After almost a decade of total market dominance, Intel has spent the past few years on the defensive. AMD's Ryzen processors continue to show improvement year over year, with the most recent Ryzen 5000 series taking the crown of best gaming processor: Intel's last bastion of superiority.
Now, with a booming hardware market, Intel is preparing to make up some of that lost ground with the new 11th Gen Intel Core Processors. Intel is claiming these new 11th Gen CPUs offer double-digit IPC improvements despite remaining on a 14 nm process. The top-end 8-core Intel Core i9-11900K may not be able to compete against its Ryzen 9 5900X AMD rival in heavily multi-threaded scenarios, but the higher clock speeds and alleged IPC improvements could be enough to take back the gaming crown. Along with the new CPUs, there is a new chipset to match, the Intel Z590. Last year's Z490 chipset motherboards are also compatible with the new 11th Gen Intel Core Processors, but Z590 introduces some key advantages.
First, Z590 offers native PCIe 4.0 support from the CPU, which means the PCIe and M.2 slots powered off the CPU will offer PCIe 4.0 connectivity when an 11th Gen CPU is installed. The PCIe and M.2 slots controlled by the Z590 chipset are still PCI 3.0. While many high-end Z490 motherboards advertised this capability, it was not a standard feature for the platform. In addition to PCIe 4.0 support, Z590 offers USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 from the chipset. USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 standard offers speeds of up to 20 Gb/s. Finally, Z590 boasts native support for 3200 MHz DDR4 memory. With these upgrades, Intel's Z series platform has feature parity with AMD's B550. On paper, Intel is catching up to AMD, but only testing will tell if these new Z590 motherboards are up to the challenge.
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 Z590 chipset is no exception. The ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero 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 XIII Hero features a robust VRM cooling solution, 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 XIII Hero also offers great connectivity with not only WiFi 6, but also dual 2.5 Gb/s Ethernet, Thunderbolt 4 and four M.2 slots. 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 XIII Hero 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 DDR4-5333 (OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:|| 3x PCIe x16 slots (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)|
1x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
|Storage:|| 6x SATA 6 Gb/s ports |
4x M.2 ports (SATA3/PCIe x4)
|Networking:||2x Intel® I225-V 2.5 Gb Ethernet|
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210
|Rear Ports:|| 2x Thunderbolt™ 4 USB Type-C® ports|
6x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports
2x USB 2.0 ports
1x HDMI™ port
1x ASUS Wi-Fi Module
2x Intel® I225-V 2.5 Gb Ethernet
5x Gold-plated audio jacks
1x Optical S/PDIF out port
1x BIOS FlashBack™ button
1x Clear CMOS button
|Audio:||1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec|
|Fan Headers:||8x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||ATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 9.6 in.; 30.5 x 24.4 cm|