ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS ROG series is know for being the best of the best, and it's certainly and accurate statement. The drawback with the ASUS ROG motherboards that has prevented the masses from picking one up is the cost. Traditionally motherboards like the ASUS Maximus Extreme and Formula carry a pretty steep price. While this is still the case with the latest Intel Z87 motherboards, ASUS is launching a much more budget friendly ATX motherboard with the Republic of Gamers tags. The ASUS ROG Maximus Hero is a full featured Intel LGA1150 Z87 motherboard that will retail for $229.99 shipped. Some will argue that this is still an expensive motherboard, when compared to the Maximus VI Extreme which will retail for $399.99. $229.00 for the Maximus VI Hero will certainly provided more end users to put the ROG board into their systems.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

One of the key features specific to the Hero, is the fact that it has the Republic of Gamers quality attached to it. Being part of the ROG elite motherboards offers up a quality that has been previously available to those looking to drop a small fortune on a board. While there are still some certain perks to having a board like the Maximus VI Extreme, though few will truly take advantage of all the features on it. The Hero offers the same level of quality as on the Extreme just a few less bells and whistles.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

ASUS felt that there has been a gap in their ROG product stack. The Maximus VI Extreme is a board designed for the extreme overclockers, the Maximus VI Formula is geared for premium gaming, the Maximus VI Gene is built for the fans of small form factor systems. The Hero will fill the gap between the Formula and the Gene, giving standard form factor users the ROG experience and quality without the price of the Formula and Extreme

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

There is a lot of technology that goes into the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero. Some of the technologies include the Extreme Engine Digi+ III, five 4pin fan headers, USB 3.0 Boost, eight SATA III 6Gbps ports, DirectKey, ROG External Connector, Trusted Platform Module, two PCIe x16 Gen3.0 slots supporting SLI and CrossfireX, one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (running at x4), three PCIe x1 Gen 2.0 slots, SupremeFX Audio, and GameFirst II Intel Ethernet are just a few of the technologies that make up the ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Motherboard.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Taking a look at the specifications for the ASUS Maximus VI Hero there are a couple key features to point out. First among them may be obvious but still worth mentioning. The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero supports the latest fourth generation of Intel Core i series processors in the LGA1150 package along with the Intel Z87 Express chipset. The Hero also supports dual channel memory at 2800MHz (O.C.) up to 32GB worth. If you're looking to run the integrated graphics, the ASUS Maximus VI Hero only has a single HDMI out, though it does support the latest 4Kx2K video.

Join us on the next page where we delve a little deeper into the technologies.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Features

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The Extreme Engine DIGI+ III is comprised of NexFET MOSFET, these are capable of more than 90% efficiency under normal operating conditions. In addition to the greater than 90% efficiency they are also capable of higher power dissipation, improved power density, higher current capability which when all this is combined creates improved system reliability. The chokes on the ASUS Maximus VI Hero are rated to support as much as 60 Amps and offer 3-5 degrees Celsius lower temps. The gold-treated coating increases the conductivity and reduces the power delivery loss. The capacitors on the ASUS Hero are rated for 10k hours and are Japanese made solid Caps (Nichicon-GT series) which offer hgher and lower temperature tolerances and last five times longer than traditional Caps.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

When it comes to gaming, the audio performance can be just as important as the graphics performance, and ASUS knows this! On the Republic of Gamers motherboards ASUS has implemented the SupremeFX audio design and provided the tag line 'Supremace Through Discrete-Caliber Audio'. There is a lot of technology that goes into the SupremeFX audio so lets take a look.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

