Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) Review: For Overclockers Only?

How We Test

Today’s Maximus XI Hero is facing off against similarly-priced gaming-marketed boards from ASRock and Gigabyte, the Z390 Taichi Ultimate, Z390 Aorus Master, and Z390 Phantom Gaming 9. We have not yet reviewed an MSI board in this price class.

SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated gigabit networking
Graphics DriverGeForce 399.24


The same platform that cooled the 10 cores of our Core i9-7900X worked equally well with the eight cores of the Core i9-9900K, as we’ll show in the overclocking evaluation on the next page.

Comparison Products

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Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks & Settings
PCMark 8Version 2.7.613
Home, Creative, Work, Storage, Applications (Adobe & Microsoft)
3DMark 13Version 4.47.597.0
Skydiver, Firestrike, Firestrike Extreme Default Presets
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2016.03.22.21
CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth
DiskSPD4K Random Read, 4K Random Write
128K Sequential Read, 128K Sequential Write
Cinebench R15Build RC83328DEMO
OpenGL Benchmark
CompuBenchVersion 1.5.8
Face Detection, Optical Flow, Ocean Surface, Ray Tracing
Application Tests & Settings
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.9
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x265 mp4
BlenderVersion 2.68a
BMW 27 CPU Render Benchmark, BMW 27 GPU Render Benchmark
7-ZipVersion 16.02
THG-Workload (7.6GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=9"
Adobe After Effects CCRelease 2015.3.0, Version 13.8.0.144
PCMark-driven routine
Adobe Photoshop CCRelease 2015.5.0, 20160603.r.88 x64
PCMark-driven routine (light and heavy)
Adobe InDesign CCRelease 2015.4, Build 11.4.0.90 x64
PCMark-driven routine
Adobe IllustratorRelease 2015.3.0, Version 20.0.0 (64-bit)
PCMark-driven routine
Game Tests & Settings
Ashes of the SingularityVersion 1.31.21360
High Preset - 1920 x 1080, Mid Shadow Quality, 1x MSAA
Crazy Preset - 1920 x 1080, High Shadow Quality, 2x MSAA
F1 20152015 Season, Abu Dhabi track, Rain
Medium Preset, no AF
Ultra High Preset, 16x AF
Metro: Last Light ReduxVersion 3.00 x64
High Quality, 1920 x 1080, High Tesselation, 16x AF
Very High Quality, 1920 x 1080, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF
The Talos PrincipleVersion 267252
Medium Preset, High Quality, High Tesselation, 4x AF
Ultra Preset, Very High Quality, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF

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  • PapaCrazy
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
  • CVPhere
    Voltage regulator refinements? You mean downgrading to a 4 phase that runs hotter than all the other board at this price point? How is that a "refinement"? Did the Asus PR firm tell you to write that?
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
    The test showed that the board performed in an exemplary fashion. Disregarding the test data that doesn't agree with your assumptions is downright wrong.
    Anonymous said:
    Voltage regulator refinements? You mean downgrading to a 4 phase that runs hotter than all the other board at this price point? How is that a "refinement"? Did the Asus PR firm tell you to write that?
    Except that it didn't run hotter than all the other boards and was only a scant few degrees warmer than the Gigabyte board.
  • miroslavhm
    hmm, I bought one on BF sale with deep discount, and I am not extreme overclocker - I want it mostly for I/Os, DAC sound and software stability. So, I will probably keep it, but it is indeed a great disappointment that Asus cheap-ed out on the VRMs. If I was paying the same, I would choose Gigabyte Aorus Master, although I am a little concerned in their ability to maintain good drivers for all the add-ons
  • PapaCrazy
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
    The test showed that the board performed in an exemplary fashion. Disregarding the test data that doesn't agree with your assumptions is downright wrong.
    Anonymous said:
    Voltage regulator refinements? You mean downgrading to a 4 phase that runs hotter than all the other board at this price point? How is that a "refinement"? Did the Asus PR firm tell you to write that?
    Except that it didn't run hotter than all the other boards and was only a scant few degrees warmer than the Gigabyte board.


