SABERTOOTH is designed to work with Intel’s 6th Generation of processors – Skylake. We therefore have the LGA1151 socket, around the socket there are mounting holes for LGA115X so if you have a cooler that has been used on another socket such as LGA1150/55 then it will work fine here too. On the top edge of the motherboard there are dual CPU fan headers for twin-fan configurations.
ASUS are using a Digi+ 8+4 digital phase power design for SABERTOOTH with TUF components dotted around the socket including: TUF Alloy Chokes, TUF 10K Ti-CAPs and TUF MOSFETs. These military-grade components extend lifespan and durability.
The TUF Thermal Armor extends to covering the MOSFET area and has two switches labelled “Flow Valve”. For those using closed loop coolers which do not direct any airflow over the VRM, the flow valves should be closed to allow the chipset fan to blow air while those who have a cooler that directs airflow onto the motherboard (such as a top-flow solution) can have the valves open to permit the airflow through.
Immediately next to the socket we have four DIMM slots which support dual-channel DDR4. ASUS specify support for 2000/2133MHz kits but we confirm support for up to 3200MHz in our testing analysis. Nearby to the memory there is a MemOK! button – this guarantees memory compatibility.
Beside the 24-pin ATX power port there is a single USB 3.0 header.
Moving to the storage, there are four dedicated SATA III (6GB/s) ports and another four as part of the two rows of SATA Express which can be used for regular storage – such as mechanical drives and SSDs etc. Directly behind these ports resides the Intel Z170 heatsink and a series of labelled LEDs to identify which devices are plugged in.
ASUS has had to leave fan headers exposed throughout the motherboard – there are a total of six dotted around the motherboard – three are located near storage.
The Thermal Armor plays an integral role over the PCI Express region. Slots sit below the cover for added protection and this has an additional benefit – graphics cards are supported and given extra stability rather than flopping to the side.
The slots available in this area include:
• 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
• 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
• 3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
Along with these slots there is support SLI and CrossFireX technologies.
Underneath the Thermal Armor reside the TUF audio components, consisting of audio shielding, de-pop circuit, audio amplifier and separate layers for left/right channels.
Looking at the rear IO section of SABERTOOTH there are a plethora of ports available. These consist of:
• 4 x USB 2.0
• 1 x TUF Detective USB port
• 1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
• 1 x DisplayPort
• 1 x HDMI
• 2 x USB 3.0 (blue) (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback)
• 1 x USB 3.1 (teal blue) Type-A
• 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
• 2 x Gigabit LAN ports
• 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
• 5 x Audio jack(s)
Above the TUF USB port and BIOS Flashback there is a large opening for airflow to pass out the rear of the system.
The TUF USB port allows a user to connect up their android device to the SABERTOOTH motherboard and experience real-time management – monitoring POST status, fan control, EZ system control and voltage status.
Over the page we’ll look at some of the TUF features in a bit more detail.