ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Review 55

ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Review




Last year, 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.

With the Ryzen 3000 launch came the AMD X570 chipset. Featuring PCIe 4.0 support, X570 was an impressive leap from generations past. It was also hot, which had motherboards often including chipset cooling fans. With Ryzen 5000 around the corner, as well as AMD's RDNA2 GPU launch, there is more interest than ever in Team Red.

The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is an update to last year's award winning ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero. The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero has been equipped with the same accouterments as last year's Hero, with a few upgrades. The M.2 heatsinks on both slots, a premium lighting solution, integrated rear I/O shield, and great ASUS BIOS have not changed. But the VRM Power Stages have been upgraded to 90 A from 60 A, and most importantly, ASUS has done away with the chipset fan. The only question is how much better is the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero?


CPU Support:AMD Ryzen™ 5000/3000/2000 Series desktop processors
Power Design: CPU Power: 14-phase
Memory Power: 2-phase
Chipset:AMD X570
Integrated Graphics:Dependent on installed CPU
Memory:4x DIMM, supports dual channel DDR4-4866 (OC) MHz
Expansion Slots: 3x PCIe 4.0 x16 slots (x16/x0/x0 or x8/x8/x4)
1x PCIe 4.0 x1 slots
Storage: 8x SATA 6 Gb/s port
2x M.2 port (SATA3/PCIe 4.0 x4)
Networking:1x Intel I211-AT
1x Realtek RTL8125-CG
Intel WiFi 6 AX200
Rear Ports: 1x Clear CMOS button
1x BIOS flashback button
1x Optical SPDIF out port
2x LAN (RJ45) ports
8x USB 3.1 (Gen2) ports
4x USB 3.1 (Gen1) ports
2x Antenna ports
5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
Audio:ROG SupremeFX7.1 surround sound high definition audio CODEC
Fan Headers:8x 4-pin
Form Factor:ATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 9.6 in.; 30.5 x 24.4 cm
Exclusive Features:
  • 5-Way Optimization tuning: TPU Insight, EPU Guidance, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Expert 4, and Turbo App
  • Aura Lighting Control
  • MemOK! II
  • AI Suite 3
  • Ai Charger
  • ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
  • Armoury Crate
  • Pre-mounted I/O Shield
  • OptiMem II
  • ASUS EZ Flash 3
  • ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
  • BIOS Flashback® Button
  • Clear CMOS Button
  • Reset Button
  • ASUS Q-Code
  • ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
  • ASUS Q-Slot
  • ASUS Q-Connector

Packaging and Contents

The front of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero box features a black background with subtle, printed patterns. "ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Gaming Motherboard" is in the bottom left, with the Republic of Gamers logo in the top left. "ASUS" is in the bottom right, and the brand badging has been put along the bottom edge.

The back of the box at least has variations of what I look for: a shot of the board that includes a good view of the rear I/O, a list of standout features, and the specifications list. Overall, the box design follows the premium minimalist approach, which works very well.

The accessories are typical of high-end ASUS boards, with extras like a ROG coaster and ROG sticker sheet. Notably absent is any kind of rear I/O shield because the shield is integrated into the board. I am very happy with how often I have been seeing this feature lately, and props to ASUS once again for incorporating it into the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero.

The full list of accessories includes:
  • Manual and support DVD
  • 4x SATA 6 Gb/s cables
  • 2x Addressable LED extension cable
  • 2x M.2 mounting screws
  • Q-Connector
  • WiFi antenna
  • SLI hard bridge
  • ROG sticker sheet and coaster

Board Layout

The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero features a matte black PCB with a subtle pattern of printed lines. The heatsinks for the VRM, chipset, and M.2 drives are a deep black with a granular finish. Notably absent from last year's design is a chipset cooling fan; instead, the chipset is cooled by a large aluminium heatsink.

The CPU socket is open enough to accommodate most coolers, and the VRM heatsink looks quite capable.

There are only two M.2 slots on the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero. The first sits just under the CPU socket, while the second is between the second and third PCIe 4.0 x16 slots. Both have heatsinks for improved thermal performance.

The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero offers three PCI Express 4.0 x16 slots, the first two of which are encased in metal reinforcement, as well as one PCI Express 4.0 x1 slot. The board has a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and all are angled 90 degrees from the board.

The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero has a great rear I/O offering that includes substantial USB options, as well as an optical S/PDIF out port. The full list consists of:
  • Clear CMOS button
  • BIOS flashback button
  • 2x WiFi antenna connectors
  • 4x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports
  • 7x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A ports
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port
  • 2x RJ-45 LAN port
  • Optical SPDIF out port
  • 5x 3.5 mm audio jacks

Networking on the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is handled by an Intel I211AT and a Realtek RTL8125 for the 2.5 Gb/s LAN, with an Intel 802.11 AX controller for wireless connectivity.
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