ASUS Maximus VII Hero Review
With brand identity being such a key element in any business strategy it makes perfect sense for ASUS to retain the ROG colour scheme and box art for the Maximus VII Hero. Everything is clearly laid out with all the key points highlighted. Nicely done.
There is the usual collection of accessories in the Maximus VII Hero box, included their now famous smooth-backed IO shield. We know we're not the only people who've lost countless layers of skin on sharp, poorly designed shields, so a smooth one is a godsend.
The Maximus VII Hero itself follows the market dominating red and black colour scheme that has made the ROG boards so famous. With such a tight focus on the needs of a gamer and a lack of features for the sake of them, the Maximus VII Hero has a very purposeful look that we really like. Plenty of room around the graphics card slots for maximum cooling potential.
This almost minimalist approach extends to the VRM heatsinks, with ASUS giving them a chunky look that we find very easy on the eye. Simple but effective seems to be the mantra and it's one that we like very much. There are too many manufacturers who plonk trinkets on their PCBs without them actually adding value. Busy-ness isn't always a positive quality.
The Maximus VII Hero comes with eight SATA 6Gb/s ports. Given that every board we've looked at so far in the forthcoming Z97 range has had SATA Express ports too we have to say that we're surprised the Hero hasn't. Although, similarly to Intel's Thunderbolt technology, it might be sensible to keep them for a future update depending upon how well the technology takes off. It's stripped down without being shorn of features for the majority of users.
Two of the big new features on the Maximus VII Hero are in the bottom right picture and yet not obvious. The USB port below the combined PS2 port is there for ASUS's KeyBot technology, which promises to turn any keyboard into a modern gaming one, and the Ethernet port promises to give the lowest gaming latency of any solution on the market. Read on to see how this is achieved.
Otherwise it's the regular combination of USB ports and display outputs. It's a bit of a surprise to see even the aged VGA port included on the Maximus VII Hero, but that is in keeping with the 'a motherboard for every user' ethos that seems to underpin the design.