ASUS Sabertooth Z170 S Review
There are obviously two ways to look at the Sabertooth Z170 S, so let's get the conventional bits out of the way first.
As you can see from the price at the top of the page the Z170 S sits in the middle of the ASUS price range, and the features and performance of it somewhat reflect that. The features are probably the weakest element when compared to some of the real heavy-hitters in the ASUS lineup. That isn't to say that it's particularly lacking, and unless you have a massive amount of the latest bandwidth-hogging hardware then the Sabertooth has plenty of slots for everything you can desire. Indeed if you do happen to have a host of USB 3.1 devices and blistering M.2 drives then perhaps you've got enough money to afford to move up to the Maximus VIII Extreme or similarly enthusiast motherboard. For everyone else there is enough connectivity here to build an average system and the ASUS solidity ensures that it will work without issue.
Performance is pretty good too. Usually mid-range motherboards tend to work better at stock, perhaps with the belief that your average consumer wont go down the overclocking route, whereas the Sabertooth Z170 S positively revels in an overclock. It might have only matched the other motherboards we've tested with its 4.8GHz squeezed from our Core i7-6700K but it seemed to do more with that clock speed than most. It was regularly with the front-runners in our graph and often only bested by the much pricier Maximus VIII Extreme.
However, how well it performs is almost not the issue here. There are lots of motherboards that have around this level of performance for about this much money. What really determines whether the Sabertooth Z170 S is something that interests you is that colour scheme.
Now we know that it's a bit "one note". Whereas the earlier Sabranco Z97 take had the TUF Armor and was more about a white motherboard than anything else, this has removed the Armor for cost reasons and made the camouflage aspect more pronounced. So you'll very much either love it or hate it. It's not quite 'simply white' enough to be something you can ignore. However, as you saw on page 3, if you take your time and choose the right components it can be an absolute stunner.
Some motherboards are a niche product because of their cost. Some because they demand a patient enthusiast to make the most of them. The ASUS Sabertooth Z170 S falls into a niche because the performance isn't so mind-boggling that if you dislike the aesthetics you can overlook them. However, if you must have it for the looks then you'll be pleasantly surprised with how little you have to compromise to get such an attention-grabbing motherboard. It's well priced, good feature-set and good performance. You'll have known the first time you saw it whether you wanted one and nothing we'll have said will have swayed you. If you do buy the ASUS Sabertooth Z170 S then you'll be getting a very well-rounded performer at a good price and so it wins our OC3D Gold Award.