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Third Party Review

Author: Catherine Dempsey

The ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is the entry level to ROG’s Maximus Z690 line of motherboards. Like other motherboards in the Z690 series, the Maximus Z690 Hero features a 12th Gen Intel Core CPU, utilizing the a Socket LGA 1700. Combined with the Hero’s DDR5 compatibility and WiFi 6E, this motherboard is ready out of the box to be the cornerstone of your next high powered gaming rig. Another standard feature in the Maximus series present in the Hero is intelligent controls. AI Overclocking, AI Cooling, AI Networking, and Two-Way Noise Cancelation combine to make a top-notch user experience, with the ability to choose and switch between fine tuning your rig yourself, or leaving it to the AI Suite. DDR5 RAM brings next generation memory to your rig, with up to quadruple the capacity of older DDR4 RAM, drastically cutting down on loading times.

This next generation motherboard has 20+1 power stages rated for up to 90 amps. It features ASUS ProCool II power connectors, which are designed without hollow spaces for better heat dissipation and cooler operating temperatures, as well as MicroFine alloy chokes and premium metallic capacitors, whose unique small granule design allows for greater energy permeability than traditional chokes. Like other high performance motherboards in the Maximus Z690 series, the Hero was built with thermal design in mind. There are heatsinks in several critical areas, including a VRM heatsink on the MOSFETs and chokes, three heatsinks for the M.2 drives, and a dedicated chipset heatsink. The MOSFET heatsink in particular is connected to an L-shaped embedded heatpipe that quickly draws heat away from the VRM. An aluminum I/O cover and high-conductivity thermal pad further absorb and dissipate heat generated during high performance. There are also dual water-temperature headers, which means that it is simple to add water cooling to the system, and the AI Suite is already programmed to track coolant and manage flow rates if you do decide to add water cooling.

While the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero comes ready out of the box for high powered gaming and computing, it also features a DIY friendly design. PCIe Slot Q-Releases makes upgrading GPUs as easy as pressing a button. BIOS FlashBack™ gives you direct control of your rig’s BIOS. ROG Hyper M.2 card offers an easy solution to expand with SSD storage. These and other DIY friendly designs mean that you can customize your rig inside and out to best suit your unique needs.

High performance networking and connectivity combine to make the Maximus Z690 Hero a great motherboard for a gaming rig. The Hero comes with built in WiFi 6E and Intel® 2.5 GB Ethernet. These allow for the Hero to make use of new 6GHz spectrum bands, which off up to three times the bandwidth of older 5 GHz bands, while the Intel® 2.5 GB Ethernet increase connectivity speeds. This means that you can game and stream without worrying about lagging or slow file transfers. Like others in the Maximus line, the Hero offers PCIe® 5.0, which doubles the speed of outdated PCIe® 4.0 slots, and gives high speed components (such as GPUs) a boost. ROG SupremeFX ALC4082 with ESS® ES9018Q2C DAC audio offers pinpoint positioning and dynamics, while two Intel® Thunderbolt™ 4 ports (USB Type-C®) offers the option of adding up to two 4K monitors for an extreme immersive gaming experience. Whether you’re building your first gaming rig from the ground up, or upgrading an existing system, you can’t go wrong with the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero for getting into high powered performance.