AMD Ryzen ROG AM4 Crosshair VI Hero Preview
Published: 24th February 2017 | Source: Fell off the back of a lorry | Price: £249.99 |
AMD Ryzen ROG AM4 Crosshair VI Hero
Looking at this motherboard's packaging we can see that the Crosshair VI Hero will support both SLI and Crossfire with two PCIe 3.0 16x lanes, though this will work in 16x mode with a single GPU and in 8x/8x mode for dual GPU configurations, which is similar to how SLI/Crossfire works on Intel's Z270 chipset.
With AMD both APUs and CPUs will share the same platform, which means that at launch AMD's AM4 motherboard platform will support AMD's Ryzen CPUs and their 7th generation of Bristol Ridge (Excavator-based) APUs. With AMD's Excavator/Bristol Ridge APUs only 8x PCIe 3.0 lanes will be available, allowing the system to only support a single GPU.
Ryzen users will also be able to use this motherboard's M.2 slot in PCIe 3.0 x4 mode, whereas Bristol Ridge users will only be able to use SATA mode. That being said, this mainboard is not designed for APUs, as it does not have any display outputs, making an integrated GPU useless on this motherboard.
It is clear that this board is designed first and foremost for Ryzen, and not for any lower-end APUs, which is a great thing for a high-end motherboard like this.
On the rear I/O we can see that this motherboard has 8 USB 3.0 ports, with four legacy USB 2.0 ports and dual USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (1x type-A 1x type-C). This motherboard also makes use of an Intel (yes, Intel) Gigabit LAN port and all of the audio ports that you would expect from a high-end motherboard.
At the rear of this motherboard, there is space for an optional M.2 Wi-Fi card, though knowing most PC enthusiasts or gamers this option will likely go unused given the enhanced latency and reliability provided by a direct, wired internet connection.
This motherboard also comes with eight SATA ports, which should be enough for any consumer-grade storage solution.
AM3/AM4 Cooler Support
One of the biggest selling points of this motherboard is its support for both AM4 and AM3 compatible coolers, with mounting holes for both CPU socket designs. This will allow users to continue using their existing cooling setup and will give them a wider range of cooling options of they choose to upgrade their cooling setup.
Right now most coolers require an AM4 upgrade kit, which could take a considerable amount of time and money to acquire quickly.
It is a shame that more manufacturers have not included mounts for both CPU cooler types, as that would have made the upgrading process much simpler for a large number of users.
When it comes to Ryzen, there is only one word that comes to mind, excitement. We are excited to put this new CPU architecture through its paces and finding out exactly how well it performs, both in gaming applications and in more general computing tasks.
Over the next few days, we expect to see a lot more AM4 and Ryzen components arriving in the office, with plans to write detailed reviews for each that covers a wide range of use cases and hardware configurations.
AMD's AM4 platform is a huge upgrade over AM3, and ASUS' Crosshair VI Hero looks like it is in a great position to take advantage of the influx of users who are upgrading from older AMD platforms. ASUS' AM3 cooler compatibility opens up a lot of options for cooler upgrades and reuse in the future, which is great news for consumers who want a more choice when it comes to cooling.
You can expect our full review for AMD's Ryzen CPUs and a variety of new AM4 motherboards soon, though for now, we will have to get back to work and prepare for Ryzen's release.