In order to minimize the electrical interference from the rest of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero motherboard, the entire audio portion of the PCB is separated by the ASUS 'Red Line'. This drastically cuts back on the EMI on the horizontal plane. To cut back on the EMI from the vertical plane ASUS has used a special layout design that hides the vulnerable analog signals in the PCB providing protection. On the surface of the PCB the Realtek ALC1150 High Definition Audio codec is protected by an EMI Protection Cover which protects the source from EMI.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The SupremeFX audio uses ENLA Premium Audio Capacitors that give a warmer, natural and truer sound to enhance the gaming experience. In addition to the Sonic Radar the ASUS Maximus VI Hero also offers Perfect Voice that will improve the quality of VoIP applications like Team Speed and Ventrillo as well as the in game chat systems. It offers Noise Gate technology that is an exclusive digital signal processing system that will eliminate the static when you stop talking. Perfect Voice also offers noise reduction, this is done with a Spectral Subtraction Algorithm that will analyze and estimate the amount of ambient noise and aide in reducing it.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Sonic Radar seemed a little cheesy to me at first, but after a few hours playing with it enabled. I'm not sure how I'll go back to gaming without it (must be time for an upgrade). Sonic Radar picks up the direction of the various in game sounds, whether you're looking for the gunfire, foot steps to know if someone is coming up behind you it comes in handy. Be warned, you will catch yourself watching it and not the game more than a few times.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The Sonic Radar has a couple of different presets and various modes that already come set-up, and you can customize it to fit your needs.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The Gamefirst II can help ensure pings and latency are kept low by managing your network trafic. Whether you're downloading, streaming music, or other various tasks Gamefirst II monitors your traffic and prioritizes it.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Gamefirst has two different settings, EZ Mode, and Advanced mode. Above we can see that the EZ mode is pretty simple and easy to figure out. It's meant for those new to this type of application.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The advanced mode is quite a bit more complex, though it offers much more in terms of options and capabilities. One of the best aspects of the GameFirst II system is that it isn't tied to the Intel NIC, if you were to add a PCIe WiFi card like the ASUS PCE-AC66 PCIe card or USB Wi-Fi adapter like the ASUS USB-AC53 Dual-Band Wi-Fi USB adapter you would still be able to take advantage of the GameFirst II system

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Within the software that comes with the ASUS Maximus VI Hero is a RAMDisk application. This isn't a trial piece of software, it allows for an unlimited amount of your RAM to be used to form a virtual disk. Utilizing the RAM for a virtual disk creates an incredibly fast disk, faster than any SSD out there.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Software allows you to set junction points, these will back-up the cached data on the RAMDisk and next time you boot the system the DATA will be returned to the RAMDisk.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Many SSD's come with some sort of secure erase software, some don't. ASUS has given this ability to their UEFI BIOS, now we don't have to rely on third party software from your SSD manufacturer or others to get the job done, we can do it right from the UEFI BIOS.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS ROG boards have a new overclocking companion, the OC Panel. This will allow real time overclocking from a hardware based perspective from within your operating system.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The OC Panel has two different modes, Extreme mode, and normal mode.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Normal mode allows a basic CPU Level Up with two different levels that are programmable, as well as a power button to turn the LCD backlight on or off, and last but not least a CPU fan speed control that offers 3 different speeds; Performance, Standard, and silent.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The Extreme mode is infinitely more capable, it has sub-zero sense, VGA SMB, power and reset control buttons,, 4x4pin fand headers, Slow Mode/Pause switch control, and VGA Hotwire. If you're into extreme overclocking with Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) or even Liquid Helium, the Subzero sense is a pretty slick feature. Subzero sense is a built in monitoring system to monitor the system temperatures with KProbes that you would typically use while overclocking. VGA Hotwire is also a slick system. Here we can directly wire our supported graphics card to the motherboard and monitor the voltages as well as adjust the voltages through the OC Panel!

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The display on the OC Panel has two different temperature sensors, Voltage Readings, Debug code and notification, and six sets of VGA hotwire voltages. A very impressive tool for those looking to do some extreme overclocking.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Retail Packaging

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The ASUS Maximus VI Hero retail packaging is pretty traditional of the Republic of Gamers motherboards and dons the red package with white lettering on the front with minimal marketing text.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Opening up the front cover of the Maximus VI Hero packaging gives us our first glance at the Hero Intel Z87 motherboard.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The front cover spares no expense on the marketing text. Here we can find information on the SupremeFX audio, GameFirst II, Intel Ethernet, RAMDisk, and the Extreme Engine Digi +III.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The back of the retail packaging features the layout of the rear I/O panel as well as the specifications of the Maximus VI Hero motherboard.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Once we begin to peel back the cardboard packaging we can see that the ASUS Maximus VI Hero is securely packed within. This should help protect the board during the hazards of shipping.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The bundle for the ASUS Maximus VI Hero may not be as extensive as some of the other ROG motherboards we have looked at in the past, but it will get the job done. Up top we can see that we have six SATA III cables. In the lower compartment there is an NVIDIA SLI Bridge, ASUS Q-Connect adapters, SATA Cable labels, Manual, Driver disc, I/O Shield, and hidden from view there is a 'Do Not Disturb' sign for your door knob.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Layout

