Positioned towards the upper end of the Z390 market, ASUS is targeting deep-pocketed enthusiast gamers with its most affordable ATX ROG Maximus offering. Sporting features you’d expect from a premium Z390 offering, including dual heatsink-cooled M.2 slots and an eye-catching design, ASUS takes the standard ROG Maximus XI Hero and adds a 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter.
The aptly named ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) hits the shopping basket at around £280 – a territory that ensures stiff competition from ASRock’s Z390 Phantom Gaming flagship in addition to well-equipped Gigabyte and MSI offerings.
There should be no reason to be deceived by the Hero (Wi-Fi) motherboard’s bottom-rung position on ASUS premium ROG Maximus XI ladder. As one would expect, a variety of expansion and connectivity options are present through ASUS’ provision of three full-length PCIe x16 slots, alongside the generous Z390 PCH inclusions.
And the fact that ASUS brands this motherboard as part of its Republic of Gamers line means that enhanced UEFI and software features are to be expected. Likewise, styling is depictive of what we have come to expect from premium Z390 offerings, with an integrated IO shield and splashes of RGB lighting complimenting the dark-black theme.
Durability and cooling performance are key points that ASUS highlights for the ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi). Rigid SafeSlot connectors tick the durability box while a hefty, somewhat finned (barely) VRM heatsink aims to alleviate power delivery over-temperature concerns. More on the topic of the VRM later in this review.
With the zippy 802.11ac Intel 9560 wireless adapter pushing the retail price anxiously close to £300, can the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) prove itself as a viable premium Z390 contender?
Features (information taken from the ASUS webpage):
- LGA1151 socket for 9th/8th -gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors
- Synchronised RGB lighting technology works with a vast portfolio of Aura Sync-capable PC gear and includes support for addressable light strips and Phillip Hue
- Perfected cooling with dedicated water header zones, M.2 heatsink and various fan control
- Gaming connectivity: Intel Gigabit Ethernet , LANGuard, dual M.2, USB 3.1 Gen 2, Wi-Fi with MU-MI-MO 802.11
- Extensive overclocking options with easy automated one-click overclock, to advanced finer control in the BIOS
- Gaming Audio: SupremeFX and Sonic Studio III – High fidelity audio that draws you deeper into the action
- Gaming durability: ASUS SafeSlot and premium components for maximum durability