ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Hero Review
Published: 26th October 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
A great demonstration of how popular the ASUS ROG range has become is how many different models there are to choose from. Once upon a time you had the Extreme for people with tons of liquid assets, and the Formula for the rest of us. Now there is the Extreme, the Formula, today's review model the Hero, but also the Strix E. That's before we've got into the smaller form factors like the Gene and Strix ITX. What it boils down to is that if you are determined to get a ROG motherboard, ASUS have made sure that almost every pocket has a model that suits your budget. Now maybe it's diluting the brand a little, but maybe it isn't. We do feel ASUS need to be careful that we don't end up with a situation where all their mainstream models have the ROG logo on them. It should be special.
The one thing we are becoming concerned about is the price of the Hero. The early Hero models were all about being a literal entry level model and the price reflected that, but they were so good that an awful lot of people who could've splashed out on a higher ROG offering didn't as the extras weren't worth it. The Z390 Maximus XI Hero seems to be priced with this in mind, and it's no longer the insanely good value that the older Hero models were. It's still great, just not a no brainer. Obviously that's business for you.
In all of our time with the Z390 chipset we've banged the drum of how consistent they are, and the Hero is no exception. They all overclock very well whether you want to just use an automatic boost mode, only overclock a few cores for your gaming exploits, or push the whole CPU to the very limits for hardcore video or 3D rendering tasks. Across our whole varied range of benchmarks there is very little to choose between any of the latest additions to the Intel canon. Even at stock you have to use a magnifying glass to spot any particular differences in results. It's also worth taking a moment to mention that when we say stock we do literally mean that. Open box. Build system. Bench. Some people don't fully understand what the word stock means and assume we're tweaking certain elements. We don't touch the UEFI at all unless we need to just to change the boot device until we get onto our overclocked testing. Stock is what you, the average user, can expect if they just want to build a system and get on with using it without going into the BIOS at all. Ahem.
The Maximus XI Hero has a very specific audience. Those of you who wont settle for anything but the premium - looks great in my forum signature - models will stick to the Extreme. Those who want to save as much money as possible on their motherboard to spend it elsewhere will plump for a vanilla Z390 motherboard, particularly given how consistent the performance is across the range. However, if you want to get great value for your purchase whilst still having a few premium features to play with, then the Maximus XI Hero should definitely find its way onto your shortlist. Obviously it's not a budget motherboard per se, but rather a great choice for those who want to maximise their return on every penny invested.
It looks good, has very nice RGB lighting, overclocks well, has plenty of connectivity options for all your needs, whilst still being at the lower end of the ROG price range, even if that low end is creeping upwards. For all those reasons we think the Maximus XI Hero will find its way into an awful lot of systems and rightly so, deserving our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.