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero is a sharp looking board, while the red and black color scheme may be a little over done these days, it's still my personal preference. Overall the layout for the Hero is quite good with no complaints at first glance. Let's look a little closer and see what we've got.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The Hero will support up to 32GB of DDR3 DRAM at speeds as fast as 2800MHz(O.C.). On the corner of the PCB we have the Debug LED display that will show us the system P.O.S.T. codes along with the MemOK! button and the power and reset buttons. To the right of the 24pin motherboard power plug there is one of the4pin system fan headers (CHA_FAN2), and on the left of the plug is an internal SuperSpeed USB3.0 header.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Rotating the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero around the first thing that we are greeted with is a set of eight SATA III 6Gbps ports. The six on the right are native to the Intel Z87 chipset while the remaining two are controlled by a third party controller. If you're looking for the Intel Z87 chipset, you can find it under this ASUS Republic of Gamers heatsink. Working our way up the edge of the PCB, we can see the front panel connectors, a 4pin system fan header (CHA_FAN1), DirectKey, Clear CMOS Jumper, TG Header, an Internal USB 2.0 header, and the ROG_EXT for connecting the OC Panel. Most of these features we're pretty familiar with, one that is relatively new is the DirectKey. The DirectKey is a button that will automatically bring your system into the ASUS UEFI BIOS on the next boot cycle. No worrying about hitting the delete key at the right time. Simply hit the DirectKey and your system will reboot and bring you right into the BIOS. While this is all fine and dandy, what about when the ASUS Maximus VI Hero is in a case for daily use? Well ASUS though of that and has placed a pinout for that just over the front panel pin out, I would recommend using the reset button from the front panel for the DirectKey.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

Spinning the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero around again we can take a good look at the SupremeFX High Definition Audio Codec. Picking up along the edge of the PCB where we left off we have the T.P.M. (Trusted Platform Module) header, SPDIF Out, and the Front Panel Audio which is also on the part of the PCB that is separated by the 'Red Line' to reduce EMI.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero uses only a single 8pin plug for the CPU. The heatsink assembly keeps the PWM's and other DIGI Engine+ III power circuitry nice and cool during those long nights of gaming and overclocking.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The I/O panel for the ASUS Maximus VI Hero features four USB 2.0 ports and four SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports all driven by the Intel Z87 Chipset. There is also a single PS/2 port for either a keyboard or mouse, an optical SPDIF out port, HDMI, Intel Gigabit Ethernet, and six 3.5mm audio jacks. Last but certainly not least what Republic of Gamers motherboard would be complete without the ability to reset the BIOS without having to go into your chassis, they wisely put a CMOS reset button on the I/O panel.

ASUS UEFI BIOS

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The ASUS Maximus VI Hero has the traditional two modes for the ASUS UEFI BIOS that we have seen since the initial Sandy Bridge and Intel P67 launch, EZ Mode and Advanced Mode. Since the initial release there hasn't been much different until now. Along with the Haswell launch ASUS has added several new features to the UEFI BIOS. On the EZ Mode page there is now a spot that we can set the XMP profile! No longer do we have to go into the Advanced mode to set that. Its a similar situation with the Fan profiles, now we can set the individual fan profiles on the board right from the EZ Mode.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

Once we head into the Advanced mode of the ASUS UEFI BIOS it looks familiar to what it did so we aren't going to go in to all of the specific pages, but we will certainly cover the new ones.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

We're all familiar with this page, here we can see the general information about the board and the BIOS version that we are running.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The Advanced tab of the UEFI BIOS gives us access to pages like the CPU Configurations, PCH Configuration, SATA Configuration, System Agent Configuration, USB Configuration, Platform Misc Configuration, Onboard Deviced Configuration, APM, Network Stack, and ROG Effects

