The Asus Hero is a fine board ..... but it's overpriced at the $200 mark. I'd suggest that you look at the MSI Z87 GD65 which eithe rmatches or exceeds its feature set across the board....and over here at least, it's $50 cheaper
MSI has been using components that meet or exceed MIL-STD-810G for some time as part of its Military Class build philosophy. Parts such as Super Ferrite Chokes that run at up to 35 degree Celsius lower temperatures, have a 30% higher current handling capacity, and a 20% improvement in power efficiency; Tantalum filled Hi-C Caps that are are up to 93% efficient; and "Dark Capacitors" that feature Lower ESR and a ten-year lifespan all tied into a PCB with improved temperature and humidity protections as part of the "Military Essentials" package......In the end MSI's Z87-GD65 is a board that comes with an expansive feature set that includes all your basics and the extras that set them apart such as the V-Check points, upper end audio, Dual BIOS ROMs, KIller Network package, Military Class IV package, and a three-year warranty. Couple that with good looks that carry the dragon theme through the board, and you have a winning combination at $189.
Now and again a motherboard appears that is so obviously brilliant, and so affordable, that we wonder if anything will be able to top it. For a while that crown was held by the ASUS Sabertooth, both in X58 and then P67 variants. Then MSI stole the crown with the Z77 MPower. Looking at the Z87 GD65 Gaming we think it's going to take something extraordinary to top it, such is the perfect storm of price, performance, features and looks.
The switch to Military Class 4 has given us an extremely ready overclocker too. You're always thermally limited when overclocking and the i7-4770K is one of the most demanding around. Considering the amount of cooling we're using we think that although the GD65 is capable of bringing 5GHz from our i7-4770K you'd need a proper water loop to make the most of it.
Performance is outstanding. The stock results were a particular highlight. We know a lot of people still just like to put their CPU in and go, without overclocking it first. Despite how easy it is these days we know that the fear factor still exists. So you'll be glad to know that the MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming really rocks hard even at stock settings. Naturally the overclocking is blistering too, with some OC3D records broken.
MSI have laid the gauntlet down to all the other manufacturers. Gorgeous to look at, blistering performance and all at a very affordable price, the MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming is not only the new benchmark for Z87 motherboards, but probably for all motherboards.
Gigabyte makes quality boards also but they haven't done as well in this price segment with Z87 and they too don't typically offer a equivalent feature set at the same price ..... different board manufacturers seem to target specific market segments where they want to gain market share and will invest heavily and cut prices to "make a mark" or gain a higher "presence". Asus clearly holds the title starting with the GENE on up ($220 +). I have the Asus Maximum IV Formula and the board is great. It, like the other RoG boards have a current BIOS issue where the newer BIOSs bork previously stable OCs but I expect Asus will lick that eventually. MSI had a driver issue with their killer NIC but that was solved a few months back.
I do a lotta builds with the Asus GENE, Formula, Rampage but when the users budget drops down to the $200 mark, Asus is simply not competitive.
If ya still having problems deciding ..... do some research, read the reviews, check the performance charts, look at what components are used, even check the RMA rates for hard facts on quality issues ..... MSI current effort in this market segments has them sitting at the top in every one of those categories with the G45 and the GD65 ......
Use the compare feature on newegg and look at the feature list for the Hero and GD-65, it's virtually identical. Neither one is a bad choice but he Gigabyte offering comes up a little short . I think perhaps Asus didn't want to cheapen the RoG label by dipping below $200, but the question remains.... Unless you thing the RoG label is worth $52 to ya, why would you wanna pay $200 for a board when you can opt for one with the same features for $52 less ?
As the review says above, in the $125 - $200 market segment, MSI invested heavily in high quality MIL Spec components, hit the market with extremely competitive pricing and have offered continual newegg specials and combo discounts..... for example, in addition to the $52 head to head for the MoBo alone, you get another $42 off on the combo of the GD65, 4670k and the new GTX 770 N Gaming series GFX card
If a GTX 770 and 4670k is on ya shopping list, that effectively puts the Hero choice at $97 more than the MSI. Gigabyte has some nice numbers on their combos but no CPU com,bos and not a lotta things that I'd actually want. The GTX 770 / 780 is another arena where Asus and MSI trade wins..... Asus clearly has the best 780 with their DCII but their 770 a dog by comparison, leaving 7.5% performance on the table with a measly 1058 MHz clock as compared with MSI's (and Gigabytes) 1137 MHz.
Of course that does ya no good if ya not in the US. Simply, put....if both MoBos could be had for $150, personally, I'd choose the GD65 for the component quality edge, but I could not argue against the Hero. But at a $52 price premium, it's just not in the same ballpark.