ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Review
There is no denying that the Hero Alpha is one of those products which is enjoyable to open up. Whenever you get a new piece of hardware there is an extra joy to be had from the little bits and bobs that come along with the main item, and the Alpha has plenty of bags with cables, adaptors, stickers and the like to get you all excited. The motherboard itself echoes the regular Hero almost perfectly, with quality heatsinks and shielding. You have to be eagle-eyed to spot the differences, although when it's not stripped bare on our table but in a system with all the effects turned on, the one-click colour shift will definitely grab peoples attention.
Transfer speeds have almost gone beyond your operating systems ability to handle them. A couple of Intel 750s, like we have here, would end up pumping out over 5GB/s in RAID0, but the Z170 chipset struggles to install Windows from USB and equally install to to these drives in RAID. Sure you probably haven't got enough cash to afford this setup and if you do then ease of installation is the least of your worries, but it is a nice demonstration of how rapidly hardware is evolving.
Dual AC WiFi, USB 3.1, the rear of the Hero Alpha reads like a list of the most upto-date hardware around. Even the fan headers now include a dedicated water pump offering, showing how AIOs have taken over the world when it comes to keeping your CPU frosty.
This is the star of the show though. Those two RGB strip headers mean that you can change the lighting in your system at the click of a button. If you really pushed the boat out and got completely linked hardware - ASUS GPUs for example - then you can change your entirely colour scheme at will. Bad news for people who sell single colour case lighting, great news for the indecisive amongst us.