The X570 chipset motherboards have been around for quite some time since the Ryzen 3000 series actually. Although it has been around for a while, it is capable of handling even the latest Ryzen 5000 processors, all thanks to a simple BIOS update. The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero motherboard is the latest iteration of the X570 chipset board. Although ASUS has released a Crosshair VIII Hero in the past, the latest version of it has taken what everyone loved about its predecessor and improved on the power, cooling as well as colour accents that is mentioned in the name.
Obviously, with the ability to work on the new Ryzen 5000 series processors, it was very nice of ASUS to send us the monstrous Ryzen 9 5900X which is a 12 core 24 thread monster. We are not reviewing the 5900X in this article but here is the start for both the Ryzen 9 5900X as well as the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero.
Ryzen 9 5900X Specifications
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 9 5900X|
|Part number(s), S-Spec||100-000000061,
|Release date||2020 Q4|
|Lithography||7 nm FinFET|
|Base frequency||3.7 GHz|
|Turbo frequency||4.8 GHz|
|Cache memory||64 MB|
|Max memory capacity||128 GB|
|Max # of memory channels||2|
|Max memory bandwidth||47.68 GB/s|
|Max PCIe lanes||20|
|GPU integrated graphics||None|
|ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero Specifications|
|CPU Support:||AMD Ryzen™ 5000/3000/2000 Series desktop processors|
|Power Design:||CPU Power: 14-phase
Memory Power: 2-phase
|Integrated Graphics:||Dependent on installed CPU|
|Memory:||4x DIMM supports dual-channel DDR4-4866 (OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:||3x PCIe 4.0 x16 slots (x16/x0/x0 or x8/x8/x4)
1x PCIe 4.0 x1 slots
|Storage:||8x SATA 6 Gb/s port
2x M.2 port (SATA3/PCIe 4.0 x4)
|Networking:||1x Intel I211-AT
1x Realtek RTL8125-CG
Intel WiFi 6 AX200
|Rear Ports:||1x Clear CMOS button
1x BIOS flashback button
1x Optical SPDIF out port
2x LAN (RJ45) ports
8x USB 3.1 (Gen2) ports
4x USB 3.1 (Gen1) ports
2x Antenna ports
5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
|Audio:||ROG SupremeFX7.1 surround sound high definition audio CODEC|
|Fan Headers:||8x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||ATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 9.6 in.; 30.5 x 24.4 cm|
Packaging and Quick Overview
The packaging is as expected for ASUS ROG, utterly premium. Inside the box, you will naturally find the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero motherboard with a host of many other goodies. Apart from the needed documentation and driver CD, there is the newly designed WIFI antennas, 6 SATA cables, a large ROG sticker, Q-connector to make the pesky case IO plugs more bearable to plug in, extension cables for both RGB strips, as well as addressable LEDs, a really good looking coaster because we all need refreshments while gaming, a package with a few screws for your M.2 drives and last but not least, a ROG Thank you, Card.
Taking a closer look at the newly refreshed ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, we do notice a few changes, albeit very subtle and slight, they do give the latest version a very classy and refined update. Small changes have been brought to the new ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero like the heatsinks now are ribbed and the beautifully brushed black is centered by the ROG logo that lights up with RGB from behind. The IO heatsink now also has ROG on it which also lights up with RGB. The IO shield, which is usually loose and often a nightmare to get aligned or even worse when you realize you forgot to install it, is now fixed into place. Even when running in “stealth mode” as ASUS calls it, with no RGB, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero fits perfectly into nearly any build that does not favor a white build.
Taking a closer look at the board, we see much like the Z590 board we previously reviewed, the 8pin power plug is situated to the left top, next to it is the (optional) 4pin. The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero has four RAM slots, with a maximum capacity of 128Gb at overclocked speeds of up to 5100, we did not get brave with our Corsair Vengeance Pro RAM and we decided to stick to the sweet spot of 3600MHz. Right above the RAM slots, there are the first three fan headers, they are marked CPU_OPT, CPU_FAN, and AIO_FAN. The fan headers on the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero are all clever enough to recognize if they have a DC or PWM fan attached. Just to the right of these, there is the Q-code LED display that will display codes that can be used to diagnose POST issues or BOOT issues, fortunately, we did not experience any such issues.
