When I first heard about the new TUF series, I expected the motherboard to be a stripped down, essentials only piece of equipment aimed squarely at the performance enthusiast. While the motherboard has the performance features it doesn't sing the same tune. Sure it is no slouch but for all the phase switching and ceramic coated heatsinks, the maximum overclock I managed was 4.4GHz. I will concede that this is still a tremendous effort but I expected more out of a board of this calibre.
Stripped to the bone is not a phrase I could aim at the Sabertooth either. It has a wealth of features and connectivity making it an ideal choice for someone looking for a complete all round performance motherboard. The inclusion of 10 channel audio is also exceptional should you have the audio equipment to take advantage of this. I was however a tad disappointed to find that the Sabertooth is missing USB 3 and SATA6G which is a shame as this cuts the feature list from being perfect to simply good.
There is no doubting the board looks the business. The understated camouflage garb may sound odd but it works surprisingly well. It wasn't so long ago that I pulled a manufacturer down for using brown slots but the colour scheme is such on the Sabertooth that they would look out of place being any other colour. Add to this the colours are pastel in appearance rather than gaudy and the overall look is enhanced further. Looks are not everything though and at this price I would like to have seen some more expense spared for the heatsink material. Sure Ceramic coating is all good and well but when its splashed on top of aluminium it cheapens the feel of the motherboard - a sentiment that is not welcome when you will have splashed out over £175. Add to this that Asus declined to include the 'optional' memory cooling fan and the appeal only degrades further.
To conclude, the Asus Sabertooth i55 is a great motherboard with a great design. If you are in the market for a hard looking piece of kit to match your military theme or indeed the foundation for a multimedia/game station then this motherboard will do nicely. Sadly for Asus, so will many other motherboards that cost a fair amount less.
- Great Performance
- Odd but somehow good looking
- Excellent packaging
- Innovative cooling
- Struggled in the hard disk benchmarks
- The price
- No onboard CMOS clear button. Unacceptable for a performance motherboard at this price.
- Odd overclocking results with 24x multiplier