ASUS Z97 TUF Sabranco White Motherboard Review
The Sabertooth range of ASUS motherboards has a strong place in our hearts here at OC3D. Whether it's the original X58 one, or even the latest ones, the whole range is an amazing blend of design ethos, performance and affordability. It was the first motherboard to come equipped with the Thermal Armour and cover up those unsightly capacitors and now ASUS have gone even further with a motherboard that first appeared at Computex 2014 with the codename of Sabranco - Sabre(tooth) + Branco (white).
Only recently we've extolled the virtues of both the MSI Z97S Krait and ASUS X99 Deluxe for having white accoutrements but the Sabertooth takes it to a whole other level with a positively dazzling display of arctic goodness. The back is complimented by something ASUS call "TUF Fortifier technology". A reinforced backplate to you and I, but yet another indication of the seriousness with which that 'TUF' moniker is taken, especially when you discover it includes thermal pads to spread the heat away from the VRMs. Something ASUS claim reduces temperatures by up to 7°C.
With such a sweep of white in every possible area it would be disappointing to water down the design ideology and so it's fantastic to see that ASUS have included PCI slot covers so that the beautiful sea of white isn't diminished by some zebra style black slots. Sure we could bemoan the fact that the plastics aren't white, but white plastic isn't known for retaining its colour whereas the Sabertooth Z97 Mark S has an innovative printing procedure which guarantees the white will remain white for the lifetime of the board. Impressive stuff.
The CPU area would be the place where normally you might fear that the side is let down, after all you can hardly cover that up with plastic. Instead it gives a great demonstration of the richness of the white PCB ASUS have used. No slightly grey issues here. This is whiter than Richard Hammond's teeth, Ottawa in winter or just about everything in Tom's house.
No we haven't gone crazy and shown you the same picture twice. This is part of the wealth of thermal options available on the TUF Sabertooth Mark S, vents in the power phase cooling. It's not just that either as there is the TUF Thermal Radar 2 software to tune your fans, and an onboard ICe microchip to give you the most accurate temperature monitoring possible short of having probes hanging out everywhere.
Whilst you take a moment to soak up the astounding arctic camouflage pattern let us tell you about the 10K black metallic capacitors, alloy chokes, 2 PCI Express 3.0 slots (x16 or x8/x8), SATA Express and a total of 16 USB ports split between 8 USB 3.0 and 8 USB 2.0.