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Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero Review: Three PCIe 5.0 M.2 and USB4


If you’re looking to build a new Ryzen 7000 system, the X670E Hero delivers all things Zen 4, including PCIe 5.0 slots and even two PCIe 5.0 M.2 sockets. The Hero has an updated design with improved visuals, and it continues to look the part of a premium motherboard as high-end boards have, in general, gotten more premium. Along with the standard upgrades, the Hero includes two USB 4 (40 Gbps) ports (12 total rear IO USB), a flagship-class audio solution with integrated DAC, Wi-Fi 6E and a 2.5 GbE port. Overall, it’s an attractive motherboard that comes loaded with features for its substantial $699.99 price.

Asus’ X670 product stack consists of 12 boards at the time of this writing. You’ll see all the familiar names like the Extreme, Hero, Gene, Creator, Gaming, TUF, Prime, and Pro boards we’re used to. Prices range from $269 (Prime X670-P) to $999for the flagship Crosshair X670E Extreme. In short, there’s something for everyone here (except for those who want to spend less than $269), including ITX and Micro-ATX boards and lower-end options. Just remember that the truly lower-end options for this platform are part of the B650 chipset line.

Along with all of the required platform updates, the Hero comes with five M.2 sockets, three of which support PCIe 5.0 x4 speeds (one requires using the included add-in card). The board also has six SATA ports for lots of legacy storage options. The wired networking is fast enough at 2.5 Gb, but other boards in the class include a 10 GbE port. Performance-wise, the Hero mixes in with our other early Ryzen 7000 results, with nothing inordinately fast or slow. That may change as more data comes in, but for now, our testing with our AMD Ryzen 7950X shows this is a performant option. Overclocking, for what little that’s worth on AMD these days, worked without issue as well.

Below, we’ll take a detailed look at the features and specs of the X670E Hero to better understand how this motherboard stacks up against the competition. Please refer to the X670 Motherboard Overview article for details about platform features and changes. After we see a few of these AM5 boards, we’ll see which, if any, deserve a spot on the best motherboards list. Before we get into all the details, here is a complete list of specifications from the Asus website.

Specifications: Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero

SocketLGA1718
ChipsetX670E
Form FactorATX
Voltage Regulator21 Phase (18x 110A SPS MOSFETs for Vcore, Teamed)
Video Ports(1) HDMI (v2.1)
(2) USB4
USB Ports(2) USB4 (40 Gbps) Type-C
(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2 (20 Gbps) Type-C
(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-C
(8) USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
Network Jacks(1) 2.5 GbE
Audio Jacks(5) Analog + SPDIF
Legacy Ports/Jacks
Other Ports/Jack
PCIe x16(2) v5.0 (x16, x8/x8)
PCIe x8
PCIe x4
PCIe x1(1) v 4.0 (x1)
CrossFire/SLIAMD CrossFire
DIMM Slots(4) DDR5 6400+(OC), 128GB Capacity
M.2 Sockets(2) PCIe 5.0 x4 (128 Gbps) / PCIe (up to 80mm)
(2) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) / PCIe (up to 80mm)
(1) PCIe 5.0 x4 (128 Gbps) / PCIe (up to 110mm) from AIC
Supports RAID 0/1/10
U.2 Ports
SATA Ports(6) SATA3 6 Gbps (Supports RAID 0/1/10)
USB Headers(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2×2, Type-C (20 Gbps, 60W PF/QC4+)
(2) USB v3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
(3) USB v2.0 (480 Mbps)
Fan/Pump Headers(8) 4-Pin (CPU, CPU OPT, AIO Pump, Chassis, W_Pump)
RGB Headers(3) aRGB Gen2 (3-pin)
(1) Aura GB (4-pin)
Diagnostics Panel(1) Q-Code
(1) Q-LEDs
Internal Button/SwitchPower, Flex, and Retry buttons
SATA Controllers(1) ASMedia ASM1061
Ethernet Controller(s)(1) Intel I225-v (2.5 GbE)
Wi-Fi / BluetoothIntel AX210 Wii-Fi 6E (2×2 ax, MU-MIMO, 2.4/5/6 GHz, 160 MHz, BT 5.2)
USB ControllersJHL8540 USB4
HD Audio CodecRealtek ALC4082 (ESS SABRE9218 Quad DAC)
DDL/DTS✗ / DTS: Sound Unbound
Warranty3 Years

Inside the Box of the Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero

Inside the box along with the motherboard, Asus includes a lot of accessories designed to get your system up and running without an additional trip to the store. Of primary not is the AIC for an additional PCIe 5.0 x4 slot (on top of the two on the board itesef). The rest is standard siff, including SATA and RGB cables, Wi-Fi antennas, and a USB stick with drivers. Below is a complete list of the included accessories.