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

One of the new features of the UEFI BIOS on the ASUS is the ability to rename the SATA ports. I can see this being handy when you need to take advantage of the secure erase built into the UEFI BIOS so you don't erase the wrong one.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The ROG Effects page allows you to disable the various lights and effects on the board.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The Monitor tab of the ASUS UEFI BIOS gives us access to the Voltage Monitor, Temperature Monitor, Fan Speed Monitor, and the Fan Speed Control pages of the UEFI BIOS.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

ASUS has one of the better fan control systems out there and it's all accessible through the UEFI BIOS or the AI Suite Software.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

Above inside the Boot tab we can tweak all the various boot settings for our system.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The Tools page will lead us into the ASUS EZ Flash 2 Utility, ROG SSD Secure Erase Utility, ASUS O.C. Profile, ASUS SPD Information, and the ROG OC Panel H-Key Configure.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The EZ Flash 2 utility will allow you to pick through your flash drives plugged into the system and choose the file you want to flash the UEFI BIOS from.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

Above we can see the Secure erase utility within the UEFI BIOS.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The OC Profile has 8 different available profile slots to save your overclocking profile in. Handy if you are going for the highest available, or just need a little extra for a night of gaming, or even an underclocked profile if you want to conserve a little bit of energy if you're working on an article or homework.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The ASUS SPD Information will read the JEDEC and XMP information from the DIMMs that you have installed into the system and display it here for you.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

The OC Panel H-Key settings can be configured here.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

From the save and exit page, we can switch to the ASUS EZ Mode, load the defaults, discard the changes that have been made while in the BIOS.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

This is potentially my favorite page of the ASUS ROG UEFI BIOS, here we can customize the page to the settings we want the fastest access to. We can set our vCore, CPU Multiplier, and anything else we want on one page here for immediate access.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

If the previous page isn't my favorite, then it would be this one. Ever leave the BIOS while overclocking and hope everything is set right? That you didn't set the vCore to 1.8 instead of 1.3? When you leave the ASUS UEFI BIOS it displays everything that you have changed! This is probably my favorite feature.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero UEFI BIOS

While I didn't take advantage of this feature at all, ASUS has given us the ability to take notes inside the UEFI BIOS! I can definitely see this being useful while overclocking, or for just about anything you may need to take notes on!

The Legit Reviews Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 8 Enterprise 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. We completely overhauled our test setup for the Intel Core i7-4770K processor launch, so we are starting over from scratch when it comes to testing everything. For this review will be comparing Intel Z77, Intel Z87 and AMD FM2 platforms. These platforms are aimed at mainstream users and all feature integrated graphics, so it will be interesting to see how the systems compare. We understand that there is a significant price difference between some of the processors we will be testing, but the platforms are targeted to the same consumer group.

ASUS Maximus VI Hero System Settings

The Intel Z87 platform that we used to test the Intel 1150 processors was running the ASUS Maximus VI Hero motherboard with BIOS F6b that came out on 5/20/2013. The Corsair Dominator Platnium 8GB 2133MHz memory kit was set to XMP 1.3 memory profile settings, which is 1.5v and 9-11-10-27 2T memory timings. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD uses 19nm NAND and was using M310 firmware.

ASUS Maximus VI Hero System Settings

Here is a quick look at the CPU-Z information for our main test system that we'll be doing the testing on.

Intel LGA1150 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Core i7-4770K

Motherboard

Intel DZ87KL-75K Click Here

Memory

8GB Donimator 2133MHz Click Here

Video Card

ASUS GeForce GTX670 DirectCU II Click Here

Hard Drive

Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD

Click Here

Cooling

Corsair H100i

Click Here

Keyboard

Corsair K90

Click Here

Mouse

Corsair M95

Click Here

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i

Click Here

Operating System

Windows 8 64-Bit

Click Here

Futuremark 3DMark 2013

3Dmark Fire Strike Benchmark Results - For high performance gaming PCs

Use Fire Strike to test the performance of dedicated gaming PCs, or use the Fire Strike Extreme preset for high-end systems with multiple GPUs. Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine to test DirectX 11 hardware.

