ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (Wi-Fi) Z490 Motherboard Review

A Closer Look

They say first impressions go a long way, and well, this is easily one of the coolest looking motherboards I’ve ever seen. It looks drop-dead gorgeous! Massive VRM heatsinks, matte black and grey, a little bit of mirror chrome thrown in for good measure. Motherboards don’t get much better than this.

Obviously, we have the Intel LGA 1200 socket offering up support for the new 10th Gen CPUs. If you’re planning on maxing those out and pushing big overclocks, you’ll be happy to see that 14+2 Power Stage which can run 60A each, backed up by MicroFine Alloy Chokes, and a bank of 10K Japanese-made black metallic capacitors. Of course, it’s hard not to be impressed by those heatsinks on the VRM too. There’s three of surrounding the socket, with a monster-sized U-shaped heat pipe linking the three.

Power comes from the ProCool Connectors at the top, with an optional 4-pin added for improved voltage stability and load.

The bottom half of the motherboard means business too. There are three full-size PCIe lanes, with the top two heavily armoured to sustain the weight of a high-end dual GPU configuration. However, you also get three 1x slots for additional devices too, such as M.2 cards, etc.

There are three M.2 mounts all integrated under those large heatsinks too. Not only does it look great, but it protects the drives and helps improve performance. Plus, all of them come with Intel Optane support, as well as NVMe drive support.

You get additional storage options via the 6 x SATA ports on the side.

Their award-winning SupremeFX audio is back once again too. It offers up an impressive 133 dB SNR, delivered from the SupremeFX S1220 Codec and the ESS ES9023P DAC, and Texas Instruments RC4580 Op Amp, and Nichicon Caps. It doesn’t look like you’ll be

The rear I/O is well equipped too, offering BIOS controls and Flashback, which is always a welcome feature. There’s a really good assortment of USB ports too, including a Type-C, but not Thunderbolt like some of the more expensive models. Networking is fantastic, with WiFi 6 802.11ax, 5GbE LAN and 1GbE LAN giving you all you could ask for. Plus, you get the audio out, and SPDIF.

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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