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ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review

ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO (Intel Z87) Motherboard Review

We get a chance to check out our first Z87 ROG based ASUS motherboard in the form of the new better priced MAXIMUS VI HERO.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Jul 11 2013 4:06 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 39 IMAGES

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.

Package

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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.

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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.

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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.

ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO Motherboard

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Taking our first look at the board, it's very typical ROG with a strong black and red color scheme. Everything looks pretty good and you can see the normal array of buttons and switches across the board, which we'll take a closer look at in the coming images.

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Moving to the expansion slots, you can see we've got three PCIe x1 slots, along with three PCIe x16 slots. With one video card in the first slot, it will run at x16. If you go down the path of CrossFire or SLI then both slots will run at x8. The final slot supports up to x4.

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Heading across to the bottom you can see it's a pretty clean setup. Thanks to the way the SurpremeFX audio chip is cut off, we see that the left corner of the board is now quite empty. Moving across, though, you can see the typical headers including USB 2.0, fans and main front panel.

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Turning the corner you can see we've got a total of eight SATA III ports. The six on the right side run off the Intel Z87 controller, while the two on the left run off the ASMedia ASM1061 controller. We wish that ASUS chose to color the ASMedia ones separately. Figuring out which ports are which, though, is just a quick look in the manual away.

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Heading towards the top of the motherboard we can see the typical four DIMM slots present which support up to 32GB of DDR3 with speeds ranging from 1333MHz DDR to 2800MHz DDR via overclocking. Below that and slightly to the left, you can see we've got the main 24-pin ATX power connector, along with a USB 3.0 header. On the top right corner you can see the LED debug meter and the MemOK! button and a power and reset button.

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Heading over to the CPU area you can see it's a pretty standard affair. Towards the top of the board you can see we've got the 8-pin CPU power connector and moving back you can see we've got a very clean setup. The heatsink quality as usual like all ROG boards is good and you can see the heat pipe between the two heatsinks.

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Finishing up with the I/O, you can see we've got a combo PS/2 port, along with four USB 2.0 ports. Between these you can see our BIOS Flashback button. Moving across you can see the only video out comes in the form of a HDMI port and above that you can see we've got an optical port which goes along with our six auxiliary ports that run off the SurpremeFX High Definition codec. Along with that you can see we've got four USB 3.0 ports and gigabit networking coming off the Intel I217V chipset.

BIOS

Getting into the BIOS and checking out the Extreme Tweaker section you should notice some slight changes to the overall layout of the BIOS. There's nothing to major changed, but more just the overall look has had a bit of a makeover.

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If you're going to be doing any overclocking, you'll be in the Extreme Tweaker section and here you've got all the normal OC options that you would expect in one easy to find place.

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Moving away from the Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS and through the rest you can see all the standard options are on offer.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Overclocking

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight and Corsair.

As we've started to test a good bunch of Z87 motherboards, we've really got the chance to expand the lineup of boards in our graphs. Alongside the ASUS MAXIMUS IV HERO which we'll be running at stock and overclocked speeds which we'll cover in more detail in just a few moments, we've also got a number of other Z87 motherboards featured.

We've got the MSI MPOWER MAX, ASRock Z87 OC FORMULA and GIGABYTE Z87X-OC. All Z87 boards that have impressed us so far catering for different people and at different price points. Along with the Z87 offerings, though, we've also got the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming and GIGABYTE X79S-UP5-Wi-Fi to round things off.

Heading into the BIOS we started to adjust all the voltages to the appropriate level and move our CPU multiplier up to 50x for an even 5GHz. Like we've seen on other boards using this CPU, getting into Windows isn't an issue at this speed. As soon as we start our MediaEspresso encode, though, we run into problems and get a BSOD. We headed back into the BIOS and saw if bumping up the voltages a little more would help, but in the end, 5GHz stable wasn't going to be an option.

Heading back in we moved to the 49x multiplier and went into Windows. We ran our MediaEspresso encode with no problems. With somewhere between 4.9GHz and 5GHz being the number we expect to land on with this CPU, we headed back into the BIOS and started to mess around with the BCLK.

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After a whole bunch of reboots, a whole bunch of voltage and BCLK adjustments, we just couldn't get the CPU stable above 4900MHz flat or 4.9GHz as shown in our graphs today. It didn't seem to matter what we did, even moving to a 100.5 BCLK would result in a BSOD during our MediaEspresso encode. It's worth noting that at 100.5 - 101 BCLK our encode would go into the 80% completion mark before the BSOD. It didn't matter what we did with voltages, though, we just couldn't get it 100% stable, which is always the most important thing for us.

CPU Benchmarks

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Like the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC and the MSI MPOWER MAX, we can see very strong performance out the gate with the ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO in both benchmarks.

Overclocking brings in some awesome gains and you can see we're literally seconds away from coming in at under 10 minutes with our HyperPi run.

System Benchmarks

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

Developer Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

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MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/products/mediaespresso/overview_en_AU.html?fileName=overview&r=1

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheater™ video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

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Just like we saw in the previous page the out of the box performance on the new ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO is extremely strong falling in line with the MSI and GIGABYTE offerings that also offered great performance out of the box.

Overclocking as you'd expect brings with it some great numbers and you can see we almost manage to bring our encode process into the 13 minute region.

USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking above you can see that USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 performance is in line with the other offerings.

SSD Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

Developer Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Buy It Here

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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Looking at SSD performance you can see the numbers between the Z87 options are all very close with not much separating them at all. HD Tune Pro drops off a bit as usual and you can see the minimum sits a little lower while the maximum falls in the middle of the pack. You can see above, though, that the average speed is slightly up ahead of the other Z87 boards.

Memory Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Memory performance is pretty typical for a Z87 system with all setups performing fairly close to each other. Overclocking as usual really does nothing to memory performance. We've seen this on all Z87 motherboards with different RAM.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com//

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Gaming performance is just what you'd expect, out of the box our boards perform all very closely to each other.

Overclocking brings with it a slight boost in lower resolution tests, but once we start placing more pressure on the video card, we don't see the extra CPU clock speed MHz really do anything.

Temperature and Power

Power Consumption

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Power consumption on the ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO is very strong at stock lining up with the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC which offered very low idle and load numbers.

Overclocking as you'd expect increases both numbers, but not by a huge margin. At load you can see another 70 odd watt is being used.

Core Temperature

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At stock the heat numbers look good sitting towards the lower-end of the spectrum compared to the MSI and ASRock offering.

Overclocking doesn't change the idle much, but you can see that at load, we're hitting the 100c number, which we're seeing happen on most our motherboards when we overclock this high.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

At $209.99 at the time of writing, the ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO is not only an extremely aggressively priced ROG motherboard, but just an aggressively priced motherboard in general. You've got all those goodies that you love to see from the ROG series without all the extra fluff that carries with it added price.

If you want the massive box and all the extras then the MAXIMUS VI EXTREME and its $399.99 price tag is available. But at almost half the price, the MAXIMUS VI HERO is a fantastic option for people who don't need that massive line up of extras.

The feature set at the price point is very strong and the addition of the SurpremeFX chip is nice for better audio quality. The design and build quality is typical ASUS ROG, which is only a good thing.

When it comes to performance the board is fantastic, overclocking numbers are strong with a solid 4.9GHz. It's not the fastest we've seen on this new CPU we've got, but it's still extremely strong either way. If you're not interested in overclocking, though, you'll be glad to know that out of the box performance is up there with the best Z87 boards.

If you've always wanted to jump on the ROG bandwagon, but have been scared off with the associated price tag or the massive amount of overclocking features that you feel you simply won't use, this is a great motherboard to consider.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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