In the following part you can find our test reults in detail. Every motherboard in this test was analyzed and tested in detail. All of them are suited for an 8th generation Intel CPU, like the i5-8600K is. However, there are a lot of differences between these motherboards.
Ranking First: ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero
- Beautiful design
- Very good processing
- High quality good power supply
- Great MOSFET / VRM cooling
- Fan control with DC fans
ROG stands for Republic of Gamers, with which ASUS promotes hardware and peripherals optimized for gamers. In this review we take a look at the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS X HERO. This is a high-end motherboard for the Intel Coffee Lake platform. That MAXIMUS X HERO with a price tag of 200$ the cheapest motherboard of the MAXIMUS X series. In addition to the HERO, there is also the APEX, the CODE and the FORMULA. Whether the ROG MAXIMUS X HERO performs heroically in our test, you will find out on the following pages.
Before we go into more detail, let’s take a look at the design of the ROG MAXIMUS X HERO. This is very well done by ASUS. The design of the mainboard and the cooler reminds us of the transformers known from movies and series. Since a custom water cooling system is used in our test system and this requires some fans, we are also interested in how many fan connectors are installed on the mainboard. In total we find eight 4-pin fan connectors, which is more than sufficient.
Among other things, we find the front panel connectors in the lower area. Here we have two USB 2.0, one USB 3.1 Gen1 and the front panel audio connector. To connect LEDs, ASUS offers two connectors in the lower area of the mainboard. Besides the obligatory 4-PIN RGB connector, we also have a connector for addressable LED strips. Since the MAXIMUS X HERO is also designed for overclockers, the Power, Reset, Safe Boot and Retry buttons should not be missing. These are especially interesting if the mainboard is used on a bench table. The switch for the slow mode should only be interesting for overclockers, which want to cool the processor with dry ice or nitrogen.
The audio processor is installed by ASUS in the lower left part of the MAXIMUS X HERO. The SupremeFX S1220 audio processor is manufactured by Realtek and provides eight channels, so nothing stands in the way of a 7.1 setting. The audio processor is also supported by 13 Nichicon capacitors.
With the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS X HERO we can connect a total of six SATA hard drives. To the right of the memory banks is another important connector, the USB 3.1 Gen2 front panel connector.
A big advantage of the MAXIMUS X HERO is the already installed I/O panel. This saves us a step in installing the motherboard and we can’t forget to install the I/O panel. We find numerous connections at the I/O. In total, we have four USB 3.1 Gen1 (blue), two USB 2.0 (black), and two USB 3.1 Gen2 (red) ports. The USB 3.1 Gen2 has two different connectors, one Type-B and one Type-C. If we want to use the integrated graphics unit, we can fall back on a DisplayPort and/or an HDMI connection.
As before with the internal connections, we also find important features for overclockers on the I/O. Here we find a ClearCMOS and a BIOS button. With the ClearCMOS button we reset the UEFI to the factory settings. The BIOS button becomes interesting as soon as we have flashed a new UEFI and the whole thing went wrong. In most cases this error would mean that we cannot use the motherboard anymore. That’s why ASUS relies on the flashback feature. On a USB 2.0 port you will find the heading BIOS. As soon as a UEFI flash has gone wrong, we insert a USB stick with a suitable UEFI here and press the BIOS button after reboot. By this procedure, even without getting a boot screen, the UEFI is flashed and thus the UEFI is repaired. For the audio input and output we find five 3.5mm jacks and one optical SPDIF connector.
ASUS installs three physical PCIe x16 slots on the motherboard. The two upper PCIe x16 slots, with reinforced save slots, run with sixteen PCI Express lanes. As soon as graphics cards are installed in both upper slots, both run with eight PCI Express lanes each. The lowest PCIe x16 has a connection of four PCI Express lanes. In addition to the large PCIe slots, three PCIe x1 are also installed.
Under the CPU socket and under the chipset are the two M.2 slots available. Both offer a connection of four PCI Express lanes. Depending on the configuration of the PCIe and M.2 slots, the connection speed can still change, as the processor has a maximum of only sixteen PCI Express lanes available. The M.2 slot, which is located under the CPU socket, is equipped with passive cooling. We have unscrewed this. To remove it, we have to loosen two screws.
