ASUS ROG has announced a new member of its Skylake Z170 motherboard family, the ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha. In the press release we are told that the Hero Alpha builds on the foundation set by the ROG Maximus VIII Hero, the firm's most popular current generation Maximus motherboard, by providing "significant upgrades".
Key to the performance on offer from the new ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha is the 5-Way Optimization auto-tuning technology which provides easy performance boosts, power-savings, ultra-quiet operation plus custom audio/networking settings for games. ASUS adds Pro Clock technology alongside TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) to turbo-charge the base-clock (BCLK) frequency on your Skylake processor. The new motherboards supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) compatibility and Second-generation ASUS T-Topology for superior DDR4 memory overclocking. Up to DDR4 3800+ memory is supported.
Other advancements present on the ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha include dual NVM Express (NVMe) U.2 sockets, which in combination with the M.2. slot allow "insane 3-way RAID setups," and data transfer speeds of up to 32Gbps. Your older storage devices can be connected via the four SATA 6Gb/s ports. The Hero Alpha also has a plethora of USB ports including a Thunderbolt 3 capable Type-C port on its back panel. Wireless connectivity is catered for with 2×2 (2T2R) 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) and Bluetooth V4.1.
For lovers of motherboard bling ASUS ROG has taken the LED-show a step further with the Alpha. You now have 4-pin 'Aura RGB Strip headers' plus extension cables plus Aura software to facilitate RGB LED lighting around your motherboard with six lighting modes; static, strobe, breathing, colour-cycle, music effect, and CPU temperature indicator. All the above add up to quite a few advancements over the previous best selling 'non-Alpha' ROG Maximus VIII Hero motherboard.
Pricing and availability can be gleaned from "your local ASUS representative". Below I have reproduced the full spec list for the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha.
- Processor/CPU socket: LGA1151 socket for 6th-generation Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium / Celeron processors
- Chipset: Intel Z170 Express
- Memory: 4 x DIMMs, up to a maximum of 64GB, DDR4 3800MHz (OC), Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) supported
- Expansion slots: 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16, x8/x8 modes supported), 1 x PCIe 3.0 slot (maximum x4 mode supported), 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
- Graphics (VGA): Integrated Intel HD Graphics processor, DisplayPort 1.2 with maximum resolution of 4096 x 2304 at 60Hz, HDMI with maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 at 24Hz, Intel InTru 3D / Quick Sync Video / Clear Video HD Technology / Insider™
- Multi-GPU: Two-way/quad-GPU NVIDIA SLI and three-way/quad-GPU AMD CrossFireX technology
- Storage: 6 x SATA 6.0Gbit/s, 2 x U.2, 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices supported (both PCIe 3.0 and SATA modes supported)
- Networking/LAN/Wireless: Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN with ASUS LANGuard and GameFirst IVBeta, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz, Supports MU-MIMO
- USB/Thunderbolt: 2 x USB 3.1 ports (1 x Type-A and 1 x Type-C ports), 6 x USB 3.0 ports (2 on back panel, 4 mid-board), 6 x USB 2.0 ports (2 on back panel, 4 mid-board), 1 x Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C on back panel)
- Audio: ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-channel high-definition audio, SupremeFX shielding technology, ESS ES9023P high-definition DAC, 2VRMS headphone amp (32-600 ohms), Jack-detection, multi-streaming, front-panel mic jack-retasking, Optical S/PDIF-out port on back panel
- Dimensions / form factor: ATX, 12in x 9.6in (30.5 x 24.4cm)