Skip to main content

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Review: DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 Arrive

The Z690 Hero sports a powerful VRM, PCIe 5.0 storage, and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity for $599.99.

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero
(Image: © Asus)

Firmware

Asus’ Z690 ROG BIOS is essentially the same as what we saw with Z590--save some items new to Alder Lake (P and E core adjustments, to name a couple). The ROG red theme remains, as does the ease of movement through the UEFI. It’s loaded with options and menus, though the most frequently accessed items are easily accessible and not buried several layers down. There’s also an easy mode that’s more of a dashboard with limited functionality. In all, we’re a fan of the Asus BIOS and its logical layout. It has everything you need, and then some, to tweak your motherboard and component settings.

Image 1 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 7 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 8 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 9 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 10 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 11 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 12 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 13 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 14 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 15 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 16 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 17 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 18 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 19 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 20 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 21 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 22 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 23 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 24 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 25 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 26 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 27 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 28 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 29 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 30 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 31 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 32 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 33 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 34 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 35 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 36 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 37 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 38 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 39 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 40 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 41 of 41

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Software

Asus has 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, we’ll capture several screenshots of a few major utilities moving forward. In this case, here’s a look at Ai Suite 3, Armoury Crate, Sonic Studio and the Realtek Audio application.

Image 1 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 7 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 8 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 9 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 10 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 11 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 12 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 13 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 14 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 15 of 16

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

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

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Test System / Comparison Products 

As of October 2021, we’ve updated our test system to Windows 11 64-bit OS with all updates applied. We kept the same Asus TUF RTX 3070 video card as on our previous testing platforms, but updated the driver to version 496.13. Additionally, our game selection was updated, as noted in the table below. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public, unless otherwise noted. The hardware used is as follows:

Test System Components

CPUIntel Core i9-12900K
MemoryKingston Fury DDR5 5200 CL40 (9KF552C40BBK2-32)
GSkill Trident Z DDR5 5600 CL36 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingMSI MEG Coreliquid S360
PSUEVGA Supernova 850W P6
SoftwareWindows 11 64-bit (21H2, Build 22000.282)
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 496.13
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)
Image 1 of 7

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 7

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 7

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 7

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 5 of 7

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 6 of 7

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

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

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

EVGA supplied our Supernova 850W P6 power supply (appropriately sized and more efficient than the outgoing 1.2KW monster we used) for our test systems, and GSkill for sent us a fast and good-looking DDR5-5600 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK) memory kit for launch day testing. MSI and Asus also sent launch day kits. 

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
ProcyonVersion 2.0.249 64
Office Suite, Video Editing (Premier Pro), Photo Editing (Photoshop, Lightroom Classic)
3DMarkVersion 2.20.7290 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R20Version RBBENCHMARK330542
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
BlenderVersion 2.93.1
Full benchmark (all six sub-tests)
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 21.03-beta
Integrated benchmark (Command Line)
Game Tests and Settings
Far Cry 6Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HD Textures ON
F1 2021Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HBAO+, RT Med, TAA + 16xAF, Bahrain, FPS Counter ON

MORE: Best Motherboards

MORE: How To Choose A Motherboard

MORE: All Motherboard Content

  • litcube
    Hi. Stupid question: Wouldn't there have been more value in benchmarking different z690 boards with the same CPU/RAM configuration? What useful information could we possibly glean from different CPU, different ram, different boards?
    Reply
  • PapaCrazy
    $600 is outrageous. DDR5/PCI5 don't justify this kind of gen to gen price increase. Asus seems intent to drive customers to the Aorus Master, which at $470 has even stronger VRM and looks better too.
    Reply