MotherboardsTech Review

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

ASUS goes all in!

Key Features

  • Price: 500 USD (Confirmed)
  • Release Date : 27th January 2021
  • ATX Form Factor / 6 PCB Layers
  • INTEL Z590 chipset
  • LGA1200 CPU socket
  • CPU Support
    • Intel 10th Gen CORE CPU
    • Intel 11th Gen CORE CPU
  • 4 x 32GB 5,533 MHz DDR4, maximum 128 GB
  • 3 x PCIe x16  |  1 x PCIe x4
  • Back IO :
    • HDMI
      • 1.4 with 10th Gen. Intel Core CPU
      • 2.0 with 11th Gen. intel Core CPU
    • 2 x USB 2.0 — RX/TX 480 Mbps
    • 6 x USB 3.2 2nd gen. Type-A RX/TX 10 Gbps
    • 2 x Thunderbolt 4.0 TYPE-C / 40 Gbps each
    • 2 x surge protected 2.5Gbps LAN controller
    • WiFi 6E AX 201
    • Realtek ALC 4082 Codec 7.1 channels audio,
  • STORAGE
    • 4 x M.2 SSD*
    • 6 x SATA 3 — RX/TX 6 Gbps
  • MULTIPLE GPU
    • Nvidia SLI (x2)
    • AMD Crossfire
  • x14 90 AMPS power stages
  • 6 layered PCB ( PCIe 4.0 ready)
  • 5,333 MHz RAM clock
  • Great Premium integrated AUDIO
  • 4 M.2 SSD (+1 from past generation)
  • AWESOME cooling blocks
  • Hydranodes Fans
  • Price

The MAXIMUS is ASUS higher tier motherboard line-up, and HERO its entry level. It defines the entire MAXIMUS Line-up, and the go-to motherboard for heavy builds, might that be air, custom water or LN2 cooled.

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO

  • 4 SATA cables
  • Q-Connector
  • M.2 SSD screws and screw raisers
  • GPU support
  • Manual
  • DVD driver & Software


PCB
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

We are dealing with a 6 layered PCB ATX motherboard. Totally expected from a PCIe 4.0 enabled motherboard. Having more PCB layers (typically only 4) adds PCIe signal isolation which will allow a stable PCIe 4.0 support.

It also will benefit VRM heat dissipation and audio quality. Obviously, a very solid foundation for a performant and durable motherboard.

LGA 1200

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO

Our LGA1200 socket can support :

  • 10 the Gen Intel CORE CPU
  • 11 the Gen Intel CORE CPU

Worth noting only the incoming 11th gen Intel CORE CPU is PCIe 4.0 enabled which has its importance since it will feed our several components with double the bandwidth the PCIe 3.0 can.

The chipset fed components will remain PCIe 3.0 only compliant in any cases.


VRM

This is where ASUS really did well!

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

It has nothing to do with its predecessors, and truly is an unprecedent leap forward.
We have 14 90 AMPS CPU-centric powers stages, and 3 70 AMPS SOC power stages, for a grand total of 1,470 AMPS.

That’s a whooping 1,260 AMPS worth of juice to power our processor. Obviously more, much more than you would ever need to power even the most over-clocked Intel processor of all times. So why such a massive config?

Two reasons :

Marketing, and thermals. Using a fraction of a 90 AMPS power stage produces less heat than using the full load of a 50 AMPS power stage.
Which brings us to our VRM cooling abilities !

VRM Cooling

First, we have a 6 layered PCB, meaning a greater heat dissipation through the board,

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

The overall power draw is shared amongst 14 power stages, in effect spreading the heat all around.

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

We have a massive 2 large double-contact, heat-pipe connected heat-sinks.
Probably the biggest one I have seen on any motherboard.

It even dwarfs the already over-sized MAXIMUS XII Hero cooling blocs! Which is no small feat!

But I specially like the fact that the entire IO roof is in fact made of aluminum and provides an extended radiating solution to this muscled-up VRM!

Finally, I want to note the double-contact design introduced by ASUS on B550 powered motherboards.
Both chokes and power stages have a thermo-padded contact to the heat-sinks, allowing a higher heat dissipation ratio.
A simple, inexpensive, but effective solution!


TEMPS
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

Obviously, the result is THE coolest VRM on the market.

After torturing my i9-10900K for hours and of synthetic test, the VRM block never reached 50c. Needless to say, remarkable achievement for nearly 1500 Watts of heat output.

Either for heavy gamer or, content creator, a similar configuration will never experience such heavy loads as produced here. Therefore, it is safe to assume that a comparable build will probably never go beyond the 40c mark.


RAM

The ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi can support up to 128 GB of DDR4 ram in a dual channel configuration.

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

It is overclockable up to a novel 5,333 GHz ( in a single DIMM configuration ) which is noticeably more than its Z490 predecessor (533 MHz more).

