We know that Asus is one of the first manufacturers of motherboards to support 3D printing, making it an effortless task when it comes to altering the appearance of your motherboard; it also enhances the system’s performance with a series of printable portions. Today, we’re going to focus and talk about the Maximus IX Hero which is actually the most economical entry introduced to the ROG family.
Even if this sits behind the Maximus IX Formula and the Maximus IX Code (both featuring numerous extensions such as onboard Wi-Fi, full body shielding, better RGB LED lighting, and MOSFET water blocks), the Maximus IX Hero isn’t something that you should overlook or ignore since it has its own slew of great specs.
The Maximus IX Hero is something specifically designed for gamers who overclock but how well does this really overclock? Before getting deeper into the specifications and features of the Maximus IX Hero, let us first go and check what’s in the box.
Asus ROG Maximus IX Hero Review – Whats in the Box?
When we got our hands on the Maximus IX Hero’s box, we noticed that it still features the same red and black shades that we have seen before; there’s a difference though, the box has a sharper and more striking appearance that gives off a modern look which is, in our opinion, quite attractive and eye-catching. Not only is the Maximus IX Hero kept in a nice looking package, the box is also made from very high-quality cardboard that is thick and perfect for keeping the product safe.
Looking at the box, you are mostly going to see a couple of logos but the only thing that you will see on the box’s front is the huge Republic of Gamers emblem that is obviously familiar to a lot of people. Behind the box, this is where you will find some details and information about the model’s list of specifications, as well as the numerous features that have been packed into the Maximus IX; though we noticed that the only thing missing on the box is the rear I/O panel diagram which is a very handy feature that has become quite common for most motherboard boxes. The non-removable lid at the top portion of the Maximus IX box is hinged so it actually opens smoothly and stands upright even without any form of support. It’s also quite nice since opening the lid of the box will let you see a nice welcome message that is placed inside the box.
Once you start opening the container, you will see the inner box that is divided into two different portions; the top half is where the motherboard is set and is safeguarded by a thick plastic shield. The bottom portion is where you’ll find the multiple bundled accessories, documents, and the software. Between these partitions, you will find a sheet filled with a lot of ROG stickers which is also something that we think is a really cool and interesting addition to the package.
Beneath the sticker sheet is a drink coaster which is placed right on top of the user’s guide; the guide includes a DVD and is sandwiched in the middle of two sections that hold all the rest of the accessories included in the box. Overall, with the appearance of the box and how all the accessories and the model itself are tucked safely and neatly in place, the packaging of the ROG Maximus IX Hero is definitely sleek and visually appealing, and again the box is really hard enough to keep everything safe and intact.
As expected from an ROG model, the Maximus IX Hero comes with a bundle of sizeable accessories and the items included in the pack are the following: the user manual / guide that includes an installation DVD, the drink coaster, as well as a couple of stickers that you can use on SATA cables to function as labels for individual connections.
ASUS has also included four SATA 6 Gbps ports, a black-clad rear I/O shield, a Q connector for linking case wires to the header’s front panel, a couple of standoffs and screws for the M.2 slots, as well as an SLI HB Bridge for high bandwidth.
Asus ROG Maximus IX Hero Review – Another Beast of a Motherboard from Asus!
The ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero motherboard features a metallic gray appearance on a black theme that also has a couple of abstract linings that serve as this new ROG series’ motif. The company seems like they’re going for a more distinct theme per motherboard which is why the Maximus IX Hero features cutouts along its heat sinks which actually bring a cooler and more unique visual appeal to the model.
This specific motherboard from ASUS has a ten phase power design that features ASUS’ latest long-lasting components for increased durability and stability. Located on the right portion of the motherboard are the DIMM slots that also have the Mem OK button and the debug code readout. There is also a 3D screw mount as well as a 3.1 USB header but we are still waiting for the mass adoption of this USB header.
The ASUS Rog Maximus IX Hero has 3 full length x16 PCI E slots where two of these run at x8 when utilized while the bottom slot is at x4. The board is specifically meant for the average consumers and with dual card arrangements and the help of NVIDIA, these are more common today because of the enforcement of two-card settings. Additionally, two of the PCI E slots are also supported with metal bracing.
As for the ASUS Supreme FX, it is powered by a new solution that also features the ALC 1220 audio chip together with the ESS ES9023P high-definition DAC.
Another great feature of this motherboard is that it has been outfitted using the Aura RGB lighting feature; and to increase its performance, there is the presence of two onboard headers so you can readily plug LED light strips with the use of the RGB LED extension cables. Other than that, ASUS has also added their own CPU installation tool that will help you install or uninstall the processor from your CPU’s socket.
