ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review


ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

Despite having the ROG Strix series existing together with the mainline ROG products, ASUS has made it pretty clear there is a great distinction between the two series and the ROG Strix are not the introduction to the top-end but rather a sampler of what could be had. The HERO set of products from the ROG series serve as the introduction to the flagship series of the company, and ASUS positions them to be the best balance of value and feature. Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Wi-Fi, one of the launch models in ASUS’ ROG stack of Z390 products. Let’s take a look if this is worth being your first motherboard for the dip to 9th-gen. Read on!


  • LGA1151 socket for 9th/8th -gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors
  • Synchronized RGB lighting technology works with a vast portfolio of Aura Sync-capable PC gear and includes support for addressable light strips and Phillip Hue
  • Perfected cooling with dedicated water header zones, M.2 heatsink and various fan control
  • Gaming connectivity: Intel Gigabit Ethernet , LANGuard, dual M.2, USB 3.1 Gen 2, Wi-Fi with MU-MI-MO 802.11
  • 5-way Optimization: Automated system-wide tuning, providing AI Overclocking and cooling profiles trailor-made for your rig
  • Gaming Audio: SupremeFX and Sonic Studio III – High fidelity audio that draws you deeper into the action
  • Gaming durability: ASUS SafeSlot and premium components for maximum durability

Where to Buy

US: $289 – ASUS MAXIMUS XI HERO in Amazon
PH: Php17850 – PCHUB

About Intel Z390

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

It was already announced that Intel would be releasing a Z390 chipset a bit further in the year with the announcement of Z370 back in early 2018. That announcement materializes late in 2018 with the launch of the Intel Z390. Usually a processor would be the prelude to a new chipset but in this case, with the rumor already floating around that an 8-core Intel MSDT part would be released, it was already expected.

Intel Z390 Chipset Block Diagram

Not much has changed from Z390 to Z370. The new 9th-gen processors themselves work fine on Z370 chipset boards although Intel has been very adamant in utilizing the new Z390 boards with 8-core parts due to revisions on standards about how board makers should configure their VRMs.

In terms of changes, there’s only a few to note which includes Intel WIFI-AC having been baked directly into the board, the increase in USB3.1 Gen2 ports to 6. PCI-e lanes and HSIO config remains the same from last generation.

Coffee Lake Refreshed

The 9th-generation Intel Core processors mark the debut of the Core i9 in the mainstream market, previously only being made available in HEDT platform. This also sees Intel’s first 8-core offering for mainstream. One that would see prices skyrocket for their top parts. Factor in the current, ongoing supply issues that Intel has and its been a difficult time for the company and customers alike in terms of availability and pricing.

Going back to the processors themselves, Intel has announced three launch models: the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and the Core i5-9600K. Other SKUs have seen been announced including models without IGPs. Besides core count, one of the main changes that the 9th-gen Core processsors will is the total lack of Hyperthreading. Only the Core i9-9900K will have Hyperthreading amongst all currently announced models alongside its non-IGP counterpart.

As with the previous Coffee Lake release, the parts are forged in the 14nm fab process.

You can read more in our review of the Core i9 9900K and Core i7 9700K.