    What data are you referring to? There is no test for VRM temperatures in this review. You have to go elsewhere for that. While overclocking ("For Overclockers Only", right?) the VRM temps differ by more than a "scant few degrees".
  • vilegreed
    I had to update the bios on mine before it worked..also am disappointed in 4 phase b.s.
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
    The test showed that the board performed in an exemplary fashion. Disregarding the test data that doesn't agree with your assumptions is downright wrong.
    Anonymous said:
    Voltage regulator refinements? You mean downgrading to a 4 phase that runs hotter than all the other board at this price point? How is that a "refinement"? Did the Asus PR firm tell you to write that?
    Except that it didn't run hotter than all the other boards and was only a scant few degrees warmer than the Gigabyte board.


    What data are you referring to? There is no test for VRM temperatures in this review. You have to go elsewhere for that. While overclocking ("For Overclockers Only", right?) the VRM temps differ by more than a "scant few degrees".
    So what, you staked your claim without even looking at the data? We took the opposite approach and gathered the data before writing about the board. It's right there under "Voltage Regulator" half-way down Page 4.
  • c.francioni
    Try to do oc on an unselected CPU, where to be stable at 5ghz 1.30v are not enough, then tell me what temperatures you have on VRM ....
    signed "happy owner of Aorus Master"
  • PapaCrazy
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
    The test showed that the board performed in an exemplary fashion. Disregarding the test data that doesn't agree with your assumptions is downright wrong.
    Anonymous said:
    Voltage regulator refinements? You mean downgrading to a 4 phase that runs hotter than all the other board at this price point? How is that a "refinement"? Did the Asus PR firm tell you to write that?
    Except that it didn't run hotter than all the other boards and was only a scant few degrees warmer than the Gigabyte board.


    What data are you referring to? There is no test for VRM temperatures in this review. You have to go elsewhere for that. While overclocking ("For Overclockers Only", right?) the VRM temps differ by more than a "scant few degrees".
    So what, you staked your claim without even looking at the data? We took the opposite approach and gathered the data before writing about the board. It's right there under "Voltage Regulator" half-way down Page 4.



    My 'claim' comes from Hardware Unboxed who measured temps of about 15c difference. Curious why the results differ so much. There are rightful questions about VRM quality and marketing dishonesty. You're out of touch with community concerns to ignore these in your review.
  • lefurre
    Hardware Unboxed noted that the Asus Hero enforced the TDP limit on the 9900k. That's why the VRM isn't showing as an issue.

    Gigabyte also ran TDP at stock settings.

    Once reviewers equalized the overclock levels on the boards (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock) that's when the 9900k drama began but it also highlighted that ASUS used 4 phase VRM.

    Hardware Unboxed called them out for lying to their consumers - in fact, Hardware Unboxed were not supplied a test sample of the Hero. They bought it themselves to test.

    It's there on YouTube. Go look.
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Try to do oc on an unselected CPU, where to be stable at 5ghz 1.30v are not enough, then tell me what temperatures you have on VRM ....
    signed "happy owner of Aorus Master"
    We can't push the CPU any higher without overheating it, so long as we're using Prime95 small-FFTs to test it. Would you have us use a less-stressful test at higher clocks and voltages?
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
    The test showed that the board performed in an exemplary fashion. Disregarding the test data that doesn't agree with your assumptions is downright wrong.
    Except that it didn't run hotter than all the other boards and was only a scant few degrees warmer than the Gigabyte board.


    What data are you referring to? There is no test for VRM temperatures in this review. You have to go elsewhere for that. While overclocking ("For Overclockers Only", right?) the VRM temps differ by more than a "scant few degrees".
    So what, you staked your claim without even looking at the data? We took the opposite approach and gathered the data before writing about the board. It's right there under "Voltage Regulator" half-way down Page 4.



