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ASUS SABERTOOTH Z170 MARK 1 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 20, 2015 2:14 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASUS

This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the ASUS SABERTOOTH Z170 MARK 1.

 

What's Hot

 

Solid Shields and Durability: The SABERTOOTH Z170 MARK 1's shields are the real deal. The backside shield, called the TUF FORTIFIER, not only reinforces the PCB but also acts as a giant heat sink for the backside VRM components. The assistant fans and the topside shield alone do lower temperatures of the VRM. Going in I didn't expect to see a real difference with my testing equipment, but even my affordable thermal camera was able to spot a difference between having the shield with fans on and without shield and fans.

 

The VRM will run cooler, and to be honest, even though the assistance fans are small their noise isn't noticeable (except when you shut the system down and one fan de-dusts the VRM area). ASUS has produced a system that acts as a cooler for the important parts of the motherboard, and it adds value to the product.

 

Insane Fan Control and Temperature Sensors: ASUS has done an excellent job with the fan system on the SABERTOOTH Z170 MARK 1. Not only are there more than a dozen fan headers, but most can also switch between PWM and DC mode, and all can be controlled through the UEFI and Windows through a GUI. ASUS also allows the fan headers to choose individually what temperature to use for the fan cooling curve. Going a few steps further than what users would expect, ASUS also adds in many extra temperature sensors to pair with the headers. ASUS's solutions for BIOS and in-Windows fan control are both very effective and provide many customization options.

 

Most Accessories Ever: I have never reviewed a motherboard that had more individual accessories. This motherboard even comes with a chain so you can hang the metal SABERTOOTH buckle like a dog-tag, dust covers for almost every port and slot including audio jacks, a dust cover for the IO panel intake, and even a Hyper M.2 card for adding an extra M.2 card.

 

Certified MIL-SPEC Parts and 5-Year Warranty: ASUS advertises MIL-SPEC components on the SABERTOOTH Z170 MARK 1, and they got the product certified by a third-party outside lab. Integrated Service Technology has certified that the Capacitors, Chokes, and MOSFETs all pass MIL-STD tests. To show that they really do believe in the durability of the product, ASUS is also offering a five-year warranty that is very rare for consumer motherboards.

 

What's Not

 

No POST Code or other basic OC features: When a product costs over $200 I want to see a POST Code display. It's much more useful for overclocking than any other feature, but it is also important for general troubleshooting and can save you from many headaches. ASUS does provide a MemOK button as well as some LEDs to help indicate problem areas, but a POST code display can make your life a lot easier and save time.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

At $269.99, the ASUS SABERTOOTH Z170 MARK 1 isn't a cheap product, but it does have its advantages. Its active cooling can reduce temperatures, it's physically very durable, and it offers cooling control unlike any motherboard. While most motherboards only have about four to six fan headers, this motherboard more than doubles that and extra internal and external temperature sensors for them to work with. The motherboard has fan control more capable than the majority of aftermarket fan controllers. If you factor those considerations into the price of the product, the motherboard moves closer in price to products that compete based on the same connectivity features.

 

asus-sabertooth-z170-mark-1-intel-motherboard-review_136

 

ASUS's five-year warranty is also something to take into consideration. The warranty and the money ASUS put into getting its parts MIL-STD certified mean they are serious about the durability and longevity of the motherboard. While it's not targeted at overclockers, I was able to get some decent overclocks. You should be able to carry out a pretty strong air/water cooled overclock on the motherboard. ASUS has done a solid job with their TUF armor, and it is effective. All things considered, if you are looking for a motherboard with insane fan control, extreme durability, and the prospect of immortality, then the SABERTOOTH Z170 MARK 1 might be right for you.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)95%
Quality including Design and Build96%
General Features96%
Bundle and Packaging92%
Value for Money90%
Overall TweakTown Rating94%

The Bottom Line: If you are looking for a motherboard with insane fan control, extreme durability, and the prospect of immortality, then the ASUS SABERTOOTH Z170 MARK 1 might be right for you.

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