ASUS today lifted the veil on their latest ROG “Skylake” motherboard – the Maximus VIII Hero Alpha. 

The new, £235 gaming motherboard follows the Maximus VIII Hero with a number of enhancements to connectivity, performance and storage, alongside an integrated RGB header compatible with standard 12V RGB LED strips for instant custom illumination.

The Maximus VIII Hero Alpha is equipped with 2×2 802.11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi for enhanced network performance (with speeds up to 867 Mbit/s), alongside USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports, powered by an Intel USB 3.1 controller for super-speed data transfers of up to 10Gbit/s. – twice the speed of USB 3.0.

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On the storage side, there are dual NVM Express (NVMe) U.2 sockets and M.2 for extreme 32 Gbit/s SSD data transfers and up to three-way RAID setups. According to internal ASUS lab tests, the Maximus VIII Hero Alpha has achieved write speeds of 3386 MB/s and read operations clocks at 3575 MB/s – your mileage may vary, as ever. 

ASUS’ latest ROG (Republic of Gamers) motherboard is powered by the Intel Z170 Express chipset, supporting extreme gaming performance and flexible overclocking with compatible Intel 6th-generation processors and DDR4 memory. Advanced features include 5-Way Optimization auto-tuning for instant performance boosts, which is an ASUS-exclusive feature, dynamically optimizing essential system aspects based on real-time use. ASUS says the results include superb CPU performance, everyday energy savings, ultra-stable digital power, cool and quiet fans, with networking and audio settings tailored for favourite games and apps.

Other available tweaks include second-generation T-Topology for next-level DDR4 memory overclocking – over 3800MHz is possible with Maximus VIII Hero Alpha’s memory slots fully populated, with time-aligned signal transfer for improved memory stability and compatibility. Pro Clock technology enables turbo-charged base-clock (BCLK) frequencies of 400MHz and beyond. Together with ASUS ROG’s TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) users can enhance voltage and base-clock overclocking control resulting in reduced boot times, lower jitter and increased stability under heavy overclocking. 

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In audio, the Maximus VIII Hero Alpha boasts premium performance via an ESS ES9023P digital-to-analogue 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. The motherboard’s Sonic Studio II feature includes one-click virtual-surround function that emulates 7.1 channels, even through even stereo (2.0-channel) headsets. Additonal audio enhancements include Reverb, Bass Boost, Equalizer, Voice Clarity and Smart EQ.

Full specifications are as follows:

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 6.0 Gbit/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

Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN with ASUS LANGuard and GameFirst IVBeta

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 2

Expect to see the ASUS Maximus VIII Hero at the end of the month, priced around £235.