Asus ROG Maximus XI Code Z390 Gaming Review

Asus ROG Maximus XI Code Z390 Gaming Review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero is one of two boards in this Z390 group that fall right into the mid-range of the modern Intel motherboard market – and it’s £15 more expensive than ASRock’s Z390 Phantom Gaming 9.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £286
  • ATX form factor
  • Intel Z390 chipset
  • Intel LGA 1151 socket
  • 4 x 4400MHz DDR4, maximum 64GB
  • 3 x PCI-E x16, 3 x PCI-E x1
  • 5 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 2, 1 x PS/2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x audio
  • 2 x M.2, 6 x SATA 3

Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) – Design and Features

asus rog

With some CPU overclocking, the Hero has a good core specification for both single and dual-GPU PCs.

You can fit two GPUs into this motherboard since it has three PCI-E x16 slots, and the top two are steel-supported and can run at 8x speed – so it supports AMD and Nvidia dual-graphics. Other expansion cards can fit in the third slot, which is locked to 4x.

The Asus product has the same PCI-E x16 configuration as the ASRock board, though it has three PCI-E x1 slots, one more than the Phantom Gaming 9.

Asus combines its excellent PCI allocation with a better aesthetic design than ASRock. A chunky rear IO cover and dark, brushed metal heatsinks grace the Asus board, and the board itself is black. I like this cooler more than the ASRock’s lighter metal and red and white streaks – and the Asus has a more extensive rear IO cover, as well.

Like the ASRock, Maximus’ rear IO and southbridge heatsinks have RGB LEDs. Asus pairs its RGB LEDs with four RGB headers across the board, and all of them work with Asus Aura Sync – so they can be synchronized with other ROG hardware.

It has six SATA ports and two M.2 sockets, and it supports the standard 64GB of DDR4 memory. There is one M.2 connector that can use both SATA and PCI bandwidth, and one that only uses PCI bandwidth. Each has a heatsink.

There was only one heatsink on ASRock’s M.2 connector, but that board offered three M.2 ports and eight SATA ports. Therefore, ASRock was the clear winner in storage.

Networking is also a weakness for Asus. The ASRock’s dual-band 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, and dual gigabit Ethernet are certainly not bad, but it did not have a 2.5Gbps Realtek Dragon Ethernet port.

ASRock has Sound Blaster, while ROG has SupremeFX. Both boards come with Realtek ALC1220 audio boosted by additional hardware. They will both perform well in terms of games and movies.

Asus has a mighty eight fan connectors, an extra four-pin power connector, start and reset buttons, and a POST display – all of which are included in the ASRock.

However, the ASRock is slightly better in terms of connectivity. The Asus and ASRock boards both have USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C front panel connectors. However, the ASRock board has two, while the Asus has one.

There are also three USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and a Type-C port on the back panel of the Asus board. There are two USB 2 ports and five audio jacks on the rear panel.

As for the ASRock, it has seven USB 3.1 ports, one Type-C connection – and none of the slower USB 2.

When compared to ASRock, Asus’ specification does seem a little lacking in some areas. This can be explained by a closer look at the prices: the board I reviewed is the ASUS Maximus XI Hero Wi-Fi, which costs £286, which is higher than the ASRock, which costs £271. But if you’re willing to give up wireless internet, you can buy the standard Hero board for £258.

Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) – Performance

asus rog

In terms of onboard features, the Asus falls short when compared to the ASRock, but it more than makes up for this when it comes to benchmarks.

Its Cinebench scores of 211cb and 1,503cb place it mid-table in the wider group but easily beats the ASRock, which performed poorly on that test. In Geekbench, the Asus also performed well, while the ASRock struggled.

One of the most consistent boards that we’ve tested was the Asus. The Z390 had the lowest idle power draw among the Z390 group, and its SATA and NVMe benchmark speeds consistently ranked among the top of the test.

The gaming was smooth. Our benchmark tables show it topped our 3D Mark Fire Strike table with a score of 17,667, while it topped Time Spy with a score of 7,679.

It was one of the fastest boards in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, as well as among the fastest in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

The ASRock board had average results in every gaming benchmark, and its NVMe results were poor.

Further examination of this board’s results indicates that it is not quite as quick when it comes to complex, CPU-heavy tasks, like Cinebench and Geekbench Multi-threaded tests, or the Sandra processor arithmetic test.

In other words, this board isn’t suitable for complex work. It is very good for day-to-day computing and for high-end gaming, however – and definitely better than the ASRock.

Should I Buy the Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi)?

This Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) motherboard is interesting.

In both applications and games, it consistently outperforms the ASRock product – so it’s an easy pick if you want a top-notch motherboard.

However, the ASRock is a little better in terms of storage, networking, and ports compared to the Asus. So, it might be worth sacrificing some performance for this feature.

Even so, the Asus’ specifications should satisfy the majority of builders, and it will be consistently faster. Furthermore, if you’re willing to forgo wireless Internet, you can save a good deal of money.

Pros Cons
Solid core specification A little pricier in some circumstances
Attractive physical design Rivals have more connectivity
A consistent, well-balanced performance


When it comes to on-board features and connectivity, the Asus can’t quite compete with its main rival from ASRock, but it still offers enough specs for most builds. In benchmark tests, it consistently outperforms the ASRock, even without wireless. All sorts of systems can benefit from this well-balanced, efficient option.