Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero review

The Z790 Hero is a monster motherboard with a monster price, including Thunderbolt 4, PCIe 5 graphics and M.2 support, in-built Wi-Fi and much more.

Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero motherboard top down view

Our Verdict

85%

Ridiculously expensive, but the extensive feature set goes a long way towards justifying its price tag.

The Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero looks fabulous, and every bit like a Z790 motherboard that can cope with the demands of a monstrous Intel Core i9-13900K. Its huge RGB lighting array on its massive I/O heatsink shroud is also sure to turn heads.

Underneath it sits a 20+1 phase teamed power delivery, and to the south is a trio of PCIe 4 M.2 ports with heatsinks that cool both sides of your SSDs. We used the large heatsink at the base of the PCB to test M.2 temperatures and it kept our PCIe 4 M.2 SSD below 50°C.

Thankfully, you also get a PCIe 5 M.2 port, which is located in a 2-port M.2 expansion card next to another PCIe 4 M.2 port, which uses one of the two 16x PCIe 5 slots, plus you get six SATA 6Gbps ports too.

There’s a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports on the rear I/O panel as well, plus a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C header on the PCB. In addition to the latter dishing out speeds of up to 20Gbps, it also features Quick Charge 4+, which can charge devices at 60W as long as you hook up a 6-pin PCIe power connector into the slot next to it.

There are a total of nine Type-A USB ports too, all of which support USB 3 speeds or faster. You also get 802.11ax Wi-Fi, but sadly the Ethernet port is still only 2.5 Gigabit, which you can get on either of ASRock’s boards this month for a third of the price.

Meanwhile, the Realtek ALC4082-equipped ROG SupremeFX audio system offers an ES9218 Quad DAC, as well as a USB interface to offer up to 32-bit/384kHz audio – some impressive numbers that are entirely irrelevant when it comes to human hearing.

It performs well, though. We recorded a noise level of -113.7dBA and a dynamic range of 111.7dBA, with a super low total harmonic distortion of 0.002 percent, which are some the best results we’ve seen from onboard audio.

For enthusiast features, you get water flow sensors, a thermal probe input for syncing your radiator fans with coolant temperature, as well as a 36W 4-pin header for water-cooling pumps. The board is also equipped with the same quick-release PCIe slot button we’ve seen on other premium Asus boards, plus there are power and reset buttons, an LED POST code display, USB BIOS FlashBack and a CMOS-clear button too.

Using Asus’ excellent EFI and software, we easily overclocked our Core i5-13600K to its usual 5.7GHz with a vcore of 1.35V, but we had to apply maximum loadline calibration to fix the voltage dropping under load. The VRM temperature of 49°C was excellent too, and this result was only a couple of degrees higher when dealing with a Core i9-13900K.

Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero pros and cons

Pros

  • Gorgeous looks
  • Amazing feature set
  • Excellent software and EFI

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Cheaper boards offer a lot of the same features

Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero specs

The Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero specs list is:

Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244
Chipset Intel Z790
CPU socket Intel LGA1700
Memory support 4 slots: max 128GB DDR5 (up to 7800MHz)
Expansion slots Two 16x PCIe 5, one 16x PCIe 4
Sound 8-channel ROG SupremeFX ALC4082
Networking 1 x Realtek 2.5 Gigabit LAN, 802.11ax Wi-Fi
Cooling Eight 4-pin fan headers, VRM heatsinks, M.2 heatsinks
Ports 6 x SATA 6Gbps, 1 x M.2 PCIe 5, 4 x M.2 PCIe 4,  5 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 4 x USB 3, 2 x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C header, 1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out

Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero price

Price: Expect to pay $650 USD / £659 GBP

Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Hero review conclusion

It’s outrageously expensive for what used to be Asus’ cheapest ROG Maximus board brand, but it’s the price you have to pay if you want all the best that Intel’s Z790 chipset has to offer, such as Thunderbolt 4, PCIe 5 graphics and M.2 support, plus a feature-packed PCB and accessory box.

The ROG Strix Z790-A Gaming D4 is much cheaper and only needs DDR4 memory, but if you’re in the market for a top-notch Z790 board, the Hero is fantastic. If this motherboard isn’t right for you, check out our guide to the best Z790 motherboard, which covers a range of specs to suit different budgets.