Analyzing Z370 for Intel's 8th Generation Coffee Lake: A Quick Look at 50+ Motherboardsby Ian Cutress, Anton Shilov, Joe Shields & Gavin Bonshor on October 20, 2017 2:00 PM EST
ASUS ROG Z370 Maximus X Hero
ASUS' Republic of Gamers brand has gone a slightly different route on the new Z370 chipset in that they are trying to make each of their ranges more distinguishable to the consumer. With any motherboard chipset refresh, it offers manufacturers the chance to refine their range thus hopefully improving on previous models and addressing concerns from the previous generation. The main differentiating features for ASUS this time around include a new clear-cut segmentation of their range of boards, a new heatsink design on the majority of the line-up, better memory support due to their 3rd generation T-Topology technology, and a slew of RGB customisable lighting/addressable RGB headers.
Starting off with what ASUS has touted as being one of their bestselling motherboards of the previous generation, the ROG Maximus X Hero slots in an interesting position as it doesn’t quite have the same clout as the Formula/Extreme boards have, but offers more features over the more mid-range Strix boards. There will be two Hero SKUs available with the only difference between both is one will come included with integrated dual antenna 802.11 AC Wi-Fi and one will be without. ASUS’s reasoning for doing this is simply a choice; giving consumers control over whether they want integrated wireless network capabilities or they want to save $15-$25 over something they think they won’t need.
The ROG Maximus range of boards is designed to exude the feeling of combining strong unique aesthetics with high-quality components to deliver strong performance in gaming and overclocking. The Z370 Maximus X Hero features a design with a huge emphasis on new metallic heat sinks that are an upgrade over the plastic heatsinks found on the Z270 version. Also along a theme is a single M.2 heatsink which features the ROG Logo etched in (the Z370 Hero has two overall M.2 slots available, this is in addition to six SATA 6Gb/s ports).
Two of the three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots feature metal shielding (which most manufacturers seem to have integrated into their more mid-range to high-end models), and are paired with three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. The top slot and second slot operate at x16 and x8/x8 with the lanes being fed from the Coffee Lake processor, but the very bottom full-length PCIe 3.0 slot operating at x4 from the chipset. Both SLI two way and CrossFire three way are both supported by this board and the majority of day one launch Z370 boards from ASUS ROG.
Still touching on slots, the Hero has four memory slots, with a maximum capacity of 64GB of DDR4, and an official DDR4-4133 being supported. ASUS has implemented an Intel I219V gigabit Ethernet controller, which they report as having high reliability and performance, which is paired with Realtek ALC1220 audio codec which ASUS themselves call the SupremeFX S1220. On top of the codec, ASUS has enhanced the onboard audio on the Hero with an ESS Sabre ES9023P DAC. Another unique inclusion over the previous Z270 model is an integrated and pre-mounted I/O shield which ASUS claim as a patented technology.
A wave of cooling options and a slew of fan headers are dotted around the board including the more recent inclusion of a dedicated water cooling area. There is support for five 3/4 pin fans, including a high-amperage fan header, three thermal sensors with two of them being designed with water cooling in mind, in addition to a single flow header and two dedicated pump headers.
A plethora of rear I/O real estate should keep even the most gadget and peripheral hungry user happy with USB 3.1 10 Gbps in Type-A, Type-C and a stack of four USB 3.1 5 Gbps ports. You can run additional USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 ports from front panel header capabilities; a single header for USB 3.1 5 Gbps giving an additional two ports, an onboard USB 3.1 10 Gbps header, and dual USB 2.0 headers for a maximum of four additional ports. Finishing off the rear I/O is a clear CMOS switch, a BIOS Flashback button and DisplayPort/HDMI outputs for on-board graphics.
Other ancillaries include the two RGB strip headers, and a single addressable RGB header which has recently been supported by various manufacturers including BitFenix and Cablemods for use with ASUS ROG AURA SYNC software to allow for customisability and color matching between various supported components and peripherals.
It is very apparent that the Maximus X Hero is focused towards high-end gamers looking for a solution that covers support for water cooling, high-end performance Coffee Lake CPUs and high bandwidth and fast DDR4 memory. This allows users to feature a ROG Maximus range board with a lot of decent features, but without the hefty price tag of an Extreme, Formula or Code.
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sor - Friday, October 20, 2017 - linkDamn. At least key it differently and call it LGA1151v2 or something.
The changes are so minimal it really does seem like planned obsolescence. Does it really need more power pins to support new chips with the same power envelopes? Really? They couldn’t handle that on the CPU PCB?
KaarlisK - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - linkActually it is ~1.5 times peak current with the same average power envelope, so yes, they need the change.
If they had not brought the launch forward and just launched together with the cheap chipsets, there would be far less complaints.
sor - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - linkWhere did you find information indicating current has increased 50%? I just spent about ten minutes trying to find a reference backing that up, perhaps something indicating the 8 series operates at a much lower voltage within same TDP, which would translate to higher current but they seem to operate in the same 1.2-1.3v range.
You’re not just assuming they draw more current because they have two more cores, are you?
KaarlisK - Sunday, October 22, 2017 - linkNotice the difference between average and peak.
And the information is in publicly available documents. I did not bother to look it up, but others have, for example: https://forum.beyond3d.com/threads/intel-coffee-la...
Crono - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - linkNice roundup. That's a lot of motherboards to spec and summarize. I especially appreciate the handy chart at the end, it's a good, quick-and-dirty comparison tool.
Landcross - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - linkYou guys forgot 2 new Z370 boards from Supermicro :)
Xpl1c1t - Sunday, October 22, 2017 - linkThe mITX board looks incredible.
+ Low ESR Tantalum capacitors! (first time seeing them on VRM duty on a mainboard)
+ HDMI 2.0
+ 2x M.2 Slots
+ USB 3.1 Type C
+ Optical SPDIF
MadAd - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - linkGreat write up but for me its just another depressing generation of oversized, overpriced ATX form factor offerings on which the vast majority of users wont even plug a second gpu into, with the smaller and more size appropriate FF represented as a minority afterthought.
With all the progress of PCs since the 90s whod have thought that I could still use the same ATX case today while every single other component (from floppy drives to 2d Mattrox cards) have long gone to the recyclers. I find it so annoying how manufacturers have stuck on this prehistoric gargantuan case size with the other sizes being an afterthought. It feels like like stifled innovation while everything else is moving on.
rocky12345 - Saturday, October 21, 2017 - linkGreat article and a lot of work put in to get it out for us to read thank you.
My only issue is and it is nit your fault is why these companies feel the need to totally blanket the market with basically the same boards just a different model number and basically a few tiny changes and spray paint it a different color and use the word gaming and put something x or x1 or k,k3 etc etc. For crap sakes just release three models not 7-10 models of the same crap it is pretty much just greed I guess.
The whole market is like this now with anything computer related of and if it has the words GAMING or RGB in it's got to be good for sure. My fav is that gaming mouse pad next it will have RGB lighting in it...lol
CitizenZer0 - Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - linkAgreed