  • ARGB RGB extension cable
  • RGB extension cable
  • (4) SATA 6Gb/s cables
  • PCIe 5.0 M.2 Card with heatsink
  • M.2 screw package for PCIe 5.0 M.2 Card
  • Thermal pad for M.2
  • ASUS Wi-Fi moving antennas
  • (3) Rubber Packages for M.2 backplate
  • Q-connector
  • M.2 Q-Latch package
  • (3) M.2 Q-Latch packages for M.2 backplate
  • ROG Graphics card holder
  • ROG key chain
  • ROG stickers
  • ROG thank you card
  • USB drive with utilities and drivers
  • User guide

Design of the ROG Crosshair X670E Hero

The X670E Hero receives a nice visual update from the Crosshair VIII Hero. The VRM heatsinks appear larger and have more surface area with large mitered slots carved out, while the rear IO cover now sports a larger RGB element (the only RGB element), along with the Crosshair branding in chrome. The bottom portion of the board extends the heatsinks out to the audio section, while the top M.2 socket gets a notable heatsink upgrade to support the PCIe 5.0 drives we’ll soon see.

The board’s style closely follows the Z690 Hero, but is a better version with updates minimizing the polarizing dot-matrix style illumination we saw on the Intel boards. In all, this is a very good-looking option that won’t take attention away from anything in the case, while looking like the premium part it is.

Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero

(Image credit: Asus)

Starting with the top half, we get a better look at the RGB element. Here the RGBs shine through a screen to give you the design on top. Asus mostly moved away from the dot-matrix design and replaced it with an updated look that displays the Hero and ROG branding. The lighting won’t take over your case, but it is still bright enough to show off other things inside.

Above the VRM heatsinks are two 8-pin EPS power connectors (one required) to feed the processor power. The VRM heatsinks surrounding them are heavy, with large cutouts to increase surface area and improve cooling capability. Additionally, both VRM heatsinks connect through a heatpipe, so the load is shared between them. As you’ll see later in our testing, they had no issues keeping the power delivery bits cool while stress testing our Ryzen 9 7950X CPU.

To the right of the socket area, we run into four single-side locking, unreinforced DRAM slots that support speeds up to DDR5-6600(OC) and capacities up to 128GB. While it’s not a big deal, I would like to see reinforced DRAM slots here since some significantly less-expensive boards (Aorus Master and Taichi) have them.

Just above the DRAM slots are the first three (of eight) 4-pin fan/pump headers. All fans support PWM and DC devices, with the CPU and Chassis fans Q-Fan controlled. The W_PUMP+ and AIO_PUMP run at full speed by default. Output on the headers varies from 1A/12W (CPU/Chassis and AIO_PUMP headers), while the W_pump+ header supports 3A/36W. There are plenty of headers and enough power to run your cooling from the motherboard.

Below that, we run into the first two RGB headers, in this case, a 4-pin Aura RGB and 3-pin ARGB. The other two 3-pin ARGB headers are located on the bottom of the board. Continuing down the right edge, we run into the Start, Flex and Retry buttons, along with the 24-pin ATX connector to power the motherboard. There’s a 6-pin PCIe connector as well that, when connected, supports up to 60W charging (PF/QC4+) through the front panel USB Type-C header (that sits just below the supplemental power connection). Last but not least is the convenient PCIe slot Q-Release button that unlocks the PCIe slot. Often graphics cards and large M.2 heatsinks get in the way of accessing the latch, so this is a nice addition.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Power delivery on the Hero uses some of the most capable hardware we’ve seen. Power comes from the EPS connector(s) to an Infineon Digi+ ASP2205 PWM controller. After that, it moves on to 18 110A SIC850A MOSFETs (that’s 1,980 Amps!), which are more than capable of handling the flagship 7950X. Coupled with the huge heatsinks, there’s no need to worry about power delivery.

