Ten months ago, AMD released the Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors in one of the most monumental hardware launches of the modern era. This final step completed the Red brand's ascent back into the forefront of the desktop processor market that began with the launch of the first generation of Ryzen CPUs. Now, Intel is finally firing back with the launch of the 10th Generation Intel Core processors, along with a new motherboard standard to drive them.
As should be no surprise, the focus will remain on the new motherboards. While the 10th Gen Intel Core processors will not support PCIe 4.0 connectivity due to signal integrity issues, many of the Z490 motherboards are designed to support the PCIe 4.0 specification. This is accomplished by adding clock generators to help clean up the signal. Generally speaking, when it comes to long-term platform support, AMD has been the trendsetter. Has AMD's long support of the AM4 socket on its newer generation processors inspired Intel to take similar steps?
So what is Z490 offering right now? For starters, there has been a large focus on VRM and VRM cooling design. With the top-level Intel Core i9-10900K featuring 10 cores along with HyperThreading, the ability to deliver clean, continuous power is going to be one of the primary factors that separates a good Z490 board from the competition. With the introduction of HyperThreading on Intel's mid-range line-up, power delivery is going to be vital in all segments.
The Maximus family serves as ASUS's flagship line for Intel motherboards, with premium looks, premium features, blazing performance, and broad overclocking support. The Maximus lineup typically comprises four models: the Hero, Apex, Formula, and Extreme. Intel's Z490 chipset is no exception. The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero (WiFi) serves as the mainstream entry for the Maximus family, providing many of the extreme features and benefits of the lineup while maintaining an attainable price tag.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero (WiFi) features a robust VRM cooling solution complete with an optional active cooling fan, all paired with no less than 16 power stages from Infineon. BIOS flashback has also been included, as well as ASUS's excellent BIOS designed to provide an optimal, stress-free overclocking experience. The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero (WiFi) also offers great connectivity with not only WiFi 6, but also 5 Gb/s Ethernet using an Aquantia controller. All of this performance is bundled into a sleek, modern package with excellent RGB options for those who want more flare in their final build.
Let's take a closer look at what the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero (WiFi) has to offer.
|CPU Support:||Intel 10th Gen or later processors|
|Power Design:|| CPU Power: 16 phase* |
Memory Power: 2 phase
|Integrated Graphics:||Dependent on installed CPU|
|Memory:||4x DIMM, supports dual-channel DDR4-4800 (OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:|| 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots |
3x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
|Storage:|| 6x SATA 6 Gb/s ports |
3x M.2 ports (SATA3/PCIe 3.0 x4)
|Networking:||1x Intel I219V 1 Gb/s LAN|
1x Marvell® AQtion AQC111C 5Gb Ethernet
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
|Rear Ports:||2x Antenna ports|
1x Bios Flashback button
1x Clear CMOS button
1x HDMI port
1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x Optical SPDIF out port
2x LAN (RJ45) port
1x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-C port
4x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports
3x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-A ports
2x USB 2.0 ports
5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
|Audio:||1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec|
|Fan Headers:||8x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||ATX Form Factor: 12.0 in x 9.6 in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm|