance goes, without a doubt the Hero and the new Skylake processor perform extraordinarily well. Overclocking functionality on the Hero is also catered to both newbies and experienced enthusiasts, with ASUS providing the Dual Intelligent Processors 5 for one-touch overclocking and system optimisation, whilst also including an updated UEFI BIOS with enhanced controls for more advanced users to tweak with.
Not only that, ASUS has also added additional power pins for water-cooling blocks, which helps a lot if you’re looking to watercool both your CPU and GPU at the same time. If audio is important to you, ASUS has also updated its SupremeFX audio input and outputs to include gold-plated ports and dedicated DACs and amps to provide you with the best sound experience without having to pay additional dollars for extra audio components.
Overclocking-wise, we managed to clock our Intel Core i7-6700K processor up to 4.5GHz on air, but we’re sure with a better cooling system, it will be able to breach the 5.0GHz mark with very little issues. As far as temperature goes, both the board and the CPU ran relatively cool as well, not going above 60 degrees Celsius in our benchmarking tests.
CHIP CONCLUDE: The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero is a great motherboard to consider if you’re looking to upgrade to a Skylake processor, and want to go tinkering all-out with everything both the motherboard and processor has to offer.
(previously published in issue September 2015)