ASUS has a very nice piece of machinery with the Sabertooth. Interestingly enough the overall baseline performance was a little lower at default settings compared to the Intel reference board. I noticed the very same thing with an MSI board actually. It's weird because to get baseline performance for each motherboard test we always upgrade firmware to the latest revision, clear CMOS and then load up default (optimal) BIOS settings. With this procedure the TUF was performing a tiny bit under the reference baseline.
Have no fear though, go into that magnificent ASUS BIOS and select performance mode. You'll instantly get an impressive performance boost at very little extra power consumption as the CPU will now be throttles to 4200 MHz. So that's a good tip right there.
With the baseline offset aside, we admittedly are impressed with this motherboard. The overall looks are really cool, and the tweaking performance is just grand.
I do have to say though that Ivy bridge processors run hotter when overclocked opposed to Sandy Bridge, reaching 5 GHz is fairly easy to accomplish with the motherboard but you'll find yourself needing juice in the 1.425~1.450 Volts range of the processor. So be prepared for processor heat, and proper liquid cooling definitely deserves a recommendation.
As shown in this article we popped in G.Skill's new Trident X 2666 MHz memory as well, and in the BIOS we simply flicked the XMP profile to on and boom, the memory was running at a rather amazing clock frequency of 2666 MHz. Astonishing really, though that alone will not bring you heaps of extra performance.
Currently the price point of the Asus Sabertooth ASUS Sabertooth Z77 is set at the 200 EUR market. For that amount of money you'll receive a complete motherboard with a wide variety in terms of connectivity, design and features. Out of all the Z77 motherboards we have had in our hands this one was the easiest to overclock with. Fiddle around with the multiplier and voltages alone is enough to reach 5 GHz on heatpipe based cooling.
As mentioned the baseline performance was slightly off, but nothing major --- just enable that performance mode in the BIOS. The overall tweaked performance will blow you away.
We can explain all features over and over again, but I'll keep this conclusion simple. I fell a little in love with the SaberTooth as it is a nice piece of technology that is not going to disappoint you. Very much recommended.
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