Note: Best viewed on desktop 1366x768 or higher.
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  • CPU
    Intel® Socket 1151 9th / 8th Gen Intel® Core™, Pentium® Gold and Celeron® Processors
    Supports Intel® 14 nm CPU
    Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
    * The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.
    * Refer to for CPU support list
  • Chipset
    Intel® Z390
  • Memory
    4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4400(O.C)/4266(O.C.)/4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3866(O.C.)/3733(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/3400(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
    Dual Channel Memory Architecture
    Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
    * Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs. 
    * Refer to for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
  • Graphic
    Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel® UHD Graphics support
    Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DisplayPort ports
    – Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 30 Hz
    – Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz
  • Multi-GPU Support
    Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology
    Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
  • Expansion Slots
    Intel® Z390 Chipset
    2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8 or x8/x4/x4)
    1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode) *1
    3 x PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Storage
    Intel® Z390 Chipset :
    1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)*2
    1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
    6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
    Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
    Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • LAN
    Intel® I219V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s), Dual interconnect between the Integrated Media Access Controller (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY)
    Anti-surge LANGuard
    ROG GameFirst Technology
  • Wireless Data Network
    Intel® Wireless-AC 9560
    Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
    Supports MU-MIMO
    Supports channel bandwidth: HT20/HT40/HT80/HT160
  • Bluetooth
    Bluetooth® 5.0
  • Audio
    ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220
    – Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
    – Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
    – High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
    – SupremeFX Shielding Technology
    – ESS® ES9023P
    – Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *3
    Audio Feature :
    – Gold-plated jacks
    – Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
    – Sonic Radar III
    – Sonic Studio III + Sonic Studio Link
  • USB Ports
    Intel® Z390 Chipset :
    4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (4 at back panel, +red, 1 x Type-C+3 x Type-A)
    Intel® Z390 Chipset :
    2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (2 at back panel, +blue, 2 x Type-A)
    Intel® Z390 Chipset :
    6 x USB 2.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, +black, 4 at mid-board)
    Intel® Z390 Chipset :
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector port(s)
  • ROG Exclusive Features
    ReTry Button
    Start Button
    Reset Button
    Extreme Engine Digi+ :
    – MicroFine Alloy Chokes
    – 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
    – OptiMOS™ MOSFET
    Mem TweakIt
    Extreme Tweaker
    ROG Exclusive Software
    – Mem Tweakit
    – RAMCache III
    – RAMDisk
    – CPU-Z
    – GameFirst V
    – Sonic Studio III + Sonic Studio Link
    – Sonic Radar III
  • Special Features
    ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5 :
    – 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU Insight, EPU Guidance, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Expert 4, and Turbo App
    AURA :
    – Aura Lighting Control
    – Aura RGB Strip Headers
    – Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices
    – Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
    ASUS Exclusive Features :
    – USB BIOS Flashback
    – MemOK! II
    – AI Suite 3
    – Ai Charger
    – ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    – Armoury Crate
    – Pre-mounted I/O Shield
    – ASUS NODE: hardware control interface
    – OptiMem II
    – ASUS EZ Flash 3
    – ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
    – BIOS Flashback Button
    – Clear CMOS Button
    – Reset Button
    – ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    – ASUS EZ Flash 3
    ASUS Q-Design :
    – ASUS Q-Code
    – ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
    – ASUS Q-Slot
    – ASUS Q-Connector
    Overclocking Protection :
    – ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
  • Back I/O Ports
    1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
    1 x DisplayPort
    1 x HDMI
    1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
    4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (1 x Type-C+3 x Type-A)
    2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue) Type-A
    2 x USB 2.0
    1 x Optical S/PDIF out
    1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
    1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
    1 x ASUS Wi-Fi Module
    5 x Gold-plated audio jacks
  • Internal I/O Ports
    2 x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
    2 x Aura RGB Strip Headers
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1(up to 5Gbps) connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)
    2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
    1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
    1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
    1 x TPM connector(s)
    6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
    1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
    1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
    3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (3 x 4 -pin)
    1 x AIO_PUMP connector (1 x 4 -pin)
    1 x H_AMP fan connector
    1 x W_PUMP+ connector (1 x 4 -pin)
    1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
    1 x 8-pin EATX 12V Power connectors
    1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
    1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
    1 x MemOK! II switch(es)
    1 x Reset button(s)
    1 x ReTry button
    1 x System panel connector
    1 x EXT_Fan header
    1 x W_IN header
    1 x W_OUT header
    1 x W_FLOW header
    1 x Thermal sensor connector
    1 x Start button
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector
  • Accessories
    User’s manual
    4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
    1 x M.2 Screw Package
    1 x Supporting DVD
    1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
    1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
    1 x ROG big sticker
    1 x Q-Connector
    1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
    1 x Extension cable for Addressable LED
    1 x ROG coaster(s)
  • BIOS
    1 x 128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI3.0, SM BIOS 3.1, ACPI 6.1
  • Operating System
    Windows® 10 64-bit
  • Form Factor
    ATX Form Factor
    12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
  • Note
    *1 The PCIe x16_3 slot shares bandwidth with SATA6G_5 and SATA6G_6. The PCIe x16_3 runs x2 mode by default.

