ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VI HERO AM4 Motherboard Review. All aboard the hype train…RYZEN is here, and we’re pairing it up with this epic board from ASUS. The ROG CROSSHAIR VI HERO AM4 is featured packed, and visually stunning.
We have support for DDR4 up to 3200Mhz, M.2, AURA Sync, The new ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220, flow sensors, Compatibility with both AM3/AM4 coolers and a stacked I/O…and so much more!
As always with any ROG product, it’s backed by an extensive software suite with a mass of useful tools, to further enhance its performance and usability compared to the competition.
[ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VI HERO AM4 Motherboard Features]
For more than a decade, Republic of Gamers has delivered exemplary design and performance to thrill the world’s best players and PC enthusiasts. Our journey is a road without end. Now, it’s time for competitors to be warned and for gamers and enthusiasts to push the limits: The packed and pumped ROG Maximus IX Code motherboard is ready to defeat all challengers.
- Aura Sync RGB LED: Stunning synchronized effects and two Aura 4-pin RGB-strip headers
- SupremeFX: Exclusive new codec plus intuitive Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar III
- Compatible with both AM3/AM4 coolers
- ROG Water Cooling Zone : Dominate your cooling system
- 5-Way Optimization: One-click system-wide overclocking.
- Best gaming networking: Intel® Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard and GameFirst technologies
- Best gaming connectivity: M.2, USB 3.1 front-panel connector and both USB 3.1 Type-A/C
- Best gaming durability: Safeslot and premium components for maximum durability
ASUS deliver the HERO in typical ROG themed box, sporting a familiar color set of red/black on the package. They’re keeping your guessing from the front side, with nothing more than a generic feature list.
Around the backside, ASUS have a gift when it comes to sharing information to the consumer, its direct, with no jargon, and free from marketing nonsense.
Internal packaging, is more than ample, with more padding and protection than necessary, but a nice touch to ensure pristine condition upon arrival.
Taking a look at the bundle now in no particular order, you’ll find the following:
- User’s manual
- ASUS Q-Shield
- 4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
- 1 x M.2 Screw Package
- 1 x Supporting DVD
- 1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
- 1 x ROG big sticker
- 1 x Q-Connector
- 1 x 10-in-1 ROG cable label
- 1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
- 1 x 3D printing mount package
- 1 x ROG coaster(s)
For the price point, this is a very generous bundle.[nextpage title=”First Look”]
We start our tour with a complete top down view, to absorb what’s on offer. If you’ve been following the ROG series over the last few years, you’ll notice it has a lot of familiar design elements.
However, the AM4 version is its own, despite using the same DNA we’ve seen elsewhere. Lots of small and subtle changes have been implemented compared to the X99/Z270 versions in the ROG series. Initial impressions are great, the HERO has a very classy but powerful vibe.
The shrouding sits over a two part heat sink. The shrouding over the I/O itself, is extremely detailed, and almost art like. With lots of angles, and engraved panels. The result…epic.
They’ve not overlooked any one area, notice the further details around the VRM/Mosfet too?
The brushed metal, responds well to light and casts a different shade depending on the lighting type and source.
The chipset heatsink likewise, is unique. Slanted and harsh angles, with multiple layers, and engraving. Stunning… and also one of the lighting spots, more on that soon
If you are reading this review, then your probably looking to use multiple graphics card from other AMD or Nvidia, this board can do either. ASUS has implemented it Safe slot tech, with some cool tabs at the end of either. This tech adds strength to the PCIE slot, which is wise choice given the size and weight of some graphics cards
In case you’re wondering, no it doesn’t feature the same lighting seen on the visually similar (ish) X99 Model
AMD Ryzen™ Processors
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
AMD 7th Generation A-series/Athlon™ Processors
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x8 mode)
AMD X370 chipset
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode) *1
3 x PCIe 2.0 x1
ROG’s awesome SupremeFX audio technology has leveled up, delivering an exceptional 113dB signal-to-noise ratio on the line-in connection and 120dB on line-out — and that means our best-ever recording quality! We’ve also added a low-dropout regulator for cleaner power delivery to the SupremeFX S1220 codec, an ESS® Sabre Hi-Fi ES9023P digital-to-analog converter for superior front-panel output, and a Texas Instruments® RC4580 op-amp for high gain with low distortion — which all adds up to audio that envelops you as never before.
– Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
– High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
– SupremeFX Shielding Technology
– ESS® ES9023P
– Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *2
Audio Feature :
– Gold-plated jacks
– Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
– Sonic Radar III
– Sonic Studio III
ASUS have gone for an all SATA approach, and not included the now dead tech (SATA Express), which is logical. Though we’ve seen in on many Z270 boards from Intel recently
- 8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s),
- Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
[M.2 / U.2]
The appeal of M.2 drives are obvious, apart from the benefits of being super fast, they look great and do away with the need of both data and power cables. While Z270 has the upper hand, offering 2 or 3 slots, we only have a single slot here on the AM4 X370. To be fair we don’t imagine that many consumers would be using more than a single M.2 drive, in 99% of rigs anyway.