This clock-jump is explained by the better memory-clock support of the new Z590 chipset (jumping from 2,933 MHz to 3,233 MHz of native support).

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

Populating more memory slots will result in slower shared clocks :

  • 1DPC 1R max speed 5333 MHZ
  • 1DPC 2R max speed 4600 MHZ
  • 2DPC 1R max speed 4000 MHZ
  • 2DPC 2R max speed 3800 MHZ


M.2 SSD

Our board can support up-to 4 M.2 SSD. But there is a catch!

Couple this board with a 10th Gen Intel CORE CPU, and ‘only’ two M.2 SSD connectors will be usable, at PCIe 3.0 standard, meaning up to 32 Gbs each.

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

But if coupled with a 11th GEN Intel CORE CPU, your board can now support up-to 3 M.2 SSDs, 1 of which can transfer data at PCIe 4.0 bandwidth levels, meaning up to a whooping 64 Gbs.

Obviously this will produce quite a bit of heat, and ASUS the same thermal obsession it showed on this board VRM.

First let me note that all of our M.2 SSDs slots have a double thermo-paded contact, rare feature which does has its weight of thermal gold!

Most importantly, all of our M.2 SSDs heat-shield are absolutely massive. But nothing like that first one which shows-off 3 levels of radiating leveling.
Obviously, more than enough to keep your PCIe 4.0 enable stick away from ever thermo-throttling.

A special mention for our our 3rd and fourth M.2 SSDs which do share the same long heat-shield.

Obviously, I did test and track their heat signature at full load, and both operated without noticeable thermo-throttling.

Definitely a big Cooling kudos to ASUS engineering team for producing one of the most powerful and heat efficient board on the market to date!


Chipset

Despite many early reports, the Z590 Chipset does not house any PCIe 4.0 lanes. Instead it has the same 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes as seen on its Z490 predecessor.
In addition it can redirect the 11th Gen Intel CORE CPU 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes to some of the board components ( on this board, two PCIe 16 exports and two M.2 SSD connectors).

Is it a band thing? Not necessarily.

One one hand it keeps our chipset cold enough not to require an active cooling solution as seen on the boiling 11 watts X570 chipset, and on the other, the motherboard still benefits from the PCIe 4.0 standard brought in by its CPU.

As a result, we have a cooler, more affordable and arguably more durable motherboard.

The upgraded we know of are, most noticeably,

  • an upgrade DMI link which allows x8 PCI-e lane (8 GB/s) data swap between the chipset and the CPU. That is double what we have seen on the past few generations of Z powered motherboards.
    Something which definitely benefit the overall bandwidth capacity of our board.
  • Thunderbolt 4.0
  • More USB supports ( special note for the USB 3.2 dual channel 20 Gbs TYPE-C ).


SATA 3.0

For more classical storage solutions, we have our usual SATA 3.0 plugs. 6 in total, with a transfer rate of 6 Gbps each. They can be configured to run into a 0,1, or 10 RAID configuration.

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi


PCIe Slots

The ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO has 4 PCIe expansion slots.:

  • 3 16 lanes with different speeds
  • 1 single Lanes PCIe

Only the closest one to your CPU can deliver up to 16 Lanes worth of bandwidth meaning, this is where you’d want your video card to be placed for optimal performances.

In a dual GPU configuration, lanes are split in a 8 by 8 PCIe lane configuration. Hence the metallic reinforcements.

Note that this board is both SLI (x2) and CROSSFIRE (x2) compatible.

Our last and 16 slots is capped at 4 PCIe lanes, not exactly GPU friendly.

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

Coupled with a 10th Gen Intel CORE CPU, all of our PCIe slot will output bandwidth at a 1 GBs rate.

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

But if coupled with a 11th Gen. Intel CORE CPU, our 2 first PCIe 16 slots can output PCIe 4.0 bandwidth levels meaning 2 GB/s per lane.

Worth noting that, with the current bandwidth outputs of AMD or Nvidia graphics cards, there are no performance gains between PCIe 3 or PCIe 4 standards.
It is great for future proofing (and marketing), but that’s about it .


Back IO

First let me note the presence of an IO integrated plate which is always a good point!

  • CLEAR CMOS and BIOS button
  • a HDMI output which can either output at 1.4 standard when coupled with a 10th Gen. Intel Core CPU, or 2.0 when couple with a 11th Gen. Core CPU.
  • x2 2nd Gen USB plugs (480 Mbps)
  • WiFi 6E Dual Band AX201
  • x6 3.2 2nd GEN USB plus , including 2 type C (10 Gb/s each)
  • x2 Thunderbolt 4.0 TYPE-C with40 Gbs ouput per plug
  • x2 surge protected (ASUS LANGUARD) Intel I225-V 2.5Gbps LAN controller which is definitely a plus for streamers.
  • ALC 4082 REALTEK audio codec, which is about the best integrated AUDIO Codec a board can have. It improves audio outut from 32 bit DAC/192 KHz to 32 bit DAC/384 KHz addition, it takes full advantage of the numerous PCB layers available to it, since both left and right audio channels have been traced on individual PCB layers, further improving its signal isolation and protecting it from static interferences.
    Great for playing and recording alike.