(Image credit: Asus)

Moving to the bottom half of the board, we’ll start on the left side, which houses the audio section. Hiding under a shroud is an Asus-branded Realtek ALC4082 codec. As you mayknow, the 4082 codec, on paper, is the best codec these boards have available. In addition to the flagship codec is an ESS SABRE9218 DAC and dedicated audio caps. The audio circuitry here is among the best you’ll find on any motherboard.

In the middle of the board, we find a few M.2 sockets and three PCIe slots. Starting with the PCIe slots, the top two full-length slots connect through the CPU and offer PCIe 5.0 bandwidth. The top slot runs up to x16 speeds while the second runs up to x8. If anything populates the second slot (including the M.2 AIC), they break down to x8/x8, but keep in mind that it’s PCIe 5.0 x8, which is effectively equivalent to PCIe 4.0 x16 . The tiny bottom slot sources its lanes from the chipset and runs at PCIe 4.0 x1.

The Hero sports four M.2 sockets on the board itself, with a fifth coming from the M.2 add-in card (AIC). Onboard, all sockets support up to 80mm PCIe modules and use the M.2 Q-Latch (rather than the typical tiny screws) to secure modules, but the speeds differ. Socket M2_1 and M2_2 source their lanes from the CPU and run at PCIe 5.0 x4 (128 Gbps) speeds. M2_3/4 get their lanes from the chipset and run at PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) speeds. The add-in-card gives owners another PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 socket (up to 110mm), bringing the total to three PCIe 5.0 M.2, or five M.2 in total with the board and the AIC. In addition to the six SATA ports, you can run 11 drives concurrently. If you’re into running software RAID, the NVMe and SATA socket/ports support RAID0/1/10 modes.

Sliding past the chipset heatsink along the right edge, we run into another chassis fan header, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 connector and six SATA ports. Across the bottom of the board are several exposed headers. You’ll find the usual, including additional USB ports, RGB headers, and more. There are even headers for water flow rate and water temperature sensors to use with your custom water loop. Below is a complete list from left to right.

  • Front panel audio
  • (3) 4-pin fan headers
  • (2) 3-pin ARGB header
  • (3) USB 2.0 headers
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
  • Water pump header
  • Water temperature in/out headers
  • Temperature sensor header
  • Front panel

(Image credit: Asus)

The rear IO on the Hero comes with a theme-matching, pre-installed IO plate with easy-to-read white labels on each of the ports. There are a staggering 12 USB ports on the rear IO, which should be plenty for most people. From left to right, we first see BIOS Flashback and CMOS reset buttons. For video, there’s an HDMI port and both USB4 (40 Gbps) Type-C ports to the right of it. The red USB ports are all 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), with the other two Type-C ports running Gen 2 (10 Gbps) and Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps), respectively. Next is the Intel 2.5 GbE port, Wi-Fi antenna connections, and a full 5-plug plus SPDIF audio stack.

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Firmware

Asus’ BIOS on the X670E Hero is the same as we’re used to but made for the latest AMD processors. The BIOS sports the familiar black, red, and yellow ROG theme that’s easy to read. Asus starts out in an Easy Mode that displays high-level information, including CPU and memory clock speeds, temperatures, fan speeds, storage information, etc. Advanced Mode has several headers across the top that drop down additional options. The BIOS is one of my favorites, as almost everything you need isn’t buried deep within menus.

Software

Asus’ software suite is still the same, but updated to support the AMD processors. There are several applications for various functions, ranging from RGB lighting control, audio, system monitoring, overclocking, etc. We’ve captured several screenshots of the applications below. Here’s a look at Ai Suite 3, Armoury Crate, Sonic Studio and the Realtek Audio application.