    *2 When the M.2_1 Socket 3 is operating in SATA mode, SATA6G_2 port will be disabled.

    *3 Due to limitations in HDA bandwidth, 32-Bit/192kHz is not supported for 8-Channel audio.

Packaging & Content

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

ASUS has been subtly tweaking its packaging over the last generations of motherboards and this time around, the change is a bit more defined yet still subtle. The new ROG motherboard packaging now don a more distinct black styling with abstract panel lines adorning the main sides. The main cover has holographic prints in bold for the model names with minimal prints on the rest of the front.

The side are now a brighter shade of red, a truer red than what we’ve been used to seeing since the early Maximus or Rampage releases. The narrow sides now have a bright red print with the eye logo of ROG printed on 1 side similar to Jordan brand packaging style.

At the back we have a detailed breakdown of the features and specs of the motherboard. There’s also detailed highlights of some of the key features of the board at the back.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

Inside the package we have the following:

  • WIFI antenna
  • Front panel Q-connector
  • ROG SLI HB bridge
  • 4x SATA cables
  • M.2 screws
  • Cable for RGB strip
  • Cable for addressable RGB LED
  • ROG coaster
  • ROG sticker sheet
  • ROG driver disc
  • Manual
  • Greeting card
  • CableMod discount voucher
ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

Its been becoming a trend of having large sticker sheets with gaming motherboards especially the high-end ones. ASUS has merged their cable labels with the sticker sheet and has included plenty of tags to decorate your belongings including a few nifty battery cover stickers.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

If feel like the shiny button cell battery is ruining your motherboard’s vibe, you can popoff one of three sticker designs from the included sheet and place it on your battery. CMOS batteries last a long time so these should last as long as your board but if ever you feel like or need to change batteries, I advise not pressing on the sticker too much when placing it. Just a soft push to clean it up nicely and remove air pockets. If you messs up, there’s 2 more on the sheet if ever.

Closer Look

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero features a more darker theme than previous iterations. This goes for the entire Z390 ROG lineup as well with the boards in this generation going for that “blackout” vibe making it quite a neutral board to work with in terms of color themes putting it in the list of easy boards to choose when going for that themed look especially for RGB ones that splatter colors on the board.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

ASUS receive plenty of heat, pun intended, during launch because of the apparent heat output of the Maximus XI Hero during overclocking and that ASUS has claimed that their VRM is more than what it actually is. ASUS reps and overclocker have since quelled the issue somewhat by proving that ASUS’ runs a parallel VRM design. The heatsink cooling the VRMs aren’t as chunky as the higher-end models but on non-extreme usage, as we’ll show you later, is decent enough.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

The upper right side of the motherboard features the DIMM slots as well as the debug LED and and onboard power buttons. These area also houses the RGB connectors for the motherboard. There is a USB3.1 front panel as well and we’re seeing more on and more cases using these so its finally nice to see them getting some action.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review
ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

The board features two M.2 slots and both are covered with provided heatsinks that merge will with the motherboard design. The first one is underneath the CPU socket and the other one is just below the PCH heatsink.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

Plenty more connectors are located on the bottom edge of the motherboard including USB2.0 and USB3.0 front panel headers, RGB headers and front panel audio connector.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

The board uses Realtek ALC1220 codec reinforced by ROG SupremeFX treatment. Notice the gold Japanese capacitors that are usually found in improved audio solutions.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review
ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review
ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

The board features six native SATAIII ports all of which are angled towards the right for a cleaner connection.

