ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Review

👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅10-01-17

We’re left with quite a large volume of motherboards after ASUS ROG team extended their portfolio to now include STRIX products and so there should be an offering to satisfy all users out there; especially those with an affinity for all things ROG!

While the Maximus IX Hero is at the bottom of the performance stack it still has a wealth to offer in terms of visual appearance, features and performance. Casting an eye over the expanse of our ROG motherboard we have an appealing matt PCB with well-crafted heatsinks bearing a gunmetal finish. The aesthetics alone will form the basis for a visually attractive system and pairing up other hardware should be fairly easy too.

Compared to other Intel Z270 motherboards, Hero is low key when we consider LED lighting. There may be twin RGB headers to add LED strips to your chassis but as far as on-board LEDs go, ASUS hasn’t got carried away in the current lighting craze which seems to be touching every conceivable product nowadays. What we do have is the inclusion of a USB 3.1 header which many vendors are choosing to omit. There may not be many computer cases supporting USB 3.1 at the moment but this is certain to change and by having this feature integrated, Hero is futureproof and can take advantage when this becomes mainstream.

Dipping into the performance – we experienced a resilient offering in the Maximus IX Hero. This motherboard performs consistently across a wide range of situations and benchmarks. Reliability and performance are certainly something to be confident about and this is further strengthened by the overclocking result – which realised a 4.9GHz overclock to our Intel Core i7-7700K. While this is our current milestone and has been met by various other models, Hero was able to achieve this result with the lowest voltage compared to other Intel Z270 motherboards. This, therefore proving how capable the ASUS Digi+ power delivery system really is.

For those wanting to squeeze the most out of Intel’s new Kaby Lake, Hero is an option which creates a great platform to achieve such results. Dotted around the board there are additional, trademark ROG-features which take the user experience beyond the average and mundane. That being said, we were disappointed that others are supplying HDMI 2.0 and Displayport 1.4 but this motherboard supplies HDMI 1.4 and Displayport 1.2 – this may not affect some users but the newer standard is something which should be offered for the added benefit of higher resolution/framerate. We also felt the heavy presence of USB 2.0/3.0 on the back panel should have been minimized somewhat in favour of USB 3.1. Comparing the back panel to last year’s Maximus VIII Hero reveals no extra USB 3.1 – just the same quantity and alternatively more USB 2.0/3.0.

Maximus IX Hero is priced at £260 GBP @ CCL Computers in the UK and $229 in the US – which is a large amount of cash to put down on a mainstream/performance motherboard. At this price, we’re in same realms as the Intel X99 chipset and the High-End Desktop platform. As we stretch beyond the £200 - $200 mark there are only a few things which warrant the premium, these often boil down to features like dual x16 mode, extended overclocking features and multiple storage solutions. In light of this we feel the cost (especially in the UK) should be lowered

The ROG Maximus IX Hero is another visual masterpiece and thankfully it isn’t just style over substance either. Throughout this board we have a solid lineup of enthusiast-grade features which mark this solution out as a great choice.

+ Desirable monochrome theme
+ Features twin RGB headers
+ Excellent performance
+ Excellent for overclocking
+ Arrives with USB 3.1 header
+ Uses strengthened PCI Express slots
+ Extra advanced/overclocking buttons
+ Plenty of fan headers
+ Features dual-M.2
+ Capable audio solution

- HDMI 1.4 rather than 2.0
- Lack of USB 3.1 on back panel
- No U.2 ports

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