ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero Motherboard Overview
Taking a first look at the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero it has a very solid look to it with a black PCB with black and silver accents. For those wondering this is a normal ATX motherboard.
Starting with the CPU socket we have Intel’s new LGA 1700 socket, which you will find on all Z690 motherboards. Most major CPU cooler brands have offered free LGA 1700 upgrade kits so if you were upgrading from LGA 1151 or even LGA 1200 you may not need to buy a new CPU cooler.
Surrounding the CPU socket we have our power delivery components. ASUS is using a 20+1 teamed power stage design, so a 10-phase VRM with teamed Intersil ISL99390 power stages that run in parallel for each phase. These power stages each support 90A. You also have MicroFine Alloy chokes and 10K black metallic capacitors. Covering the power delivery components are two large heatsinks which are connected by a heatpipe and the rear I/O cover sort of brings the top corner of the board together nicely. The I/O cover does have a sort of mirror-like finish on it, but will light up with RGB lighting which we will show you in just a bit.
At the top corner of the board you’ll find two 8-pin EPS connectors, which are metal reinforced. As a reminder in most cases you’ll only need to connect one of these. As we move over the top edge of the board we’ll find four 4pin fan headers as well as a POST code display. The headers are as follows CPU fan, optional CPU fan, AIO pump, and channel fan. The channel fan headers on this board do support ASUS HydraNode.
There are four DDR5 DIMM slots on this motherboard which support up to 128GB of DDR5-6400 memory. These slots do not have locks on the bottom which makes it easier to swap out memory once you have a graphics card installed. Right next to the memory slots is ASUS’s new PCIe slot Q-release button. This is a physical button that when pressed unlocks the first PCIe slot’s security latch. This is something that was definitely needed on the ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme as we actually had to remove the top M.2 heatsink to access the PCIe release button.
Along the edge of the board you’ll find a 3-pin addressable RGB header, retry button, start button, Flex Key button, 24-pin ATX power connection, 6-pin PCIe power connection for the Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB 3.2 gen 2×2 header, a USB 3.2 gen 1 header, six SATA 6GB/s ports, and a second USB 3.2 gen 1 header. The SATA ports and USB 3.2 gen 1 headers are at a 90-degree angle so they are not in the way of your graphics cards.
Along the bottom of the board you’ll find the rest of your headers and connections. From left to right you have your HD audio headers, a 4-pin standard RGB header, two 3-in addressable RGB headers, three 4-pin fan headers, two USB 2.0 headers, temperature sensor header, water pump header, two water temperature headers, water flow header, and your front panel headers.
Like most motherboards these days the bottom of the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is covered by heatsinks. There are three main heatsinks on the board, two for the M.2 slots and one that covers the PCH. There both a small “HERO” logo and larger ROG logo on the chipset heatsink. As far as expansion slots on the board go we have two PCI-Express 5.0 x16 slots (x16/x8) and a single PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slot (x4 electrical). The top two slots are metal reinforced while the other two are not.
Removing the top and bottom heatsinks reveals our M.2 drives. The first and third slots (the ones with the blue thermal tape) are PCI-Express 4.0 x4 slots, while the second slot is only a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 slot. All of these slots feature ASUS’s Q-Latch which makes installing a removing M.2 drives tool-less and a breeze!
Coming to the rear I/O we have an integrated I/O shield that is all black. As far as buttons and connections go from left to right there is a clear CMOS button, BIOS flashback button, HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2.5G LAN, seven USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (6x type-A, 1x type-C), WiFi antenna connections, and your audio connections.