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Jun
6
2014

ASUS Maximus VII Hero Review and Unboxing

ASUS Maximus VII Hero Review and Unboxing


Introduction

Refreshed for the new Z97 chipset, the Maximus VII Hero builds upon the previous generation motherboard by adding support for M.2 and Intel 5th Generation CPUs. Not to be outdone by the Maximus VII Formula, the Hero series of boards are aimed to provide many of the features that gamers want such as better audio and internet connectivity without going too over-budget.


Inside the box, you'll find six SATA 6GB/s cables, a rear IO shield, stickers and labels for your cables, a ROG door tag and the standard drivers DVD and manual.

Design


Like the rest of ASUS' Maximus lineup, the VII Hero features an updated red and black design that ASUS has associated with its gamer lineup. The overall design scheme has been updated from the previous generation VI Hero with a new heat sink design and layout due to the addition of the M.2 slot.

In addition to the new heat sink design, ASUS has also done an industry first where they have two separate colors on the same PCB. If you look under the VRMs and chipset heatsink, you'll see that there are red highlights. Although this isn't something you will notice once it is inside the case, it's great to see innovation even in the smallest of places.

Features



As far as PCIe connectivity goes, there are two 3.0 x16 lanes and three 2.0 x1 lanes. Since this is a Z97 motherboard, you'll find the M.2 slot sitting near the DIMM slots. The M.2 slot on the Hero supports NG form factor drives that are either 60mm or 80mm in length.


On the top right of the board you'll finds hardware buttons for power, reset and MemOK allowing you to debug your system before putting it inside a case.


ASUS has also included their upgraded SupremeFX audio that separates the audio components from the rest of the PCB in order to prevent any electrical noise interference. All of the capacitors are from ELNA and ASUS has also implemented their Sonic audio suite that adds tons of functionality such as custom sound stages and amp configurations.


For SATA connectivity, there are a total of eight SATA 6 GB/s ports on the right side of the board. Considering this is a higher-end board, it's odd to see that there is no SATA Express slots on the motherboard.


For internet connectivity, ASUS has decided to go with Intel Ethernet as it offers better throughput and also uses less CPU cycles. They have has also implemented their new GameFirst III technology that is able to provide games with higher bandwidth priority so you don't experience any lag.


The new KeyBot function allows you to plug in any keyboard to the dedicated USB slot on the rear IO to easily assign macro keys. For example, you could set F11 to overclock your CPU and press F9 to instantly open up Steam.

ASUS' UEFI BIOS is also very easy to navigate with either the EZ mode or even the Advanced mode. Overclocking is pretty simple and the overall design of the UEFI definitely gives it that gamer appeal.


On the rear IO, you'll find the PS2 mouse and keyboard port, two USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, VGA and DVI out, a BIOS flashback button, 7.1 audio out and the Intel Ethernet port.

Conclusion


Overall, the ASUS Maximus VII Hero is a gorgeous looking motherboard that offers tons of capabilities in both the gaming and overclocking departments. It sits between the more affordable Maximus VII Ranger but falls just under the Maximus VII Formula which is going to be their top-end board for the Z97 chipset.

If you want a red and black motherboard that can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it, the ASUS Maximus VII Hero should definitely be on your list if you are considering to buy a Z97 gaming desktop.

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