The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Today we take a look at ASUS's staple motherboard for the X570 platform, the Hero. Many vendors, including ASUS, have taken steps to build up their X570 motherboards to be even meaner and more loaded than their X470 motherboards, and in this case, it's true when we compare the VII and VIII Hero motherboards.
If you are going to have to charge consumers a pretty penny because of platform costs, you might as well load up your offerings, and in this case, ASUS has loaded the Hero with a healthy serving of features. Let's see what the motherboard has to offer.
The CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (WI-FI) features two PCI-E 4.0 M.2 slots, 2.4Gbps WIFI controller, 2.5G LAN, an Intel Gbit NIC, tons of 10Gb/s USB, and high-end audio.
The CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (WI-FI) costs around $379.99
Packaging and CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (WI-FI) Overview
Packaging and Overview
The box and packaging are quite good and do a solid job of protecting the motherboard.
The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s, WIFI antenna, RGB LED extension cable, addressable RGB LED extension cable, coaster, Q-Connector, case badge, and M.2 screws.
ASUS put eight fan headers on the motherboard, all of them offer DC/PWM mode selection. The two headers circled in red have shared control. The two headers circled in red offer up to 3A of current, while the rest of the headers operate at up to 1A. The motherboard does have an external temperature probe header, it's circled in purple.
The motherboard also offers support for ASUS's NODE, which isn't included, but is used to expand fan control and RGB LED support. There are also water cooling headers circled in green that can be used to monitor water temperature and flow rate. The motherboard offers sleek aesthetics, and the back of the motherboard is bare of major components.
The rear IO panel features four USB 3.0 ports, six USB 3.1 (10Gbps) ports five type-A ports and one type-C, clear CMOS button, Flashback button, WIFI antenna, 1G LAN, 2.5G LAN, and 7.1 gold plated audio outputs with S/PDIF out.
Here we find the PCI-E slot arrangement, which is very similar to many other X570 motherboards. The first top two x16 slots operate at x16 PCI-E 4.0 or x8/x8 PCI-E 4.0. The bottom x16 slot is wired to the chipset at x4 PCI-E 4.0, and there is also a PCI-E 4.0 x1 slot. Both M.2 slots offer x4 PCI-E 4.0 and SATA drive support, and both have heat sinks.
One USB 3.0 right angled internal header can be found below the USB 3.1 (10Gbps) type-C header. There are eight SATA6Gb/s ports on the motherboard; all are from the chipset.
At the top right corner of the motherboard, we find a POST code display, an addressable RGB LED header, an RGB LED header, a power button, and a reset button. We find a slow more switch at the bottom of the motherboard that will take the CPU to a low multiplier on-the-fly. We have two USB 2.0 internal headers, and a node header.
At the bottom of the motherboard, we find another addressable RGB LED header, an RGB LED header, a re-try button that will reapply your UEFI settings, a safe boot button that allows you to always boot up after a bad OC, and an LN2 mode jumper that can unlock higher voltage levels. There is also a hole under the socket to insert a thermocouple if doing liquid nitrogen overclocking. ASUS offers a reinforced 8-pin power header as well as a 4-pin power header.
The VRM heat sink is typical of most ASUS boards, and the chipset heat sink has a fan built into it.
ASUS CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (WI-FI) Circuit Analysis
The CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (WI-FI) shows us the goods with the heat sinks removed!
The VRM is in a 14+2 phase configuration, which is achieved by doubling the number of power stages per each PWM phase, so in this case, the IR35201 (custom labeled on the rear of the motherboard) is in 7+1 phase mode. There are no doublers, and ASUS claims there is a benefit in not using doublers here since it should improve transient response. The IR3555 60A PowIRstages are used to power the CPU; even the SoC phases use the high current 60A part.
The memory VRM is controlled by a Digi+ ASP1103, and the MOSFETs are the same PowerPAKs as we have seen for minor rails on previous Crosshair motherboards, and we have a two-phase configuration for the memory.
ASUS CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (WI-FI) Circuit Analysis Continued
Audio hardware includes a Realtek ALC1220 under an EMI shield, an ESS SABRE ES9023 DAC, a de-pop circuit, a bunch of high-end Nichicon audio capacitors, a physical PCB divide, and a Texas Instruments RC45801 amplifier.
Normal Gbit LAN comes from an i211AT Intel NIC, and 2.5Gbit LAN comes from an RTL8125. There is also a WIFI6 AX200 controller on the board.
