Introduction, Design Features
Asus never does half measures with a Crosshair mainboards.
As always, a member hulk directed for a distant reaches of a marketplace with a ROG Crosshair VI Hero, a flagship motherboard for AMD’s absolute Ryzen 7 processors. Naturally, this Socket AM4 house is in Asus’ Republic of Gamers (ROG) series, that is a vigilance to pattern a resources of fan facilities and more-than-passing support for overclocking. Bearing AMD’s high-end X370 chipset and a sharp RGB-lighting arrangement, this house will hoard copiousness of courtesy from gamers looking to build PCs around a new AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, or one of a obtuse (but still potent) Ryzen 7 or 5 CPUs.
After a prolonged widen low in a shade of Intel’s Core processors, AMD’s CPU business is solidly behind in contention, opposed for a attentions of enthusiast-level buyers. The AMD Ryzen 7 processors have 8 cores (with support for 16 threads) and boast, in a box of a Ryzen 7 1800X, turbo speeds adult to 4GHz. Aside from some issues associated to frame rates when personification PC games during 1080p, from launch a Ryzen 7 CPUs have proven to be clever performers, with significantly revoke prices than homogeneous Intel silicon, given a tender volume of CPU oomph they deliver. The Ryzen 7 1800X, for example, outlines a tip of a Ryzen 7 line and sells for $499.99, good next high-end Core i7 processors in Intel’s Broadwell-E X99 series, such as a extravagantly costly ($1,500-plus!), 10-core Core i7-6950X Extreme EditionCore i7-6900. And a opening is distant closer than a vast differences in cost would suggest.
If we devise to put—gasp—two or some-more Nvidia graphics cards in SLI mode into your AMD Ryzen 7-based build, a chipset to span with your new CPU is a AMD X370. If you’re formulation on a CrossFire configuration, on a other hand, we have dual good choices. One is a X370, of course; a other is a one-step-down B350, that can be found on play with lighter cost tags than vast X370 beasts like a ROG Crosshair VI Hero.
Before we puncture into a ROG Crosshair VI Hero, we should indicate out that it isn’t a customarily X370 motherboard in Asus’ lineup. The Asus Prime X370-Pro is lighter on facilities (particularly those directed during overclockers), yet it competence strike a sweeter mark for mainstream gamers who are happy with what a Ryzen 5 and 7 processors yield during batch speeds, or builders confronting bill constraints. Of course, if we go with a Prime X370-Pro, we won’t be means to 3D imitation ROG motherboard accessories…
Wait…whaaat? 3D-printed motherboard accessories? Yeah, it’s that kind of board, meant for impassioned tweakers, flush energy users, and bleeding-edge modders with a aptitude for a over-the-top. Let’s get that bit of wildness out of a approach first, shall we?
About those 3D-printable accessories, then. Asus launched 3D-printing templates so we can make additional tools for a ROG Crosshair VI Hero. The house has special, built-in mounts for these accessories, that embody things like wire combs, ROG-branded fan grilles, a joint to mountain a fan over your M.2 expostulate slot, and even a sharp cover for your high-bandwidth SLI bridge, should we use one. (Of course, you’re on your possess for provision a 3D printer.) Is this gimmicky? Oh, heck yeah—but we don’t mind. The some-more ways to customize a gear, a better. You can see a 3D-printables at this Asus Web page.
Even if we don’t 3D-print anything, there’s copiousness of bling right on this house as it ships. The trend toward oversize I/O shields and massive heatsinks breathes on with a Asus ROG Crosshair VI Hero. But Asus creates good use of those surfaces, with smart-if-subtle LED lighting choices and unconventional designs that give a I/O and audio defense an surprising demeanour and texture. Lighting choices aside, Asus seems to have channeled LEGO’s Batman for a ROG Crosshair VI Hero’s pale tone scheme.
The heatsink over a X370 chipset sports several cutouts and etchings, including a ROG logo. The black/brushed aluminum demeanour is flattering slick, yet a ROG trademark is a genuine show-stealer, interjection to LED enlightenment underneath it. The light shines onto a black PCB next and escapes by a pointed cutouts in a heatsink for an eye-catching, certainly “gamer” look.