    My 'claim' comes from Hardware Unboxed who measured temps of about 15c difference. Curious why the results differ so much. There are rightful questions about VRM quality and marketing dishonesty. You're out of touch with community concerns to ignore these in your review.
    I knew about your concerns, so I looked for the potential problems during the testing. Did you expect me to say, "even though we didn't see high heat or poor efficiency, we need to warn you that the design could theoretically produce high heat and poor efficiency"? Having found no alarming heat or power data, I decided that the most honest thing to do was to let you argue about it here.
    Anonymous said:
    Hardware Unboxed noted that the Asus Hero enforced the TDP limit on the 9900k. That's why the VRM isn't showing as an issue.

    Gigabyte also ran TDP at stock settings.

    Once reviewers equalized the overclock levels on the boards (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock) that's when the 9900k drama began but it also highlighted that ASUS used 4 phase VRM.

    Hardware Unboxed called them out for lying to their consumers - in fact, Hardware Unboxed were not supplied a test sample of the Hero. They bought it themselves to test.

    It's there on YouTube. Go look.
    I really wish you'd read the review before you say we didn't do something. We did normalize it. That's why the charts show two results for the board, "default" and "uncap". Go look.
  • PapaCrazy
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Try to do oc on an unselected CPU, where to be stable at 5ghz 1.30v are not enough, then tell me what temperatures you have on VRM ....
    signed "happy owner of Aorus Master"
    We can't push the CPU any higher without overheating it, so long as we're using Prime95 small-FFTs to test it. Would you have us use a less-stressful test at higher clocks and voltages?
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
    The test showed that the board performed in an exemplary fashion. Disregarding the test data that doesn't agree with your assumptions is downright wrong.
    Except that it didn't run hotter than all the other boards and was only a scant few degrees warmer than the Gigabyte board.


    What data are you referring to? There is no test for VRM temperatures in this review. You have to go elsewhere for that. While overclocking ("For Overclockers Only", right?) the VRM temps differ by more than a "scant few degrees".
    So what, you staked your claim without even looking at the data? We took the opposite approach and gathered the data before writing about the board. It's right there under "Voltage Regulator" half-way down Page 4.



    My 'claim' comes from Hardware Unboxed who measured temps of about 15c difference. Curious why the results differ so much. There are rightful questions about VRM quality and marketing dishonesty. You're out of touch with community concerns to ignore these in your review.
    I knew about your concerns, so I looked for the potential problems during the testing. Did you expect me to say, "even though we didn't see high heat or poor efficiency, we need to warn you that the design could theoretically produce high heat and poor efficiency"? Having found no alarming heat or power data, I decided that the most honest thing to do was to let you argue about it here.
    Anonymous said:
    Hardware Unboxed noted that the Asus Hero enforced the TDP limit on the 9900k. That's why the VRM isn't showing as an issue.

    Gigabyte also ran TDP at stock settings.

    Once reviewers equalized the overclock levels on the boards (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock) that's when the 9900k drama began but it also highlighted that ASUS used 4 phase VRM.

    Hardware Unboxed called them out for lying to their consumers - in fact, Hardware Unboxed were not supplied a test sample of the Hero. They bought it themselves to test.

    It's there on YouTube. Go look.
    I really wish you'd read the review before you say we didn't do something. We did normalize it. That's why the charts show two results for the board, "default" and "uncap". Go look.


    Since you’re asking me edit questions (I suspect rhetorically, but nonetheless) here’s your copy: “PC builders have had concerns over the marketing accuracy and design of Asus’s “twin 8 phase” VRM, which implements four increased amperage phases and a switcher. Competing boards in the same price range offer up to 12 phases, but have less rated amperage per phase. We found only slight differences in VRM temperatures between boards in our testing.”

