ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Reviewccokeman -
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ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Introduction:
ASUS ROG motherboards have been the cream of the crop for a while now with distinct hardware and software features that make them the go to boards for the hardcore gamer and overclocking enthusiast for reasons well documented in the past. One thing that comes with this extreme end of the enthusiast platform has been the sticker shock that goes along with the branding. ASUS is set to change that perception and bring in a board that serves as a gateway into the ROG experience for a price well below what you are used to, at a competitive current price of $229 or a full $170 less than the Maximus VI Extreme. Lower price should equate to a smaller feature set, but in the case of the Maximus VI Hero we get the majority of the ROG feature set as well as a comprehensive software package that is designed around the needs of the gamer.
Introduced with the Maximus VI Hero are tools like Sonic Radar and Perfect Voice that are part of the Supreme FX sound solution. ASUS Ramdisk and Secure Erase work to improve drive and file access performance, as well as a new 4-Way optimization tool in AI Suite III that works to fully optimize the system. Add in the rest of the software and you can see where this goes. Let's dig into what ASUS brings to the table with this new entry into the ROG fold.
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Closer Look:
The visuals of the ASUS ROG packaging remain unchanged over the past couple generations, giving the end user a familiar look. The red background with the product name in a bold font across the front, in this case Maximus VI Hero. The top left has the ROG logo while along the bottom of the front panel are the certifications that this motherboard supports the use of both NVIDIA's SLI and AMD's CrossfireX multi-GPU solutions. The back panel illustrates some of the unique features of the Maximus VI Hero including the Supreme FX audio, Extreme Engine Digi+III, the multi-GPU capabilities, and the inclusion of ASUS' new Sonic Radar software. Further down are a break out of the I/O panel and the specifications. The lid on the front panel flips open to not only show off the M6H but the back of the flap goes into depth on several of the ROG specific features including Extreme Engine Digi+III voltage regulation circuit, the RamDisk and ROG Game First II software, and at the top the Supreme FX HD audio solution.
The M6H and the accessory bundle are stored in a two level configuration with the motherboard on the top level and the accessories on the bottom. The accessory bundle contains the documentation, software, and hardware needed to get the M6H installed and running without having to purchase additional items. Included are the manual, driver and utility disk, label kit to identify the disk drives, a Do Not Disturb sign for you door, six SATA 6Gbps data cables (three straight and three 90 degree), an SLI bridge, Q-connectors, Q-Shield, and an ROG case badge that is a much better looking part than included in the past. The Q-Shield is equipped to minimize or eliminate EMI emissions from the I/O area to reduce any interference into the audio or video signals. The Q-Connectors have been a unique point of difference until the design was utilized by other manufacturers but still proves to be the best way to put the front panel connections onto the motherboard.
Even though the Maximus VI Hero is the gateway board into the ROG universe, it is far from a stripped down motherboard. The motherboard and its software package help make the board more attractive to gamers who ultimately are the target market. Let's dig into the board and its software package to see what ASUS brings to the table at the $229 price point.