ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero X370 Motherboard Review
Features and Motherboard Layout
Courtesy of ASUS
- ROG Water Cooling Zone: Dominate your cooling system
- Aura Sync RGB LED: Stunning synchronized effects and two Aura 4-pin RGB-strip headers
- SupremeFX: Exclusive new codec plus intuitive Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar III
- 5-Way Optimization: One-click system-wide overclocking.
- Best gaming networking: Intel® Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard and GameFirst technologies
- Best gaming connectivity: USB 3.1 front-panel connector, M.2 and both USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C
- Best gaming durability: Safeslot and premium components for maximum durability
The Crosshair VI Hero motherboard features the base black PCB with black plastic overlays and black chromed heat sinks common to the current generation of ASUS ROG boards. ASUS integrated a plastic cover over the rear panel components as well as an overlay, protecting the audio subsystem components. The board name is integrated into the rear panel cover with the ROG logo integrated into the chipset. Both have underlying RGB LEDs and glow when the board is powered. The board was designed with an ATX form factor to easily fit into most consumer enclosures, while providing more than enough surface area for its integrated components.
The board back is mostly free of components with the exception of small power circuitry underneath the VRMs on the board surface. The area behind the CPU socket and around in the CPU backplate is sufficiently clear, ensuring minimal problems mounting coolers requiring replacement of the stock backplate.
ASUS integrated a 12-phase digital power system into the Crosshair VI Hero to power the CPU, delivering more then enough power for anything you throw at your Ryzen processor. The digital power system is built using MicroFine Alloy Chokes, NexFET™ Power Block MOSFETs, and 10K Black Metallic capacitors, ensuring rock solid board operation under all conditions. The CPU VRMs are cooled by two aluminum heat sinks to the top and right of the CPU socket, connected by a heat pipe.
To the upper left of the CPU socket are the rear panels RGB power header as well as a 4-pin system fan header. The two ATX12V power connectors, an 8-pin and a 4-pin, are located to the outside of the VRM heat sinks and to the upper right of the CPU socket.
ASUS designed the board with a single PCIe x4 M.2 slot in between the second and third PCIe x16 slot and to the left of the chipset heat sink. The slot accomodates M.2 cards up to 110mm in length and is keyed for M-key slot devices with standard SSD, PCIe x2, and PCIe x4 type M.2 drives supported.
The board has a total of four DIMM slots with Dual Channel memory mode active with modules in slots 1 / 3 or 2 / 4. The board supports up to 64GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3200MHz. Note that memory speeds above 2400MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official AMD stock memory speed specifications.
Directly underneath the DIMM slots are a 4-pin system fan header, a USB 3.1 port, the 24-pin ATX power connector, the Probelt voltage measurement points, and a 3D printed device mount point. The USB 3.1 port can be used to connect USB 3.1 devices from the front of the case. The Probelt voltage points provide real time voltage measurement points for various board voltages, measurable using a voltmeter.
To to right of the DIMM slots are the 2-digit diagnostic display, the CPU primary (CPU_FAN), CPU secondary (CPU_OPT), water pump (W_PUMP) 4-pin fan / power headers, and a 4-pin RGB LED header. The 2-digit diagnostic display can be used for debugging system issues during system initialization. The displayed debug codes can be decoded using the table from the motherboard manual. The 4-pin water pump header can be used to power and monitor a standard 12V water pump - an AIO cooler's integrated coolant pump or a pump integrated into a DIY loop.
The AMD X370 chipset is covered by a low profile chromed black heat sink with emblazoned with the ROG logo. The logo itself glows per the RGB board setting when the board is powered. In addition to the PCIe x4 M.2 slot, the board features eight SATA III ports in the port block directly below the chipset heat sink. All SATA ports are usable in conjuction with the a drive seated in the M.2 port and do not share bandwidth with other board integrated devices or ports.
