Asus has officially unveiled the latest addition to its TUF motherboard line-up which is based on Intel’s Skylake architecture. The Z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 features a number of specialities exclusive to the TUF range including TUF Thermal Armour, Dust Defenders, and a hefty backplate marketed as the TUF Fortifier. Additionally, premium components are used throughout such as the Japanese caps rated to 10K+, ESD Guards, 8+4 power delivery, Alloy Chokes, Titanium Cap MOSFETs and more! When combined, this creates a staggeringly reliable motherboard tested to 24/7 durability and comes with a 5 year warranty as standard.In a similar vein to previous models, the TUF Z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 contains the Thermal Radar 2 software to accurately analyse various temperatures and offers impeccable PWM fan control across 12 integrated fan headers. Another interesting inclusion is the 2 mini fans to help with airflow underneath the thermal armour. Personally, I never use these because they are obnoxiously loud and fairly ugly. Notice how the motherboard’s centre fan cover is now constructed from a premium metal plate instead of plastic.
Here is the backplate in all its glory and provides a rigid structure to withstand any pressure from huge coolers like the Noctua NH-D14. Aesthetically, it also looks rather lovely and adds a premium feel.
On the rear IO, there is an ample supply of connectivity options including 5 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.1 (Type-A), 1 USB 3.1 (Type-C), USB BIOS Flashback switch, Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and a 7.1 audio solution. Storage wise, Asus provides 8 SATA 3 6 GB/s ports, 2 SATA Express and 1 M.2 slot. The 1151 chipset brings DDR4 to the mainstream and supports up to 64GB of memory with potential speeds in excess of 3000MHz. For multi-GPU configurations, the Z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 is superb and features 3 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (x16/x8/x8 Electrical) and PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots.
Do you feel the TUF Thermal Armour has any impact on temperatures, or is it a marketing gimmick?