Having previously reviewed the ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO (Z87), it was time to see if there were any improvements to be made in the overclocking department. With the HERO VI being touted as a budget ROG board, the Z97 HERO VII is in a different class having been bumped up the rankings with ASUS releasing another budget ROG board in the way of the Z97 MAXIMUS VII Ranger. With that being said, with my more than capable CPU (i7 4770k), I set about seeing just what the new HERO could do.
Having previously hit 5GHz on the Z87 variation, I wanted to see if the new enhanced Z97 could do any better. Having went for my initial goal of 5GHz I easily managed to achieve it after enabling load line calibration, changing the power phase settings to extreme and increasing the CPU capabilities while using the BIOS; the BIOS is very user friendly but I have to say I prefer the Z87 version (although there’s not that much difference, I will be honest). With the Z97 VII HERO I managed to hit 5GHz with 1.4v which is a 0.5v improvement over the Z87 version; fantastic efficiency and shows the difference in the quality of the phases used. I tried making a few minor tweaks but I couldn’t get any further than 5GHz stable even with 1.45v and I really didn’t want to push any more volts through the poor i7 4770k. One important thing here is the accuracy of the voltage; what I set in the BIOS was exactly what CPU-Z was reading which is also nice to know, not nice when some motherboards constantly overvolt.
If you compare the results to previous motherboards, the only one so far to break past the 5GHz barrier was the MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX which has an immense amount of power phases available and is touted more for overclocking than gaming; which the MAXIMUS VII HERO is purely aimed at. That being said, the board itself can handle a 5GHz overclock if your chip is capable and when drivers and BIOS versions continue to mature, I am fairly certain there will be more to be had; will be interesting when Broadwell CPU’s start coming out also.
Overall the ASUS MAXIMUS VII HERO managed to do the task I had set it with relative ease and the BIOS was pretty intuitive which made the experience all that much better.