ASUS shows off its ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha, with enhanced aesthetics, higher memory speed support and more connectivity options. Full specs over here.
ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced Maximus VIII Hero Alpha, an ATX Z170-based gaming motherboard packed with advanced gamer-friendly features and the very latest connectivity — and the world’s first motherboard with an integrated RGB header compatible with standard 12V RGB LED strips for instant custom illumination.
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha is the latest evolution of ROG’s gamer-delighting Maximus VIII Hero motherboard, upping the game with the two new four-pin headers for RGB strips, 2×2 (2T2R) 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C powered by an Intel® USB 3.1 controller for super-speed data transfers of up to 10Gbit/s, and dual NVM Express (NVMe) U.2 sockets and M.2 for extreme 32Gbit/s transfers and up to three-way RAID setups.
Based on the latest Intel Z170 Express chipset, Maximus VIII Hero Alpha is engineered with multiple exclusive technologies for the best gaming performance and epic overclocking experiences with Intel 6th-generation processors and DDR4 memory. These advanced features include 5-Way Optimization auto-tuning for instant performance boosts, second-generation T-Topology for next-level DDR4 memory overclocking, and Pro Clock technology for turbo-charged base-clock (BCLK) frequencies.
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha also includes the best gaming audio with SupremeFX 2015 with Sonic Studio II, the best gaming networking with the latest Intel Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard and GameFirst IVBeta technologies.
Best gaming connectivity: RGB Strip Header, 2×2 802.11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, U.2, M.2 and USB 3.1
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha builds on the success and popularity of Maximus VIII Hero by adding loads of great new connectivity options, plus an exciting new instant-illumination RGB pathway. With two patented four-pin Aura RGB-Strip headers and included extension cables, it’s quick and easy for users to cast brilliant colors across their gaming rigs and room. It takes just a moment to slide a standard 12V RGB strip onto the Aura RGB-strip header, then the user is able to weave their lighting any way they like. Maximus VIII Hero Alpha also has the Aura lighting-control utility to command the motherboard’s powerful built-in RGB LEDs or attached RGB strips, or both — and in perfect synchronization. With Aura, users enjoy the creative freedom of six different lighting schemes, including controls for customized static, strobing and pulsating effects. Tempo-tracking and CPU-temperature-indication modes are also available.
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha has next-level 802.11ac Wi-Fi built in, with 2×2 (2T2R) dual-band 2.4/5GHz antennas for up to 867Mbit/s transfer speeds — and the very latest Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology to ensure that every connected user experiences the best wireless and online speeds.
To unlock the full potential the latest solid-state drives (SSDs), Maximus VIII Hero Alpha has dual NVMe U.2 connectors. This revolutionary specification enables SSDs to scream at top speed, while offering plug-and-play ease for users to experience data-transfer speeds of up to 32Gbit/s. Maximus VIII Hero Alpha also has an M.2 connector with x4 PCI Express 3.0/2.0 bandwidth, enabling up to three-way RAID setups for stupendous speed or data redundancy. In internal labs tests, Maximus VIII Hero Alpha has achieved write speeds of 3386MB/s and read operations of an incredible 3575MB/s — exploiting its optimized layout to deliver the best storage performance on Intel’s 6th-generation platform (‘Skylake’).
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha also has the newest USB 3.1 built in, including both USB 3.1 Type-A ports and reversible USB 3.1 Type-C sockets for superb convenience and data-transfer speeds of up to 10Gbit/s — or twice (2X) as fast USB 3.0. USB 3.1 is completely backward-compatible with existing USB devices, and ASUS-exclusive USB 3.1 Boost technology automatically accelerates USB 3.1 performance even further.
Best gaming performance: Second-gen T-topology, 5-Way Optimization, Pro Clock and DDR 3800+
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha benefits from 5-Way Optimization technology with automated overclocking and unrivaled fan control for instant, highly-controllable performance boosts. This exclusive technology dynamically optimizes essential system aspects based on real-time use for superb CPU performance, everyday energy savings, ultra-stable digital power, cool and quiet fans, and even includes networking and audio settings tailored for favorite games and apps.
