Skip to main content

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Review: Crosshair Goes Stealth for Zen3

Dark Hero gets an update: Zen3 ready and 90A VRMs on an all black board.

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Asus)

Software

Asus has several applications designed for various functions, ranging from RGB lighting control, audio, system monitoring, overclocking and more. Instead of plodding through each application as if it changes for each review, moving forward, we’ll capture several screenshots of a few major utilities. In this case, here’s a look at Ai Suite 3, Armory Crate, and the Realtek Audio application.

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Firmware

Like the software section above, we’ve shortened the Firmware section as well. Instead of describing each section, we’ve gathered screenshots covering the vast majority of the bios screens. If there is anything of interest, we’ll make a note of it.

I’ve been a longtime fan of the Asus UEFIs as they are easy to get around, have a lot of options, and the most frequently accessed items are not buried deep within the menus. The BIOS is high-contrast and easy to read, too. The EZ Mode provides enough information and options to be useful, while the Advanced part of the BIOS has everything you need, and more, to tweak your motherboard.

Worth noting on these Asus boards: On the first boot or after a CPU change, a prompt asks you to choose or avoid Intel specifications by pressing F1, which locks the BIOS down to Intel specifications (for power limit, etc.). The other option, F3, loosens up the stock limits, allowing the CPU to stretch its legs. We use the F3 option to match other board partners who, by and large, do not conform to the Intel specifications by default.

Image 1 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 7 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 8 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 9 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 10 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 11 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 12 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 13 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 14 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 15 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 16 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 17 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 18 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 19 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 20 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 21 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 22 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 23 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 24 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 25 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 26 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 27 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 28 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 29 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 30 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 31 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 32 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 33 of 33

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Test System

As of late November 2020, we’ve updated our test system to Windows 10 64-bit OS (20H2) with all threat mitigations applied. We also upgraded our video card driver to 457.30 and reran all the game tests moving to the new 5000 series CPU. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware used is as follows:

CPU AMD Ryzen R9 5950X
Memory GSkill Trident Z Neo 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (F4-3600C16Q-32GTZN)
GPU Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070
CPU Cooler Corsair H150i
PSU Corsair AX1200i
Software Windows 10 64-bit 20H2
Graphics Driver NVIDIA Driver 457.30
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 10Version 2.1.2177 64
Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation, MS Office
3DMarkVersion 2.11.6866 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R20Version RBBENCHMARK271150
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 19.00
Integrated benchmark
Game Tests and Settings
The Division 2Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080
Forza Horizon 4Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080

MORE: Best Motherboards

MORE: How To Choose A Motherboard

MORE: All Motherboard Content

  • ezst036
    Wish they'd make it as an mATX.
    Reply
  • thesandman00
    Both m.2 slots are PCIe 4.0. Also, how do you do a review of this board and not at the very least touch on the biggest OC feature? You've completely neglected to talk about the Dynamic OC switching feature. 👎👎👎
    For those that don't know, it allows you to utilize both the single core gains of having PBO enabled, and also allows you to run an all core OC when your workload can benefit from it, switching based on a user defined amp level.
    Reply
  • NuclearMessiah
    I'd like to see this benchmarked against its predecessor, since the normal Hero VIII with bios update is compatible with the 5000 chips I'd be curious to see just how much of an OC gain you get from the new 90A parts.
    Reply
  • BaRoMeTrIc
    Feel like we could eiminate some of those extra 10gbps usb ports and go with a 10gbe instead of 2.5. It's at a point where that should be a standard feature on top tier boards.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Remember the days when $200 was expensive for an AMD motherboard?


    Also, hate the article didn't compare it against the Crosshair VIII Hero and the Gigabyte AORUS Master, both of which are priced at $360.
    Reply
  • PapaCrazy
    Only other x570 boards without a fan are extremely expensive. Although $400 is getting up there too. Last Asus mobo cost me $200. But it also had about half the VRM and features.
    Reply
  • Conahl
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    Remember the days when $200 was expensive for an AMD motherboard?
    those days are gone, AMD isnt the value option any more, they are ( arguably )the performance leader :)

    PapaCrazy said:
    Only other x570 boards without a fan are extremely expensive.
    so ? i have an Strix x570 E gaming, and i have never heard the chipset fan, even after putting a strip of paper in to so i could see if it actually when on, and so far, i dont think it has.
    Reply
  • PapaCrazy
    Conahl said:
    so ? i have an Strix x570 E gaming, and i have never heard the chipset fan, even after putting a strip of paper in to so i could see if it actually when on, and so far, i dont think it has.

    So Id rather have a passive heat sink and not have to think about it. I’ve gone to great lengths to use quiet components otherwise. Nor do I fancy scouring odd fan sizes with strange mounting points on EBay in 5 years. Ive had these fans on mobos in the past. Even if these are worlds better - quieter and more reliable - I want nothing in my screaming new PCI 4.0 beast to remind of the 90s.
    Reply
  • Conahl
    if the fan very rarely even spins, then it should out last the board itself. ive done my best to keep my own comp quiet, for the most part, the 2 fans on my NH-D15 are louder then any of the other fans in my case, and they run at 100% all the time. but to each his own i guess.
    Reply
  • saunupe1911
    thesandman00 said:
    Both m.2 slots are PCIe 4.0. Also, how do you do a review of this board and not at the very least touch on the biggest OC feature? You've completely neglected to talk about the Dynamic OC switching feature. 👎👎👎
    For those that don't know, it allows you to utilize both the single core gains of having PBO enabled, and also allows you to run an all core OC when your workload can benefit from it, switching based on a user defined amp level.

    I had no idea this feature existed. I'm a X570 Aorus Master owner and just got buyers regret because I was hoping this feature would come to all 5000 Motherboard similar to SMT. I've spent a lot of time tweaking the Curve Optimizer to achieve the highest all core clock combined with single threaded performance. I've basically given up and lot PBO do it's thing but my 5900X can achieve 4.7 all core clock stable but PBO will only let hit about 4.44 while allowing max single core clocks.
    Reply