3DMark Fire Strike

 Fire Strike Benchmark Results - Intel HD Graphics:

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 Firestrike

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 motherboard was able to achieve an overall score of 936 points in 3DMark Firestrike. This is significantly faster than the previous Intel 'Ivy Bridge' platform score of 673 3DMarks.

Futuremark 3DMark 2013 Firestrike

Benchmark Results: Firing up 3DMark Firestrike again, though with the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II this time the two Intel Z87 motherboard are pretty much spot on with each other. The ASUS Maximus VI Hero hit an overall score of 5960 while the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H hit 5959. The overall score isn't that much higher than that of the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Intel Z77 motherboard, only ~50 points. The Physics sub-score which relies on the processor was right around 1200 points higher, or about 12% greater than the Intel Z77 system.

SiSoftware Sandra 2013 SP1a

Sisoftware Sandra 2011 SP5

The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!

GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Sandra 2013 SP1a Memory Benchmark Scores

Benchmark Results: The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was able to out perform the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H by .35GB/s, not a world of difference and not something that will be seen in day to day usage.

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.

battlefield-3-intel

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Maximus VI Hero was a hair behind the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H at 1280x1024 with an average frame rate of 42.73 frames per second vs. 43.882 frames per second from the GIGABYTE system. Increasing the resolution to 1920x1080 the ASUS Maximus VI Hero was able to average 29.337 frames per second. This is a great improvement over the Intel Z77 system which was able to average only 21.863. An improvement of 34.2% over the previous generation!

Battlefield 3- ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

battlefield-3-gtx670

Benchmark Results: All three of our systems were running neck and neck, ultimately the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming came out on top, though it's nearly to close to call as all three of them are within about 1%. The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was able to put up some solid numbers with an average of 107.7 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 77.111 frames per second at 1920x1080.

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

On March 5th, 2013 Square Enix released Tomb Raider, billed as a reboot of the franchise. In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. In contrast to the earlier games Croft is portrayed as vulnerable, acting out of necessity, desperation and sheer survival rather than for a greater cause or personal gain.

Tomb Raider Settings

The game has been built on Crystal Dynamics's game engine called the "Crystal Engine" and the graphics look fantastic. AMD and Crystal Dyanmic's worked on a new technology called TressFX Hair, which AMD describes as “the world’s first in-game implementation of a real-time, per-strand hair physics system” for this game title. We set the image quality to ultimate for benchmarking, but we disabled TressFX Hair under the advanced tab to be fair to NVIDIA graphics cards that don't support the feature.

Tomb Raider - Intel HD Graphics

tomb-raider-intel

Benchmark Results: Not surprisingly the ASUS Maximus VI Hero was significantly faster than the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming with the Intel HD 4000 Graphics. At 1280x1024 the Hero was able to average 56.867 frames per second, just shy of 20 frames per second, or 52.5% faster than the HD 4000 graphics! Increasing the resolution to 1920x1080 the Maximus VI Hero with the Intel HD Graphics 4600 was able to average 37.067 frames per second, 13.5 frames per second or 51.3% faster than the Intel Z77 system.

Tomb Raider - ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

tomb-raider-gtx670

Benchmark Results: Once again we don't see much of a difference in performance when running the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II. The ASUS Maximus VI Hero was able to average 68.833 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 52.133 frames per second at 1920x1080.

Hitman Absolution

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth DirecX 11 video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. This game title uses the Glacier 2 game engine and was released on November 20th, 2012.

hitmanabsolution_550.

We benchmarked Hitman: Absolution with Ultra Settings.

Hitman Absolution - Intel HD Graphics

 hitman-absolution-intel

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Maximus VI Hero was able to outperform both of our other systems today. At 1280x1024 the Hero was able to average 31.967 frames per second compared to the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H average of 29.433 frames per second and 23.533 frames per second of the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Intel Z77 system. It's an improvement of 35.8% over the Intel HD Graphics 4000 on the Intel Core i7 3770K at 1280x1024. Increasing the resolution to 1920x1080 the Hero continued its domination in Hitman Absolution with an average of 22.167 frames per second, 35.2% faster than the Z77 system!d

Hitman Absolution - ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

hitman-absolution-gtx670

Benchmark Results: We aren't seeing a whole lot of variance between the different platforms when using the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II. With the maximum settings we saw an average of 44.067 frames per second at 1280s1024 and 31.5 frames per second at 1920x1080 from the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero.