Moving further right we find the first set of ARGB and RGB headers, the other set is found at the bottom of the board. These can be used for LED strips etc. Next up is the reset button, followed by the 24-pin ATX connector, some voltage measuring points follow below for those who want to do some onboard measurements. Right underneath these is the front panel USB port which is a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C header.
Starting at the bottom left of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero we find the audio that is powered by premium SupremeFX 7.1 audio codec with a bunch of premium components that I, personally, don’t know much about but when doing research about them, I can only find that they are considered very premium. For the vast majority of users, these premium sound components will be more than adequate. The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is also fitted with three PCIe 4.0 slots and supports AMD CrossfireX 2/3/4 and Nvidia 2-way SLI. The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero also features two M.2 sockets. One is situated above the top PCIe slot and the other sitting just to the right of the bottom PCIe slot. The top slot does however support PCIe 4.0 while the bottom only supports PCIe 3.0. Both of the M.2 slots are covered by heatsinks which both serve to keep the drives cool as well as make them nearly invisible as the heatsinks seamlessly blend into the very dark design of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero.
On the right end, there are eight SATA ports, the front panel USB3.2 Gen 1 header, and a case fan header. Below that is the ROG water-cooling header zone. Two 2-pin temperature sensor headers, 3-pin flow rate, and a 4-pin dedicated water-pump header. These headers all send info to the AI suite software so that you can check everything from flow rate to coolant temperatures in your custom water loop. Along the bottom of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, there are a whole bunch of buttons and headers, is the front panel audio plug, more 4-pin fan headers, Safe Boot button, TPM header, the second set of ARGB and RGB headers, Node header, two USB 2.0 headers, and the system panel header.
Finally moving to the rear IO. Most noticeably is the plethora of USB ports. With a staggering 12 found on the rear IO. Eight of these are USB 3.2 Gen 2 ( 1 x Type -C, 7 x Type-A) and four more USB 3.2 Gen 1. There are also 2.5GbE Realtek and 1GbE intel ports and dual connections for the WIFI antenna. Audio comes in the form of five analog plugs and the SPDIF. Lastly, there are two buttons, BIOS flashback, to return to default BIOS settings and clear CMOS button.
We paired the already stupidly powerful Ryzen 9 5900X and ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero with the very powerful ASUS ROG Radeon RX6800 GPU which performs wonderfully together thanks to AMD’s new technology allowing AMD CPUs and GPUs to share bandwidth for even better performance. The games that we used to do our benchmarks were: Metro Exodus, Battlefield 5, and the ever-present Shadow of the Tomb Raider. We tested everything at 1080p resolution and all settings at preset maximum.
Average FPS ( higher is better) – 125 FPS
Average FPS ( Higher is better) – 149 FPS
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Average FPS (higher is better) – 189 FPS
The ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is the first X570 board we have tested, actually, it is also the first time we have reviewed an AMD-based motherboard. So our verdict is less about how it compares but more about how we found the experience of using it as well as how the stats and spec compare to other similar boards out there. From an aesthetic aspect, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is an absolute beaut, it is perfect for PC gamers and builders who want a premium motherboard, that provides features galore while keeping its styling and RGB to a minimum and a stealth look. Features on the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is splendid and with the support for Ryzen 5000 series and the AMD features that come with having an AMD CPU and GPU do make the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero even more of an attractive prospect.
The software of the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is another thing that does make it rather exciting. When we reviewed the z590-E board we had our doubts around ASUS BIOS as that was our very first time using it, but once we got the hang of it, and even more this time around we simply love how it simply works. Many people have complained about how one might struggle with certain boards to get them to do what you want them to. With the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, we had no such issues. Using the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero in its default settings is also one thing, but even when we started tweaking with speeds and frequencies and power settings, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero never skipped a beat and simply kept on performing.
Saying the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is the best X570 board is impossible as we have not reviewed nearly enough of them nor have we reviewed many AM4 boards at all. What we can say is that the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is probably the AM4 board we would love to have ourselves, and sending this monster back will certainly be a terribly sad day. Over the course of the next few months as the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero sees more consumer use and feedback, we will truly be able to see how good it is, but with the new design for the Hero-board, we have no doubt that it will cement its spot as one of the truly memorable motherboards in the ROG stable.
special thanks to ASUS South Africa for the review content