Asus’ Sabertooth P67 motherboard

Motherboard makers talk a big game when it comes to component quality and durability. Trust me, I’ve sat through all the briefings. Each board’s capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs are of the highest quality. These components have been selected because they deliver superior durability and, of course, more reliable overclocking.

Unfortunately, those claims are a little difficult to quantify. Overclocking is largely CPU-limited, at least outside the realm of liquid nitrogen, and the results of meaningful durability testing would be irrelevant by the time they were fit to publish. The durability argument sounds especially hollow when typical motherboard warranties run out after only three years. Premium graphics cards, power supplies, and hard drives offer five or more years of warranty coverage.

Asus decided to walk the walk last year when it announced a new line of TUF-branded motherboards led by the Sabertooth X58. In addition to sporting only the finest electrical components, these TUF boards are backed with five-year warranty coverage, something unheard of in the desktop mobo market.

The egregious use of a lone, PCI-based Gigabit Ethernet controller held the Sabertooth X58 back from true greatness. Still, the board’s unique approach had definite appeal for PC professionals and enthusiasts with more old-school sensibilities. Now there’s a Sabertooth built for Sandy Bridge, and versions of it with the bug-free B3 stepping of Intel’s P67 chipset are finally available. Let’s check out some of the tricks Asus’ new cat has up its sleeve.

Or shroud. This latest addition to the Sabertooth family wears Thermal Armor, a plastic skin designed to improve cooling performance in certain circumstances. More on that in a moment.

At first glance, the armor gives the Sabertooth a distinctive look all too rare in a world of copycat board designs. It adds a stealthy, Special Forces edge to a color scheme drawn from the Army’s camo palette. The resulting aesthetic is a refreshing departure from the black boards and blue accents that permeate the current crop of look-alike P67 products. I’ve gotta give Asus credit for not going overboard and painting the armor with a camouflage print.

Asus was smart to keep the armor out of the way, too. The shroud encroaches on the socket a little, but it’s less than 15 mm tall and shouldn’t interfere with aftermarket heatsinks. Neither should the low-profile VRM coolers.

The heatsinks look much better in color, and their chunky design fits right in with the military aesthetic. That theme is carried right down to the chokes, which have been emblazoned with a subtle cosmetic touch that looks pretty slick next to the row of polished capacitors.

Asus includes a Certificate of Reliability with the Sabertooth claiming that the board’s capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs meet no fewer than 12 different military standards for everything from temperature cycling to mechanical shock. The capacitors have even been certified to withstand the corrosive effects of an atmosphere laced with sea salt, should you prefer to do your overclocking from the comfort of an aircraft carrier.

A generous cut-out around each expansion slot ensures that the Thermal Armor won’t interfere with expansion cards. There are two PCI Express x16 slots onboard, and you can set the pair in a dual-x8 configuration for CrossFire or SLI. Running a dual-double-wide graphics config will obstruct access to the Sabertooth’s only PCI slot, but such things are easy to live without in this day and age.

The edge of the board plays host to a neat cluster of Serial ATA ports color-coded by speed and controller. Only the four to the right offer 6Gbps connectivity, with the white ones tied to Marvell SATA silicon that sits under the same low-profile heatsink as the P67 Express chipset. The green header to the right of the SATA wall will supply compatible front-panel connectors with a couple of SuperSpeed USB ports.

Asus is using the same NEC USB 3.0 controllers as everyone else, but it’s put two on the Sabertooth. The other chip feeds a couple of SuperSpeed ports located in the loaded rear cluster. Here, we see Asus try to make up for previous sins by splurging on a swanky Gigabit Ethernet solution—the networking controller embedded in Intel’s P67 chipset. The auxiliary PHY chip required to tap the P67’s integrated GigE connectivity costs more than a standalone Realtek controller, and we appreciate the upgrade.

Realtek does, however, provide the Sabertooth’s ALC892 audio codec, complete with surround-sound virtualization for headphones. You also get a digital S/PDIF audio output, standard and powered eSATA ports, a FireWire connector, and even a PS/2 port for folks still clinging to their original Model M keyboards.

The PS/2 port may be a nod to old-school types, but the Sabertooth’s BIOS has a decidedly fresh scent thanks to a very slick UEFI implementation. Asus shares much of the same BIOS code throughout its 6-series motherboard lineup, and it’s a real treat to use. The newbie-friendly GUI pictured above looks an awful lot like something you might find in Windows. Switch to the advanced mode, and everything is organized like a old Asus BIOS with the added benefit of a mouse cursor and wheel support for scrolling.

