ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Reviewccokeman -
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ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Testing:
Testing ASUS' ROG Maximus VI Hero motherboard will involve running it through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which includes both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and AMD Catalyst 13.6 drivers for the XFX HD 7970. In the past we had locked the clock speed on the processor to eliminate any easily controlled variables due to processor speed. However there is a difference in how each manufacturer handles the CPU default and boost speeds creating opportunity for one board to deliver a higher level of performance. This variable is a point of difference between boards. The majority of users will run the stock settings making this point a valid concern so we are changing up the test methods to capture this difference.
Testing Setup: Socket 1150
- Processors: Intel Fourth Generation Core i7 4770K
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H100
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero
- Memory: Mushkin 993997 Redline PC317000 9-11-10-28 16GB
- Video Card: XFX HD 7970 Black Edition
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SATA 3
- Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Overclocking and performance enhancements are at the core of the ROG ecosystem. As such ASUS provides the end user a variety of ways to improve the performance and responsiveness of their system. Let's start with the BIOS. Manually tweaking the BIOS for the best performance can be a daunting task with all of the options available in the BIOS. ASUS provides the tools with granular voltage options so that you can set the voltage to exactly where it needs to be without an over shoot due to that lack of granularity. With Intel's Haswell architecture, trimming that extra millivolt or two can make a difference in the thermals. This I saw first hand when testing the OC presets; 4.2GHz and 4.4GHz stayed within the thermal envelope with the preset voltage. At 4.6GHz the auto voltage setting was a tad too high, creating temperatures that hit 100 °C and throttled the CPU clock speeds. Under load the voltage applied was as high as 1.366v. I was able to trim that back to 1.345v set manually in the BIOS. Doing so kept the thermals below 95 °C after two hours of the Blend test in Prime 95 v27.9. Voltage is the root of the heat. If you plan on overclocking a custom water loop is going to be recommended, especially when going over 1.275v or using the adaptive vcore options.
ASUS has really done its homework here with a set of auto tuning rules that really make the days of spending days tweaking the BIOS for the highest clock speeds with lowest voltages a thing of the past. About the only things you really need to tune in most cases will be the voltage needed by your CPU and DRAM, the basic timings and speed for your DRAM, and the CPU and CPU cache ratios. Pretty simple actually. Outside of manually tuning the performance parameters and the presets in the BIOS you have the 4-Way optimization tool in AI Suite III. Using this tool to overclock resulted in a clock speed of 4.2GHz that proved to be stable in all of my testing. This clock speed is not that aggressive most likely due to the wide variance in clock speed and voltages needed based on ASUS' in-house testing of a large cross section of Haswell processors. That being said there are some ratios that apply to the amount of chips that can do 4.6GHz and over of less than 30%.
Overclocking my Intel Fourth Generation Core i7 4770K consisted of adjusting the core clock ratio to 47, setting the cache ratio to 47, and the DRAM speed to 2133MHz with the XMP settings of 9-11-10-28 using 1.65v. I then proceeded to run stability tests to check which voltage I would need to apply on the ROG Maximus VI Hero and found that I needed the same 1.35v I needed on the MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming and Intel DZ87KLT-75. That was kind of discouraging initially but at least I could boot at 4.8GHz on this board and run some SuperPi 1m tests, but nothing really stable due to the amount of voltage needed to get to the number. DRAM overclocking on the Maximus VI Hero proved to be pretty robust with the same 2400MHz 2x4GB set of G.Skill Trident able to run up and over 2600MHz at 2652MHz while running 4.7GHz on the CPU. Something not all chips will do as you can have a chip that does high memory speeds but not high CPU speeds, with the opposite proving true as well. Finding a chip that does well in both CPU speed and memory speed is a rare gem indeed.
Maximum Core Clock Speed:
Each CPU has been tested for stability at the listed over-clocked speeds. These clock speeds will represent the level of performance shown by the over-clocked scores in the testing.
- Scientific & Data:
- PCMark 7
- SiSoft Sandra 2013
- Cinebench 11.5
- x264 5.1
- AIDA 64 3.00
- Crystal Diskmark
- Rightmark Audio Analyzer
- Metro Last Light
- DiRT 3