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

The ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI Hero also features a pre-installed I/O shield which removes the possibility of forgetting it after your build. There is also the BIOS flashback button and clear CMOS button on the back for maintenance use. For I/O we have a legacy PS/2 port as well as two USB2.0 ports, one of which is designated for BIOS flashback. We have USB3.1 Type-C and three Type-A ports and a pair of USB3.0 ports. The wifi connectors are on the lower portion near the audio ports. Last off we have a single LAN port, a DisplayPort and HDMI out for IGP use.

BIOS Walkthrough

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

ASUS still has their familiar UEFI BIOS interface with the new Z390 motherboards. Most of these boards will share the same menu options with higher models like the Maximus XI Extreme having more menu options for extreme overclocking and tweaking. The ASUS Maximus XI Hero, Gene, etc. mostly share similar menu options.

The UEFI interface has been a mainstay for ASUS for a few generations now and we’ve praised it for being a simple yet rich at the same time. The interface is simple to navigate and offers easy-to-use dropdown menus to change values. Besides tweaking options, ASUS also integrates rich fan controls as well as voltage and temp monitoring. There’s also profile management, DRAM and PCIe viewers to check system hardware. ASUS integrates the option to update the BIOS online as well as via local storage with their interface and has been a great tool to work with.

ASUS has a BIOS flashback feature which allows users to reinstall a fresh BIOS copy in the event of an issue.

ASUS also integrates AI overclocking with their latest motherboards allowing the BIOS to gauge processor potential. In the screenshot below you’ll on the lower right the Cooler points and Silicon quality rating of the system. Intel has since voiced their concern over this and has requested ASUS to remove silicon quality. Newer BIOS will not have silicon quality in their prediction panel.

Test Setup & Methodology

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

Processor: Intel Core i9 9900K
Memory: Corsair Vengeance RGB DDR4-3600 16GB
Storage: WD Blue SSD 1TB SATA
PSU: Seasonic Platinum 1050w
Cooling: Fractal Design Celsius S36 AIO Liquid cooler
Monitor: Viewsonic VX2475smhl-4K

All tests are performed in an open bench with ambient room temperature kept at 28*C.

Motherboards are updated to the latest BIOS during time of testing kept at their out-of-box settings aside from XMP frequencies when running stock benchmarks.

As many already know, most motherboards will have varying frequency multipliers and this may affect performance overall. As this is part of their out of the box configuration we see it fit to use them as is. All data presented here in are with the default motherboard settings for stock performance. Overclocked performance will be indicated where needed. For non-Z series motherboards, all benchmarks are performed on DDR4-2133 default settings.

As always, we’ll let the numbers do the talking.

Best Practices

  • Same thermal paste and same application method used on all cooler mounting. A pre-benchmark stress test is performed to let the TIM settle. We use Noctua NT-H1 for all our testing.
  • A fresh install of Windows 10 Pro is used for every sample testing. The OS image contains all benchmarks and games. Drivers are installed after image is installed.
  • An average of 3 benchmark runs is used for test sampling.

Benchmarks Used

  • Maxon Cinebench R15 – Multi-threaded CPU benchmark
  • Blender 3D – BMW 2.7 CPU Render benchmark
  • POV-Ray 3.7.1 – Multi-threaded Render benchmark
  • Cinegy Cinescore 10 – Ultra HD 4K resolution CPU encoding benchmark
  • HWBot x265 – 4K x265 CPU encoding benchmark
  • wPrime 1024M – multi-threaded prime benchmark
  • SuperPI 32M – single-threaded prime benchmark
  • GeekBench Pro 4.2 – full system benchmark
  • ASUS RealBench 2.56 – full system benchmark

Subsystem Benchmarks

  • Crystal Disk Mark
  • Rightmark Audio Analyzer

Other Software

  • Latest LAN Speed Test via LST Server
  • Latest AIDA64 (Stress Test)
  • Latest CPU-Z
  • Latest GPU-Z
  • Latest HWnfo 64-bit

Test OS Environment

  • Windows 10 Pro Retail 64-bit
  • Latest NVIDIA GeForce Game-Ready drivers
  • Latest AMD Chipset/Radeon drivers (when applicable, AMD boards)
  • Latest DirectX end-user runtime

Measuring Equipment:

  • Flir One USB Thermal Camera via Thermal Imaging+ app
  • HP-9800 AC wattmeter with USB interface for app logging
  • Standard sound level meter

Network Hardware

  • ASUS ROG Rapture GT-5300 Router

Performance Test – Rendering/Encoding

Rendering tests are benchmarks designed to gauge performance during
multimedia and professional workloads like 3D rendering or video encoding. This gives us a good idea on how a certain system will perform during a certain predefined workload.

