ASUS Sabertooth Z87 motherboard review -
The Intel Z77 PCH
PCH - The Platform Controller Hub Chipsets
Okay first a generic / reference overview of the new Series 8 Chipset from intel. Paired with Haswell processors come a handful of new motherboard chipsets, five are intended for desktop processors, namely the B85, H87, Q85, Q87 and Z87. For end consumers like you and me the H87 chipset will be less performance targeted and comes with better support for HTPC monitor connectivity. The Z87 chipset is targeted at performance and enthusiast end users allowing much more tweaking and providing performance features. Below, you can see a block table with the differences in Series 7 and now the series 8 chipset and thus motherboard features.
In-between say a Z77 and Z87 chipset only a few things have changed. Six native USB 3.0 support are to be found on the Z87 chipset as well as PCIe Gen 3 graphics slots and up-to six native SATA ports. Z87 will get six SATA 6 Gbps ports which is the one big difference with Z77.
Overall though the new Z87 series chipsets will come with the same amount of controllers as P67/Z77. That means you get six SATA3 ports native from the PCH chip. With PCIe Gen 3, SLI and Crossfire with supported cards should run quite well on them.
With PCIe Gen 3.0 Haswell processors and platforms can feature 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes to be used for graphics and/or other add-in PCI cards. All desktop chipsets have a single PCIe x16 device, the two Z8x chipsets add the option to use two devices at x8. The inclusion of PCI Express Gen 3 is great, but what does that boil down to? Well, simply put, PCI Express Gen 3 provides a 2X faster transfer rate than the previous generation, this delivers capabilities for next generation extreme gaming solutions. PCI Express Gen 3 has twice the available bandwidth, 32GB/s, improved efficiency and compatibility and as such it will offer better performance for current and next gen PCI Express cards. Going from PCIe Gen 2 to Gen 3 doubles the bandwidth available to the add-on cards installed, from 500MB/s per lane to 1GB/s per lane. So a Gen 3 PCI Express x16 slot is capable of offering 16GB/s (or 128Gbit/s) of bandwidth in each direction. That results in 32GB/sec bi-directional bandwidth. Obviously the hardware you use needs to be compatible.
It should be abundantly clear by now but USB 3.0 is supported at chipset level by Intel, which should save motherboard vendors money when building Intel chipset based boards and hopefully making them overall less complicated to design. In addition to that, we will hopefully see better USB 3.0 performance. The chipset will host 6 USB 3.0 ports. Next to that 14 USB 2.0 ports are supported from the PCH.
LGA 1150 - A new Socket
With Sandy Bridge we moved to socket LGA 1155 and for Ivy Bridge we kept that socket. Haswell however will have a new socket, LGA 1150. The bad news is that you'll be required to purchase a new motherboard. The good news is that the cooler pins are similar to 1155/1156 so you can re-use your cooler. So, you do not need to purchase a new CPU cooler.
We review, test and benchmark the ASUS Sabertooth Z87 TUF series motherboard. The Z87 enthusiast themed mainboard is intended for Intel's 22nm Haswell processors on Socket LGA1150.
ASUS Sabertooth Z77 review
We review the ASUS Sabertooth Z77. Z77 is of course the Intel chipset predominantly released for Ivy Bridge based processors. This article is a full review of what you may expect from the TUF series Sabertooth Z77, have peek after which we'll dive right into the photo shoot.
ASUS Sabertooth Z77 preview
We preview the ASUS Sabertooth Z77 TUF. Z77 is of course the Intel chipset for the upcoming Ivy bridge based processors. These motherboards will have a slightly altered feature set and thus support them new upcoming apples from Intel. Good to know however is that Z77 also supports Sandy Bridge Socket 1155 based processors, that's right your favorite Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K will be perfect for these motherboards as well. The changes for Z77 primarily can be found in native USB 3.0 support as well as an upgrade towards PCie gen 3 PCIe x16 slots.
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX review
The TUF series (The Ultimate Force) Sabertooth 990FX is what we'll be placing under our microscope today, styled in the very same color as the earlier models with the ceramic design we see a lot of resemblances. But hey no tactical jacket anymore though. This AM3+ motherboard will be powered by a 10-phase Digi+ VRM. Socket AM3+ will support the Bulldozer based Zambezi FX Series Processors which launch later. The Sabertooth 990FX will come with four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel memory up-to DDR3-1866 MHz straight from the EFI BIOS. What you'll also notice is that the TUF (The Ultimate Series) has four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 PCIe graphics card slots based on what you use the slots for of course. Interesting fact is that this motherboard series now is SLI compatible.