We often talk about how quickly technology evolves, and we think that the ASUS ROG Maximus range is the perfect encapsulation of this endless progress. It wasn’t that long ago – well it was but it doesn’t feel it – that the ASUS Rampage was the motherboard for those who wanted all the power, whilst the Maximus was for everyone who couldn’t afford to spend the earth on their new mobo.,Such has been the rampant progress by Intel on their mainstream CPUs that the days in which you had to buy their top end ones are behind us. The LGA2011 socket is less about high end gaming, and very much limited to the enthusiast who does masses of rendering. The mainstream range, LGA1200 and soon to be joined by the 11th Gen Intel CPUs, are now such high performers that most of us stick to the Intel models which provide the perfect balance between price and performance.,For ASUS this has meant that the Rampage might still be the flagship motherboard range, but it’s been left out in the cold as the Maximus has taken over as both the big seller and the one that still has a raft of enthusiast features. The latest iteration of said Maximus is here in the form of the new Z590 chipset based ROG Maximus XIII Hero. Even here you get a glimpse of how far technology has come as the Extreme and Formula models sat above the affordable Hero, but as you’ll soon see the thirteenth Maximus board has, in Hero guise, all you could realistically need.
The Z590 is an evolution of the Z490 chipset range, rather than a wholesale revamp. The Z490s were still fairly recent, and thus the primary addition to the newest Intel chipset is the PCI Express 4.0 support we all expected to see on those aforementioned Z490s. The Maximus XIII Hero also has Thunderbolt 4 support and, perhaps most excitingly, support for DDR4 up to 5333 MHz. With 4 M.2 slots to handle your storage needs it promises to be a high bandwidth, high performance system for everyone.,
Let’s see it in the flesh.
The Maximus XIII Hero box is now in the familiar ROG black with red accents. Maybe our misty-eyed selves miss the bright red boxes that stood out from the pack and denoted that this was a Republic of Gamers box with all the kudos that entailed, but the black is nice too. Hopefully the left hand side of the box isn’t indicative that this “glitch” style text design ASUS seem so keen on hasn’t translated to the PCB itself. We hate it.,
Inside the box we find largely the same collection of accessories as there were in the Z590 Strix-E box. Stickers, SATA cables, M.2 screws, and a GPU stand sit alongside the revamped WiFi antenna that now clips onto your case and can be angled in a number of directions. Whilst a little less showy than the Strix the Maximus will appeal to those of you who want the purity of the old black and red ROG designs.,
We’ll be going over the Maximus XIII Hero in more detail on the next page. However, we know that like a good Seurat if you look too closely you’re in danger of seeing nothing at all, and so getting a nice overview helps with the big picture. Our primary take away is “phew, ASUS haven’t needlessly sheared the text”.,
Obvious elements are the gigantic heatsink modules which thankfully seem devoid of the blurry logo we saw on the Strix, as well as the sheer amount that ASUS have managed to squeeze on to the PCB. There is barely a millimetre wasted. ,
The bottom half, with it’s four M.2 sockets and PCI Express 4.0 slots are the main event on the newest Intel chipset, and where the majority of our focus on the next page will be. Enjoy casting your eye over the Maximus XIII Hero and we’ll meet you on the next page for our patented tour of the board.,
Up Close – Details
At the top right hand corner there are three fan headers including dedicated AIO options. That’s nearly as much of a given on modern PCBs as the fact that pretty much everyone runs an AIO rather than the a tower air cooler. Next to them is the Q Code display for all your POST error fault finding needs. The addressable and regular RGB LED strip headers sit above the onboard power and FlexKey buttons.,
On the right hand edge there is the USB Type-C header – just out of shot – and that’s followed by another fan header. Then we find a strange placement of USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A headers, split like bookends around the SATA ports.,
If you have a full watercooling loop keeping your new system build cool then you’ll appreciate the Water Flow meter and dedicated pump header at the bottom right corner of the Maximus, just next to anothe fan header and the USB 2.0 ports which these days are largely used to control all our internal RGB devices.,
Lastly continuing clockwise we have two more fan headers including a High Amp one should you need it, the then famous ASUS Retry button, and lastly addressable and standard RGB LED strip headers as part of the AURA infrastructure. As a fan of the Dresden Dolls the AAFP front panel audio header makes us think of something else entirely.,
The heatsink design is certainly attractive and looks incredibly chunky. Three stacks of fins do the job in keeping the power phase cool, and with 14+2 teamed power stage rated for 90A sitting alongside 10K Black Caps the Maximus XIII Hero has much to offer on paper at least.,
Around the back we find the CMOS Clear and BIOS Flashback buttons that can save you after an overly ambitious overclock. Below that is the HDMI should you run the Maximus XIII Hero without a GPU. There are two Intel I225-V 2.5Gb ethernet ports as well as the antenna for the ASUS WiFi. USB ports are made up of six 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, 2 regular USB 2.0 Type-A, and the blazing speed of the two Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports.,