- AMD Ryzen™ Processors:
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
AMD 7th Generation A-series/Athlon™ incredible
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode)
ASUS have always provided more than most. The HERO has a vast amount of fans headers, and the cool addition of a water flow sensor, for those with a custom solution
[Other ports/ Features]
ASUS is the first motherboard manufacturer to support 3D printing, making it easy to customize your motherboard’s appearance and improve system performance with a range of printable parts.
Dedicated 3D Mounts on the motherboard makes fitting 3D-printed parts easy. Using the same screws as M.2 drives and standard motherboard mounting holes, you can easily add nameplates, cable covers, or an M.2 fan holder.
If you can access a 3D printer, this is one feature you ought to make use of. See more
Along the motherboard base, you’ll find an insane amount of extras. With some extreme features geared toward water coolers and extreme benching!
- 2 x RGB Header(s)
- 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
- 1 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 2.0 port(s)
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support
- 1 x TPM header
- 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
- 1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
- 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)
- 3 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
- 1 x W_PUMP+ connector
- 1 x AIO_PUMP connector
- 1 x 8-pin EATX 12 V Power connector
- 1 x 4-pin EATX 12 V_1 Power connector(s)
- 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
- 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
- 1 x Slow Mode switch(es)
- 1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
- 1 x Reset button(s)
- 1 x LN2 Mode jumper(s)
- 1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)
- 1 x Safe Boot button
- 1 x ReTry button
- 1 x System panel connector
- 2 x 3D Mount screw port(s)
- 1 x W_IN header
- 1 x W_OUT header
- 1 x W_FLOW header
- 1 x Start button
- 1 x USB 3.1 front panel connector
Finishing up our tour of the board, looking at the I/O which consists of:
- 1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
- 1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
- 1 x M.2 Wi-Fi Slot
- 4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
- 4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback)
- 4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
- 1 x USB 3.1 (black)Type-C
- 1 x USB 3.1 (red)Type-A
- 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
- 5 x Gold-plated audio jacks
2016 was the year of RGB. like any trend, It’s very much a love-hate feature, but I must applaud the efforts from ASUS, unlike other brands they been very careful and smart. Lots of thought with how and where they implemented the actual lighting. With Some brands, its crystal clear they’ve added lighting to their products just for the sake of having it.
It’s been done right here and on the many other RGB enabled products, dubbed as AURA we now even have certified cases and more, to create a spectacular system.
Lighting emits from various points and can be tweaked as you see fit. You can setup the areas separately or sync up a single color, then choose the effect you want
Proudly Powered by our Dimastech Mini V1.0 Test Bench
[TECHICIZE TEST SYSTEM]
|AMD Ryzen 7 1800X|
|Memory:||16GB Kingston Kingston Predator 16GB DDR4 PC4-24000C15 3200MHz Quad Channel Kit|
|Video Card:||AMD/ XFX 390X|
|PSU:||Bitfenix Fury 750G|
|Hard Drives:||SSD – Crucial M550|
M.2 – Kingston M.2 HyperX Predator 240GB
|OS:||Windows 10 X64|
BIOS 0902 WAS USED
We’ve spent the last few years taking for granted to simple overclocking that Intel allows with K series processors. With XFR now in the mix, is it worth it anymore on AMD? and is it easy?
The short answer in is yes, its relatively straight forward, but with this being a ROG product, you can and should spend some time tweaking, with the plethora of settings. For this test, we utilized a simple approach and maxed the vcore, and aimed for the best raw speed (MHz on ALL cores). Our CPU peaked at 4.05Ghz on all cores, which seems to be fairly common.
Our CPU peaked at 4.05Ghz on all cores, which seems to be fairly common. Its early days, and being our first AM4 review we have no direct comparison (yet)
What’s been overlooked by many, is that small increments on AM4 yield stronger and more positive gains. The Intel effect, we’ve become accustomed to, has cast a negative light on these seemingly poor overclocks. AMD suggest a safe spot is around 1.35V, but up to you if you’re willing to push more volts in the Ryzen core.
Temps do increase rapidly once an overclock is applied, so you’ll need a strong air cooler, or ideally an AIO, and at best a custom water loop!
A quick note on DDR4 frequency, we highly suspect over time with BIOS update this and the other boards will support higher! And a quick note on Stability etc, we had no issues running at 3000Mhz
Our test method uses a large variety of software to determine the results and product award. For your viewing, these are broken down into the following categories
- General System
- CPU & Memory
- Storage & USB
- Audio &Networking
We start with a broader view of general system performance and then break it down, as we delve deeper with sub testing, where we can examine key areas.
[PC Mark 8]
PCMark 8 from Futuremark. PCMark 8 is designed to test the performance of all types of PC, from tablets to desktops. With five separate benchmark tests plus battery life testing, PCMark 8 helps you find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance. It’s the complete PC benchmark for home and business.