MAXON Cinebench CPU Benchmark R15

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Blender BMW Render Benchmark 2.7

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POV Ray 3.7

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Cinegy Cinescore 10 – Ultra HD

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HWBot x265

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Performance Test – Arithmetic

Arithmetic benchmarks measure the performance of systems with regards to mathematical computations which some programs require. These benchmarks paint a good picture of how raw CPU performance is like.

wPrime 1024M

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SuperPI 32M

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Performance Test – System Benchmark

System benchmarks measure the performance of a system based on numerous tasks including a mix of rendering, arithmetic and other things. These benchmarks require the entire system to work together and components should compliment each other to achieve maximum performance.

GeekBench Pro 4.2 Multi-Core Benchmark

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ASUS RealBench 2.56

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Performance Test – Memory Benchmark

AIDA64 Memory Benchmark – Read/Write

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AIDA64 Memory Benchmark -Latency

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Temperature & Power Draw

In this test we’ll measure how much manufacturer-set BIOS settings affect temperature and power draw. As we’re dealing with pre-launch samples, more mature BIOS may change these over time.


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Power Draw

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We really don’t put too much stock on individual component temperatures as they will vary depending on usage and we do not benchmark using extreme loads anymore as they’re not reflective of real world applications. To stress the CPU, we use a 20-minute run of AIDA64 stress test. We recorded the peak CPU temps and cross-match HWINFO and AIDA64 readings. For power readings, we measure the peak system draw.

Thermal Images

Value & Conclusion

ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO Motherboard Review

There is a clear argument that Z390 is a unneeded release and Intel’s insistence on VRM improvement and built-in WIFI is positioned more to appease board makers than consumers. Still, there’s also a clear view that some brands have not slept on improving their offerings and despite the relatively modest improvements that Z390 offers, ASUS has done very well on making their Maximus XI Hero distinct from the previous Maximus X.

Starting off with aesthetics, the board looks absolutely clean. It is by far the most decked looking Maximus Hero to date but its attention to small details like the M.2 slot placement and perfectly aligned lines from the I/O shroud to the PCH heatsink is a masterful execution of design.

Performance-wise, it does keep up with its bigger brothers including the Extreme so performance is within expectations and will not hold back a Core i9-9900K. Overclocking the Core i9 is a bit tricky so we’ll hold off comments on that but just to reassure anyone reading this that the Maximus XI Hero is capable of handling a decent overclock on the i9. You just need to keep in mind that the 9900K needs decent cooling.

Feature-wise, there’s nothing the ROG Maximus XI Hero can do that its less-endowed ROG Strix brothers can’t or similarly, the higher-end ROG ones. Still, the visual difference alone in terms aesthetics and build quality already set the tone on how different the ROG vs. the ROG Strix line is. As the entry-level product of the mainline ROG series, the Maximus XI Hero offers premium build quality and its feature set are refined to meet higher ROG-level standards. Its quite hard to put in words but suffice to say, the Maximus XI Hero is the most normal of all the ROG boards that don’t go diving into extremes or specialized use like its higher-end brothers.

That said, the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO motherboard features all the core essentials that you need to build a high-performance system based on Intel’s latest 9th-gen CPUs including the Core i9 9900K. Its excellent build quality, great aesthetics and good performance make it the ideal foundation for a serious gaming machine that don’t break into the extreme category.

The ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO ticks all the right boxes if you want a flexible, high-end motherboard for your gaming system that offers a good balance of value and features.

ASUS backs the ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO with a 3-year warranty. We give it our B2G Gold Award!

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