Metro Last Light

Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013.

Metro: Last Light

Metro Last Light was benchmarked with Ultra settings

Metro Last Light - Intel HD Graphics

metro-intel

Benchmark Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan and GeForce GTX 780 are again very in performance as you can see in the benchmark results for Metro: Last Light. At 2560x1600 the GTX780 was ~4% slower than the titan and then at 5760x1080 the performance gap widened to being ~9% slower. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 was found to be nearly twice as fast as a GeForce GTX 580 at 2560x1600. 

Metro Last Light - ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

metro-ll-gtx670

Benchmark Results:

Cinebench

MAXON; CINEBENCH R11.5:

MAXON recently released CINEBENCH Release 11.5, an advanced hardware testing suite that assesses a computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on the same powerful technology as MAXON's award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. The new version of CINEBENCH includes the ability to more accurately test the industry’s latest hardware, including systems with up to 64 processor threads, and the testing environment better reflects the expectations of today’s production demands. A more streamlined interface makes testing systems and reading results incredibly straightforward. Again, higher Frames/Second and point score equal better performance.

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench R11.5 was able to put a 100% load across all the cores on all of the processors, which makes this a great benchmark to look at multi-core platforms.

Cinebench R11.5 Results

Benchmark Results: The fourth generation Intel Core i7 4770K certainly brought it's a-game to Cinebench. On both the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero and the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H it scored 8.56 points when using all of the available cores. When we ran the single core test the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero step up the game with a score of 1.77 which is faster than the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H score of 1.73.

X264 HD Video Encoding Benchmark

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark

Simply put, the x264 HD Benchmark is a reproducible measure of how fast your machine can encode a short HD-quality video clip into a high quality x264 video file. It's nice because everyone running it will use the same video clip and software. The video encoder (x264.exe) reports a fairly accurate internal benchmark (in frames per second) for each pass of the video encode and it also uses multi-core processors very efficiently. All these factors make this an ideal benchmark to compare different processors and systems to each other. We are using x264 HD v5.0.1 for this test.

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark

This application did fairly well when run on 12 threads, as you can see from the screen shot above. The first pass was not using all of the processing power available on the cores, but on the second pass all 12 threads were at ~95% load.

x264 HD Encoding Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was able to edge out the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H by a small margin on the first pass with an average rate of 85.253 FPS vs 84.83 FPS. The second pass the roles were reversed and the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H was able to take a slight lead with an average of 16.363 FPS vs the Hero's 17.333 FPS. Both systems were quite a bit faster than the Intel Z77 system which had a first pass average of 74.35 FPS and a second pass average of 14.533 frames per second.

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Performance

RightMark Audio Analyzer

The RightMark Audio Analyzer suite is designed for testing quality of analog and digital paths of any audio devices, be it a sound card, an MP3 player, a consumer CD/DVD player or an acoustic set. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. The latest version of RightMark Audio Analyzer can be found here.

RightMark Audio Analyzer Results

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Comparison Chart

asus-z87-pro-audio-s

The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was the top dog in audio performance. It may have received the same overall 'Very Good' score as the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H, but the sub-scores were rated higher.

We updated our test results in Rightmark Audio Analyzer using 24-bit 192kHz testing and the scores for the ASUS Maximus VI Hero were great. Just about all of the individual scores saw a performance gain from the new setting. This is the first board that has come across the Legit Reviews bench that has broken the 100 dB(A) mark in both the Noise Level and Dynamic Range.

Intel Z87 SATA III 6Gbps Performance Testing

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

The SATA III 6Gbps performance testing was completed using a Corsair Force GT 240Gb SATA III 6Gbps SSD.

Benchmark Results: The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was able to hit a sequential read of 511.4MB/s and a sequential write of 446.7MB/s using our Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD.

