Asus is going “dark” in their latest version of the Crosshair VIII Hero. By now, you are probably aware that AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series CPUs will be available starting November 5. There are no new “X670” or “B650” chipsets coming out, as far as we know. Instead, the new Ryzen 5000 series is fully compatible with the existing X570 and B550 motherboards; including some X470 and B450. But Asus has decided to refresh some of their existing X570 and B550 motherboards. And they recently revealed the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero; along with the TUF Gaming X570-Pro WiFi and ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming WiFi. More details below.
ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero – What’s New?
One of the most obvious changes in the new Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is in its aesthetics. Just what its name suggests, it features a sleek all-black design with large heatsinks; both in the chipset and VRM area. The word “HERO” is replaced with an RGB illuminated “ROG” logo near the I/O ports. And an Asus ROG logo, also with RGB illumination, can be seen at the chipset area.
Speaking of the chipset, notice that this motherboard doesn’t come with a mini fan to cool the chipset. Most X570 motherboards have a mini cooling fan to actively cool the chipset. But this time, a large chunk of heatsink passively cools the X570 chipset of the Crosshair VIII Dark Hero. There are also heatsinks for the two PCIe 4.0 x 4 M.2 slots that are ready for the fastest NVMe SSDs available; like the Samsung 980 Pro or WD Black SN850.
The onboard power delivery has also been improved. The CPU VRM features 16 TI (90 amp) power stages arranged in a teamed topology; that is especially adept at responding to the load transients generated by multi-core CPUs transitioning between load states.
Just like its predecessor, the two primary PCIe 4.0 x16 slots are reinforced with the SafeSlot design. This is to support heavyweight graphics cards, just like the big ferocious GPU RTX 3090 FE. There are a number of USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (seven Type-A, one USB Type-C); plus connectivity like Intel WiFi 6 AX200 adapter, 2.5G, and gigabit Ethernet jacks.
As for audio, the ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero features the SupremeFX S1220 codec; paired with an ESS ES9023 DAC for the front-panel outputs. This provides crisp and clear output in both stereo and surround sound for music and games.
Asus has not yet disclosed the retail price of the new X570 Dark Hero motherboard. But it will be available starting November 2020. If you want to check out the complete specifications of the Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, you can visit Asus’ page here.
Asus TUF Gaming X570-Pro WiFi 6 Now Available
Aside from the Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, Asus also announced the TUF Gaming X570-Pro WiFi and this one is already available (Newegg here). I’m positive that the Dark Hero will be more expensive than this one. But if your budget for the motherboard is around $220, then the TUF Gaming X570-Pro WiFi would fit the bill.
The Asus TUF Gaming X570-Pro WiFi features an enhanced power solution; boasting a 12 + 2 DrMOS power stages, a six-layer PCB, ProCool sockets, military-grade TUF components, and the Digi+ VRM to ensure maximum durability. It offers comprehensive cooling features including dedicated heatsinks for the chipset; VRM, and M.2 slot, along with hybrid fan headers and Fan Xpert 4 software.
Extensive connectivity comes by way of the dual PCI Express 4.0 M.2 slots; and USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (1 x rear, 1 x front) and Type-A ports. The TUF Gaming X570-Pro WiFi also includes onboard Intel 2.5G Ethernet, Intel WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1; plus TUF LANGuard and TurboLAN technology for an added boost.
While it doesn’t have the SupremeFX, it features a Realtek S1200A codec that offers pristine audio with an unprecedented 108 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for the stereo line-out and 103 dB SNR for line-in. In addition, the embedded AI Noise-Canceling Microphone provides crystal-clear in-game voice communication. Exclusive DTS Custom provides auditory positional cues via stereo headphones to give gamers an added advantage during gaming.
Again, the Asus TUF Gaming X570-Pro WiFi is now available for $219.99 and you can grab one from Newegg.com here.
Asus ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming WiFi
Last but not least is the Asus ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming WiFi. It’s the company’s new flagship B550 motherboard and sits on top of the Strix B550-E Gaming. It features an uprated power with its 16 integrated TI 90 amp power stages (identical to ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero). This helps the motherboard to drive the current Ryzen 3000 and Ryzen 5000 processors without breaking a sweat.
The ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming features comprehensive cooling; including actively-cooled VRM heatsinks with a connecting heat pipe and an integrated aluminum I/O cover; plus a high-quality thermal pad for better heat transfer. There are dedicated heatsinks for the dual M.2 slots; as well as a bundled Hyper M.2 x16 Gen 4 card with a full-cover heatsink and embedded fan.
In addition, Strix B550-XE Gaming includes 2.5G Intel Ethernet, Intel WiFi 6 AX200, six M.2 slots (four on the Hyper M.2 x16 card), and BIOS FlashBack.
Asus has not yet announced the retail price for the upcoming ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming. But it will be available starting November 2020. Most probably it will be available at the same time the Crosshair VIII Dark Hero releases in the market.