Asus ROG Maximus IX Hero Intel Z270 ATX Motherboard Review

Software And Firmware

Asus Aura RGB lighting controller, GameFirst IV network packet prioritization, Sonic Studio III audio application, and Sonic Radar III noise source locator (for games), are all carried over from other ROG-series motherboards, such as the previously tested Strix Z270E.

Asus’ Dual Intelligent Processors 5 (DIP 5) application is also unchanged from the previous review, and its 5-way optimization automatic overclocking function pushed our Core i7-7700K to 5.0/4.9 GHz (2/4 cores loaded) at 1.375V. Dropping to 1.33V under load, Prime95 crashed before the processor had a chance to reach its 100°C thermal threshold (where it would have forced a lower multiplier).

Other DIP 5 applications include the previously unmentioned Keybot II macro programmer, Asus RamCache II, and Asus RAMDisk.

Maximus IX Hero Firmware

This Core i7-7700K sample regularly hits 4.80 GHz at 1.30V, and the Maximus IX Hero was no exception. The big news was in DRAM overclocking, where the board blew straight past DDR4-4000 to achieve record setting overclocks.

Various motherboards produce various measured DIMM voltage levels at various firmware settings. Keeping the measured voltage of G.Skill’s 1.35V-rated DDR4-3866 below 1.355V gives all motherboards an equal opportunity for an overclocking prize. The Maximus IX Hero’s 1.340V DIMM setting reached just over 1.350V measured, though the motherboard reported 1.344V.

Found within the Maximus IX Hero’s External Digi+ Power Control menu, CPU Load-Line Calibration compensates for reductions of CPU core voltage under load, commonly known as “vdroop.” While the board’s Level 5 setting still allowed this CPU’s core voltage to sag below the targeted 1.30V, its Level 6 setting pushed load voltage beyond baseline voltage. Dropping the motherboard’s baseline voltage to 1.295V while retaining its Level 6 calibration setting allowed the fully loaded processor to reach 4.80 GHz at its expected thermal, voltage, and wattage readings.

The Maximus IX Hero also includes some very well devised integrated overclocking profiles, including a Gamer’s OC Profile of 4.6 to 4.8 GHz at 1.325V, with XMP enabled. The DDR-4000 profile also worked at full stability with all four DDR4-3866 DIMMs installed, but called upon excessive voltage levels of 1.50V DIMM, 1.30V VCCIO and VCCSA. Unfortunately, the 5GHz profile allowed a Prime95 crash at 1.408V, even before that extra voltage could push this CPU to its thermal threshold. Some CPUs overclock better than others.

DRAM tuning fanatics are welcome to try their hand at optimized timings through the Maximus IX Hero’s full range of latency settings.

Tuners are also welcome to choose their own power limits, thermal limits, and DRAM reference voltage settings.

Full fan control is available through firmware, including manually switching between automatic detection, PWM, and Voltage control modes.

Tools include Asus EZ Flash GUI for flashing firmware, on-board storage of up to eight firmware configuration sets (profiles), plus the ability to export these to a USB flash drive, and “H-Panel” overclocking hot key functions.

Anyone afraid of messing with the Maximus IX Hero’s advanced settings can press their keyboard’s F7 key to switch back to EZ mode. On the other hand, those who want their systems to enter EZ mode by default must find that setting within the boot settings menu of . . . Advanced mode.

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  • Tannerleo
    EKWB just released a monoblock for this mobo.
  • falchard
    Garbage board. They should have been working on their x370 bios instead of producing another z270 mobo.
  • FD2Raptor
    "Today that award is Editor Recommended, as this editor recommends the Maximus IX Gene to serious overclockers."

