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ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S Review
ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S Review
Date: 03-03-15
Topic: Reviews & Previews
Author: ChironX

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Motherboard Visual Analysis 
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ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S Review


When we first saw the glimpse of the Sabertooth Z97 Mark S in Computex, many of us were left with an excitement. A motherboard with a white PCB is something of a modderís dream, white being one of those rare colors to be found in computer components which are directly visible through a cabinet side window. Since a motherboard forms a base of any enthusiast or modderís machine, maintaining a color scheme becomes a major part of a build, and white being a neutral color can go along with any color on top of it. But making a white PCB is not short of its challenges; thus while we have seen some components already in the market like the Galax HOF series of cards, there seems to be a vacuum when it comes to manufacturers experimenting with the base color of the PCB. A modder does have the option of painting certain parts, but painting a motherboard is something that even the most daredevil enthusiast wonít try.

But aesthetics is only one part of the equation. If a component is all looks and no performance, chances are that todayís internet-savvy crowd will not accept it just for the bling. Hence ASUSí choice of platform gets a nod from me here. The Sabertooth/TUF (The Ultimate Force) has always been known for a motherboard range aimed at stability and silent operation (though the bundled fans can get whiny at times). The Thermal Armor, the five year warranty, and the overall positioning of the Sabertooth as an SKU in ASUSí lineup caters more towards the crowd who wonít be participating in overclocking competitions and donít need fancy LEDs lit up all over the motherboard, but still expects the platform to be a solid day-to-day work companion. The military themed (camo, or camouflage) beige and navy-green Thermal Armor and DRAM, PCIe, Storage/Power connectors contribute to the popularity of the Sabertooth boards amongst many system builders as well, and we have seen ASUS bring the armor to the ROG boards as well (Maximus VI/VII Formula).


Sabertooth Z97 Mark S, codenamed Sabranco (Sabertooth + Branco, which means white in Portuguese) is basically an artic camouflage themed Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1, the flagship TUF motherboard for Intelís Devilís Canyon platform. The motherboards will be produced in limited batches, and hence each of them has with its own unique four digit serial number signifying its position in the production line. The review sample we received has number 2050. The fact that Mark S and Mark 1 are almost identical is both good and bad, the good part being that the Mark 1 is a solid motherboard, while the unavailability of any premium features over the Mark 1 being the bad one. We still get dual GbE (Intel and Realtek), Eight SATA ports and eight USB3.0 ports (that includes two internal USB3.0 headers), upgraded audio (ALC1150), x8/x8 PCIe layout for dual GPUs, a bevy of fan headers, and all other TUF oriented features plus a five year warranty instead of the standard three. The aesthetic touches on the UEFI are less pronounced, while the bundled ASUS software doesnít have the same theme, which is unfortunate but maybe something to look forward to in future releases.


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