At the launch of the new Intel Haswell platform, the motherboard we used to test the new Core i7 4770K CPU was also the first motherboard we reviewed. The ASUS Z87-Expert impressed us and did a good job of setting a benchmark for boards to follow. Like we mentioned in that initial review, when it comes to the first board or two of a new platform, it doesn't always have the opportunity to shine in the best light.
As the weeks go on, though, and we get the chance to test more and more motherboards, while at the same time sometimes sourcing new CPUs, we're able to get a better idea of the platform. With over a month passed since the launch of the new Haswell platform and a new i7 4770K on hand that is clocking better than our initial one, we're looking forward to seeing what the latest ASUS board offers.
Unlike the initial ASUS board we looked at, the MAXIMUS VI HERO, as the name suggests, falls into the popular Republic Of Gamers or ROG category. One that has gained a strong reputation for performance. Of course that performance has always carried with it a significant price tag.
With the "more accessible while packing major ROG features" tag line over at the ASUS website under the new MAXIMUX VI HERO product, ASUS are trying to bring us ROG based boards at a more competitive price point - and this isn't the first time we've seen this. Both ASRock and GIGABYTE offer boards that focus on performance, but cut down on some of the bells and whistles, giving us a strong performing board at an excellent price point.
How's it going to work with ASUS, though, and the new MAXIMUS VI HERO? Well, there's only one way to find out, and that is to get down and dirty with it.
Looking at the front it's very typical ASUS ROG. We see a simple design with just the appropriate logos and the model clearly shown. Flipping open the box we can see across the top some of the main features are covered. These include the SurpremeFX audio, which is something we've seen for a while, along with GameFirst II and RAMDisk, two pieces of software. Across the bottom you can see a big push for the Extreme Engine Digi+III, which include higher quality power related components.
As we move to the bottom you can see our first look at the board itself. We won't go into too much detail as we cover this more on the next page. Heading over to the back of the box you can again see some of the main features that are mentioned on the inside, along with the main specifications and a diagram of the back panel I/O ports.
Normally when we get ROG boards we expect a big bundle, but looking above, we don't really have that this time. You can see we've got the manual along with a driver CD and a sign to hang off your door handle. We've got the typical SATA cable labels, six SATA cables, rear I/O back plate, SLI cable and the EZConnector adapters for your front panel.