Underneath the polished interface lies a complete collection of clock, multiplier, voltage, and timing controls. All the Sandy Bridge knobs and dials are present, including Turbo multipliers and power limits. Even the fan speed controls are decent. Tweakers can tune temperature limits and speeds for the CPU and two additional system fans.

A closer look at Thermal Armor

By far the most unique element of the Sabertooth P67 is the Thermal Armor covering the majority of the board. Asus didn’t just employ the shroud for looks, though. The armor was designed to direct airflow to board-level components and shield them from heat generated by expansion cards. Shielding components fits in with the armor theme, but things get a little complicated when you take a closer look at how airflow might be used to cool the motherboard.

Generating airflow for the Thermal Armor requires one of two things: a 50-mm “assistant” fan that screws into the portal pictured above or a CPU cooler whose fan blows down, toward the CPU socket. The assistant fan is an optional component and doesn’t come with the Sabertooth. According to Asus, it would have been too expensive to put the fan through the validation and reliability testing required for TUF-series components. Asus thinks end users will be picky enough about noise levels to want to choose their own fan, anyway.

One could always rely on the airflow generated by CPU coolers that blow down toward the socket. Intel’s stock coolers have used this approach for years, but the tower-style designs that have become almost ubiquitous among aftermarket coolers don’t—they generate airflow parallel to the motherboard, which is of little help to the Sabertooth’s armor.

Popping off the shell reveals little in the way of ducting or internal channels to shape airflow. However, there is plenty of internal scaffolding to add stiffness to what amounts to a thin, lightweight plastic piece.

The armor is surprisingly sturdy given how little material has been used. A dozen screws affix the shroud to the board, ensuring that it won’t rattle around or vibrate in the company of high-speed fans and whirring hard drives. The screws are easy enough to remove, but eight of them are on the back of the board, making it impossible to pry off the armor with the Sabertooth installed in a case.

Undressing the Sabertooth reveals her naughty bits in all their glory. This is still a good-looking board with the armor removed, and I suspected it could be a cooler one, as well. Thermal Armor might shield the board from heat generated by power-hungry graphics cards, but it also prevents the airflow generated by system fans from cooling motherboard components.

Fortunately, the Sabertooth comes equipped with a slew of temperature sensors to help us evaluate the usefulness of its Thermal Armor. In addition to the temperature sensor in the CPU, the board has 11 different probes covering everything from the voltage regulation circuitry to the USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA controllers. These temperatures can be monitored with a new Thermal Radar application included in Asus’ AI Suite software for Windows.

The Thermal Radar app is pretty slick. It includes a dose of voltage monitoring and some very detailed fan speed controls. Users can define custom fan speed profiles for the CPU, system, and assistant fan headers. Three target points can be set per profile, and the reference temperature can be tied to a single probe or split between up to three. There’s even a set of sliders to adjust the weighting for profiles based on multiple sensors.

Armed with Thermal Radar, we set out to test the usefulness of the Sabertooth’s outer skin. We tested the board on an open test bench and in an Cooler Master Cosmos enclosure with the CPU strapped to a tower-style Intel cooler and a stock unit that blows toward the socket. Asus wasn’t able to provide us with an assistant fan by press time, so we had to test without—that is, after all, how the board is sold.

Overall, Thermal Armor looks like a very bad idea. When we subjected all the configurations to a combined CPU and GPU load, component temperatures were hotter with the armor in place than with it removed. The differences weren’t insignificant, either. Component temperatures were more than 10°C higher when the armor was used in conjunction with the stock cooler, I suspect because the air being blown into the shroud had already been warmed by the CPU heatsink. This was true not only on an open test bench, but also in our tower enclosure.

Letting the system idle produced better results, at least when the Sabertooth was run in a case with the stock Intel cooler. In that config, and only when idle, component temperatures were 3-4°C cooler with the armor installed. Success! Sadly, this advantage disappeared when we switched to a tower cooler or an open test bench.

We contacted Asus about our results, and the company said the effectiveness of Thermal Armor will depend on one’s case, cooling, and system configuration. I’m a little dubious that lower temperatures can be achieved when the airflow is coming from a CPU cooler whose heatsink is being warmed by a loaded-up processor, though. I’m also discouraged that component temperatures were so much higher with what amounted to a pretty standard system configuration. For a lot of folks, Thermal Armor may do more harm than good.

Digging into the details

If you want all the nitty gritty details on the Sabertooth’s BIOS options and hardware specifications, check out the charts below.