The four rear USB 3.0 ports come from an ASMedia ASM1074 USB 3.0 hub. The internal USB 3.1 type-C header gets a PI3EQX USB 3.1 re-driver and an ASMedia ASM1543 type-C switch and CC logic chip.
All of the rear USB 3.1 ports utilize PI3EQX re-drivers, and while there is only one type-C port on the rear IO, we find two ASM1543 type-C switches, which is odd. ASUS is using a 256Mbit BIOS chip, which is a bit pricey but should offer support of more CPUs as time goes on, and we find a BIOS chip that facilitates flashback recovery of the UEFI ROM.
The Nuvoton NCT6798 is the SuperIO, and we find a TPU chip which should expand fan control and other ROG features.
There is an AURA RGB LED controller chip hidden under one of the PCI-E latches.
BIOS and Software
The UEFI BIOS is very loaded on this motherboard with a few options that are custom. For starters, you get a voltage sense option where you can have the VCore reported from the die or the socket, and ASUS implemented special hardware to offer this capability.
All overclocking settings are present and accounted for, and there are presets for memory. Fan control is present in the form of a GUI and manual input through a menu. There are also two operation modes, an EZ Mode and an Advanced mode.
Software includes Armoury Crate, AURA, DIP5, 5-Way Optimization, TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Expert 4, Turbo App, AI Suite 3, AI Charger, and EZ Flash 3.
Test System Setup
Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (WI-FI)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
- Cooler: Wraith Prism Cooler - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: G.Skill Trident Royal Gold 16GB (2x8GB) 3600MHz
- Video Card: RTX 2080 Ti - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Corsair MP600 2TB
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000i - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
- Monitor: ASUS PA328 ProArt 32" 4K - Buy from Amazon
- Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX - Buy from Amazon
- Mouse: Corsair M65 PRO RGB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Headset: Corsair VOID RGB Wireless - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Network: ASUS XG-U2008 10Gbit Switch
The RGB LEDs are subtle, but they are present, and you can see the word Hero light up over the IO cover.
We are looking for the optimum performance, and given that we are using the included cooling solution, you should be able to overclock quite a bit higher, as we hit thermal limits. We did notice VCore reporting was kind of accurate, and we noticed higher temperatures at the same VCore reported on other motherboards, so it does look like ASUS has optimized software reporting of VCore to be closer to the actual value. We got our best performance at 4.25GHz, at 4.3GHz we were thermal throttling, but we were also stable. Memory overclocking was also very easy; we just enabled D.O.C.P.
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
3DMark: Fire Strike
3DMark: Cloud Gate
Performance is pretty standardized depending on default power and performance settings; overall, we didn't find issues. The boards trade blows back and forth, but nothing too intense.
System IO Benchmarks
ixChariot Network Throughput:
Storage and network performance are excellent; most of these motherboards have the same implementation of features and the same WIFI controller.
Sound Judgment by Ear: Excellent, ASUS has done a great job. There are five ratings for audio: 1. Problems, 2. Okay, 3. Acceptable, 4. Very good, 5. Excellentâ€ƒ
Power consumption is a bit lower than some of the other motherboards.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Very nice VRM: With sixteen 60A IR3555 and a powerful digital PWM, the VRM on this motherboard is designed to handle and overclock any of AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processors, including the 16-core model.
Networking: A lot of the motherboards in this price range have a 2.5G NIC, a 1Gbit NIC, and the new Wireless AX cards capable of up to 2.4Gbps, and so does the Hero.
OC Features: The motherboard has a lot of overclocking features for a mid to high-end motherboard, including the slow mode switch, safe boot switch, and re-try button found on high-end ASUS motherboards. It's designed for liquid nitrogen and even has a jumper for LN2 voltages and a hole in the back of the socket to stick a thermocouple into.
Two M.2 Ports: There are eight SATA6Gb/s ports and a lot of USB 3.1 in use, but ASUS could only put two M.2 slots on the motherboard because of it.
The CROSSHAIR VIII HERO (WI-FI) costs around $380, which is a decent sum of money for a motherboard. It does carry the high-end re-drivers and switches that are compatible with PCI-E 4.0, and that is one reason for the increase cost compared to the previous Hero.
The motherboard does offer a high-end assortment of features such as the high-end LAN, great audio, and a healthy serving of 10Gbps USB. The aesthetics are also very nice, and it looks wonderful when it is lit up. If you are in the market for a high-end X570 motherboard to compliment the new higher core count CPUs, give the ASUS Crosshair VIII Hero a look.
Loaded with a strong VRM, high-end features, and a decent assortment of overclocking features, the ASUS Crosshair VIII Hero Wi-Fi is a fully loaded motherboard.