As y'all techies may have noticed, the embargo on Z490 motherboards was lifted yesterday, flooding our usual media sites with a flurry of reviews, overviews, and videos with no views (jk) about new motherboard lineups from all sorts of brands.
Well, the first one we had the privilege of laying our hands on is none other than the ASUS ROG Maximum XII Hero (WiFi) motherboard.
As you all probably already know, the new Z490 motherboards use an LGA1200 socket to accommodate Intel's new 10th-gen processors.
Since we've already published a video unboxing and overview of the motherboard, we'll keep things short and sweet here. If you don't like to read, we've attached our video at the end of this article, so please feel free to skip ahead!
Inside the box, you'll find:
4 SATA cables
2 RGB extension cables
1 ROG assistant fan
1 fan bracket pack
M.2 rubber and screws
Thank you card
...and of course, the motherboard la.
Since it's an ATX board, it measures in at a decently-sized 30.5 x 24.4cm. Aesthetic updates include a shiny new panel where the I/O connector heatsink RGB used to be; the model name 'HERO' is emblazoned on the panel, and will be illuminated when turned on.
The M.2 slots are now also buried under their very own heatsinks. The PCH heatsink still retains the RGB ROG logo, albeit with a simpler and more streamlined design.
Ports and Headers
M.2 and SATA ports: This board has 3 Key-M M.2 slots, two slots right beside the PCH and one more below it, each located beneath its own heatsink as mentioned before.
2 of the slots support both PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA modules while 1 of it only supports PCIe 3.0 x4 modules. There are also 6 SATA Ports in total for all your storage needs.
PCIe slots: There are 3 PCIe slots, and 2 of them have some extra shielding to provide better support and stability for your cards.
DIMM slots: There are 4 DIMM slots in total, and compared to its predecessor which only supports up to 4400mHz OC memory, the Maximus XII Hero supports up to 4800mHz thanks to its OptiMem III design.
Fan and pump headers: There are a total of 8 fan connectors, 1 CPU and CPU optional header - 6 of them for chassis fans, while 3 of them which double up as pump headers as well.
RGB headers: For your RGB needs, there are 2 addressable headers and 2 non-addressable headers.
USB headers: For USB headers, we have a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Front Panel Connector, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 header and 2 more USB 2.0 headers.
Other headers: A Thunderbolt header is available, as well as a Front Panel Audio Header, Thermal Sensor Header, and lastly, the Liquid Cooling Headers.
Utility buttons and Q-Code display: At the top you’ll find the Start button, and above it is the Q-Code display. The Flex Key, is a reset button by default, but you can configure it and assign a quick access feature, such as safe boot or RGB on and off.
ReTry button: The ReTry button comes in handy if you’re overclocking. It allows you to hard reset your system without losing your BIOS settings, saving you a lot of panic.
Back I/O ports: On the back, you'll find the Clear CMOS button, a BIOS flashback button, and a HDMI Port. There are a total of 10 USB ports on the back. One of them is a BIOS Flashback port that allows you to easily update or install your BIOS through a flashdrive.
Ethernet ports: There are 2 ethernet ports - one of them is using the Intel® I219-V 1Gb, while the other port is using the Marvell® AQtion AQC111C 5Gb ethernet controller. This port will support internet speeds up to 5Gbps.
WiFi modules: It's using the Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX2015, which can support wireless speeds up to 2.4Gbps.
Audio: Audio is powered by the ESS ES90223 DAC and the RC4580 OP AMP. There's also an Optical S/PDIF port.
New AI Features
AI Overclocking: Noobs who have no clue how overclocking work can embrace the AI Overclocking feature, which helps you figure out the best clocks and voltage settigs for your 10th Gen CPU with just one press of a button.
AI Cooling: Power = heat - it's sCieNce. The new AI Cooling feature will keeps things cool - it's an all-new fan control system that reduces fan noise up to 37%, making sure your PC doesn’t sound like it's dying soon, even when under heavy loads.
AI Networking: The AI Networking feature will prioritise important tasks to ensure maximum stability and minimum interference for lag-free online gaming. It will adjust bandwidth dynamically to make sure your experience is always smooth, so if you die in game, don’t blame lag - blame yourself hor?
ROG pre-mounted I/O shield: Ah, finally a feature designed especially for klutzes like me. If you're no stranger to PC assembling, you'll also be no stranger to the 'cutting fingers on I/O shields' phenomenon. Well, it's now pre-mounted, so no chance of I/O turning into 'Aiyo' soon!
Aura sync: Need I say any more? CUSTOMISABLE RGB YO.
If you're a tuhao looking for an upgrade, the ROG Maximum XII Hero provides ample features and lubangs that will make it worth your while. And if you have the moolah to upgrade your PC, a 10th-gen processor and shiny new Z490 motherboard should be a priority, hor? I mean, who wants to upgrade and still be outdated? Anyway, the new Z490 motherboards from ROG will be hitting stores pretty soon, so stay tuned for pricing!
If you were looking for our unboxing and overview video (you lazy bugs), here you go!