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Today we're taking a closer look at the latest motherboard refresh from Asus: the ROG Maximus Z790 Dark Hero. This updated model continues the legacy of its predecessors with some noteworthy enhancements, including the introduction of Wi-Fi 7 – a leap forward even for those who have just upgraded to Wi-Fi 6.

The Z790 Dark Hero stands out not only for its cutting-edge Wi-Fi capabilities but also for its broad compatibility, supporting 12th to 14th Gen Intel CPUs. This feature-packed board, however, marks the end of the line for this platform, as the 15th Gen is expected to move to a new motherboard generation. Let's delve into what this motherboard offers and its implications for future builds.

The board's aesthetics are immediately striking, with a sleek and clean design. A notable feature is the small screen capable of displaying animations, adding a dynamic visual element to the build. The overall blackout style of the board is visually appealing and sure to be a hit with enthusiasts.

In the box, Asus includes a concise quick start guide, which is a practical touch for novice builders, providing clear instructions and diagrams for a swift setup. Additionally, the package contains a range of accessories, including a sticker pack, thermal pads for M.2 drives, a variety of adapters, SATA cables, and an improved Wi-Fi antenna with push connectors for easier installation.

The motherboard itself is designed with top-tier power delivery, featuring 20+1+2 power stages and robust heatsinks, ensuring stable performance even under heavy loads. It accommodates up to 192GB of non-binary memory, a significant increase from previous limits, making it well-suited for workstation tasks.

A key aspect of this motherboard is its PCIe Gen 5 support, both for NVMe drives and GPU slots, though it's important to note the limitations regarding lane bifurcation. Users need to be aware of these constraints when planning their builds, especially considering the current lack of PCIe Gen 5 graphics cards on the market.

Additionally, the motherboard offers a range of connectivity options, including four SATA ports, USB Type-A and Type-C ports, and a 2.5 gigabit network connections, along with the latest Wi-Fi 7 capabilities. The rear I/O panel is well-equipped, featuring a variety of USB ports, including Thunderbolt, and even a built-in HDMI connector for troubleshooting or integrated graphics use.

Asus also includes some of their signature motherboard features, like the Q-Latch for easy M.2 drive installation, Q-Release for convenient GPU removal, and additional sensors for water cooling setups. These features, along with clear CMOS and BIOS flashback buttons, enhance the user experience, especially for those involved in overclocking or complex builds.

This motherboard, with its blend of advanced features and user-friendly design elements, is set to be a crucial component in our upcoming review of Intel's next-gen CPUs. Be sure to subscribe for the full review, where we'll explore the full potential of the ROG Maximus Z790 Dark Hero. Stay tuned for more!


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