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We Recommend the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero For
Serious enthusiasts with a 6th Generation K-series Skylake Processor will benefit the most from the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero. For 7th Gen Kaby Lake processors, the updated Maximus XI Hero is already available, and both are similar with just minor differences (a little extra money too). On the whole, you get a lot of goodies at a decent price point. The Maximus VIII Hero is our favorite overclocking Intel motherboard.
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- LGA 1151 Socket for 6th Generation Intel core Desktop Processor
- SupremeFX 2015
- USB 3.1 Type A & C Onboard
We understand that not everyone will have an unlimited budget but in the event you do, the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero is what we recommend for your beast PC build. Forget the graphics card, processor and everything else. Without a top notch motherboard capable of taking in all those expensive peripherals, what use is an unlimited budget?
The Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero is available for Skylake processors and if you plan on buying a 7th Generation processor then get the XI Hero edition instead. The differences between the two are nominal at best except for generational Intel support.
The Maximus range of motherboards is faithful to its ROG nametag. It is designed exclusively for the gaming community, and just like every other ROG product, the Maximus VIII Hero outperforms other brands and models.
It has got features that you will love and some more that you will probably never use. Asus has thought of everything when designing this motherboard. Plan on using an M.2 NVMe SSD or using multiple chassis fans with individual controls? The VIII Hero has it all – loads of connections, pin points, and double the possibilities.
Where do we start? Let’s get the obvious details out of the way first. This is an Intel LGA 1151 chipset motherboard with ATX form factor that takes 6th Generation Intel Skylake processor, including the K variants, notable for their unlocked nature.
Time to quickly rap through the feature list of the Maximus VIII Hero. Please note that these features are all available with the XI Hero update for Kabylake processors, albeit with slight improvements or design modifications.
In terms of connectivity, this motherboard boasts of two 10GBps USB 3.1 (Type A and Type C) slots, two PCIe 3.0 x16, three PCIe 3.0 x1 and one PCIe 3.0 x16 (PCH), one M.2 socket 3 Type M, eight SATA 6GBps connectors, two SATA express, six USB 3.0, eight USB 2.0, one DP 1.2 and one HDMI 1.4b.
As for individual ICs integrated into the board, it relies on Intel i-219V GameFirst LAN that promises uninterrupted gameplay even in stressful situations. For audio processing, the motherboard depends on SupremeFX 2015 that packs in NEC De-pop Relay, a dedicated clock, 2V headphone output and an ESS ES9023P DAC. Finally, for memory, it takes in DDR4 modules with maximum support up to 3600 MHz (OC).
Choosing a processor or even a graphics card is easy. You get what you pay for. With a motherboard, things aren’t as black and white. Boards in the past have cost a lot more than they are worth simply because of future technologies they pack. At other times, motherboards have cost less than what they should because the manufacturers decided to balance the cost by using slightly older generation technology.
With the Asus Maximus VIII Hero, we understand that there is a newer updated model in town, however, for folks who find a cheaper 6th generation processor, this motherboard is just as adept as 7th generation boards. In fact, the money you save on this Republic of Gamers certified board will go a long way to upgrading your graphics card of getting an extra memory stick.
The motherboard has accents and lines all over that instantly classify it as an Asus ROG product. When you fire up the motherboard for the first time, you can control how the RGB lighting works (oh yes, this motherboard packs in RGB lights). A nice touch though it isn’t something that we specifically look for in our motherboards. Even with the lights just neutral red, the board looks amazing.
Asus has always made quality products, and this motherboard epitomizes that. The board does not flex at all, plus all individual components seem well stuck on the board. In our long experience, Asus has the best reliability index when it comes to motherboards and graphics cards.
The Maximus VIII Hero is a self-diagnostic motherboard. It has dedicated switches to turn the board on without being fully plugged in, reset and even refresh the Bios. Additionally, each time you turn on your computer, you will be greeted with some codes. Each code designates either an error or success status.
For instance, if you see Code 55 on first or second boot, then check all connections and pins. Next, check your RAM if it is the cause because some RAMs will not run above 3000MHz on this board. Next, up is Code 44. This usually happens if the system goes to sleep and because Windows 10 uses a hybrid boot mechanism, you will see this code more often than not. Likewise, Code 99 is the default “all okay” reply from the motherboard. If you see Code 99, then the Bios is successfully handing over the system controls to Windows 10.
By the way, the ROG Maximus VIII Hero and XI Hero both require Windows 10 with the latest BIOS updates to function properly. Please, download the BIOS first on a separate system and flash it onto the motherboard before installing Windows 10. This will save you hours of troubleshooting.
Asus has always packed a lot of goodies into their motherboards. The Maximus range is no different. Overclocking on this motherboard is as easy as choosing the multiplier for the CPU, Memory and other components. You can even let the motherboard conduct a stress testing to decide on the optimal overclocking numbers for all parts. For us, it settled at around 18% higher clock speed.
Audio is as you would expect, top notch and Intel’s gaming grade LAN is at par with the best though we aren’t particular fans of Intel LAN and Wi-Fi modules. We also found the overall layout of the motherboard to be a bit cumbersome. A better design would have reduced wire clutter since our fan connectors kept getting in the way especially with a top radiator cooling system. Remember first to connect all fans to the motherboard and then start placing them around the chassis.
Also, if you use a dedicated fan controller such as the Corsair Link then the ASUS AI Suite 3 will eventually cause problems. Our solution, control all fans with a single software or don’t tweak the default settings of the AI Suite 3.
- Packed to the brim with ports and connections, you won’t find anything missing on this motherboard.
- Supports Dual DDR3 3733 OC with a total of 4 channels for a maximum of 64GB setup.
- For amateur overclockers who do not want to play with frequencies or even multipliers, the 5-Way Optimization with Auto-tuning feature works great.
- Board and every single component are designed to handle extra stress and temperature from overclocking individual components.
- SupremeFX 2015 with Sonic Studio II provides immersive surround sound gaming experience with sufficient power output for running studio monitors.
- Neat RGB lighting built into the motherboard with Windows 10 controls.
- Would have loved a few more USB 3 ports.
- The top three fan connectors are hard to reach. You have to connect them first before doing anything with the board.
- Asus AI Suite 3 does not play well with other software.
- Plenty of codes can become distracting for first time users, you have to read through the exhaustive manual to understand what each code means.
The Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero is our top pick for Intel processors. If you can find a cheaper 6th generation unlocked processor, then save your money for a better graphics card or even a liquid CPU cooler by buying this motherboard. It has all the features necessary to survive for half a decade while overclocking like a champion. We love and recommend the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero but only if you can comfortably afford it.