    And then the last sentence...
  • Crashman
    1599487 said:
    "Today that award is Editor Recommended, as this editor recommends the Maximus IX Gene to serious overclockers." And then the last sentence...
    LOL, it's fixed now. This was not an official "unofficial leak" :D

    I'm just sad that I now need to retain both motherboards in case the other one is ever needed for a graphics scaling update.
  • mapesdhs
    "stunner"
    "serious overclockers"

    I have to say, here we have a CPU that can reach 4.5 anyway, and all it gets up to on these boards is 4.8? That's less than 7%. Ho hum, not exactly the days of SB anymore. Struggling to see the relevance of overclocking these days.

    Ian.
  • Dunlop0078
    117741 said:
    "stunner" "serious overclockers" I have to say, here we have a CPU that can reach 4.5 anyway, and all it gets up to on these boards is 4.8? That's less than 7%. Ho hum, not exactly the days of SB anymore. Struggling to see the relevance of overclocking these days. Ian.


    Thats likely all there U12S cooler was capable of not the mobo, not sure why they would use that. I can easily hit 5ghz on my 7700k with a Z270 strix mobo which has a less robust VRM, most 7700k's will if you can keep them cool.
  • FD2Raptor
    It definitely have to do with that cooler as even when: "The ROG Maximus IX Hero uses less power at full load with all processor defaults enabled (like all the competing samples). It also produces less heat with these features."

    It still produces 47 degrees over ambient with the 7700k at "Motherboard Defaults" with the U12S at full fanspeed.
  • Crashman
    1580297 said:
    117741 said:
    "stunner" "serious overclockers" I have to say, here we have a CPU that can reach 4.5 anyway, and all it gets up to on these boards is 4.8? That's less than 7%. Ho hum, not exactly the days of SB anymore. Struggling to see the relevance of overclocking these days. Ian.
    Thats likely all there U12S cooler was capable of not the mobo, not sure why they would use that. I can easily hit 5ghz on my 7700k with a Z270 strix mobo which has a less robust VRM, most 7700k's will if you can keep them cool.
    We tried "brigging up" the cooling. Under ideal conditions where we could hold a 100% load at 100% AVX optimization and at 1.35V, this processor would still not hold 4.9 GHz for more than about an hour.

    I see lots of guys saying "I have 100% stable at 5 GHz" and then we see that they have a -2 or -3 AVX offset. Well, that's not 100% stable at 5 GHz, it's 100% stable at 4.8 or 4.7 GHz. We get that. It's exactly what we have in this CPU.
  • Crashman
    1599487 said:
    It definitely have to do with that cooler as even when: "The ROG Maximus IX Hero uses less power at full load with all processor defaults enabled (like all the competing samples). It also produces less heat with these features." It still produces 47 degrees over ambient with the 7700k at "Motherboard Defaults" with the U12S at full fanspeed.
    It's a lot easier to use an award-winning board in our memory reviews, and this thing had a big accomplishment there.You'll see even greater accomplishments in that area as the new serious of memory reviews are published. And it's not like I could split the "Editor's Choice" award once given: The IX Hero deserved some kind of recognition so it got the closest matching award.
  • akula2
    Hello Thomas,

    Regd. 'Asus left out the intended Wi-Fi module to justify the Maximus IX Hero’s sub-premium pricing.'

    I've bought over a dozen ROG boards ever since the brand was launched. I also recommended this board to most contacts and friends who are interested in Gaming (relaxation, not 'Gamers') too. To many of them (if not me), this board is not "sub-premium" because they would never care for any other high-end ROG boards like Formula. Making sense?

    Point is, I'm somewhat disappointed with Asus' pricing of this board, i.e stuck with, say $230. I thought given the hardware evolution, it shouldn't cost more than $180 or so. $230 sounds OK with Wi-Fi module.

    Also, I do not know what is the status on Hero Alpha board? Perhaps dropped in favor of Maximus IX Code or re-branded it? I think that might cost $300 or so with Wi-Fi and other goodies.

    The biggest disappointment: they dropped RANGER board.

    I reckon it is a stupid and arrogant move by Asus because RANGER is the best single GPU board for its price, features and performance. No wonder why I bought four boards, and made many pals and relatives to buy it too!.