The ASUS ROG MAXIMUS X HERO is currently available for 200$. For this investment we get a lot of features, a very attractive design, a very good power supply and enough internal and I/O connections. In our test, we were especially impressed by the good M.2 and VRM cooling and the low power consumption. The design of the ROG MAXIMUS X HERO is also very well done by ASUS, especially the good quality of the materials used. The only shortcoming, we see in the fan control with DC fans, because we can’t control them below 60 percent of the maximum speed.
We give the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS X HERO 9.8 out of 10 points, so it receives the Gold Award. Besides the Gold Award, it also receives the Design, High-End and OC Award.
Second: MSI MPG Z390 Gaming PRO Carbon
- Great performance with an excellent CPU power supply
- Good overclocking potential
- Very good energy efficiency at idle
- Five USB 3.2 Gen2 sockets
- Only two SATA cables delivered
The difference between the MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon (AC) from the year 2017 and the MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon (AC) from last year can without question be called a logical evolution, because MSI has also taken advantage of the Z390-PCH. The VRM range has been minimally extended to be well equipped for the two eight-core processors, and the CPU power supply has also been extended with an additional 4-pin connector. And in the overclocking test, the VRM extension has undoubtedly proved useful.
A maximum of four DDR4 DIMM memory banks are of course a must in this case, so that the user can increase the RAM to up to 64 GB. MSI specifies a possible clock rate of up to effectively 4,400 MHz for this, which is already very reasonable. The whole thing is then additionally supported by the Steel Armor feature, which also applies to the two CPU-side PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (mechanically). Additionally, three PCIe 3.0 x1 and an additional mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 port with a maximum of four Gen3 lanes are available.
The six native SATA 6GBit/s ports enable storage expansion, but must share the connection with the two M.2 M key interfaces, which can each accommodate a module between 4.2 cm and 11 cm in length. The lower interface also has a passive cooler on board. On the side of the USB ports, four of the first USB 3.2 generation and one type C port of the second USB 3.2 generation can be tapped internally. On the I/O panel, the total number of USB ports has been reduced to six, but four of them work with the USB 3.2 Gen2 specification. However, the two USB 2.0 sockets have remained the same.
Also present on the I/O panel are a PS/2 port, an HDMI 1.4b and DisplayPort 1.2 graphics output, a Gigabit LAN and the usual audio ports. The AC version also includes Intel’s Wireless AC-9560 module, which can transmit at up to 1.73 GBit/s and also masters the Bluetooth 5.0 standard. What remains in both cases is the Audio Boost 4 feature with Realtek’s ALC1220, some audio capacitors and a headphone amplifier.
The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon (AC) is a successful evolution of the also good Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon (AC) with more potential in overclocking and a good configuration. We cannot say any negative words about the MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon (AC). It appeals to us as much as the Z370 model in terms of features, although the two USB ports less on the I/O panel would bother us somewhat. The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon is agreat motherboard for the Intel i5-8600K CPU for a cheaper price than our first rank.
Third: MSI PRO Series Intel 8th Gen
- Comfortable BIOS menu
- LED lighting
- Supports eighth generation Intel CPUs
- Illumination only monochrome
- Relatively few connections
Z390 motherboards from MSI support eighth and ninth generation Intel processors. So you can also enjoy the new motherboards with an eighth generation processor, like the Intel i5-8600K CPU. Automatic DC/PWM detection: MSI fan connectors automatically detect DC or PWM fans and allow customization for a silent system. By hysteresis the fans always rotate smoothly and thus remain as quiet as possible.
Unmatched memory performance:
MSI equips the DDR4 Boost technology with optimized signal lines in an isolated circuit. Memory signals remain unaffected by other components and performance and stability are fully maintained.
The Z390 A-Pro is equipped with a premium network solution from Intel. The high-quality network component is designed for professional and multimedia use and delivers outstanding performance.
High quality materials & immersive in-game sound :
Carefully selected materials and the latest technologies ensure the best possible user experience. MSI Steel Armor protects M.2, DDR4 and graphics card from bending and EMI interference. The use of high quality audio components enables the best sound quality and an immersive sound experience during gaming. Enjoy breathtaking sounds while gaming with this motherboard.
