The ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Z270 KabyLake motherboard is an unapologetically high end board, with a feature set to match. From great overclocking performance, with beefy VRM cooling, to it’s wrath of connectors, whether that be USB 2, USB 3, USB 3.1 (Type’s A and C) or it’s mere 8 4pin fan connections. Storage connectivity options are also solid with two M.2 connections and 6 Sata 3 6Bit/s connections.
A standout feature of this motherboard is it’s 5GHz CPU overclock profile in the BIOS of the motherboard. This will automatically overclock the unlocked, K skew chip in the board to as close to 5Ghz as possible (although final results are dependent on a range of factors, from the obvious factors such as case airflow and cooling, to the not so obvious ones such as your luck in the gold ‘ol silicon lottery :P) The i7 7700K hit this 5GHz automatically – although it is recommended that you opt for a higher end cooling solution, preferably an AIO liquid cooler from the likes of Cooler Master or Corsair, as these Kabylake chips certainly kick out some heat!
Another huge feature of this ASUS motherboard is it’s RGB functionality. There are 2 4 pin headers which allow you to plug in two 5050 12V LED strips to light up your case without having to spend extra money on something like NZXT’s Hue+. The motherboard also allows you, via the AURA software suite, to sync all of these LEDs up, from the strips to the chipset ROG LED logo. Not only this if you add an ASUS, AURA compatible GPU into the equation such as their ASUS ROG GeForce GTX 1070 STRIX or ASUS ROG GeForce GTX 1080 you can sync them in as well to create a really cohesive system design!
Other notable feature include the ability to use both SLI and Crossfire for multi GPU setups – even going as far as including a hard high bandwidth SLI bride for using more than one Nvidia GPU in SLI in style! The board also offers great support for those water cooling with water inflow and outflow connections for controlling your custom loops, alongside areas to connect temperature probes to make sure everything stays nice and chilly!
RGB/Overall look and feel
Design wise the praise continues. ASUS seem to be one of the first manufacturers to have finally cottoned on that red board accents and customisation RGB LEDs aren’t a good mix, if it’s RGB, it needs to look good regardless of the colour – hence the muted, stealthy dark grey design – that I might add looks superb. The LEDs are incorporated with minimal ‘tackiness’ and have much more minimal light bleed and light ‘leakage’, with no apparent blotchy-ness on these LED’s – nice! From the initial unboxing experience, to the wrath of included accessories ASUS really have covered all the bases here, on a board that you’d be surprised to hear isn’t even their top spec Z270 model: overall a superb product from ASUS.