The customarily downside to a vast heatsink is that it apparently necessitated single-lever memory slots. In a experience, installing (and removing) memory modules can be a small smoother when you’re operative with slots that have locking levers during possibly end. Here, a ends nearest a heatsink are stationary. That said, many of us customarily implement memory once-and-done, so no vast deal.
Asus gave users a palm by specifying a matched pairs of dual-channel memory slots around black and dark-gray plastics. You’ll implement a two-module set in a gray slots to take advantage of a dual channels, or bucket adult all 4 slots. The ROG Crosshair VI Hero supports a limit of 64GB of DDR4 memory during speeds adult to DDR4 3200. (Maxing out a house would need 4 16GB DIMMs.)
Some motherboards have LEDs on a PCB, yet Asus stranded to a chipset heatsink and a I/O defense for a lighting. That competence be too light a hold for some bling-hungry gamers, yet we like a look. Light seeps out of a defect in a I/O defense and highlights a “Crosshair VI” cutout. And notwithstanding carrying customarily a few lights, a house has copiousness of lighting-customization options, interjection to Asus’ Aura Lighting Control software. Load adult a software, and we can select probably any tone and set a lighting to kick to a kick of your music. The Aura Sync program also lets we synchronize a board’s lighting effects with other LED-lit ROG hardware that supports Aura, such as mice, keyboards, and even graphics cards. Lighting controls even extend to some third-party components.
The area around a AM4 CPU hollow isn’t quite crowded, notwithstanding a circuitously heatsinks, that cold a Texas Instruments NexFET MOSFETs. The ROG Crosshair VI Hero’s peculiarity power-control system, that also includes 10K black capacitors and MicroFine Alloy chokes, creates for safer overclocking. As a result, it’s tough to covet Asus a oversize heatsinks; that’s all a partial of a overclocker’s game. That said, conjunction a energy components nor a heatsinks got in a approach in a march of installing a (rather bulky) CPU cooler during a exam build. (More on that in a bit.)
Interestingly, Asus punched an additional set of holes in a PCB to accommodate a ascent of AM3-socket coolers. That’s a singular good hold in that vein; fan hardware like this customarily creates no concessions to bequest cooling gear. If you’ve already invested substantial supports into an AMD system, including a estimable cooler, that’s one reduction component, perhaps, to put on your selling list. (And some-more we can spend on other stuff.)
The expansion-slot blueprint is busy, yet it seems well-planned. A vast opening between a dual tip PCI Express x16 slots leaves respirating room for massive video cards vital alongside one another. Those same slots are wrapped in steel for additional fortitude (Asus calls this underline “SafeSlot”), while a third PCI Express x16 container is shield-free.
Motherboard makers infrequently go over-the-top when perplexing to piquancy adult this rather undisturbed territory of a motherboard, so it’s good to see that Asus stranded to a basis here. After all, implement a vast video label or dual (and we will, saying as a stream Ryzen 7 and 5 CPUs miss onboard graphics), and a container section will be dim from view, anyway. PCI Express x1 slots are interleaved with a x16 slots; we get 3 of these, as well.
One blueprint object value noting: Asus put a ROG Crosshair VI Hero’s sole M.2 slot/connector on a right side of a board, usually next a vast X370 chipset heatsink. That’s a depart from a trend toward putting a M.2 connector closer to a left side of a board, oftentimes between PCI Express slots. In some cases (as with a Gigabyte/Aorus AX370 Gaming 5 we checked out recently), a M.2 connector ends adult tighten to a initial PCI Express slot, that can make accessing a storage procedure a small wily once you’ve got a (inevitable-with-Ryzen) video label inserted. With a ROG Crosshair VI Hero, we won’t have any difficulty reaching a M.2 connector, unless, perhaps, we have both an abnormally prolonged 110mm/Type-22110 M.2 storage procedure (the many some-more customary distance is 80mm/Type 2280) and a large, second video label installed. Incidentally, a M.2 container here supports possibly a SATA or a PCI Express/NVMe M.2 expostulate assuming we have a Ryzen CPU installed. If we use one of AMD’s AM4-compatible A-series chips, a M.2 container works with SATA drives only.