Cheape in price, but still performing well. The MSI PRO Series Intel 8th Gen motherboard scored well in our test. It is excellent suited for the Intel i5-8600K CPU. Of course you cannot expect top performance in this price range, but for the casual gamer or multimedia PC user this is a great option.
Fourth: Asus Prime Z390-P
- Good value for money
- Customizable lighting
- Comfortably operable BIOS
- Relatively good audio chip
- A bit pricey
The ASUS Prime Z390-P Mainboard is based on the Intel Z390 chipset and supports Intel processors for Socket 1151 of the 8th and 9th generation. It has four DDR4 DIMM slots in dual channel operation for up to 64 GB RAM. Other features include a CPU-dependent graphics solution, two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and four PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. In addition, the ASUS Prime Z390-A supports Intel Optane Memory Technology and features 8-channel sound, a Gigabit LAN interface, four SATA3 ports, two M.2 ports and a range of USB interfaces.
Overall the ASUS Prime Z390-P motherboard is a solid motherboard. It is a good option that you can combine eith the Intel i5-8600K CPU. This combination is optimally suited for gamers and other intense computer users, of course, if you have the right GPU available to go along with the i5-8600K CPU.
Fifth: Gigabyte Z390 UD
- Good price-to-performance ratio
- Solid equipment
- Nice design
- Overall performance could be better
The new Z390 motherboards from GIGABYTE are here! The design of the Z390 motherboards was inspired by the aggressive nature and hunting abilities of a falcon. With its straight wings, the falcon hunts its prey with exceptional efficiency and precision. These qualities are exemplified in the Z390 design.
With the Z390 UD you can game every game you desire to play. It has everything you need for your favourite pastime. The Dual Channel DDR 4 memory allows particularly high speeds, which is beneficial to the game flow.
The Gigabyte ZZ390 DU motherboard (ATX) provides a total of three PCIe x16 slots, one of which is connected to the chipset with full 16 lanes, while the others are connected with four data lines each. For additional plug-in and expansion cards the motherboard offers three PCIe x1 slots.
The four DIMM slots support up to 64 GB DDR4 memory in dual-channel mode. Native the Z390 chipset supports clock rates up to 2,666 MHz, but via OC the Gigabyte Z390 UD also allows the operation of RAM kits up to 4,266 MHz. Six SATA-6G ports and one M.2 slot are available for hard disks and SSDs.
At the I/O panel, the Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X has six USB 3.0 ports as well as an HDMI port. Internally, the motherboard provides a large selection of headers, including four 4-pin connectors for fans. The mainboard is also equipped with LED lighting.
Currently, the Z390 motherboard can only be used with Intel Core 8th and 9th generation processors. This makes it a great fit for the Intel i5-8600K CPU. The motherboard has a good price-to performance ratio and we definitely recommend it.
We have already gone into detail about the innovations, the chip, the socket and the new chipset, so that we want to save ourselves the boring redundancy at this point. If you want to read it again, please check it out.
As an alternative, AMD still has matching Ryzen CPUs in the race, although a price adjustment makes many of them even more attractive. After all, you don’t have to invest in a new platform with every new refresh, and according to AMD the socket should also remain compatible for the direct Zen successor. Good boards, which are also suitable for overclocking, are available for less than 100 Dollar, so that a complete AMD system could be a temptation in terms of price.
We therefore provide the Core i5-8600K with the Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 7 1700, which we have overclocked to the limits of stable operation just like Intel’s Core i5-8600K. This comparison will especially put the Ryzen 7 1700 in a certainly not uninteresting new light.
The TDP also specifies Intel for the Core i5-8600K with 97 watts, but it remains to be seen what the motherboard manufacturers will make of it and whether All-Core Turbo clock rates will again be possible this time, which are significantly higher and thus will break the TDP classes. We will come back to this later in the power consumption measurements.
To make sure that we don’t run into thermal limitations, because Intel still relies on the annoying thermal paste between die and IHS, we use the chiller again at first and cool the IHS with a constant 20°C.
