ASUS is one of the best known and most influential motherboard makers on the planet. The company has shipped more than 500 million motherboards since 1989. The company’s engineering prowess gained Intel’s attention back in the day as it was able to develop i486 compatible motherboards independently of Intel. A formal partnership was established shortly after that and ASUS has become almost the industry standard in the motherboard DIY market. Naturally, ASUS has diversified itself and produces a wide range of products for computing and gaming enthusiasts ranging from motherboards, monitors, graphics cards, keyboards, mice, and even gaming focused cell phones.
The company still manages to flourish in a market where the traditional and once ubiquitous PC has become a niche product at best. At one time the beige boxes could be found nearly everywhere from homes and offices, to schools and churches. These days there are only really two reasons to build a desktop PC of any type. 1.) To play games. 2.) For workstation application use. The latter encompasses content creation such as video editing, graphic design, computer animation and so on. The writing has been on the wall for years and companies such as ASUS have essentially embraced PC gaming as their salvation in a market where tablets, laptops and even cell phones have all but made the PC obsolete for web browsing and light work.
Back in 2006, ASUS created the first ROG Crosshair motherboard. All Crosshair motherboards have been built for use with AMD’s CPU’s. The Crosshair VIII Hero WiFi therefore comes from a long lineage of AMD compatible enthusiast focused motherboards. While nearly all of these have been nothing short of excellent, there has been at least one misstep: The ASUS Crosshair VI Hero wasn’t just bad, it was the worst ASUS branded motherboard I’d seen in over a decade. Overclocking killed my sample, which was the third one we had tested. All three died. ASUS kindly offered to send me a fourth unit, which we didn’t bother with.
Despite the occasional missteps and brand dilution, the ROG brand has been remarkably consistent and excellent overall. Therefore, we have high hopes for the latest incarnation of the Crosshair series. The Crosshair VIII Hero Wi-Fi is based on AMD’s X570 chipset and costs around $379.99 at the time of this writing. While that would seem expensive for an AMD processor-based motherboard last generation, it really isn’t all that expensive here. That price point is roughly in the middle of the road as there are plenty of offerings topping out at $699.99 or more. ASUS’ higher end Crosshair VIII Formula is one such offering.