Clock speeds Base: 80-300MHz in 0.1MHz steps

DRAM: 800-2400MHz in 133MHz steps

Multipliers CPU: 35-59X in 1X steps
Voltages CPU: 0.8-1.99V in 0.005V steps

CPU PLL: 1.2-2.2V in 0.00625V steps

DRAM: 1.2-2.2V in 0.00625V steps

PCH: 1.05-1.4V in 0.05V steps

CCIO: 0.8-1.7V in 0.00625V steps

CCSA: 0.8-1.7V in 0.00625V steps

Fan control CPU upper temp: 20-75°C in 1°C steps

CPU lower temp: 20-75°C in 1°C steps

CPU max duty cycle: 0-100% in 1% steps

CPU min duty cycle: 0-100% in 1% steps
System, Assistant upper temp: 40-90°C in 1°C steps

System, Assistant max duty cycle: 60-100% in 1% steps

System, Assistant max duty cycle: 60-100% in 1% steps

That may not look like a lot of overclocking options, but there’s only so much you can do with a Sandy Bridge CPU. Get yourself a fully unlocked K-series chip, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of all the multiplier and Turbo options built into the Sabertooth’s BIOS.

CPU power 8+2
DIMM slots 4 DDR3-1333
Expansion slots 2 PCIe x16

3 PCIe x1

1 PCI

Storage I/O 2 6Gbps SATA RAID via H67 Express

4 3Gbps SATA RAID via H67 Express

2 6Gbps SATA RAID via Marvell 88SE9120

Audio 8-channel HD via Realtek ALC892
Ports 1 PS/2 keyboard/keyboard

1 eSATA

1 eSATA/USB

2 USB 3.0 w/ 2 headers via NEC D720200F1

8 USB 2.0 w/ 6 headers

1 FireWire via VIAVT6308P

1 RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet

1 analog front out

1 analog bass/center out

1 analog rear out

1 analog surround out

1 analog mic in

1 analog line in

1 optical S/PDIF output

There are no surprises on the spec sheet, so let’s move on.

Our testing methods

New drivers and BIOS updates have been released since we looked at the first wave of P67 boards. We’ve pulled out our favorite, Asus’ own P8P67 PRO, to compare to the Sabertooth. With few exceptions, all tests were run at least three times, and we reported the median of the scores produced.

Processor Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz
Motherboard Asus P8P67 PRO Asus Sabertooth P67
Bios revision 1502 1502
Platform hub Intel P67 Express Intel P67 Express
Chipset drivers Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.1

Chipset: 9.2.0.1025

RST: 10.1

Memory size 8GB (2 DIMMs) 8GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Memory timings 9-9-9-24-1T 9-9-9-24-1T
Audio Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers Realtek ALC892 with 2.59 drivers
Graphics Asus EAH5870 1GB with Catalyst 11.3 drivers
Hard drive Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB
Power Supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64

We’d like to thank Asus, Corsair, and Western Digital for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. Thanks to each of the motherboard makers for supplying their boards, too, and to AMD and Intel for providing the CPUs.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems’ Windows desktop was set at 1280×1024 in 32-bit color at a 60Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Memory performance

Don’t expect much in the way or surprises here. We’re using the same Sandy Bridge memory controller, Corsair DIMMs, and BIOS-level memory timings with both boards.

As one might expect given those conditions, the Sabertooth’s memory bandwidth and latency are comparable to that of the P8P67 PRO.

Application performance

We see largely equivalent application performance between the two boards, as well. The Sabertooth is marginally faster in a few tests, while the P8P67 has a slight edge in others.

Power consumption

We measured system power consumption, sans monitor and speakers, at the wall outlet using a Watts Up Pro power meter. Readings were taken at idle and under a load consisting of a Cinebench 11.5 render alongside the rthdribl HDR lighting demo. We tested with Windows 7’s High Performance and Balanced power plans.

Asus’ P67 boards ship with a handy BIOS switch that enables their EPU power-saving functionality. We tested the Sabertooth and P8P67 PRO with this feature enabled and disabled.

The Sabertooth’s power consumption is comparable to that of the P8P67 PRO, whose power draw is among the lowest we’ve seen from an enthusiast-grade P67 board. Interestingly, Asus looks to have changed the clock-scaling behavior of its most recent P67 BIOSes. When the Windows power plan is set to High Performance, the Sabertooth and P8P67 both lock the CPU multiplier at its maximum Turbo setting (38X for our Core i7-2600K). Dropping down to the Balanced power plan allows the CPU to lower its multiplier at idle, which in turn reduces power consumption. Sounds good to me.