We again easily reach the 5 GHz mark. Windows still started with 5.2 GHz and some games were running, but Cinebench was already finished. Cinebench also ran at 5.1 GHz, but Luxrender was the latest. At 5 GHz, Creo 3.0, Solidworks and some of the HPC applications failed, so we couldn’t test anything stable until 4.9 GHz.
In this context, we would like to point out once again the possibilities of manual load line calibration. Nevertheless, the Core i5-8600K already performs quite well with the automatic default by MSI at 1.29 Volt and 4.9 GHz in Prime95 with AVX2. Without overclocking we could then measure or read out an average of 1.22 volts. During gaming, the 1.3 volts are sporadically exceeded even if one of the cores was particularly heavily loaded. The Core i5-8400 was quite often under 1.2 volts, which is considerably lower.
Once again, we didn’t let ourselves be dazzled by the 5 GHz mark, which we were able to exceed in some situations for a longer period of time – it’s only apparently stable. Tested with practical applications, it crashes at some point. In case of doubt, it’s better to take 100 MHz back and put stability first. That’s exactly what we did again and achieved a still useful result at 4.9 GHz.
Let’s also look at our diagram comparing power consumption and performance. Both curves lie astonishingly congruent on top of each other, whereas we could already notice a flatter performance increase curve in the Core i7-8700K from about 4.8 GHz. Without HT, the memory connection is apparently also completely sufficient for perfect scaling, even if (or better because) the results turn out significantly lower:
In idle, one does not yet see any really dramatic differences. Nothing dramatic and all other CPUs are still within the range of what we could measure earlier. The fact that the Ryzen 7 partly takes up considerably more is probably also due to their somewhat too high idle clock rate. The measured differences in the range of one watt and less still pass as measurement tolerances despite the immense measurement period of 30 minutes, whereby the sporadically occurring and unavoidable load peaks have somewhat spoiled the show for the overclocked Core i5-8600K.
Two cores more for the middle class are certainly nice for now, no question. But whether they will really be sufficient in the near future remains to be seen. Because with hyper-threading deactivated, it’s actually only a matter of time until the software catches up with the hardware.
Since Intel is now also relying more and more on a larger number of cores, the software manufacturers will hardly be able to refuse this direction. It is difficult to predict how slowly or quickly this will actually happen in games and application programs in practice. But the first beginnings are definitely showing.
Where can the Core i5-8600K really be classified? Is it now upper class light with the 2-core premium surcharge for the occasional rendering and a handful of suitable games, or is it more the premium middle class that can give you a little bit of the feeling of the digital upper class? Or is this CPU in the end neither fish nor fowl, because it doesn’t offer enough for the price after all?
A Ryzen 7 1700 with boxed cooler costs similarly much, but offers 8 cores and SMT, which ultimately comes down to 16 instead of 6 threads as with the Core i5-8600K. What has to be taken into account with the Ryzen 7 1700, however, is the fact that you have to overclock it quite a bit and equip it with good memory to remain competitive in most cases. However, even the most suitable motherboards cost less.
Let’s just take the gaming results and finally compare both the average achieved and the minimum FPS. The overclocked Core i5-8600K is almost 10% faster than without overclocking, the overclocked Ryzen 7 is only 4% slower than the normal Core i5-8600K and is about 14% behind the overclocked i5. Not overclocked, the Ryzen 7 1700 is naturally much slower due to the low clock rates ex works, which also applies to the Ryzen 5 1600X.
At the end of the day, it can be said that it really is relatively balanced. But what we particularly like is the new, much more exciting competitive situation, which in the end can only be to the benefit of our customers. AMD is at least on par with Ryzen, and in the productive area it is even better in places. So it is up to each individual to rethink his or her own premises and choose the more suitable product.
We deliberately don’t want to give an award for the Core i5-8600K in the current situation. The “Tested” award wouldn’t do justice to the CPU, therefore we can give it the “Buying Tip” award without hesitation.
What do you ultimately want as a customer? Gaming with merciless overclocking on the eternal hunt for the best frame times or an all-round PC that you can also play with, but not only? Good question, two possible answers. We haven’t had that in this form for a long time and the agony of choice has its pleasant sides.