The Sabertooth is a nice looking board. The combination of colors gives it the intended military look, but does not make it an unattractive product. The ATX layout has been used fairly efficiently and ASUS has also thrown in an aesthetically designed cooling solution (which for some reason reminds me of the Contemporary Resort at Disney World in Orlando).
Looking at our top down view, you can see that the board differs slightly from many of ASUS' typical designs. The voltage regulation looks much more evenly spaced around the CPU socket (unlike other boards where everything is stuffed on one side). The tracing layout also looks more conservative than we are used to with ASUS.
Moving back to our normal starting point, we find a set of six RAM slots. These use the one-armed style so as to make installation and removal easier when the board is installed in a case and has a GPU in the primary slot. Despite the lack of a second lock down arm, these slots are very sturdy. You may also notice an OV_CPU jumper. This allows you to increase the voltage range available to the CPU in the BIOS. It is set to off by default.
Moving around the corner, we get a little closer look at the CPU socket and the upper heatsink. In this shot you can see the texture of the heatsink. It reminds me of the paint used on some military vehicles, which I am sure was the intention. The 8-pin aux power connector is placed fairly well on the Sabertooth, although it can still be a little bit of a pain to disconnect.
Here we have a better look at the cooling around the CPU socket. We also get a glimpse of the top PCIe x1 slot which is placed well and can be used effectively for audio or networking cards (or many other x1 PCIe add-in boards). You can also see the coating on the metal heatsink more clearly. Again, it offers a textured and worn look; certainly an industrial feel to it.
The lower half of the board looks very clean and is not cluttered at all. Again, this design choice allows for a much more conservative tracing layout which in turn helps to prolong the life of the board. There are three x16 mechanical slots on the board, but only two work in full x16 mode. The full x16 slots are the two tan ones; the black slot only has a x4 link despite its x16 size.
Moving over to the other side of the board, we find the "southbridge" components hidden under a fairly large heatsink; the work and military look is continued in this part. I am not sure of what shape ASUS was going for, but it certainly is interesting to look at. We see the standard six SATA II ports right next to the dual SATA 3.0 ports (the white ones). Not much to see here other than the heat sink really.
On the I/O port side of things we find the typical options here. In general the Sabertooth looks clean and simple, but a lot of work and thought went into making it so. The conservative tracing layout offers stable performance without overloading anything. The solid caps and better MOSFETs and Chokes should provide longer life as well as a more stable performance. ASUS has done a good job he with the layout; now let's see if it can perform.
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