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Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero Review: Premium Hardware, Premium Price

Four M.2 sockets, premium audio and VRMs for $499

Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Asus)

Benchmark Results

Our standard benchmarks and power tests are performed using the CPU’s stock frequencies (including stock Thermal Velocity Boost), with all power-saving features enabled. Optimized defaults are set in the BIOS and the memory set using the XMP profiles. For this baseline testing, Windows is set to the balanced power plan.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Synthetics are a great tool to figure out if a board runs out of spec, as identical settings should produce similar performance results. Advanced memory timings are the one place where motherboard makers can still optimize for either stability or performance, though, and those settings can impact some testing.

Performance in the synthetic benchmarks was spot on compared to the boards we’ve tested so far. The Maximus XIII Hero, in general, ran as fast as or ever so slightly faster in these synthetic benchmarks than most boards we’ve tested. We didn’t see any performance anomalies here.

Timed Applications

In our timed applications, LAME testing was, surprisingly, on the slow side of average, running it in 11.6 seconds (most results are 11.3-11.4). Corona results came in at 82 seconds, a tie for the fastest result between the Gigabyte Aorus Master and MSI MEG Ace.

3D Games and 3DMark

We’ve recently updated our game tests to F1 2020 and Far Cry: New Dawn. The games run at 1920x1080 resolution using the Ultra preset. As the resolution goes up, the CPU tends to have less of an impact. The goal with these settings is to determine if there are differences in performance at the most commonly used resolution with settings most people use or at least strive for.

In our gaming/graphics testing, the Hero scored among all the other boards in 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike. The 16,220 result in Fire Strike and 13,549 in Time Spy are the highest we’ve seen (though negligibly) using this Rocket Lake CPU. Gaming results were also the fastest we’ve seen so far using this processor, if only by a small margin (almost 2%)—nothing out of the ordinary here.

Power Consumption / VRM Temperatures

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We used AIDA64’s System Stability Test with Stress CPU, FPU and Cache enabled for power testing, using the peak power consumption value. With Rocket Lake, we need to disable AVX-512 instruction sets otherwise, temperatures are out of control at stock speeds on some boards. The wattage reading is from the wall via a Kill-A-Watt meter to capture the entire ecosystem. The only variable that changes is the motherboard; all other parts are the same.

Our Maximus XIII Hero ended up in the middle of the pack, averaging 162W between idle and load states. During idle, the Hero sipped on power running at 59W, the second most efficient result. Under our AIDA64 stress-test load, the system peaked at 265W, which is right around average when testing with the i9-11900K processor.

Asus’ 90A VRMs easily handled our CPU at stock and while overclocked. The VRMs ran well within specification during both sets of tests. In fact, of the boards that do not have active cooling (or water cooling), it was the coolest by a couple of degrees, peaking at just over 50 degrees Celsius. When overclocked, temperatures didn’t change much from stock because the voltage we use was close to what the Hero uses by default anyway. To that end, the Hero again peaked at 50 degrees Celsius. You don’t have to worry about stock operations or overclocking with this VRM and its cooling ability.

Overclocking

When overclocking the i9-11900K, we decided to do so by testing without AVX-512 instructions. When you unlock all of the power limits, you’re thermally limited, with the CPU reaching 100 degrees Celsius in several seconds. Since every board is different in terms of following (or don’t follow) Intel specifications, we’ve removed that variable. The bottom line is that if you need to use these instructions, you’ll need to set a significant offset compared to non-AVX-512 loads. To that end, we settled on a 5.1 GHz overclock at around 1.3V. Our CPU uses around 225W in this configuration, which lands between stock power use (195W) and AVX-512 power use (~265W) and is the end of the line due to thermal constraints.

Overclocking on the Maximus XIII Hero was as easy as any other motherboard so far. The BIOS puts all of the options you need at your fingertips so you don’t have to move to different sections to find the option you’re looking for. Vdroop was tolerable on Auto settings so we left it as is (default is level 4).

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

On the memory front, the Maximus XIII Hero DDR4 3600 sticks at a 1:1 ratio (Gear 1) and didn’t have any issues with the DDR4 4000 kit. AIDA results have the Hero comparable to some of the fastest results we have so far regarding bandwidth. Latency was 48.9ns which is the second-fastest result so far. We had no issues working with the memory on this board.

Final Thoughts

The latest Asus Hero motherboard hits the store shelves as a well-rounded, feature-laden solution in the upper-midrange tier of Z590 motherboards. From the more-than-capable 90A power phases and dual Thunderbolt 4 ports to the four PCIe 4.0 M.2 sockets and the premium audio bits, the board does its best to justify the $499.99 (opens in new tab) price.

Performance compared to the other Z590 models we’ve tested to this point was spot on, and often negligibly faster in many of our tests. Memory testing went without a hitch, with DDR4 3600 supported at 1:1 and easily handling the DDR4 4000 kit (at the expected 1:2 ratio). Performance and overclocking aren’t a concern.