    Anyway, Asus made a similar aggressive move with Zenfone 3 series after Zenfone 2 phones met with quite a success. But it fell flat on their faces! This is what happens when a big company takes its customers for granted and milks them heavily under the disguise of brand power.

    It works for certain period of time, hence I'm not buy this board unless I see drop in prices or Code becomes less premium. It's not worth to invest in heavily depreciating computer components such as CPUs, Boards, GPUs and more.

    But which 'competitive' board to buy with Wi-Fi? I did not do a single Kaby Lake personal build until now. Perhaps I might give it a pass or wait for some more time (Ryzen + Vega performance results).
  • mapesdhs
    1580297 said:
    Thats likely all there U12S cooler was capable of not the mobo, not sure why they would use that. I can easily hit 5ghz on my 7700k with a Z270 strix mobo which has a less robust VRM, most 7700k's will if you can keep them cool.


    Still utterly unimpressive. All of this oc hype, expense, etc. for only an 11% gain, not worth it IMO. By contrast, any 2700K will do 5.0 with just a boring old TRUE and one fan.

    Ian.
  • mapesdhs
    8708 said:
    ...You'll see even greater accomplishments in that area ...


    For many years now, faster memory has been consistently shown to be one of the worst items to spend extra money on when building a PC, especially for gaming. Why all of a sudden this hype around RAM speed? Toms has done plenty of articles in the past showing how one is much better off investing spare cash in a better CPU/GPU rather than faster RAM. We used to read about the sweet spots in RAM for gaming, etc., but now what has overnight become an expensive product is being talked up despite marginal benefits.

    Ian.
  • Crashman
    207844 said:
    I'm somewhat disappointed with Asus' pricing of this board, i.e stuck with, say $230. I thought given the hardware evolution, it shouldn't cost more than $180 or so. $230 sounds OK with Wi-Fi module.
    Really this board is just about a few overclockers with moderate skill and excessive means chasing that last 1% of performance from a low-maintenance PC, so they can set it up and run it for a year before it breaks or they do a complete upgrade. Components designed for that market niche occasionally make it easier for me to review stuff, and this is one of those occasions.

    If the board were $180 I'd have recommended it to a far greater number of buyers. I'd have even been a bit more tolerant of a $220 price if it had the Wi-Fi adapter. But $230 without the Wi-Fi keeps me focusing my recommendation on that previously mentioned niche.

    117741 said:
    8708 said:
    ...You'll see even greater accomplishments in that area ...
    For many years now, faster memory has been consistently shown to be one of the worst items to spend extra money on when building a PC, especially for gaming. Why all of a sudden this hype around RAM speed? Toms has done plenty of articles in the past showing how one is much better off investing spare cash in a better CPU/GPU rather than faster RAM. We used to read about the sweet spots in RAM for gaming, etc., but now what has overnight become an expensive product is being talked up despite marginal benefits. Ian.
    Because more RAM frequency allows me to continue doing high-end RAM reviews, and some people like high-end RAM reviews. Isn't that great?

    Actually, you'll see that it's a little bit more than that in the next RAM review. We've finally gotten enough CPU and GPU power in a single processor and card that we're able to lean on the RAM for performance in certain apps. It might not be that huge win that overturns value competitions, but it's still enough to keep the big spenders chasing the dream.
  • rantoc
    Shame intel resorted to use crap TIM between the CPU and the heat spreader or that CPU would most likely have clocked far better. Ryzen have proper soldering AND is cheaper kinda makes me wonder about intels margins are when they can't even spend a few dimes on a proper thermal solution causing the CPU's heat to spike. Deliding the latest intel cpu's can drastically reduce the heat (15-20c) where Ryzens proper solution only lowers the temp 2-3c.
  • zohaib_6
    Asus Rog Maximus ix Hero Review is new version
  • zohaib_6
    Asus Rog Maximus ix Hero Review