As we come to the end of this review it is always fun to test a new platform. While sometimes it is more of the same in this case with Z690 and the Alder Lake platform it was a learning process, which can be frustrating, but at the same time really enjoyable.
When you are buying an ROG Maximus board you enter a top-tier segment and the Hero board is the entry point into that segment. So with that you are expecting a certain amount of features and this board delivers on a lot of them! Probably one of the most important things for users in this segment is power delivery and ASUS has this board stacked with a 20+1 power phase design and can easily handle a Core i9-12900K as well as overclocking. In our testing we did not run into any issues when it came to power delivery, or VRM temperatures. Also ASUS’s BIOS has so many in-depth settings for overclocking and system tweaking. For those not well-versed in overclocking this board has AI overclocking, which works quite well and takes the guess work out for a lot of people.
Of course we are getting PCI-Express 5.0 and DDR5 support on this board and even though there is not a PCI-Express 5.0 M.2 slot on the board you do get one by way of the included Hyper M.2 card. The interesting thing about this card is that if you plan on using a PCIe 5.0 M.2 drive the second slot gets disabled. And if you want to use both slots at PCIe 4.0 x4 you have to enable the second slot in the BIOS, which is not the easiest setting to find. I do like ASUS was pretty forward thinking though adding the Gen5 slot on the expansion card.
Other features you do get with this board include Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 gen 2×2, WiFi 6E and 2.5G LAN. It would have been nice to see 10G LAN at this level as 2.5G LAN is becoming very much a standard thing on even mid-range boards these days. One of my favorite features of this board is the PCIe slot Q-release button which is located right next to your DDR5 DIMM slots. No more struggling to press the release on the slot itself and scratching up the backplate on your graphics card.
This board looks excellent, but I do feel like the RGB lighting was really toned back on this. While the Polymo Lighting on the I/O cover is nice, it could have been a lot better or there could have been some type of screen added there. There is no lighting any other place on the board and that was a bit of a let-down.
Z690 is going to be more expensive in general and with the global chip shortage prices are changing weekly, but expect to pay between $650 – 700 for this board. If you are making the investment into an Alder Lake system you are going to be very happy with this board. Overall ThinkComputers gives the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score.
– Sleek design
– 20+1 Power Phase design
– Lots of overclocking options in the BIOS
– PCI-Express 5.0 and DDR5 support
– PCI-Express 5.0 M.2 support via the Hyper M.2 card
– Support for five M.2 drives out of the box
– Thunderbolt 4.0 and USB 3.2 gen 2×2
– PCIe slot Q-release butto
– Hyper M.2 card can be troublesome
– RGB lighting could be better
– 2.5G LAN feels basic for this board