ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Motherboard Overview
Taking a first look at the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero we can see that it is a standard ATX motherboard. ASUS has what I call the “blacked out” look on this board, you have an all black PCB with black accents throughout. All of the heatsinks are black and then you have some glossy black elements on the chipset heatsink and rear I/O cover.
Starting at the CPU socket we have Intel’s new LGA1200 socket, this socket supports 10th generation Intel Core “Comet Lake-S” desktop processors and should support the upcoming “Rocket Lake-S” processors as well. While the socket is not backwards-compatible with older Intel CPUs, it is cooler-compatible, so your older Intel cooler should work on this socket no problem.
The CPU socket is literally surrounded by heatsinks, all of which are connected by a large heatpipe. These heatsinks are of course covering the power delivery components. ASUS is making use of a 14+2 power phase design that uses 60A power stages. With 14 power stages for the CPU you have a maximum output of 840A. The board also features MicroFine alloy chokes and 10K Japanese-made black metallic capacitors.
At the top corner of the board you’ll find your 8-pin EPS connector and an addition 4-pin. The 8-pin connector is metal reinforced.
Moving across the top of the board you have your optimal CPU fan header, CPU fan header (grey), AiO pump header, 4-pin standard RGB header, 3-pin addressable RGB header, and a post code display.
Coming over to the memory slots we have for DDR4 DIMM slots which support DDR4 memory up to 4800 MHz. They do not have the locks on the bottom, which makes swapping out memory once you have your graphics card installed much easier.
Along the edge of the board you have a large power button, flex key button, 24-pin ATX power connection, a USB 3.2 gen 2 header, 4-pin fan header, USB 3.2 gen 1 header, six SATA 6GB/s ports, and waterflow headers. The six SATA 6GB/s ports and USB 3.2 gen 1 header are all at a 90 degree angle. The flex button is a remappable button which can be set to reset, switch Aura Sync on or off, boot directly into the UEFI, or Safe Boot with UEFI defaults.
Along the bottom of the board you have the rest of your headers and connections which include your front panel audio headers, 4-pin standard RGB header, 3-pin addressable RGB header, retry button, TPM header, two USB 2.0 headers, temperature prob header, three 4-pin fan headers, and your front panel headers.
The bottom half of the board is basically one large heatsink which encompasses the chipset heatsink and M.2 heatsinks. There are a total of three M.2 slots on this board. Two sit together while the third is a little further down. The top and bottom slots support M.2 SSDs up to 110mm while the middle slot only supports SSDs up to 80 mm. Remember these slots support both PCI-Express and SATA M.2 SSDs.
As far as expansion slots on the board you have three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16, x8, x4) and three PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots. Remember if you install two graphics cards they both will run at x8 speeds. The top two PCI-Express x16 slots are metal reinforced.
When it comes to audio ASUS is making use of their Super SupremeFX S1220 codec, an ESS ES9023P digital-to-analog converter for superior front-panel output, and a Texas Instruments RC4580 op amp for high gain with low distortion.
Coming around to the rear I/O we of course have an integrated I/O shield. As far as button and connections on the rear I/O from left to right you have a clear CMOS button, BIOS flashback button, two USB 2.0 ports (one in the BIOS flashback port), HDMI, two USB 3.2 gen 1 ports, 1G Ethernet, 5G Ethernet, four USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (3x Type-A, 1x Type-C), two more USB 3.2 gen 1 ports, WiFi antennas, and your audio connections. The 5G Ethernet port is powered by the Marvell AQtion AQC111C controller.
For those wondering about RGB lighting you have lighting on the ROG logo on the chipset heatsink and across the “HERO” logo on the I/O cover. Overall I think it looks quite good.