Review: ASUS Sabertooth Z87

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Recently, Intel released their latest range of processors for LGA1150, named Haswell. Followed by the launching of ASUS latest range of motherboards which got us excited. Today, we are going to have a look at ASUS Sabertooth Z87, part of the ASUS The Ultimate Force (TUF) line.

The ASUS Sabertooth Z87 supports Intel’s 4th Generation processor, from i3, i5 and i7. We got our hands on an Intel 4770 ES (non-K) to test with this board. In this review, we will cover on the features of the ASUS Sabertooth Z87.

Product Link: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/SABERTOOTH_Z87/
Suggested Retail Price: RM1,050

Product Showcase

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The box of the Z87 Sabertooth. Very well designed with a matte finishing.

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At the back of the board, some of the product features is highlighted such as the Thermal Armor and the TUF Fortifier (more on that later).

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Another shot of the box. Looks irresistible isn’t it?

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We opened up the box to see what’s inside.

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The package includes:

  • Technical documentations, certification and warranty card.
  • Support DVD
  • 2 pairs of Serial ATA 6.0 Cables
  • 1 ASUS SLi bridge connector
  • 1 x IO back plate
  • 2 x 35mm fans
  • 3 x PCIe x 16 slot covers and 3 x PCI e x 1 slot covers
  • 2 x DRAM slot covers
  • I/O dust filter
  • 1 x 400mm I/O cover fan lid
  • 1 x Connector cap set
  • 3 x Thermal sensor cables
  • 9 x SATA/eSATA connector caps and 10 x onboard USB 3.0/2.0 connector caps
  • 6 x Audio connector caps
  • TUF Sticker

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The best part of the motherboard, I believe.

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An overall shot of the motherboard. The motherboard is covered with the ASUS Thermal Armor. The motherboard design is mixed with beige and brown. The Thermal Armor can be removed completely too.

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The motherboard supports LGA1150 processor.

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The 24 pin power connector for the motherboard.

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The RAM slot color is mixed with brown and beige. Supports dual channel RAM up to 32GB.

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The board comes with 8 x SATA 3 ports.

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The expansion slots consisting of three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and three PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots.

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The Thermal Armor covers most of the motherboard.

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The USB and other on board connectors.

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The Thermal Armor is written near the PCI-E slots.

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We can definitely say that this board looks “tough”.

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The back I/O consists of 4 x USB2.0 ports, Clear CMOS button, 4 x USB3.0 ports, 2 x E-Sata, SPDIF, HDMI , Display Port, LAN and audio ports.

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The Flow Buttons allow you to open and close the Thermal Armor for adjustments.

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The TUF Fortifier gives a sturdy build for the board. The PCB is fortified so that it won’t bend.

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The board has one 8-pin power for the processor located near to the back I/O panel.

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LGA1150 pins on the CPU socket.


ASUS reinforced the back of the board with their TUF Fortifier. It is supposed to prevent motherboard bending and prevent dust. The board looks very sturdy and rigid.


Here we have the board fully equipped with the covers. These covers are meant to prevent dust.

Test Setup

_MG_8280

test bed

CPU_Z
No overclocking was done to this board in this review. We will cover that in another review perhaps.

Feature Test

One thing that makes this board is unique in my opinion is how the board is engineered to give the user total control of the environment of his system.  We will look into this via the ASUS AI Suite III.

AI Suite III
ai_suite_3
The AI Suite III is the latest version offered with the Z87 platform.

ai sute 3 start
After the AI Suite III is launched we can see the main menu. Take note on the Thermal Radar 2, available to the TUF series motherboards.

thermal radar
Inside the Thermal Radar 2, the user can use the Thermal Tuning to actually optimize the systems cooling solution.

Thermal tuning start
We started the Thermal Tuning process. The program requires us to identify the fan and the positioning of the fan on the chassis. This is to optimize the result of the tuning process.

Thermal tuning detect fan by stopping others
To help user identify the fan, the program provides function to actually stop other fans and let the specific fan to run so that the user can assign the location of that fan.

fan search 1

fan search 2
This process is repeated until every fan is assigned to their location.

thermal tuning in progress
After that, the thermal tuning process can be started. At this phase, the fans are being calibrated to achieve maximum thermal efficiency throughout the chassis. When the process is done, the fans will be adjusted automatically by the program.

sensor
Another thing to take note on the Thermal Tuning page is the Thermal Sensors that are already implemented on the Thermal Armor. Just look at the readings of the sensors which are in real time.

add HDD to thermal radar (t sensor 1)
Apart from the sensors that are already made available, ASUS is kind enough to provide is with 3 additional sensor probes which we can add ourselves. We did a test with the probe by putting it to our HDD drive. We only needed to apply after the probe is connected from the motherboard to the HDD.

HDD thermal radar
Voila! Your HDD now is alse being monitored in real time.

thermal status
Inside the Thermal Status tab, the thermal status is monitored around an area of components. This is to assess the heat dissipated around a said area. We can see there are CPU Zone and VGA Zone. The key is to get these two zones in Excellent condition.

assesment
Also, the CPU thermal assesment can be used to evaluate your current thermal solution. The CPU heat is assessed during load.

fan control
On the Fan Control Tab, it provides a function which lets the user to control the fan (duh..). There are a few preset Modes available, as well as custom profiles in which the user can set the fans according to how they want it. One feature that caught my eye is the Fan Overtime. This function lets the fan to run after the system is off, let’s say for 1 minute. This is to remove the remaining heat.

digi power plus
In the DIGI+ Power Control, the user can set the power setting of the CPU and DRAM to control the heat dissipated by these two components.

digi power plus CPU
DIGI+ Power Control for CPU which has all the necessary values that can be changed. This is also applied in the BIOS.

digi power plus DRAM
DIGI+ Power Control for DRAM.

Conclusion

This motherboard is really one of a kind. Aside from its rigid and sturdy look, it is also rich with features that we have yet to cover. We loved the theme of this board. ASUS did well to preserve the TUF series with this Z87 Sabertooth.

Features
We are really happy to play around with Thermal Radar 2 functions. With the added features, this motherboards really gives the user a total control of their motherboards and it’s surroundings. Perhaps the days of manual control of fan tuning is over? You will have to test this yourself and decide.

Aesthetics
The back plate is a definitely awesome addition to the TUF series. It took the motherboard to a whole new level of rigidity. Aside from that, the Thermal Armor is well designed to serve its purpose. Although the color blocking is a bit hard to match when creating a build. Overall, the motherboard looks awesome.
 
 

GoldAward
ASUS Sabertooth Z87 received Gold Award from OCDrift.com

Disclaimer: OCDrift.com gives out our own award based on the Hardware Performance, OverClocking Ability, Innovation, and Value as determined by the reviewer

d4b3nG

d4b3nG

Site Administrator at OCDrift.com
Masked with Mat Rempit appearance with very intelligent skills set in Programming and Coding. A mix of DIY PC and Gadget freak.
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