HD Tune Pro 4.01 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z87 HD Tune Pro 5.50 Write Benchmark Results

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

Intel Z87 HD Tune Pro 5.50 Read Benchmark Results

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

 

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero Motherboard SATA III Performance

Benchmark Results: In the latest iteration of HD Tune, the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was able to hit an average read of 380.2MB/s and an average write of 326.5MB/s. This is quite a bit faster than the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H which had an average read of 309.8MB/s and average write of 291.0MB/s.

Intel Z87 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance Testing

Thermaltake BlackX 5G SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Dock

There are a number of different Super Speed USB 3.0 host controllers out there. In order to know which ones perform the best we run a series of tests that will put the controller through the ringer and see how it comes out on the other side. Each of our motherboards uses a different Super Speed USB 3.0 controller and you can find the below.

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was able to hit 424.4MB/s average read and 375.8MB/s average write in CrystalDiskMark using our Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD and ThermalTake BlackX 5G dock.

HD Tune Pro 5.00 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.50 Read Benchmark Results

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.50 Write Benchmark Results

MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming Series Motherboard SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: In HD Tune 5.50 the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was able to hit an average read speed of 272.0MB/s and an average write speed of 256.3MB/s. This is more than 30MB/s faster read speeds and 26MB/s faster write speeds than the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H motherboard.

Power Consumption

CPU Power Consumption

Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fans, video cards and hard drives. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about real world scenarios, we decided to drop Furmark and ran 3DMark 11 on the performance preset and took the maximum power consumption during the first GPU test.

While there are a number of settings in the BIOS that can effect the power consumption, including the BCLK, Multiplier, C States, and the voltage, the only setting that was adjusted for our testing was the XMP profile. The XMP Profile was enabled for all of our testing as this is the only setting that many users will change.

fGIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Power Consumption

Benchmark Results: Power consumption was pretty constant across the board with the exception of the Prime95 load. At idle the boards ranged between 57 and 59 Watts at the wall with the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H falling in the middle at 58 Watts. Running 3DMark Firestrike our two Intel Z87 boards were both pulling a peak of 232 Watts while our Intel Z77 system was 1 Watt lower at 231. Prime 95 gave me the opposite results of what I expected, the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard with the Intel Core i7 3770K 'Ivy Bridge' processor pulled only 135 Watts at the wall, The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H and ASUS Maximus VI Hero were pulling 30 Watts more at the wall! It was expected that the latest and greatest would be more power efficient, but our results show different. It could have something to do with early BIOS revisions compared to a much more mature BIOS build for the Intel Z77 Platform, or it could simply be the way that Prime95 loads up the different processors.

ASUS Maximums VI Hero Overclocking

Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

The Intel Core i7 4770K runs at a non-turbo speed of 3.5GHz and turbo will ramp the processor up to as high as 3.9GHz as we can see above. Since we are using a K series processor which has an unlocked multiplier we will be able to increase the default x35 multiplier to achieve our overclock today. This is the easiest way to overclock K series processors and should provide us with some great speeds.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

We first tried out the option that auto overclocks the processor and found that it brought our Intel Core i7 4770K to 4.6GHz. It was rock solid but the CPU vCore was to high for this processor. I know that this particular chip will run 4.6GHz at 1.2 Volts, and the Hero had set the vCore to 1.36 Volts. Just because this is too high for this chip, doesn't mean that it's to high for all of them. Many of the chips have needed as much as 1.4 Volts on the CPU VCore. This was a good starting place for my chip and once I started dialing it back it worked great. Your chip may just need more voltage, so it may be right for you.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

As a result of the high vCore we saw some throttling on the CPU due to the heat that it created. If we were to back the vCore down it would eliminate the heat and eliminate the CPU throttling.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

We first tried to run our Intel Core i7 4770K at 4.7GHz and we were able to hit that without an issue at 1.25 Volts on the vCore. Knowing the engineering that goes into the Republic of Gamers boards we wanted to see if we can push it a little higher. We had to increase the vCore to 1.3 Volts, but we were successful at hitting 4.8GHz on our Intel Core i7 4770K! Rumor has it that not many chips will hit 4.8GHz, and it looks like we are fortunate enough to have one.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

