ASUS ROG Maximus XIII HERO
'We all can be heroes' - David Bowie.
We review the new ROG Maximus XIII HERO motherboard from ASUS, a socket LGA1200 and Z590 chipset-based product that offers a modernized infrastructure for your Comet Lake (10th gen) or Rocket Lake (11th gen) Intel processor, at the cost of € 469,- We'll pair the unit with a Core i9 11900K bringing PCIe Gen 4.0 to the platform as well. All Comet Lake and Rocket Lake generation processors are supported on this board, it's about performance and aesthetics, the CPU is fed by dual 8-pin connectors and for VRM design this motherboard as such has 16 phases backed by 90A power stages. ASUS applies a familiar dark shielded design.
The 11th generation into Core desktop processors is running up-to 8 cores, which's two down from 10th generation processors. Likely Intel needed the transistor space on 14nm for the increase in IPC, bigger Tier1 and 2 caches, and of course the new Xe-based integrated graphics solution. The processor socket sticks towards 1200 pins, aka LGA1200. After a BIOS update, Z490 will also be compatible with 11th Gen processors, be sure to check out compatibility with your motherboard manufacturers though. Among the main features we have HyperThreading through the entire line of Core products, so that's from Core i3 to Core i9, up to 8 cores and 16threads, and up to 5.3GHz for a single-core boost if your cooling allows the processor to do so. The new Z590 motherboards will last for Comet Lake-S (last gen) and Rocket Lake-S (11th-gen). Being Z590, if you pair the mobo with a Gen 11 (Rocket Lake-S) processor, you'll get 16 lanes of Gen 4 for graphics cards, and 4 lane gen4 available for a nice fast NVMe SSD. It also has and has nice cooled M2 slots, four of them! (only one can be used at PCIe Gen 4. Z590 allows USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 from the chipset. The USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 standard offers speeds of up to 20 Gb/s. Also, the new Z590 has native support for 3200 MHz DDR4 memory, but the OC model can run upwards to 5333 MHz with a compatible memory kit.
ROG Maximus XIII Hero (Wi-Fi) can accommodate up to four NVMe storage devices (2x Gen 3.0 2x Gen 4.0), cooled with heatsinks. This board features an Intel WiFi 6 adapter and two Ethernet 2.5 GigE LAN ports, unfortunately, that's down from 5 GigE from the Z490 model. The fantastically dark-looking and themed motherboard can be customized LEDs wise with Aura Sync and the onboard Gen 2 addressable RGB LED headers. ASUS once again applies that familiar dark shielded design, optimized for cooling and armed with a proper feature set to build around 18 (18+2) power stages.
Where the Z490 model had an OLED display, this was stripped from the Z590 model also. The motherboard offers your typical x16 PCI-Express slots (with Rocket lake x16 Gen 4.0 lanes are supported), extensive rear IO, and power LED configurable options. ASUS kept some stuff relatively simple, the new 7.1 Realtek ALC4082 is used, also called ASUS SupremeFX. Next to that, it is paired with a ESS SABRE9018Q2C DAC and support for DTS Sound Unbound. Also present, 2x Thunderbolt 4 (Intel JHL8540). WIFI6E in the form of AX (optional SKU) is available, based on Wi-Fi 6E (WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 2x2, Intel AX210), also Bluetooth 5.2 is onboard. Wi-Fi 6E is an extension of the Wi-Fi 6 standard or 802.11ax. The E stands for Extended and the main feat of the expansion is the addition of support for the 6GHz band, which runs from 5925MHz to 7125MHz. Compatibility with older Wi-Fi standards will remain and Wi-Fi 6E will thus have three bands: 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz.
The board as stated is positioned in a high-end region/segment, it does look very ROG-styled, stuff we like of course. Also, the new board has some interesting new features Have a peek, and then let's head onwards into the review my man.