Overclocking

Intel put up barriers to pushing Sandy Bridge speeds by increasing the base clock frequency, but it also made K-series CPUs with fully unlocked multipliers cheap enough even for budget-conscious enthusiasts. Unfortunately, Asus’ TurboV Windows overclocking utility doesn’t give users control over the CPU multiplier or Turbo limits. The app is also missing a tuning function to overclock the CPU automatically.

However, AI Suite does have interesting twists, including a refined user interface and modular components. If the default color scheme doesn’t suit you, a series of contrast, brightness, saturation, hue, and gamma sliders will let you change the palette to just about anything you want.

Hot pink, anyone? As you can see, all those extra sensors exposed by Thermal Radar are also tracked by AI Suite’s monitoring app. Enough fiddling around in Windows, though. Let’s get down to some serious overclocking in the BIOS.

Although the Sabertooth’s AI Suite may lack an auto-tune feature, there is one in the BIOS. Seconds after hitting the OC Tuner option, the system rebooted with a 43X CPU multiplier and a 103MHz base clock speed.

We used an eight-way Prime95 load in conjunction with the rthdribl HDR lighting demo to test for stability, and the Sabertooth was perfectly happy at 4.43GHz with just 1.3V. That’s a pretty healthy overclock for just a few seconds worth of effort. Could a little more effort coax higher speeds from our Core i7-2600K?

Indeed it could. For our manual overclocking test, I dropped the base clock speed back down to 100MHz and started cranking on the CPU multiplier. The system had little trouble getting up to 4.5GHz with a 45X multiplier, but it crashed under load until I set the load-line calibration to high. After that, the CPU cruised up to 4.7GHz without so much as a voltage tweak. It was even stable with a 47X multiplier, but throttling started to kick in under load. Throttling disappeared at 4.6GHz, and the system remained completely stable at that speed.

Further fiddling with the load-line calibration and other BIOS settings didn’t help matters, but I think it’s clear that our CPU and cooling solution were the limiting factors here. If you’re looking to overclock, the Sabertooth has you covered—just make sure the rest of your system’s components are up to the task.

Motherboard peripheral performance

Our last stop on the testing front is the wonderful world of onboard peripherals.

  HD Tach USB 3.0 performance
  Read burst

speed (MB/s)

Average read

speed (MB/s)

Average write

speed (MB/s)

CPU utilization

(%)

Asus P8P67 PRO 220.9 176.6 57.9 2.0
Asus Sabertooth P67 221.2 177.0 58.3 2.0
  HD Tach USB 2.0 performance
  Read burst

speed (MB/s)

Average read

speed (MB/s)

Average write

speed (MB/s)

CPU utilization

(%)

Asus P8P67 PRO 35.1 35.0 25.2 2.0
Asus Sabertooth P67 35.1 35.0 25.2 2.0

Solid USB performance? Check. Obviously, the USB 3.0 ports are much faster. Keep that in mind when considering your next external storage device.

  HD Tune Serial ATA performance – VelociRaptor
  Read Write
  Burst (MB/s) Average (MB/s) Random 4KB (ms) Burst (MB/s) Average (MB/s) Random 4KB (ms)
Asus P8P67 PRO 292.1 129.9 7.0 292.3 125.9 2.7
Asus P8P67 PRO (Marvell) 235.6 129.9 7.2 238.9 114.8 2.6
Asus Sabertooth P67 294.2 129.9 7.0 294.1 125.8 2.7
Asus Sabertooth P67 (Marvell) 235.4 129.9 7.2 234.4 127.2 2.7
  HD Tune Serial ATA performance – Vertex 3
  Read Write
  Burst (MB/s) Average (MB/s) Random 4KB (ms) Burst (MB/s) Average (MB/s) Random 4KB (ms)
Asus P8P67 PRO 387.8 383.1 0.05 348.1 279.6 0.06
Asus P8P67 PRO (Marvell) 263.0 261.3 0.07 241.8 130.6 0.09
Asus Sabertooth P67 388.7 383.7 0.07 346.4 278.5 0.07
Asus Sabertooth P67 (Marvell) 261.3 258.8 0.08 238.1 167.9 0.10

Regardless of whether you’re using a mechanical hard drive or an SSD, you’re much better off having it plugged into the P67’s Serial ATA ports rather than those tied to an auxiliary Marvell controller. There’s little difference in SATA performance between the Sabertooth and P8P67, but the Intel chipset offers clearly superior performance to the Marvell controllers on both boards.

