ASUS ROG Maximus XI HERO (Wi-Fi)October, 2018
ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E Gaming Motherboard - Close Up
The ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E Gaming is styled in black and silver. This is a top-tier product that retails at $245 US so expect lots of features packed inside this motherboard. The motherboard comes in the standard ATX form factor. You can note the gaming nature of this motherboard all the way from top to bottom and it is something that ASUS ROG STRIX series motherboards are known for.
The board uses the LGA 1151 socket to support Intel Core processors. The socket is compatible with Intel's 8th & 9th Generation core family. The socket has a protective cover on top of it that points out the exclusivity with Coffee Lake CPUs and refrains users from running an older 6th or 7th generation CPU as they won't work with these motherboards at all.
Next to the socket are four DDR4 DIMM slots which can support up to 64 GB dual channel memory. These slots are rated to support XMP profiles up to 4266 MHz (OC Plus). Each slot is labeled, making it easier to install DIMMs in the proper orientation.
The motherboard packs an 8+2 Extreme Engine Digi+ VRM supply. The board also uses Micro-Fine Alloy Chokes and 10,000 hours rated black metallic capacitors. All ROG motherboards should ensure top-notch overclocking and the best stability on unlocked 9th and 8th Gen processors. ASUS themselves state that the boards will offer 5 GHz+ overclocking capabilities across all 8 cores using their AI assisted Overclocking technology with 5-Way Optimization.
As you can see, the VRMs are getting ample cooling from the two metallic heatsinks that are beefy in terms of overall size. This motherboard is designed for 5 GHz overclocking on the new Intel Core i9, 8 core CPUs so expect stable operation of the electrical circuitry when this board is running.
If you look in closely, the heatsink solution comes with MOS Fan holder where you can place an active cooling solution of your choice for extra VRM cooling. The VRM heatsinks come with small thermal pads that help helps transfer heat from the inductor and phase array to the heatsink, and the heatsink's large cooling surface then chills the power phase.
ASUS is also using Digital LEDs within the top I/O cover that gives a nice 3D effect, emitting light through the I/O panel and front of the heatsinks when the motherboard is operational.
An illuminated ROG logo with a natural diffuse glow and onboard I/O shroud lighting with a futuristic cyber-text pattern gives ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming a unique and arresting design that communicates its gaming identity. The cyber outlook extends to the PCB and heatsink with subtle textures that contribute a premium look and feel.
The CPU is supplied power through a single 8-pin power connector configuration. This will feed the CPU with over 200W of power. Most Intel CPUs will be shipping with TDPs under 100W but that changes when users overclock since that changes the power limit based on applied voltages and clock speed.
Expansion slots include three PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16/x8/x8 electrical), three PCI Express 3.0 x1 and two M.2 slots. The board can support 2-way multi-GPU (CrossFireX /SLI/NVLINK). The M.2 slots are rated to support NVMe PCIe gen3 x4 and Intel Optane series memory.
ASUS is using their PCI-E Safe Slots on the sides of the expansion slots which provides protection to some extent. It adds more retention and shearing resistance by reinforcing the slots with metal plates. Aside from adding more protection, they do look really sweet.
Both M.2 slots feature the M.2 heatsink that comes with a large metallic plate, acting as a heatsink and further includes a thermal pad that can sustain higher temperatures when storage devices (M.2 SSDs) are stressed for long durations.
The PCH is cooled off by a large metallic heatsink which runs next to the SATA ports. There are several connectors next to the PCH.
The PCH heatsink is themed to represent the ASUS ROG Eye logo which offers a nice touch the motherboard.
Storage options include six SATA III ports rated to operate at 6 GB/s. These can support a total of six different storage devices at once. Many fan headers and jumpers can be found beneath the storage ports. You can also note a front panel USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector next to the SATA ports.
ASUS is using the latest high-end SupremeFX S1220 CODEC which makes use of the ESS ES9023P DAC, Impedance sense for front and rear channels, 120dB SNR stereo playback output, 113dB SNR recording input, Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar III, to deliver the most high-end, onboard sound system, a motherboard can offer.
The full list of connectors on the motherboard is listed as follows.
- 1 x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
- 1 x AAFP connector
- 2 x Aura RGB Strip Header(s)
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1(up to 5Gbps) connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)
- 2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
- 1 x M.2_FAN connector
- 1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
- 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)
- 2 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
- 1 x W_PUMP+ connector
- 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
- 1 x System panel(s) (Chassis intrusion header is inbuilt)
- 1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
- 1 x MemOK! II switch(es)
- 1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
- 1 x CPU OV
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
- 1 x Node Connector(s)
- 1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector
- 1 x COM port header
- 1 x AIO PUMP Header
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector
ASUS is using the Intel Wireless-AC 9560 module that offers 2x2 Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless capabilities.
Finally, we have the I/O panel which includes the following ports:
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
- 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (3 x Type-A+1 x USB Type-C)
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
- 5 x Audio jack(s)
- 1 x ASUS Wi-Fi Module
As you can see, the rear panel comes with a pre-mounted I/O shield that additionally uses ASUS's ESD Guard technology for protection against electrostatic charges and also the TrueVolt USB tech that offers 5V to all USB ports stability, minimizing the risk of power fluctuations.
ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E Gaming AURA SYNC RGB System:
ASUS is using their AURA SYNC RGB technology to power the lighting system on the ROG STRIX Z390 series. There's a range of customization available through the app which can be downloaded directly from ASUS's official webpage.
In addition to the built-in RGB illumination, it also features onboard RGB headers and an addressable RGB header that allow the motherboard to be connected to compatible LED devices such as strip, CPU fans, coolers, chassis and so on. Users may also synchronize RGB LED devices across the AURA Sync-certified accessories to create their own unique lighting effects.
Under the $300 US bracket, the ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) is one of the best board options for both 8th and 9th Gen processors, offering the perfect blend of high-performance OC and strong expandability options.
- Support for Intel 8th and 9th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs
- Up To 8 Core Processor Support
- ASUS's Best in Class BIOS (UEFI) Support on Z390 Series
- Excellent Overclocking Support on Unlocked Intel CPUs
- Excellent Design Scheme With Solid Heatsink Solution
- Excellent Build Quality With High-Quality VRM and PCB
- 8+2+2 Phase Extreme Engine DiGi+ VRM
- Heatpipe Implementation on the VRM Heatsinks is a plus
- Tons of Connectivity Options
- Tons of USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Gen 1 Ports
- Intel Wireless-AC 9560 With 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi
- Up To 4400 MHz (OC+) DDR4 Memory Support
- SupremeFX offers great onboard Audio
- Dual M.2 Slots With full coverage heatsinks
- Pre-Mounted I/O Shield
- Full ASUS AURA Sync RGB Support (Multiple Addressable RGB Headers)
- Lots of Software Support
- Price is slightly higher ($289.99 US)
- Only Two M.2 slots
- Only 1Gbps Ethernet LAN
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