ASUS Outs ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Motherboard In Celebration of ZEN3

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Meet the updated flagship ZEN3 motherboard from ASUS, and what a beauty it still is. The foremost change to this motherboard isn't about what is added, but what is removed. To maintain peak performance, all of our X570 motherboards to date have used an active cooling design that relies on a compact custom fan with a long operating life to keep air moving over the chipset heatsink.

This compact fan uses sophisticated control logic to spin only as fast as it needs to in response to chipset temperatures, keeping noise levels as low as possible. The massive amount of PCIe 4.0 bandwidth available from the X570 chipset requires a careful approach to achieve fanless cooling, but we've risen to the challenge. The Dark Hero is our first X570 board to implement a passive cooling design. A massive high surface area heatsink covers the chipset and extends into the space between the main PCIe slots to provide plenty of heat dissipation. Compared to the active cooling design on the Crosshair VIII Hero, the Dark Hero's chipset temperature under load is just 2.25% higher in our internal testing.

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The Crosshair VIII Dark Hero also employs an upgraded power design to efficiently deliver large amounts of clean power to the highest-end next-gen AMD CPUs for Socket AM4. When we provisioned this uprated board, we chose 16 integrated TI power stages, each capable of delivering 90A of current, and deployed them in a teamed power stage topology. This arrangement isn't just capable of delivering large amounts of power to the processor—it does so in a way that's highly responsive to the potentially large transient loads of modern CPUs.

In keeping with its name, we've given the Crosshair VIII Dark Hero a subtle aesthetic makeover compared to our first generation of X570 boards. The Dark Hero trades out the matte silver accents of its predecessors for a full set of stealthy black inlays, providing a striking canvas for the Aura RGB LED lighting behind the ROG logo on the chipset heatsink and prominent ROG logotype on the I/O shroud. A bold Dark Hero name plate at mid-board leaves no doubt about your allegiance to the dark side.

All of those aesthetic and functional upgrades build on a proven expansion loadout. Two primary PCIe 4.0 x16 slots provide the fastest connectivity to the latest graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA alike, and they're reinforced with our SafeSlot design to provide the strongest foundation for massive GPU coolers. Two M.2 slots, each with four lanes of PCIe 4.0 on tap, stand ready to transfer data to the fastest NVMe SSDs around.

On the back panel, eight USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (seven Type-A, one Type-C) offer impressive high-speed peripheral expansion, and a further four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports broaden peripheral possibilities even further. A swift Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 adapter and both 2.5 Gigabit and Gigabit Ethernet jacks afford the fastest connectivity for wired and wireless gaming alike. Our pristine SupremeFX S1220 audio codec, paired with an ESS ES9023 DAC for the front-panel outputs, provides enviably crisp and clear output in both stereo and surround sound for music and games. Around the board, you'll also find a USB 3.2 Gen 2 front-panel header, as well as pairs of headers for both traditional and Gen 2 addressable RGB LED devices, all managed by Aura Sync.

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