Test System / Comparison Products

We’ve updated our test system to Windows 11 64-bit OS with all updates applied. We kept the same (opens in new tab)Asus TUF RTX 3070 (opens in new tab) video card from our previous testing platforms but updated the driver. Additionally, we updated to F1 22 for our games and kept Far Cry 6. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware we used is as follows:

Test System Components

CPUAMD Ryzen 9 7950X
MemoryGSkill Trident Z DDR5-5600 CL36 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK)
Kingston Fury Beast DDR5-6000 CL36 (KF560C36BBEAK2-32)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingCoolermaster MasterLiquid PL360 Flux
PSUEVGA Supernova 850W P6
SoftwareWindows 11 64-bit (22H2, Build 22622.601)
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 522.25
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

EVGA supplied ourSupernova 850W P6 power supply (appropriately sized and more efficient than the 1.2KW monster we used previously) for our test systems, andG.Skill sent us a DDR5-5600 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK) memory kit for testing.

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
ProcyonVersion 2.1.459 64
Office Suite (Office 365, v1.0), Video Editing (Primiere Pro 22.6.2.2), Photo Editing (fotoshop 23.5.1, Lightroom Classic 11.5)
3DMarkVersion 2.22.7359 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R23Version RBBENCHMARK330542
Open GL Benchmark – Single and Multi-threaded
BlenderVersion 3.3.0
Full benchmark (all 3 tests)
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 –nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 21.03-beta
Integrated benchmark (Command Line)
Game Tests and Settings
Far Cry 6Ultra Preset – 1920 x 1080, HD Textures ON
F1 2022Ultra Preset – 1920 x 1080, Ultra High (default) Bahrain (Clear/Dry), FPS Counter ON

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Our standard benchmarks and power tests are performed using the CPU’s stock frequencies (including any default boost/turbo), with all power-saving features enabled. We set optimized defaults in the BIOS and the memory by enabling the XMP/EXPO profile. For this baseline testing, the Windows power scheme is set to Balanced (default), so the PC idles appropriately.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Synthetics provide a great way to determine how a board runs, as identical settings should produce similar performance results. Turbo boost wattage and advanced memory timings are places where motherboard makers can still optimize for either stability or performance, though, and those settings can impact some testing.

Our synthetic benchmarking results show the Hero is, overall, average throughout these tests. In some, it’s the fastest (Corona, some Procyon Office tests) others, the slowest (Cinebench R23, POV-Ray single core). Overall it’s right around average if not a hair slower. That said, in most cases, it would be difficult to tell the boards apart if you weren’t counting anyway. All results remain tight so far.

Timed Applications

In our timed applications, the X670E Hero was again average or slightly slower. It was the slowest result in LAME and Handbrake but did well in Corona, leading the pack there. Overall in our timed applications, it was again on the slower side of average, but still a relatively close group.

3D Games and 3DMark

Starting with the launch of Zen 4, we’ve updated one of our games, F1 21 to F1 22, while keeping Far Cry 6. We run the games at 1920×1080 resolution using the Ultra preset (details listed above). As the resolution goes up, the CPU tends to have less impact. The goal with these settings is to determine if there are differences in performance at the most commonly used (and CPU/system bound) resolution with settings most people use or strive for (Ultra). We expect the difference between boards in these tests to be minor, with most falling within the margin of error differences. We’ve also added a minimum FPS value, affecting your gameplay and immersion experience.

In F1 2022, the X670E Hero and 7950X combo reached 94 frames per second minimum and 106 frames per second average. These results put it right where the average is for this title. In Far Cry 6, the Hero has the highest average at 129 frames per second, and the 109 frames per second minimum matched the Taichi and was 2 frames slower than the fastest result (MSI Ace). We don’t see any problems with this board and the games we test. The Time Spy and Fire Strike results also show this board is just as fast as the others. No worries on the gaming front!

Power Consumption / VRM Temperatures

Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

We used AIDA64’s System Stability Test with Stress CPU, FPU, Cache and Memory enabled for power testing, using the peak power consumption value. The wattage reading is from the wall via a Kill-A-Watt meter to capture the entire PC (minus the monitor). The only variable that changes is the motherboard; all other parts remain the same.

At idle, the X670E Hero consumed 83W, and during load testing, the system peaked at 280W. These results appear to be around the average of our early data sets. The trend of relatively high idle power use on the platform compared to Z690 and much of X570 continues. These premium boards tend to use more power at idle as there are more features to power than budget-class boards with fewer extras. We’ll continue to monitor the trends.

