ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Review 19

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Review

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Introduction

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After months of rumors and bits of leaked information along the way, the new Intel LGA 1700 Socket is upon us. The first chipset to use this new socket is Z690, which also holds the privilege of being the first to bring PCIe Gen 5.0 and DDR5 to the consumer market. With a recent lukewarm reception that accompanied Intel's 11th Generation Core processors, fans of Intel are ready to see the company shine bright once again.

Ever since AMD presented the Zen processor CPU roadmap in 2017, Intel has been slowly losing ground in the multi-thread and production workloads prosumer and professionals are looking for in a work environment. Nothing currently comes close to AMD's Threadripper lineup, but the entry price point is equally high. AMD continues to lead with a more consumer-oriented processor under the Ryzen brand. Over multiple generations, these Ryzen CPU have slowly pushed Intel out of the gaming beltway with a cheaper entry point relative to overall performance.

That is now a thing of the past! Intel has put money, time, and effort into getting back to its roots and providing innovation where it is needed most. The Z690 chipset not only has set the stage for what is to come, but allows motherboard manufactures to showcase what makes a complete experience instead of just watching from the sidelines as Intel and AMD continue to battle it out.

The first big addition is that Intel's 12th Gen Core processors offers native PCIe 5.0 support, which means future support in products that have just now reached the enterprise market. The Z690 chipset has also been given a connection speed boost with a change to the DMI 4.0 interference at 16 GT/s, a doubling over DMI 3.0 found on the previous LGA 1200 Socket. The next-biggest change is dual support for either DDR4 or DDR5 memory modules by the CPU. In theory, a motherboard can have both as long as it is not populated at the same time. In addition to PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 support, the Z690 chipset offers native USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 connectivity. USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 bandwidth offers speeds of up to 20 Gb/s. Overall, on paper, the 12th Gen Core CPU and Z690 chipset show Intel is ready to push their products to a whole new level and leave AMD in the dust.


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 Z690 chipset is no exception. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 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 Z690 Hero features a robust VRM cooling solution paired with twenty 90 A power stages for a rounded CPU overclocking experience. A BIOS flashback has also been included, as well as ASUS's stress-free overclocking with AI Optimized. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero also offers great connectivity with the newest WiFi 6E technology, Thunderbolt 4, and three onboard M.2 slots. There is a lot to cover in this review, so let's take a closer look at what the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero has to offer.

Specifications

Specifications
CPU Support:Intel Socket LGA1700 12th Gen Core,
Pentium Gold and Celeron processors
Power Design:CPU Power: 20-phase
iGPU Power: 1-phase
Chipset:Intel Z690
Integrated Graphics:Dependent on installed CPU
Memory:4x DIMM, 128GB, dual-channel DDR5-6400+ (OC)
BIOS:AMI UEFI BIOS
Expansion Slots: 2x PCIe Gen5 x16 slots (x16/x0) or (x8/x8)
1x PCIe 4.0 x8 slots
Storage: 6x SATA 6 Gb/s ports
2x M.2 Sockets (SATA3/PCIe Gen4 x4)
1x M.2 Socket (SATA3/PCIe Gen3 x4)
2x M.2 Sockets via ROG Hyper M.2 Card
(1x Gen5 x4 or 2x Gen4)
Networking:1x Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6E
Rear Ports: 2x Thunderbolt™ 4 USB Type-C® ports
7x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports
2x USB 2.0 ports
1x HDMI™ port
1x ASUS Wi-Fi Module
1x 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 ALC4082 Codec
Fan Headers:7x 4-pin
Form Factor:ATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 9.6 in.; 30.5 x 24.4 cm
Exclusive Features:
  • Extreme OC Kit
  • FlexKey button
  • ReTry button
  • Extreme Engine Digi+
  • 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
  • MicroFine Alloy Choke
  • ASUS Q-Design
  • M.2 Q-Latch
  • PCIe Slot Q-Release
  • Q-Code
  • Q-Connector
  • Q-DIMM
  • Q-LED
  • Q-Slot
  • ASUS Thermal Solution
  • M.2 heatsink backplate
  • M.2 heatsink
  • VRM heatsink design
  • ASUS EZ DIY
  • BIOS FlashBack™ button
  • Clear CMOS button
  • ProCool II
  • Pre-mounted I/O shield
  • SafeSlot
  • SafeDIMM
  • AURA Sync
  • AURA RGB headers
  • Addressable Gen 2 RGB headers
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