ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Review 54

ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Review

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Final Thoughts and Conclusion

  • The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is available for US$399.99.
  • Attractive neutral aesthetic
  • Good "out of box" performance
  • Good RGB LED Implementation
  • Great BIOS
  • Powerful VRM
  • Memory overclocking could be better
  • Software bloat
Like the original Hero on which it is based, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero has an attractive, subtle, and complex design. The integrated rear I/O shield is an excellent touch, adding a little bit of luxury that lends itself perfectly to the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero refined gamer aesthetic. Rather than a single grand feature that makes the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero stand out, it is the relentless attention to detail in every element that comes together and creates something that is more than the sum of its parts. A cliche, I know, but ASUS is a top brand for a reason.

The VRM is built for the extreme and ready for anything AMD wants to throw at it. A maximum theoretical Vcore output of 1080 A along with a full load-out of extreme overclocking aids make the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero a great candidate for exotic cooling and competitive overclocking.

As for performance, memory overclocking was pretty good, but not quite top-tier. The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero did well to reach 4066 MHz with the stock XMP timings on my Trident Z Neo kit, but was not able to run the tighter C14 B-die setting at 3600 MHz. However, ASUS gets lots of points for the safeguards and aids they have put in place, which make the overclocking process simpler and less stressful. The retry logic for overclocking works very well and does a great job of recovering to the BIOS after a failed overclocking attempt.

CPU overclocking went well, with the best overclock I have seen yet on this Ryzen 9 3900X, reaching 4.75 GHz at 1.35 V. ASUS has plenty of tweaking built into these boards to keep even the most avid enthusiasts occupied with one of the most comprehensive BIOSes in the industry. As for thermals: in my testing, no amount of abuse could bring the Vcore VRM anywhere near its thermal limits even with no airflow.

However, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero isn't perfect. ASUS still has a lot of software bloat built into their utilities, and I would have liked to see a third M.2 slot at this price point, though I think many will accept the loss of an M.2 slot as a compromise to get rid of the chipset cooling fan. That having been said, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is an improvement to an already great board with lots of extra features that make using it day to day a better and less frustrating experience. If you already own last year's ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero, the upgrade is likely not worth it. However, if you are in the market for a new high-end X570 motherboard, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero will not disappoint.
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