Front Panel Connectors

We have :

  • 2x 2nd gen USB front panel connectors , good for our AIO pumps, or PSU monitoring,
  • 1x 5Gbs USB 3.2 (1st Gen) front panel Connector
  • 1x 10Gbs USB 3.2 (2nd Gen) TYPE-C front panel Connector

Overall a well furnished board-based peripherals in par with its pricing.

Cooling connectors

We have 8 nested PWM FAN connectors, 2 of which can support a water pump (AIO or dedicated)

Definitely what you want to see on an enthusiast driven board. The ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO can handle about any cooling solutions you will throw at it. Spanning from the classic air to the eccentric dual-loop custom water cooling apparatus.

I do want to note a first here. ASUS is introducing their Hydranodes enabled connectors. This new feature extends  PWM control to up-to 3 connected fans.

In short, you can individually control the fan speed of up to three PWM fans connected on a single Hydranode Fan connector, allowing a more costumed cooling experience.

Only regret here, is the fact that these connectors are not Hybrids which could support anything you’d throw at it, whether a fan, a water pump or a flow sensor.

I would have given this boards an unprecedented level of agility which enthusiast would have most certainly appreciate.


TROUBLESHOOTING

EZ Debugger

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

The EZ debugger is really the a crucial must-have on PCIe 4.0 enabled boards. More often than not, enthusiasts can’t resist the call to find their RAM or CPU overclocking limits, and fail boots becomes a daily incidence.

The EZ debugger will give us a first-aide troubleshooting guidance one what stage of the boot your system failed.

The board troubleshooting is further refined by a Q-LED error screen.

In addition we do have three power soldered button:

  • POWER
  • RESET/FLEX (customizable through BIOS)
  • Retry button for memory default reboot


AURA Sync Effect

RGB wise, the ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO has 2 nested RGB strips :

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

One under our IO roof,

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi

and one on back-lidding its RGB logo.

In addition we also have 4 RGB connectors :

ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
ROG MAXIMUS XIII HERO WiFi
  • 1 classic AURA RGB Connectors
  • 3 Addressable AURA RGB Connectors

All of the above are obviously fully customizable (and sync-able) though ASUS proprietary AURA software or ARMOURY Crate.


CONCLUSION

At no less than 500 USD, the MAXIMUS XIII Hero is not for everyone ! If you’re a first time builder looking for gaming, you’ve got better options for half the price ( i.e.: PRIME Z590-A, TUF Z590).

But if you are as insane in the pants-brain, then yeah, that thing will make your wildest desires and dreams reality, or almost.

First, we’ve got that star VRM which not only will unlock about the last MHz overclockable out of your CPU, but does it whilst staying as cool as ever before.

We have an heavily upgraded connectivity, with WiFi 6E, two thunderbolt 4 outputs and 2 2.5gb LANs.
And with PCIe 4.0 enabled, up-to 4m.2 SSDs, an upgraded DMI link, the ROG MAXIMUS XIII Hero shows off more bandwidth than ever available before, both for a HERO and at that price range!

I particularly appreciate the streamer / content creator focus on this board.

In short, if you are an extreme gamer who wants to show off an unreal build, or a content creator who wants to significantly upgrade what your board can do for you, there is no-where else your money wants to be!

QUICK OVERVIEW

CPU & northbridge support

Supported Processor
10th & 11th Gen. Intel CORE CPUs
Chipset
Z590
CPU socket
LGA1200

Memory

Slots
4 (dual channel)
Max System Memory (Gigabytes)
128
Memory Technology
DDR4
Maximum Clock (MgHz)
5,333

Connectors

USB 2.0
2 back IO + 2 on-board
USB 3.2 (1st Gen)
2 on-board
USB 3.2 (2nd Gen)
6 on back IO + 1 on-board
LAN
2x 2.5 Gb/s
WiFi
WiFi 6E AX 201

 

ROG MAXIMUS XIII Hero WiFi

PERFORMANCES
OVERCLOCKING
DESIGN
DURABILITY
PRICE
ACCESSORIES
LOOKS
CUSTOM WATER COOLING
TROUBLESHOOTING
CONNECTIVITY

AWESOME

But if you are as insane in the pants-brain, then yeah, that thing will make your wildest desires and dreams reality, or almost.

BUY Now
User Rating: 4.61 ( 4 votes)

Laurent

The never aging alpha geek is still here! Don't you dare question me!

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