VRM temperatures on our Hero were well within specification during our testing and nothing to worry about (as expected). The massive heatsinks did a great job keeping the power bits below running cool even when overclocking. At stock, the VRM temperatures peaked around 47 degrees Celsius. When overclocked, The temperature from our probe peaked at 48 degrees Celsius, just one degree above stock. This makes sense, considering how wild the voltage is at stock speeds for boost.

Overclocking

Over the last few CPU generations, particularly on the AMD side, overclocking headroom has been shrinking while the out-of-box potential has increased. For overclockers, this means there’s less fun to have. For the average consumer, it means you’re getting the most out of the processor without manual tweaking. Our goal in this section is to increase the load on the VRMs and see if they can handle the additional stress. Overclocking AMD CPUs can be done in several ways (all-core, adjust PBO values, manual turbo boost clocks). But for simplicity’s sake, we just went with an all-core overclock of 5.4 GHz with 1.30V to increase the power output.

Since our approach is to add power through all cores, we raised the CPU multiplier to 54x, manually set the voltage to ~1.30V, and adjusted LLC to minimize vdroop. On the memory side, AMD states the sweet spot is around DDR5-6000, so we dropped our Kingston Fury Beast kit on the board and set the new AMD EXPO profile, and checked for stability.

Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Overclocking on the X670E Hero was painless. Like ASRock, most of the options you need for this simple overclock are on the same page in the BIOS. We set the 1.30V the CPU needs to be stable for our clocks, set LLC to mitigate vdroop, and away we went to testing. VRM temperatures were in order, and the system was stable. Unsurprisingly, the Hero has no issues pushing the flagship processor to your thermal limits.

On the memory side, we swapped to our Kingston DDR5-6000 kit, enabled EXPO and tested it without issue. There’s still some headroom left on the platform, but as always, your mileage may vary. For the best chance of success, stick to the Memory QVL list.

Bottom Line

Wrapping things up, the X670E Hero is a solid performer with a robust collection of features and ports/slots. From the copious amount of USB ports (12 total, two of which are USB4/40 Gbps), the three PCIe 5.0 M.2 sockets, to the flagship-class audio, the board presents users as not only a full-featured option but a good-looking one too. Priced at $699.99, there isn’t much competition in the space as the price point places it in a nether zone between the much pricier flagships and the premium mid-range segment that offers similar specifications and features for less.

The only direct comparison by price is the MSI X670E Ace ($699.99 (opens in new tab)). You’ll see the biggest differences between those two in the networking (10 GbE Ace vs 2.5 GbE Hero) and USB4 support (Hero). Outside of that, both boards have six SATA ports and three PCIe 5.0 M.2 sockets (with included add-in cards). USB count differs as well, but both offer plenty. Looks are subjective, so there’s no clear-cut winner at the same price point (unless you need 10 GbE or 40 Gbps USB).

While it’s a toss-up between those boards, ASRock’s X670E Taichi ($499.99 (opens in new tab)) and Gigabyte’s X670E Aorus Master ($499.99 (opens in new tab)) offer similar specifications and features but at a much lower price. You won’t see 10 GbE on these boards (nor do you on the Hero), but you do get at least one PCIe 5.0-capable M.2 slot (two on the Aorus Master), capable power delivery, flagship-class audio (last-gen for Aorus Master), and a ton of USB ports (Taichi has USB4).  If you want to stick with Asus boards, the ROG Strix X670E-E Gaming WIFI is $499.99 (opens in new tab) and stands up well to the similarly priced competition.

In the end, we like what the new ROG Crosshair X670E Hero has to offer, but the current $699.99 price is a lot to stomach. Unless you specifically need 10 GbE (which the Hero does not have!), three PCIe 5.0 M.2 sockets (using add-in-cards) and USB4 ports, there’s little reason to pay so much more for your motherboard. While both the Ace and Hero are great motherboards, I prefer the Asus BIOS and Hero’s appearance more than the Ace (which is still a good-looking board!), but that’s my subjective opinion. Yours will vary.

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