Asus also gives a motherboard’s audio some love. It installed adult a ROG Crosshair VI Hero with an ROG SupremeFX S1220 audio codec. The HD audio codec facilities eight-channel sound and is corroborated adult by Asus’ Sonic Radar III and Sonic Studio III software. The audio defense has a same multi-tier pattern as a circuitously I/O row shield, yet it lacks an LED accent.
For all a bells and whistles that it installed onto a ROG Crosshair VI Hero, Asus also kept an eye on a critical low-tech features—namely, a labels. The motherboard builder risked upsetting a dim tone intrigue with bright, white labels for all of a essential components. They’re easy to spot, even when you’re adult to your elbows in a PC case, looking for a right memory slots or a Safe Boot button.
Flagship motherboards get all a best gear, and that’s generally loyal of a ROG Crosshair VI Hero.
The I/O row is installed with ports and even includes corpulent buttons for clearing a CMOS and activating Asus’ BIOS Flashback tool. This latter underline lets we refurbish a BIOS from a USB expostulate (plugged into a USB pier willingly labeled “BIOS”), regardless of either a PC is running. Another USB port, noted “KEYBOT,” gives your keyboard additional macro- and function-key options, managed by a enclosed Keybot II software.
The ROG Crosshair VI Hero doesn’t have onboard graphics; nor, as we mentioned, do a Ryzen 7 and 5 CPUs. As a result, space that competence be chewed adult by video-out ports instead houses heaps of USB: 8 (blue) USB 3.0 ports, 4 (black) USB 2.0 ports, a (red) USB 3.1 Type-A port, and a USB 3.1 Type-C port. The row also has a element of audio jacks, including an visual S/PDIF out.
The I/O image also has cutaways for Wi-Fi antennas, yet nothing comes in a box. The house lacks an onboard Wi-Fi chipset, as well. The Gigabit Ethernet pier leads to an Intel Ethernet Controller I211-AT. Asus GameFirst IV program and LANGuard tech hoop traffic-management and insurance duties. You’ll have to supplement your possess Wi-Fi PCI Express label or USB dongle if we wish wireless; we think many gamers and energy users will hang to a Ethernet.
The ROG Crosshair VI Hero also has a vast series of inner connectors, many of that line a right and bottom edges of a motherboard. One of a some-more engaging of these is a USB 3.1 header connector, that sits nearby a 24-pin energy connector on a right side of a board. Just recently staid on by motherboard and box makers, this spanking new kind of onboard header is creation a entrance on a latest 2017 motherboards; PC-case support will fundamentally follow. You can use it to bond adult a USB 3.1 Type-C pier on your PC’s front row and keep USB 3.1’s send speeds.
Eight customary 6Gbps ports lay down a house from a USB 3.1 connector, providing support for RAID 0, 1, and 10 configurations. The right side of a house also facilities one of a ROG Crosshair VI Hero’s 5 fan connectors. Those connectors and another 4 connectors for H2O pumps dot a board, providing copiousness of options for air- and liquid-cooling. You’ll also find headers for water-flow and water-temperature sensors, so we can keep an eye on your liquid-cooling setup’s performance.
Overall, notwithstanding all a extras, a Crosshair VI Hero has one of a least-crowded right-hand edges we’ve seen lately.
The revoke dilemma of a Crosshair VI Hero, though, seems to be primary genuine estate. You’ll find a common front-panel suspects here: USB 2.0 and 3.0 headers, orator and audio headers, and a customary mysterious front-panel-header pin grid. (More on a front-panel tie in a moment.)
In a curtsy to a overclocking set, Asus put 4 buttons and a switch along a bottom of a board. The vast china energy symbol (marked “Start”) is easy to spot, yet a other 3 buttons (reset, protected boot, and retry) are pip-sized and many smaller. They’re color-coded, though, that ought to help. The retry button, in box you’re wondering, lets we miscarry a foot routine to reset a PC. The switch, meanwhile, enables Slow Mode, giving overclockers an easy approach to revoke processor speed when indispensable for stability.
Asus also put one of a dual RGB headers during a bottom of a board, nearby a right corner. It’s a customarily one many DIY builders will use; a other RGB header powers a light in a I/O shield.