The first test we run is PCMark 8, as we’re also able to gauge an all-around score. This test is heavily affected by all internal components rather than focusing on just one.
A solid starting point for Ryzen and the HERO, beating a 7700K system, and hot on the heels of the 6800/6900K. It is evident those extra cores matter! We now delve deeper and examine individual areas
We now delve deeper and examine individual areas
With so many cores on tap, the 1800X performs exceptionally well
Cinebench is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.
AMD frequently pitted the 1800X against the 6900K in the lead up the launch, and here’s why…half the price and better results!
As briefly touched on earlier, this is a launch product, with a new architecture, and we expect in time. When the manufacturers have had more time to refine their BIOS, these numbers will improve for sure.
I must also point out that the DDR2666Mhz results, were on a kit of DDR with very tight timings, and as we’ve talked about in the past, they matter in some scenarios more than others.
Its been no secret, many publications have reported lower than anticipated 1080P results, and our finding echoes exactly that. AMD has since reported, with time for changes and enchantments to compilers and software to catch up; these numbers will improve across the board.
Its title dependent for sure with the games we tested with, show this. The Division, Hitman and Total War faring well, while Tomb Raider and GTA, lag behind
[GAMING 1440P /AKA 2K]
Once we increase to 1440P the gap narrows, granted Ryzen Still sits, towards the bottom with the exception of some titles.
However, do pay close attention that FPS DO NOT drop as much on AMD AM4 when the resolution and system demands increase.
This is impressive
Our first look at the I/O on the X370 chipset and SATA results are very good
Fanatic results with our M.2 drive, besting the Intel X99/Z170 & Z270
We don’t have any USB 3.1 (Gen2 ) devices at the time of testing, so will be focusing on 3.0/3.1 only. Be sure to understand the actual difference between USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1 & Gen 2. As it’s something that not all brands have explained clearly.To measure speeds, we use AS-SSD, with an SSD inside a USB 3.0 Caddy from Startech
The Kingston SSD has a theoretical limit of 499MB/s Write, when hooked up internally to an SATA 6GB/s port. Overheads and such we accept that some degradation occurs when used over USB 3.0/3.1
The AM4 platform has had upgrades in all areas, including USB and the numbers speak for themselves![nextpage title=”Network & Audio Results”]
Using the inbuilt network test for Performance test 8. The method is to install the software on two machines, which are on the same network. One acts as a client and the other as a server, a designated amount of data is sent across and then the Min, Avg, and Max transfer speeds are outputted.
ASUS uses an Intel LAN solution, which has in the past and continues to deliver the best all round results. (Compared the popular Killer LAN seen on most other boards) While the max between the rear aren’t too far apart di pay attention to the better minds and average especially
While the max speeds, between the rest, aren’t too far apart, do pay attention to the better min’s and average especially!
We use RightMark Audio Analyzer, connecting “Line out” to “Line in” with a 3.5mm cable.
|Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB|
|Noise level, dB (A)|
|Dynamic range, dB (A)|
|THD + Noise, dB (A)|
|IMD + Noise, %|
|Stereo crosstalk, dB|
|IMD at 10 kHz, %|
The Audio quality, as you would expect from ASUS, was fantastic! The new codec delivers amazing audio.[nextpage title=”Conclusion – TL:DR”]
So then conclusion time, and man what an experience that was. The hype was real, and I’m smiling from ear to ear, AMD is back, and remember this is the first actual new product for some years…what lies ahead can only be great!
Focusing on the board now, it is as you’d expect from ROG…just amazing from edge to edge with no weak or troublesome areas I’ve literally no negatives to talk about today, it’s all good news with stellar visuals, UEFI, Performance & quality
The UEFI, as I’ve praised countless times, is without a doubt, the best on the market and caters to all. If you are a novice, or just in a hurry to set the basics up, then you can from the default page. Those of us yearning to play, will be delighted once you enter the advanced sections. The UEFI is literally a playground of settings and options, you have so much control, and the layout is perfect
Talking about visuals on the board, sure this model does lend a lot from other successful products, but there’s nothing wrong that. ASUS have taken what was great elsewhere, and put a slight spin into the mix, for an AMD X370 flavored ROG motherboard
Lighting is a big deal, and ASUS are one of the few brands on the market to nail RGB. Out of the box, it looks great, but it’s also the ideal platform to expand upon, with sweet software and RGB header support. As this is AURA compatible you can add in other components from ASUS, and other brands. You’re not only limited to GPU’s, with RGB RAM and even cases that are AURA certified, like the BitFenix AURA and Shogun we reviewed recently
Ryzen Is huge news, no matter how you look at it, and if you want a feature rich board, with intentions to squeeze the most from the X370 chipset…this and the others, from ASUS should be number 1 on your list
Thanks to ASUS for sending out the sample for this review.