(Image credit: Asus)

If there is something I would like to see that needs improvement, I’d have to say the price. Due in part to tariffs and component shortages, plus the addition of PCIe 4.0, all of these Z590 based boards saw a more significant increase than we’re used to. Where we typically see $25-$50 increases generation over generation for the same board (this varies, of course), the Hero went up nearly 25% or $100. Outside of that, my only concern is more of a warning to keep an eye on lane sharing when using the M.2 sockets with PCIe/SATA-based devices. Since they use the PCIe slot’s bandwidth, you’ll want to pay attention to what is being slowed oe disabled as it isn’t just SATA ports.

As far as competition at this price point, ASRock has the Z590 Taichi ($459.99) (opens in new tab), MSI’s MEG Z590 Ace  ($499.99 (opens in new tab)), the Gigabyte Aorus Master ($409.99 (opens in new tab)), and there’s the Biostar Valkyrie as well ($400-$450). If M.2 storage options, high-end audio and power delivery are your primary drivers for buying, the Asus has you covered. If you need the fastest wired networking available, the Gigabyte and its 10 GbE should be your weapon of choice. Gigabyte’s Aorus Master is the least-expensive option of all these listed and is the best bang for the buck in this class.

Overall, the Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero has the premium parts and looks to support its place at this price point. From its clean, high-end appearance to the robust power delivery, four M.2 sockets and premium audio solution, the Hero is a well-rounded motherboard. If you’re looking for an upper mid-range sub-$500 motherboard, the Maximus XIII Hero should be on your shortlist.

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Joe Shields
Joe Shields

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.

  • Warren Browning
    I just made a build on this platform. I'm using an i 11700, with a BeQuiet Dark rock pro 4, 2 Samsung 980 pro 1TB m.2 ssd drives in the PCIe 4 slots, 128 GB Corsair 3600 memory.

    The system is quite stable and fast. I only had two issues with the build. I had to format the second m.2 ssd drive in the PCIe 3 slot before windows would recognize it in the second PCIe 4 slot.

    The second issue was with the bios flashing.
    Reboot kept hanging at F7 before clearing the cmos. After clearing the cmos, everything booted and worked well.

    I just received my video card. I still have to install it. I'll see if it gives any problems. The onboard video controller works very well without a separate video card. The video output is very clean.

    I would recommend this board for an Intel build in this price range.
    Reply
  • jonathan1683
    I have this board too I didnt have any issues with the bios update, but it took forever and seems to do a bunch of updates in the bios one by one which I have never seen before and it took a long time. This board was very heavy and is definitely the nicest motherboard I have ever seen. My fps went from like 30 to 100 on the CPU/ram upgrade same gpu in cyberpunk on a i9-11900k from a i7-4790k I am very happy with the build.
    Reply
  • Malfaur
    Warren Browning said:
    I just made a build on this platform. I'm using an i 11700, with a BeQuiet Dark rock pro 4, 2 Samsung 980 pro 1TB m.2 ssd drives in the PCIe 4 slots, 128 GB Corsair 3600 memory.

    The system is quite stable and fast. I only had two issues with the build. I had to format the second m.2 ssd drive in the PCIe 3 slot before windows would recognize it in the second PCIe 4 slot.

    The second issue was with the bios flashing.
    Reboot kept hanging at F7 before clearing the cmos. After clearing the cmos, everything booted and worked well.

    I just received my video card. I still have to install it. I'll see if it gives any problems. The onboard video controller works very well without a separate video card. The video output is very clean.

    I would recommend this board for an Intel build in this price range.
    I am buying this MB , but I plan to use 32gb Corsair 3600 memory. I'm told by someone that works for Asus that I'm better off using higher memory at 4000 and higher and only 16gb. I would like your option about this since you have a build with this board and have used Corsair Memory. I'm trying to keep it an all white build but if I do end up going for the higher memory it is expensive and only comes in 16gb in white, if I want more than 16gb it will kill the bank. So do you think the memory that I have now 32gb Corsair 3600 will be sufficient, I'm a casual gamer so no real overclocking for me.
    Reply
  • QRTnielsen
    Admin said:
    The Maximus XIII Hero sports a heavy-duty VRMs, four M.2 sockets, dual 2.5 GbE ports, plus Wi-Fi 6E and Thunderbolt 4 ports. At $499.99, the price may be out of reach for some. But for those who can afford the outlay, this is a great board for your new Z590 PC.

    Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero Review: Premium Hardware, Premium Price : Read more
    Hi, thanks for a good review!
    I am considering buying this board, but when I am looking for a proper case, I could not find any that would support all the nice usb board connectors.
    Have anyone found a good solution?
    Kurt
    Reply
  • KaraStefan
    Asus was excellent manufacturer. But I see quality is going down. I had also really bad feeling when I updated BIOS. It took long time without knowing if it is OK. Motherboard from build year before worked somehow better and it was more than two times cheaper. Next thing I’ve noticed is high chipset temperature 75-83C. I don’t know if it is normal. Chipset heat sink is covered by plastic cover I don’t understand either. Do you know something about it? Should I use some additional cooling?
    Reply
  • QRTnielsen
    KaraStefan said:
    Asus was excellent manufacturer. But I see quality is going down. I had also really bad feeling when I updated BIOS. It took long time without knowing if it is OK. Motherboard from build year before worked somehow better and it was more than two times cheaper. Next thing I’ve noticed is high chipset temperature 75-83C. I don’t know if it is normal. Chipset heat sink is covered by plastic cover I don’t understand either. Do you know something about it? Should I use some additional cooling?

    You are right about a steady deteriorating of Asus products. I bought this board, mainly because its big bunch of fast usb connections AND M.2 running 4x4. I therefore got the Intel core i7-11700K and a Samsung 980 pro, but Samsung Magician report that it is running PCIe Gen. 3 x 4. it furthermore uses a microsoft standard driver for M.2, which I can't uninstall and get the correct Samsung driver installed. No help to find from Asus support.:mad:
    I haven't been able to check the chipset temperature, but don't like the plastic covering that is no good for cooling.
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    QRTnielsen said:
    You are right about a steady deteriorating of Asus products. I bought this board, mainly because its big bunch of fast usb connections AND M.2 running 4x4. I therefore got the Intel core i7-11700K and a Samsung 980 pro, but Samsung Magician report that it is running PCIe Gen. 3 x 4. it furthermore uses a microsoft standard driver for M.2, which I can't uninstall and get the correct Samsung driver installed. No help to find from Asus support.:mad:
    I haven't been able to check the chipset temperature, but don't like the plastic covering that is no good for cooling.
    Samsung’s NVMe Driver does not officially support the 980 Pro. That’s why it won’t install. It’s not by fault of Asus, rather Samsung.

    If you really want to install the driver, you can but you need to install it with an older Samsung NVMe installed first or extract the driver inf. and then force the driver on the 980 Pro in device manager. Again, as of Samsung’s NVMe driver 3.3 the 980 Pro is not supported.

    For your link speed issue, try plopping the SSD into another slot and then throwing it back into the primary/top M.2 again, or clearing CMOS to force it to reset the link. I’ve had this happen on multiple brands, motherboards, and chipsets.
    Reply
  • QRTnielsen
    seanwebster said:
    Samsung’s NVMe Driver does not officially support the 980 Pro. That’s why it won’t install. It’s not by fault of Asus, rather Samsung.

    If you really want to install the driver, you can but you need to install it with an older Samsung NVMe installed first or extract the driver inf. and then force the driver on the 980 Pro in device manager. Again, as of Samsung’s NVMe driver 3.3 the 980 Pro is not supported.

    For your link speed issue, try plopping the SSD into another slot and then throwing it back into the primary/top M.2 again, or clearing CMOS to force it to reset the link. I’ve had this happen on multiple brands, motherboards, and chipsets.
    Thank you for your help:giggle:
    I must admit that I didn't researched Samsung before buying, but I did found the 980 Pro on Asus list of other devices (it is still there).
    I do get very high scores in CrystalDiskMark : Read/write = 12534.917 MB/s /14092.976 MB/s. Probably because my use of Asus RamCache III, so I think I just stay with that, unless you suggest a better alternative?? Or maybe Samsung come up with a new driver that would solve the problem. I am not a gamer, but do need high speed when I make complicated economical analysis.
    Reply
  • QRTnielsen
    I found a thorough description about the Samsung 980 Pro and the lack of a proper Samsung driver:
    https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?123288-Unable-to-install-Samsung-NVMe-drivers-on-SAMSUNG-980-PRO-1TB-SSD-Win10
    Reply
  • seanwebster
    QRTnielsen said:
    Thank you for your help:giggle:
    I must admit that I didn't researched Samsung before buying, but I did found the 980 Pro on Asus list of other devices (it is still there).
    I do get very high scores in CrystalDiskMark : Read/write = 12534.917 MB/s /14092.976 MB/s. Probably because my use of Asus RamCache III, so I think I just stay with that, unless you suggest a better alternative?? Or maybe Samsung come up with a new driver that would solve the problem. I am not a gamer, but do need high speed when I make complicated economical analysis.
    I personally dislike RAM caches. Never had much benefit from running them personally. Those scores you see with the RAM caching enabled mean little to nothing in real world consumer use cases.

    Link speed issue won’t get fixed via a driver. It’s a motherboard detection / set issue. You have to change the slot the drive is connected to, restart, and switch back or try clearing CMOS to fix it as I mentioned previously.
    Reply