ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Reviewccokeman - June 20, 2013
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ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Conclusion:
When I first saw this board and heard it was a gateway product into the ROG universe I was curious as to which features would get left by the wayside to reach an affordable price point. A price point that was not really out of reach for the majority of users looking to jump into an ROG motherboard. Traditionally the ROG motherboards are halo products designed for the hard core gamer and enthusiast, usually with a price to match. Not so here with the ASUS Maximus VI Hero that comes to market at a more friendly $229 that puts it right into a nice price bucket. What you get for that price is a board that comes with all the hardware capabilities of the ASUS Z87 product stack coupled with a comprehensive software package that provides added value and functionality for the end user.
To start with, as a gaming centric board sound and graphics capabilities are going to be high on the list of must haves. Here ASUS delivers with up to Quad SLI and CrossfireX using a pair of multi GPU cards such as the GTX 690 or just released HD 7990. ASUS' Supreme FX sound solution is implemented well including the isolation of the sound solution from EMI interference at the hardware level. ELNA audio capacitors are used to provide a richer experience that comes across quite well while gaming, watching a Blu-ray movie, or just listening to music. The sound is crisp and clear, plus you get the redline moat visuals for some added bling factor. Supreme FX audio also supports a new tool for gamers called Sonic Radar to help improve the gaming experience even further by taking the sounds generated in-game and providing a graphic representation of where they come from. One last bit on the sound is Perfect Voice, a tool used to improve VOIP by reducing ambient noise intrusion.
The software package includes added value items like Kaspersky Antivirus and Daemon tools that would easily add at least $40 in additional cost if purchased separately. Game First II packet management software, ASUS RamDisk software, Secure Erase built into the BIOS, Memtweak, and ASUS AI Suite III are software tools that provide immense value and usability. Using these tools can improve gaming performance by reducing latency and improving ping times, reduce load times for maps and levels, allow cleaning up an SSD's free space, and tuning the system for optimal noise and performance levels. Each of these tools worked as advertised and did not crash or fail. AI Suite III proved to be a nice upgrade from the last iteration and once I found out where all of the tools were it was just as simple to use as AI Suite II.
Overclocking is the bread and butter of a ROG motherboard from ASUS. The Maximus VI Hero has that overclocking DNA built in deep down into the product. You have ASUS' all digital Extreme Engine Digi+III 8+2 phase power circuit that utilizes 60A rated Black Wing Chokes with gold plated coils, 10K Nichicon GT Black Caps, and NexFet PowerBlock to deliver improved voltage regulation, higher efficiency, and a longer lifespan. Voltage regulation was really tight on this board and fell almost spot on to what was set manually. Haswell memory overclocking is much better than on Ivy Bridge, which was no slouch in its own right. ASUS T-Topology 2 technology improves memory overclocking by up to 10% with a single DIMM and up to 5% with two DIMMs installed. The fact that I was able to further overclock my set of G.Skill 2400MHz rated Trident modules up past 2600MHz is the proof of concept I needed.
As far as CPU overclocking is concerned the limiting factor for my Core i7 4770K is the chip itself and the thermals it pushes out with a full-on water cooling system. The M6H easily reached the max clock speed of 4.7GHz for my CPU by manually tuning the vcore, ring voltage, and ratios. Manually tuning the system works well with all the options you would ever need in place and ready to use. However ASUS spent a lot of time and effort to ensure the auto rules for the CPU voltages and DRAM timings were up to par. That they were with a system that performed admirably and reliably. Tuning by way of the preset options in the BIOS and 4-Way optimization tool in AI Suite resulted in good solid overclocks that can be managed by the majority of the CPUs on the market.
When you get to the end of the rainbow you have a board with ASUS ROG pedigree encompassing a full-on ROG gaming centric software and hardware package, and features the great looks of its predecessors with performance to match. At $229 ASUS is making a statement that everyone can get into an ROG board.
- ROG features for the masses
- Supreme FX
- Sonic Radar
- Quad SLI and CrossfireX
- OC Recovery