The ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero unleashes more power in stealthy silence for next-gen AMD Ryzen CPUs

Oct 08, 2020 Written by:Jeff Kampman

AMD's X570 platform has made a name for itself as the cutting-edge foundation of choice for enthusiast PC builds, and its extensive PCI Express 4.0 connectivity remains unmatched in its class. The ROG Crosshair VIII Formula, Crosshair VIII Hero, and Crosshair VIII Impact each tap the extensive I/O capabilities of this chipset in a unique way to satisfy demanding enthusiasts. To lay the foundation for AMD’s next-generation Ryzen CPUs, we're adding another potent interpretation of X570 to our lineup with the ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero. 


The foremost change to this motherboard isn't about what we've added, but what we've removed. To maintain peak performance, all of our X570 motherboards to date have used an active cooling design that relies on a compact custom fan with a long operating life to keep air moving over the chipset heatsink. This compact fan uses sophisticated control logic to spin only as fast as it needs to in response to chipset temperatures, keeping noise levels as low as possible. 

Our engineers know that many PC builders demand entirely passive cooling, whether to maintain the lowest noise levels at all times or simply to minimize the number of moving parts on a motherboard. The massive amount of PCIe 4.0 bandwidth available from the X570 chipset requires a careful approach to achieve fanless cooling, but we've risen to the challenge. The Dark Hero is our first X570 board to implement a passive cooling design. A massive high surface area heatsink covers the chipset and extends into the space between the main PCIe slots to provide plenty of heat dissipation. Compared to the active cooling design on the Crosshair VIII Hero, the Dark Hero's chipset temperature under load is just 2.25% higher in our internal testing. 

The Crosshair VIII Dark Hero also employs an upgraded power design to efficiently deliver large amounts of clean power to the highest-end next-gen AMD CPUs for Socket AM4. When we provisioned this uprated board, we chose 16 integrated TI power stages, each capable of delivering 90A of current, and deployed them in a teamed power stage topology. This arrangement isn't just capable of delivering large amounts of power to the processor—it does so in a way that's highly responsive to the potentially large transient loads of modern CPUs. 


In keeping with its name, we've given the Crosshair VIII Dark Hero a subtle aesthetic makeover compared to our first generation of X570 boards. The Dark Hero trades out the matte silver accents of its predecessors for a full set of stealthy black inlays, providing a striking canvas for the Aura RGB LED lighting behind the ROG logo on the chipset heatsink and prominent ROG logotype on the I/O shroud. A bold Dark Hero name plate at mid-board leaves no doubt about your allegiance to the dark side.

All of those aesthetic and functional upgrades build on a proven expansion loadout. Two primary PCIe 4.0 x16 slots provide the fastest connectivity to the latest graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA alike, and they're reinforced with our SafeSlot design to provide the strongest foundation for massive GPU coolers. Two M.2 slots, each with four lanes of PCIe 4.0 on tap, stand ready to transfer data to the fastest NVMe SSDs around. 


On the back panel, eight USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (seven Type-A, one Type-C) offer impressive high-speed peripheral expansion, and a further four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports broaden peripheral possibilities even further. A swift Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 adapter and both 2.5 Gigabit and Gigabit Ethernet jacks afford the fastest connectivity for wired and wireless gaming alike. Our pristine SupremeFX S1220 audio codec, paired with an ESS ES9023 DAC for the front-panel outputs, provides enviably crisp and clear output in both stereo and surround sound for music and games. Around the board, you'll also find a USB 3.2 Gen 2 front-panel header, as well as pairs of headers for both traditional and Gen 2 addressable RGB LED devices, all managed by Aura Sync. 

The Dark Hero also keeps a bevy of enthusiast-friendly features for overclockers looking to push chips to the limit. Handy dedicated buttons on the preinstalled I/O shield for clearing CMOS settings and invoking BIOS FlashBack™ give you full control over the state of your system with a minimum of fuss, and a wide selection of dedicated controls and voltage-monitoring points make this board all the friendlier to those seeking the highest performance from their AMD CPU outside of a case. 

The ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is a tantalizing reason to join the dark side for your next AMD Socket AM4 system build. For more information regarding pricing and availability of this motherboard in your region, please contact your local ASUS representative.

ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero
Size ATX
Memory 4 x DDR4
PCIe 3 x16
1 x1
M.2 2 x4
Ethernet Realtek 2.5G
Intel 1G
Wireless 802.11ax (optional)
Bluetooth v5.1
Audio SupremeFX S1220
USB 3.2 Gen 2 1 front
1x Type-C
7x Type-A
RGB Headers 2 Gen 2 addressable
Price $399.99 USD
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