    If the biggest thing on everyone’s mind is the VRM quality, enough to cause a controversy (as other manufacturers have caused for pulling the same stunt) then I’d expect a publication with readers’ interests in mind to address that somehow. Either with an in-depth review that uses thermal probes or camera, in a variety of test condition to thoroughly address the question or, lacking that, certainly more than a euphemism like “refined voltage regulator”. If I purchased a Hero over an Aorus based on their stated equivalency in this review I’d feel misled.

    And, no, arguing with people in the comments section does not count as honest journalism. Maybe that was tongue in cheek, but it’s an indicator of TH’s current direction.
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Try to do oc on an unselected CPU, where to be stable at 5ghz 1.30v are not enough, then tell me what temperatures you have on VRM ....
    signed "happy owner of Aorus Master"
    We can't push the CPU any higher without overheating it, so long as we're using Prime95 small-FFTs to test it. Would you have us use a less-stressful test at higher clocks and voltages?
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
    The test showed that the board performed in an exemplary fashion. Disregarding the test data that doesn't agree with your assumptions is downright wrong.
    Except that it didn't run hotter than all the other boards and was only a scant few degrees warmer than the Gigabyte board.


    What data are you referring to? There is no test for VRM temperatures in this review. You have to go elsewhere for that. While overclocking ("For Overclockers Only", right?) the VRM temps differ by more than a "scant few degrees".
    So what, you staked your claim without even looking at the data? We took the opposite approach and gathered the data before writing about the board. It's right there under "Voltage Regulator" half-way down Page 4.



    My 'claim' comes from Hardware Unboxed who measured temps of about 15c difference. Curious why the results differ so much. There are rightful questions about VRM quality and marketing dishonesty. You're out of touch with community concerns to ignore these in your review.
    I knew about your concerns, so I looked for the potential problems during the testing. Did you expect me to say, "even though we didn't see high heat or poor efficiency, we need to warn you that the design could theoretically produce high heat and poor efficiency"? Having found no alarming heat or power data, I decided that the most honest thing to do was to let you argue about it here.
    Anonymous said:
    Hardware Unboxed noted that the Asus Hero enforced the TDP limit on the 9900k. That's why the VRM isn't showing as an issue.

    Gigabyte also ran TDP at stock settings.

    Once reviewers equalized the overclock levels on the boards (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock) that's when the 9900k drama began but it also highlighted that ASUS used 4 phase VRM.

    Hardware Unboxed called them out for lying to their consumers - in fact, Hardware Unboxed were not supplied a test sample of the Hero. They bought it themselves to test.

    It's there on YouTube. Go look.
    I really wish you'd read the review before you say we didn't do something. We did normalize it. That's why the charts show two results for the board, "default" and "uncap". Go look.


    Since you’re asking me edit questions (I suspect rhetorically, but nonetheless) here’s your copy: “PC builders have had concerns over the marketing accuracy and design of Asus’s “twin 8 phase” VRM, which implements four increased amperage phases and a switcher. Competing boards in the same price range offer up to 12 phases, but have less rated amperage per phase. We found only slight differences in VRM temperatures between boards in our testing.”

    If the biggest thing on everyone’s mind is the VRM quality, enough to cause a controversy (as other manufacturers have caused for pulling the same stunt) then I’d expect a publication with readers’ interests in mind to address that somehow. Either with an in-depth review that uses thermal probes or camera, in a variety of test condition to thoroughly address the question or, lacking that, certainly more than a euphemism like “refined voltage regulator”. If I purchased a Hero over an Aorus based on their stated equivalency in this review I’d feel misled.

    And, no, arguing with people in the comments section does not count as honest journalism. Maybe that was tongue in cheek, but it’s an indicator of TH’s current direction.
    Current direction, past direction, as far as I can remember we've always hashed out with readers the stuff we couldn't prove in testing.

