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ASUS Z97 Maximus VII Hero Motherboard Review

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Posted May 28, 2014 by Kenny in CPU & Motherboards

Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Release Date: 05/11/2014
 
Price at time of Review: $229.99 on Newegg.com
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Fantastic Aesthetics following its ROG series line up, Stable Overclock, All around good performer, abundance of software
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

A bit Pricey
 
BOTTOM LINE:
The ASUS Z97 Maximus VII Hero motherboard representing its ROG "Republic of Gamers" series line up continues to impress with its features rich and rock stable performance.
by Kenny
Full Article
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ASUS AI Suite III & ROG Panel

Taking a quick glance, you will notice that ASUS has revised its already successful AI Suite. We are glad that ASUS is always continuing to improve and proactively make their own software better. The new AI Suite III looks rather impressive. The new layout really makes for ease of use and understanding. The new GUI interface really keeps everything visible and handy.

Let’s break down each section and go over some of the important features.

5 Way Optimization – Here you will pretty much find all the “at a glance” information. The TPU and EPU features that ASUS has developed are here. This will allow you to adjust the settings to your personal liking or allow the computer system do its job automatically. For those that are not used to manually overclocking your hardware, we find this to be useful as the system will adjust everything according to stability. At the lower section you will also find the Fan Xpert controls, CPU Freq readout, Voltage, Temperature and fan speeds. This gives you the FULL glimpse of the system as a whole.

TPU – In the TPU section you will find the easy CPU performance adjustments. You can adjust the CPU Freq and CPU Strap on the fly for easy overclocking. Rather then going into the BIOS, this gives you the freedom to adjust on the fly. You can make adjustments here for BLCK and CPU ratio. You also have access to adjust CPU Voltage here. You can save your OC profiles and load them as you please which makes for easy overclocking and changing back to stock settings if you don’t need the power. In the TPU section you will also have the CPU settings, which allows you to adjust the BCLK freq and also boost the APU Core clocks. This makes overclocking much easier with both CPU and GPU core clocks.

EPU – For the EPU, you can adjust your power saving features here. This allows you to set your computer in Auto Mode, High Performance, Max Power Saving or away mode. This is useful for those looking to save energy while leaving their PCs on 24/7.

DIGI+ Power Control – In this section you can adjust the power phase controller that is built-into the motherboard’s VRM stage. Here you can adjust for normal operating modes or set things to Extreme for high overclocking. This gives the user full control over how they want to control the DIGI Power Phase. You can adjust CPU LLC (load line calibrations), CPU Thermal Control, CPU Current, and of course Voltage Freq. An additional feature here is DRAM power controls for those looking to overclock their memory.

Turbo App – is one of the new features of the AI Suite software. This sections allows individual applications to be associated with performance, audio, and networking features. The performance profiles are dependent on its AI Suite’s tuning component, while the others are controlled by the audio driver and Turbo LAN utility. Turbo LAN is the ASUS app that prioritizes local network traffic based on its settings.

We feel that ASUS did a great job in including an abundance of software; they never cease to impress us with new revisions every time we test a new motherboard.

AI Suite Main

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TPU #1

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TPU #2

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DIGI Power Control #1

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DIGI Power Control #2

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Turbo App

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EPU Auto

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CPU performance

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CPU Power Saving

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EPU Away

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EPU Global

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Additional Software – In the AI Suite, we found some of the same software that we have seen in the previous AI Suite; however, ASUS simplified the view and use of each of these features. We find:

Ai Charger 
EZ Update
System Information
USB BIOS Flashback
USB 3.0 Boost
Push Notification

Other

Fan Xpert 3 – Fan Xpert is now on its 3rd revision; it’s great to see that ASUS has updated this feature to allow for easier fan adjustments. This will allow you total control to Chassis & CPU Fans via six available PWM ports, in addition DC (3pin) fans can also be controlled so your not limited to only PWN fans. You can adjust based on fan curve or manually set your fan speeds, or if you don’t want to set your own fan speeds you can let the AI Suite Fan Xpert III do the adjusting for you based on the temps sensors built into Hero motherboard with the Fan Auto Tune feature. ASUS also has predefined fan modes in case you are looking to use the standard set up which consist of Silent, Standard, Turbo and Full Speed modes. This is a great replacement for an external fan controller; however, you are limited to 6 fan ports that are available on the motherboard.

On another update ASUS has also developed this piece of software to integrate with the ROG Front Base Panel which we will go over in just a bit.

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Here’s another look at the Fan Xpert Software

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AI Suite Push Notice – This is another new sector to the AI suite. Push Notice is kind of cool for those who are into mobile applications. This utility can send alert messages if system Voltages, Temperatures and/or fan speeds move out of range from acceptable thresholds. The thresholds can be set in AI Suite and the alerts can be pushed to one or more devices.

 

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ROG Front Base Panel – ASUS started development of the ROG Front Panel Base back with the Z87 series motherboards, however the Front base was not released until about mid April of 2014, at least that’s when we started to see them hit store selves. At the time, we didn’t get one for review, but I managed to purchase one while they were still in stock. The plan was to use this on a upcoming Z87 Maximus VI Gene build project, but with the Z97 Maximus VII Hero board arriving for review, we couldn’t wait to test it out here first.

The ROG front panel adapted really well with the new Z97 Hero motherboard, 2 cables that are plug and play into the available ports on the motherboard was simply enough. Once you get the software and drivers installed your set to go. The front panel base will feature:

ROG Front Base – Dual-Bay Gaming Panel

  • Ultimate audio companion – Enjoy true-to-life gaming with awesome sound quality
  • One-click overclocking – Your one-button supply line for instant extra performance
  • Hit the button, hide your game – ‘Escape Mode’ instantly hides your gaming activity — any time
  • Monitor your system and control multiple fans – real-time management of the CPU cooler and up to four other case fans – and all can be controlled individually!
  • Always-on USB charger – Quick charge in sleep, hibernate and shutdown modes

IMG_5251 Edited

At this time, the ROG Front Base Panel integrates with the AI Suite software allowing users to use the one step push button overclock and also the Fan Xpert controls to monitor each fan header on the motherboard and take control of your fans. Keep in mind that the ROG front Panel has been developed around the Intel Z87 and Z97 chipsets at the moment. From what we have gathered on the ASUS forums and it’s compatibility, AMD users and older Intel platforms are not supported at the moment.

Let’s continue forward and take a look at some exclusive software developed by ASUS.

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