The latest ROG gaming motherboard also has second-generation ASUS T-Topology built in, enabling users to take DDR4 memory overclocking to new heights: over 3800MHz is possible with Maximus VIII Hero Alpha’s memory slots fully populated. Featuring a customized trace layout for reduced crosstalk and coupling noise, second-generation T-Topology ensures time-aligned signal transfer for improved memory stability and compatibility.
For the ultimate in cooling and quietness Maximus VIII Hero Alpha features advanced fan and water-pump controls, coupled to onboard thermal sensors and hardware-level 4-pin/3-pin PWM/DC mode detection — all controlled by the intuitive simplicity of Fan Xpert 3. A dedicated onboard water-pump header ensures that best water-cooling efficiency is instantly accessible, and another fan-extension header is also built in for better upgradability
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha also packs Pro Clock technology, a dedicated base-clock (BCLK) generator designed for 6th-generation Intel processors that allows overclocked base-clock frequencies of 400MHz — and even beyond. This custom solution works in tandem with ASUS ROG’s TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) to enhance voltage and base-clock overclocking control. Boot times can be reduced, jitter is lowered and stability is increased under heavy overclocking — providing an exciting new way to boost performance to extreme heights.
Best gaming audio: Champion-level SupremeFX 2015, Sonic Studio II, and one-click auto-tuning
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha has champion-level audio, inside and out. ROG’s engineers have reinvented integrated audio, with the very best gaming-audio inputs and outputs, special shielded designs, and a collection of carefully-selected, professional-grade audio components, including an ESS® ES9023P digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with Hyperstream™ technology, ultra-low-jitter clock, Nichicon® capacitors, 2VRMS headphone amp, and Sonic SenseAmp that automatically detects and optimizes any headset (32-600ohms) for purest sound quality.
SupremeFX 2015 also features intuitive Sonic Studio II to apply different audio effects for the most enjoyable entertainment, plus Perfect Voice noise-cancellation technology for both incoming and outgoing communications to give team conversations total clarity. This intuitive audio-tuning suite includes one-click virtual-surround function that emulates 7.1 channels, through even stereo (2.0-channel) headsets. It offers five more superb audio controls, including Reverb, Bass Boost, Equalizer, Voice Clarity and Smart EQ — ensuring that everything emitted by Maximus VIII Hero Alpha sounds just amazing.
Sonic Studio II incorporates Casting Enhancer to improve both streaming and recording audio quality, reducing noise artifacts and stabilizing overall voice volume. It also enhances all the rich details and boosts the bass effects of in-game sounds and music to deliver audio experiences with real feeling.
Best gaming networking: Lag-banishing Intel Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard and GameFirst IVBeta
Maximus VIII Hero Alpha combines superior hardware and software technologies to deliver a knock-out blow to lag for online gaming without stutter.
The very latest Intel Gigabit Ethernet (I219-V) reduces CPU overhead and offers exceptionally-high TCP and UDP throughput, freeing up more computing power for gaming and gameplay, while exclusive LANGuard signal-coupling technology and premium surface-mounted components ensure reliable connections and better throughput. The new gaming boards also have electrostatically-guarded and surge-protected components (ESD Guards) for 1.9X-greater tolerance to static electricity and 2.5X-greater protection (up to 15KV) against surges.
All-new and exclusive GameFirst IVBeta technology prioritizes game-related packets and allocates more bandwidth to games, eliminating laggy gameplay, streaming stutters and file-sharing slowdown — users need only choose the Optimization, Game, Media Streaming or File Sharing preset to watch their networks fly. GameFirst IVBeta also includes Multi-Gate Teaming to team all available networks for maximum bandwidth and the smoothest-ever gameplay.