    I do like the way you phrased that first paragraph though, too bad you're not writing for us yet. We also had a grand tradition of writers showing up the boss that would probably be worth revisiting.
  • PapaCrazy
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Try to do oc on an unselected CPU, where to be stable at 5ghz 1.30v are not enough, then tell me what temperatures you have on VRM ....
    signed "happy owner of Aorus Master"
    We can't push the CPU any higher without overheating it, so long as we're using Prime95 small-FFTs to test it. Would you have us use a less-stressful test at higher clocks and voltages?
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    No mention of the 4 phase being marketed as "twin 8" phase? Then you give this 4 phase board the same exact rating as a competing board that has 12? VRM temps have been shown to be over 15c difference. This review is neglectful, and its advice is downright wrong.
    The test showed that the board performed in an exemplary fashion. Disregarding the test data that doesn't agree with your assumptions is downright wrong.
    Except that it didn't run hotter than all the other boards and was only a scant few degrees warmer than the Gigabyte board.


    What data are you referring to? There is no test for VRM temperatures in this review. You have to go elsewhere for that. While overclocking ("For Overclockers Only", right?) the VRM temps differ by more than a "scant few degrees".
    So what, you staked your claim without even looking at the data? We took the opposite approach and gathered the data before writing about the board. It's right there under "Voltage Regulator" half-way down Page 4.



    My 'claim' comes from Hardware Unboxed who measured temps of about 15c difference. Curious why the results differ so much. There are rightful questions about VRM quality and marketing dishonesty. You're out of touch with community concerns to ignore these in your review.
    I knew about your concerns, so I looked for the potential problems during the testing. Did you expect me to say, "even though we didn't see high heat or poor efficiency, we need to warn you that the design could theoretically produce high heat and poor efficiency"? Having found no alarming heat or power data, I decided that the most honest thing to do was to let you argue about it here.
    Anonymous said:
    Hardware Unboxed noted that the Asus Hero enforced the TDP limit on the 9900k. That's why the VRM isn't showing as an issue.

    Gigabyte also ran TDP at stock settings.

    Once reviewers equalized the overclock levels on the boards (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock) that's when the 9900k drama began but it also highlighted that ASUS used 4 phase VRM.

    Hardware Unboxed called them out for lying to their consumers - in fact, Hardware Unboxed were not supplied a test sample of the Hero. They bought it themselves to test.

    It's there on YouTube. Go look.
    I really wish you'd read the review before you say we didn't do something. We did normalize it. That's why the charts show two results for the board, "default" and "uncap". Go look.


    Since you’re asking me edit questions (I suspect rhetorically, but nonetheless) here’s your copy: “PC builders have had concerns over the marketing accuracy and design of Asus’s “twin 8 phase” VRM, which implements four increased amperage phases and a switcher. Competing boards in the same price range offer up to 12 phases, but have less rated amperage per phase. We found only slight differences in VRM temperatures between boards in our testing.”

    If the biggest thing on everyone’s mind is the VRM quality, enough to cause a controversy (as other manufacturers have caused for pulling the same stunt) then I’d expect a publication with readers’ interests in mind to address that somehow. Either with an in-depth review that uses thermal probes or camera, in a variety of test condition to thoroughly address the question or, lacking that, certainly more than a euphemism like “refined voltage regulator”. If I purchased a Hero over an Aorus based on their stated equivalency in this review I’d feel misled.

    And, no, arguing with people in the comments section does not count as honest journalism. Maybe that was tongue in cheek, but it’s an indicator of TH’s current direction.
    Current direction, past direction, as far as I can remember we've always hashed out with readers the stuff we couldn't prove in testing.

    I do like the way you phrased that first paragraph though, too bad you're not writing for us yet. We also had a grand tradition of writers showing up the boss that would probably be worth revisiting.



    Well, my statements on the article still stand (people who aren’t up to date on community ramblings, or scroll to the comments deserve the heads up) but I do appreciate you, or any other staff, willing to hash it up with readers.

    Still got faith in TH community, including writers. I’m sure there’s enough panicked pundits around to shake the tree still.