The audio hardware of the ASUS Maximus IX Hero excelled and performed outstandingly throughout our whole testing process. Its stereo crosstalk, frequency response, IMD and dB at 10 kHz had highly notable percentage results; of course, you’ll notice that the ratings generally increased when the bit-rate boosted which is generally a common outcome. Overall, the audio performance of the Maximus IX Hero is perfect and it exhibits the clear signal created by the brand new Supreme FX circuits.
The Maximus IX Hero consumed lower power consumption and even when this was manually overclocked to generally similar levels, it still produced much better efficiency compared to others; also, even if we tested the Maximus IX at 5.0 GHz auto OC levels, the ROG motherboard still achieved a lower number for power consumption.
When it came to overclocking the Core i7-7700K, we can say that ASUS performed greatly just as the Maximus IX Hero. This required a V Core of about 1.34 V to reach a stabilized 5 GHz; we can say that it is doable by almost all of the high-end air coolers and the all-in-one liquid coolers by just utilizing 1.21 V to reach 4.8 GHz. Looking at this, we can definitely say that this is an excellent board to use for overclocking and you also won’t need to spend a lot on cooling.
- Chipset: Intel Z270
- Form Factor: ATX
- Socket: LGA-1151
- Voltage Regulator: 10 Phases
- USB Ports:
10 Gbps:  Type C,  Type A
5 Gbps:  Type A,  USB 2.0
- Video Ports: Display Port, HDMI 1.4 b
- Legacy Ports / Jacks: None
- Audio Jacks:  Digital Out,  Analog
- Other Ports / Jacks: BIOS Flashback, Clear CMOS
- PCIe x1:  V3.0 – the third slot is shared with the bottom x16
- PCIe x4: None
- PCIe x8: None
- PCIe x16:  V3.0 (x16 / x0 / x4P*; x8 / x8 / x4*) – shared with the bottom PCIe x1
- Cross Fire / SLI: 3x / 2x
- 2 Slots:  PCIe 3.0 x4 / SATA*;  M.2 Key E (*consumes SATA Port 1, 5/6)
- DIMM Slots:  DDR4
- SATA Ports:  6 Gb – ports 1, 4/5 shared with M.2
- 2 Ports: None
- Legacy Interfaces: None
- Fan Headers:  5-Pin Proprietary Extension;  4-pin
- USB Headers:  V2.0,  V3.0,  V3.1
- Other Interface: TB Header, FP Audio,  RGB-LED, TPM, PC Speaker, ROG_EXT
- Internal Button / Switch: Rest, Power, Safe Boot, MemOK / Slow Mode, Retry
- Diagnostics Panel: Numeric
- Ethernet Controllers: WGI219V PHY
- SATA / RAID Controller: Integrated (0 / 1 / 5 /10)
- USB Controllers:  ASM2142 PCIe 3.0 x2
- HD Audio Codec: ALC1220
- Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Controllers: None
- DDL / DTS Connect: None
- Warranty: Three Years
- LGA1151 socket for 7th/ 6th -gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors
- 5-Way Optimization: One-click system-wide overclocking.
- Aura-Sync RGB LED: Outstanding synchronized effects plus  Aura 4-pin RGB-strip headers
- ROG Water Cooling Zone: controls the cooling system
- Supreme FX: limited new codec + intuitive Sonic Radar III & Sonic Studio III
- Best gaming connectivity: 3.1 USB front-panel connector, dual M.2 with both the USB 3.1 Type-A & Type-C
- Best gaming durability: Safe slot together with premium components for ultimate durability
- Best gaming networking: Intel® Gigabit Ethernet, LAN Guard, and GameFirst technologies
Test PC Setup
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Hero
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K
- Graphics Card: ASUS Strix GTX 1080
- RAM: 32 GB HyperX Fury DDR4
- 2 SSD: Patriot Hellfire 480 GB
- SSD: Patriot Ignite SSD 440 GB
- SSD: 2x Kingston Hyper X Savage 240 GB
Using the Product
Before you start installing the motherboard, make sure that you have all the things necessary for the installation process. These include the additional accessories included in the model’s packaging as well as the user manual.
Next thing that you need to make sure of is that you have all the parts needed to build your PC and these include your CPU, the RAM, cables, graphics card, power supplies, etc. We’re assuming that you already have everything you need on hand to build your PC but just to make sure, double check everything especially the screws that are needed for the process.
Once you’re done checking, read the user manual for a detailed explanation of each part of the Maximus IX Hero and what these do. We did our best to provide you with a general overview of the product but honestly, this isn’t adequate information to actually build the specific PC you want; so just make sure to follow all the important instructions that are mentioned and always keep in mind the limitations of the board.
Maximus IX Hero Firmware and Bios
The interface used for the ASUS ROG UEFI BIOS has remained unaltered and it still exhibits one of the richest and most functional interfaces compared to other brands that feature numerous adjustment options for gaming enthusiasts and overclockers. A lot of the settings that are available are open, allowing you to easily tweak some of the finest features that are present.