The board contains a total of six PCIe slots - three PCIe x16 slots and three PCIe x1 slots. The PCIe x16 slots can be used in x16 / 0 / x4 or x8 / x8 / x4 modes with a Ryzen processor, or in x8 / 0 / x4 mode with an AMD 7th generation Athlon processor.
ASUS integrated support for connecting an RGB LED strips directly into the board using the RGB LED headers located in the lower left of the board and to the upper righr of the DIMM slots. Connecting an RGB LED strip to either of the headers synchronizes the LED strip color and activity with that of the motherboard's integrated LEDs. Additionally, ASUS provided an RGB LED connection for the rear panel cover, located to the upper left of the CPU socket. The color of the LEDs integrated into the rear panel cover syncs with that set for the rest of the board. The board is shown with an external RGB strip connected to the header in the board's lower left quadrant (by the chipset heat sink).
In addition to the RGB LED header, a ROG OC Panel header, a USB 3.0 header, a temperature sensor header and 4-pin fan header, front panel headers, and water flow headers. The three water flow headers (labeled W_OUT, W_IN, W_FLOW) can be used to monitor and adjust the flow rate of an attached liquid cooling system device. The lower header in the ROG_EXT group can be used for two additional USB 2.0 ports if the OC Panel II device is not connected to the system. The OC Panel cable (bundled in with the ROG OC Panel device) connects to the ROG_EXT ports, allowing the ROG OC Panel II device to interact with the board.
Along the upper left side of the board are the trusted module port header, the LN2 mode jumper, the Slow Mode switch, the power, reset, Safe Boot, and Retry buttons, a 4-pin system fan header, and the front panel audio header. The LN2 Mode jumper enables a cold bug fix that can be encountered when attempting to boot a CPU at sub-zero temperatures. The Slow Mode switch can be used to automatically slow the system boot process and CPU frequency to help prevent system crashing at extreme cooling temperatures (read sub-zero). The ReTry button can be used to attempt system reboot that locked up during the initialization process, while retaining the previously set UEFI settings. The Safe Boot button forces a system reboot, enacting a direct to UEFI boot using factory set "safe" settings while retaining the previous settings in the UEFI pages for modification.
The board's integrated audio components are covered by a plastic overlay just above the PCIe ports with the SupremeFX logo stamped into its surface. The audio subsystem lives on an isolated PCB to minimize line-noise and distortion caused by other integrated components. The PCB separator line illuminates according to the color scheme configured through the UEFI or the AURA applet in Windows. ASUS included the following audio components into the sound system design: an ESS ES9023P DAC (digital-to-analogue converter), RC4580 Buffer, and Nichicon audio capacitors. The audio output header is located to the lower left of the overlay along the board's edge.
The Crosshair VI Hero motherboard contains the following integrated ports in its rear panel assembly: four USB 2.0 ports (black), eight USB 3.0 ports (blue), two USB 3.1 10Gbps ports (red) - one Type A and one Type C, an Intel I211-AT GigE RJ-45 port, a BIOS reset button, the USB BIOS Flashback button, an S/PDIF digital audio output port, and five analogue audio output ports.
The USB BIOS Flashback button can be used to re-flash the BIOS without having to boot the system into the UEFI BIOS interface or a command-line mode interface. Simply plug in a USB drive containing the proper BIOS file in the root of the drive into the bottom-most USB 2.0 port (black colored) and power on the system. As the BIOS is updated, the LED flashing frequency increases. Once the LED goes out, the flash operation is completed and the board can be booted. Note that if the BIOS Flashback LED flashes for 5 seconds and then glows solid, it means that something went wrong with the flashback operation. Check the USB drive for the the BIOS file in the root and make sure that the BIOS file is named correctly. BIOS Flashback looks for a specific filename and file format when attempting to replace the on-board BIOS. According to the user manual, the BIOS file in the root of the flash drive must be named C6H.CAP for the BIOS Flashback applet to successfully re-flash the board's BIOS.