Despite running the CPU at 4.8GHz and 1.3 Volts we saw no throttling of the CPU in AIDA64.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

The temperatures climbed as high as 89 degrees Celsius but averaged only ~75 across the four cores.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

We fired up a couple of benchmarks just to see how it would do and double check our stability and it ran them all without an issue. 3DMark didn't go up an incredible amount, at least not on the overall score, 131 points on the overall score. The Physics score jumped from 11160 to 13659, a jump of 22.4%.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

Cinebench R11.5 jumped from 8.56 points to 10.39 points, a jump of 21.4%! Overall a great boost in performance for doing nothing but a few tweaks in the BIOS.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Overclocking

This is a great feature on the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero motherboard, the ability to see all of the changes you made before exiting the BIOS. Above you can find all of the changes that we made to hit 4.8GHz if you want to try them out when you get yours!

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VI Hero Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Republic of Gamers Hero Z87 motherboard, may be just that, a Hero! While the price tag of $229.00 shipped may make some shy away, though there's a greater chance that it may make many more take advantage of the previously unobtainable ROG motherboard! Personally I don't know that I would ever spend $300-$400 on a motherboard, I'm just not that extreme, though I never say never. I have had several Republic of Gamers motherboards in the past, and they have never let me down, so I would consider it. Though now that ASUS has launched the Maximus VI Hero for only $229 I won't need to. Now that we have the testing complete, and everything wrapped up with the Maximus VI Hero, all that comes to mind is WOW, this board lives up to the Republic of Gamers Name!

One of the things we like to do here at Legit Reviews is to test the sub-systems of the motherboards that come through the labs. The ASUS Maximus VI Hero dominated the field. SATA III 6Gbps tests showed that the Hero was faster, not significantly but certainly faster. SuperSpeed USB 3.0 testing gave the Hero the lead again. What's most impressive about these tests is that it's all coming from the Intel Z87 chipset, you would think that it would be much more consistent between the motherboard companies, but ASUS always seems to dominate the field and the Maximus VI Hero was no exception to the rule! The Audio testing as well was a win for the ASUS Maximus VI Hero. The Audio on the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero is the Realtek ALC1150, couple it with the other components that ASUS uses to create a quality sound, and it will easily rival even the ASUS entry level discrete sound cards, and that's per ASUS:

    The ROG boards have some audio improvements that rival discrete soundacrds – from layout optimizations to usage of components such as a headphone buffer and capacitors (dependant on model). If the usage scenario is simply surround sound without usage of high impedance headphones, the audio solution on the ROG motherboards should be sufficient – would be pretty hard to tell the difference between onboard sound and discrete sound.

We spent some time overclocking the Hero as found that it was a very capable motherboard. Within moments we were able to successfully boot the system up at 4.6GHz by simply increasing the vCore to 1.2v and adjusting the multiplier to 46. We were rock solid at 4.6GHz. Next we tried increasing our CPU to 4.7GHz and that went flawlessly! Beyond 4.6GHz it started getting tougher as we started hitting thermal limits despite using the Corsair H100i AIO water cooler. At the end of the day we were able to boot up and benchmark at 4.8GHz! We had to take the vCore up to 1.3 Volts, but we got the job done. In the grand scheme of things though, I would prefer to run our Intel Core i7 4770K at 4.6GHz and 1.2 Volts rather than pushing it 24/7 at 1.3 Volts. Though it's always fun to see what can be done and I was certainly impressed by the ASUS Maximus VI Hero.

The overall performance of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero was absolutely flawless which is great. When I first heard that ASUS was launching a 'Value' ROG motherboard for the latest Intel fourth generation 'Haswell' processors, I was a little curious and maybe a little skeptical about it. After spending some time with it though, any skepticism I had has certainly been quelled. As much as I hate to bring up the possibility of the Maximus VI Hero failing, it's a chance we take with any component. If something does happen to the Hero, ASUS has the Maximus VI Hero backed by a 3 year limited warranty just in case.

ASUS Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero definitely lives up to the ROG name and saves us some bank! The ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero performs great, overclocks great and generally does everything great! I would certainly have no issues using this board in my personal system or recommending it to anyone!