On the cusp of the Zen 3 announcement from AMD, Asus just released new product information regarding two new motherboards for the AM4 platform, the X570 ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero and ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming motherboards. Both boards (for now) do not directly refer to Zen 3 support, but, there's almost no chance these boards were not made in preparation for the Zen 3 announcement.
Due to the lack of any specifications page on the Asus website, we don't know much about either board, but there are a few new things to point out. The X570 Dark Hero features a new paint job with angled slits on the VRM heatsinks, chipset heatsink, and M.2 covers. Gone is the "HERO" logo from the original X570 Hero, now replaced with a ROG logo that is presumably RGB illuminated. The most interesting feature to note is the lack of a CPU chipset fan. The Dark Hero is one of the very very few X570 motherboards that is getting away with no chipset fan. That would explain all the slits in the design, which gives the metal more surface area for better cooling. Lastly, the new Dark hero has WiFi 6 support which the previous board did not.
For the Asus Strix B550-XE Gaming, there are very few differences we can see vs the B550-E it's presumably replacing. The major one is the board's aesthetics which are similar to the Dark Hero, having the same slits across the M.2 and VRM heatsinks. But it appears the chipset is powered by the fan, evident by the small heatsink and perforated holes on the chipset heatsink. The final difference to note is WiFi 6 support like the Dark Hero.
It is unfortunate the specification pages are not ready yet, but if these are new boards prepped for the Zen 3 launch, I would expect both SKUs to include a new BIOS supporting the Zen 3 CPUs from the start. As of right now, there is no word on availability, I presume we'll have to wait until the Zen 3 launch before these motherboards come to market.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.