Now, let’s go ahead and focus on the features of the main board itself: there are a ton of options to tweak here such as the speed of the fan etc. The BIOS also lets you save profiles while also letting you customize the boot screen; considering that this is also a new model, there’s definitely going to be a couple of updates popping out here and there, but as of the moment, we can say that this is very solid. For the BIOS, you’ll see that this is categorized into two modes the first is the EZ BIOS for beginners while the other is the advanced category which is specifically for users who are generally more tech savvy.
The EZ BIOS mode’s primary page has a list of the most vital system parameters which lets you set an XMP profile and adjust the cooling values of RPM. Those who do not really have a lot of technical prowess can sit back and relax since modifying the boot order is also simple; you’ll just need to choose from a couple of pre-configured performance settings and you are good to go. You will get to see the traditional ROG theme that exhibits a clear and crisp white font to make all the details easy to see and read even from a distance.
When it comes to the advanced mode of the BIOS, this is made up of a wide selection of variables that provide all things necessary for customizing the system based on your specific user requirements or preferences.
A useful feature that we also appreciate is the Extreme Tweaker from ASUS; this is the portion where you can navigate to when you need to set the XMP profile to readjust the BCLK frequency or make any alterations for overclocking. The target frequency details and hardware monitor are extremely valuable to determine the effects of each change made in the BIOS. The Tweaker’s Paradise is also made for all pro overclockers as well as enthusiasts who greatly enjoy altering and modifying all aspects of the system such as the BCLK Speed Spectrum, the VPPDDR Voltage, as well as the BCLK Amplitude. There is also an advanced tab that lets you access a slew of useful sub-menus that offer outstanding customizations.
The EZ Flash 3 Utility from ASUS makes BIOS updating absolutely easy either via direct network connection or downloaded files. The EZ Tuning Wizard also asks you to answer a couple of basic questions regarding your cooling hardware to precisely determine the optimal settings necessary for automated overclocking. This is another extremely useful and advantageous feature for users who aim to get additional performance but feel quite intimidated by the whole procedure of overclocking. On the last portion, you can easily load optimized default settings and save any made changes during the current session, disregarding any adjustments that have been made.
The Sonic Studio III Audio Application, Sonic Radar III Noise Source Locator for games, the Game First IV Network Packet Prioritization, and the ASUS Aura RGB Lightning Controller are all carried over from the other Republic of Gamers’ motherboard series.
We know that ASUS is among the many brands that include a ton of software together with their motherboards and part of the driver disc is the driver software specifically for the Supreme FX audio solution and the numerous utilities that are present; these specific utilities include the ASUS AI Suite 3 which has been the company’s existing board utility for many years. This has come a long way from its previous design and it comes with a large number of informative and detailed displays and tools to continuously maintain your PC.
Specific to a lot of performance seekers and gamers is the ASUS Sonic Radar 3 which is known as a visual enhancement that overlays on the game while also showing you the direction where the sound or audio is coming from. This is specifically designed for FPS gamers since positional audio is definitely beneficial when it comes to determining the enemy’s location. There are also additional features such as the Key Bot II that allows a built-in macro customisation for any type of keyboard (regardless of its brand and construction), and the Mem Tweak It from ASUS for memory customisation.
Today, everything is about features when it comes to this continuous battle between different motherboards in the market; and to provide the best for their target consumers, these motherboard creators continue to produce models that include a lot of features and add-ons that they consider necessary for consumers.
When it comes to the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero, its set of multiple features is not just limited by its position since it also serves as an excellent foundation for a solid build model that supports dual GPUs, high-speed memory, as well as a lot of options necessary for overclocking. When it comes to options for personalization, it goes a long way with the large-scale AURA support while the software itself does not feature too many effects; so if you are the type who prefers just a few transitions, there is a lot right there.
When we talk of the build quality, we can say that ASUS’ ROG Maximus IX Hero scores high in this department; and even if its appearance may be a bit biased, it’s difficult to argue that the model is hard to look at: it is a model that features a simple color scheme but has a creative style for the heatsink. Also, the theme of the board itself is just right to make up for the simple shroud which actually makes the PCB more evident.
Generally, ASUS’ ROG Maximus IX Hero is one excellent motherboard that exhibits a ton of new features that a couple of motherboard builders aim for. They made this highly accessible for beginners to the platform who aims for a solid motherboard with an excellent set of features without having to go too much with a model that is loaded with unnecessary features.
The ROG Maximus IX Hero features all the necessities for a stylishly awesome gaming rig, and if you are planning to upgrade to a higher end motherboard but prefer not to have the exotic features that are present in higher end ROG models, then the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero is the best choice for you.
Where to Buy
You can purchase the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero for around $349AUD from your favourite PC retailer. For more information head on over to the Asus website.