Mutant ASUS Frankenboard surfaces with SO-DIMM memory slots — rare Maximus XIII Hero includes Kingston Fury logo

Asus Maximus XIII Hero
Asus Maximus XIII Hero (Image credit: X/wxnod)

Intel's 500-series motherboards may be well behind us, having supported the 10th and 11th Gen Intel CPUs, but this rare hardware find is still interesting. Hardware enthusiast wxnod managed to get his hands on what appears to be a Maximus XIII Hero motherboard, adapted to use SO-DIMM memory modules instead of standard DIMMs.

The modified Maximus XIII Hero looks almost the same as the retail product. It's a motherboard from Asus' ROG lineup, but it humorously features a TUF Gaming cover for the LGA1200 socket. There's no fancy heatsink covering the PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots and Z590 chipset. Instead, the Z590 chipset has a run-of-the-mill heatsink with a TEM14280 code, which didn't return any results from a Google search.

The four DDR4 memory slots are gone in favor of four SO-DIMM memory slots. This Maximus XIII Hero is likely an engineering sample motherboard primarily used to test SO-DIMM memory modules. The sticker beside the primary PCIe 4.0 x16 expansion slot supports our theory. The label, which has the Kingston logo on it, shows Howard Wang as the engineer and Eva Luo as the issuer. Asus produced this Maximus XIII Hero in 2021, the same year the final product hit retail shelves.

The motherboard boots up just fine, but it shows a Kingston Fury logo instead of the original Asus logo. It's possible that Asus tailor-made this Maximus XIII Hero for Kingston to perform internal testing of its SO-DIMM products. However, it's also possible the previous owner was simply a big fan of Kingston since most of Asus' modern motherboards allow users to customize the logo during the boot process.

The motherboard utilizes 9919 firmware dated April 20, 2022. It's a few years old now, and judging by the nomenclature, it's beta firmware for internal usage and not typically available to the public. Again, this detail seems to confirm the board's intended purpose as an SO-DIMM test platform.

The altered Maximus XIII Hero motherboard probably shouldn't have left the Asus or Kingston labs, though, at this stage, it hardly matters. Intel's Comet Lake and Rocket Lake processors and the LGA1200 platform were the final hurrahs for the aging 14nm process node, and once the 12th Gen Alder Lake chips arrived, they were quickly relegated to the dustbins of history. Luckily, the Chinese black market for PC hardware has a lot of interesting stuff, including engineering samples of upcoming processors, unreleased graphics cards, or, in this case, an engineering motherboard used for testing and certification purposes.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.