  NTttcp Ethernet performance
  Throughput (Mbps) CPU utilization (%)
Asus P8P67 PRO 934.6 1.8
Asus Sabertooth P67 938.3 1.8

Unlike the old Sabertooth X58, the new P67 model has competitive Gigabit Ethernet throughput.

  RightMark Audio Analyzer audio quality
  Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD THD + Noise IMD + Noise Stereo Crosstalk IMD at 10kHz Overall score
Asus P8P67 PRO 5 4 4 5 3 5 5 5 4
Asus Sabertooth P67 5 4 4 5 3 5 5 5 4

There’s no difference in RMAA scores between the Sabertooth and P8P67. If you’re really serious about analog audio signal quality, I suggest checking out Asus’ excellent Xonar DG sound card.

Conclusions

Asus’ Sabertooth P67 is a very good motherboard. Its performance and power consumption are solid, the BIOS is excellent, and there are plenty of overclocking options for folks looking to go to town on their K-series Sandy Bridge CPUs. The Sabertooth might not have quite as many ports and slots as some other boards in its price range, but there should be more than enough connectivity and expansion capacity for the vast majority of hard-core enthusiasts.

The real draw here is the higher-grade electrical components that pepper the board and the five-year warranty they’ve inspired. Asus also deserves credit for loading the Sabertooth with temperature sensors tied to a powerful Thermal Radar application with even more advanced fan control functionality than what’s offered in the BIOS. Unfortunately, that application proved vital in exposing the Sabertooth’s greatest flaw: a Thermal Armor outer layer that in some cases does the exact opposite of Asus’ intentions.

Thermal Armor was designed to lower motherboard component temperatures, but it actually increased temperatures with most of the configurations we tested. The optional assistant fan is probably necessary to achieve the best results. Asus doesn’t include it with the board, so you’ll have to add one at an additional cost. Of course, you can also remove the armor and enjoy the Sabertooth without it.

What really bothers me about Thermal Armor is the fact that it feels like the sort of gimmicky feature that TUF-series motherboards should be above. That makes it difficult to swallow the Sabertooth’s $220 asking price, which is $40 more than what you’ll pay for a P8P67 PRO with the same BIOS, performance, and general feature set.

For discerning enthusiasts making a long-term investment, the Sabertooth’s perks may be worth the extra cash. However, Intel’s incoming Z68 chipset looms large on the horizon, making pricey P67 boards a questionable investment overall. Don’t fret, though. The TUF series surely has something special in store for Z68, and missteps aside, Asus seems to be heading in the right direction with this new family of motherboards.

Comments closed
    • iatacs19
    • 9 years ago

    More pics:

    [url<]http://randomimagecollection.blogspot.com/2011/03/asus-p67-sabertooth-motherboard.html[/url<] Looking good.

    • Arbie
    • 9 years ago

    The thermal armor is actually a good idea – but it obviously should be used with an exhaust fan, not an intake fan! Then the shroud would channel relatively cool air from the board edges in over the low-power components, and dump that into the hotter air around the CPU and graphics board.

    However, Asus has a real dilemma with the assistant fan, as they explained. They don’t want to provide one since they they can’t warrant electromechanical stuff for as long as the mobo itself. But without the fan, the armor makes no sense.

    Altogether this means that if you want the longevity offered by this design, you must be ready to install an assistant fan and replace it when it wears out. Fortunately, this fan will be vertical in most cases, so even with sleeve bearings you may get three or more years service from it.

    I would prefer that Asus provide the proper fan, with ball or fluid bearings. However, we should recognize why they didn’t, and at least applaud their readiness to innovate and take a risk. If motherboard component lifetimes truly need improvement (I wouldn’t know) then this armor isn’t a gimmick – but all the pieces aren’t in place yet.

    ==> For a review that claimed – and would be about the only one – to actually evaluate the armor, you should have gotten a fan and tried it this way. Without that, those aspects of your (otherwise very good) review are pointless. And we don’t find out how much the assistant fan will interfere with boards in the top PCIe slot.

    I also fault Asus support for not knowing or explaining how the armor is designed to be used. Blowing hot air down into it would clearly be ridiculous. I’m sure that whoever championed the armor idea back in the design groups is chagrined at how it has worked out when finally named, logo’d, stickered, sold, and supported.

    • michael_d
    • 9 years ago

    What is the multi-GPU performance like on P67 boards?

    • strangerguy
    • 9 years ago

    Locally, if I wanna build a 2500K system I can choose either for the same price:

    1. Biostar TP67B+ and Radeon 6950 2GB

    or

    2. P67 Sabertooth

    Thanks Asus for making me have such an easy choice!

    (P.S If I included your ROG board that is almost enough for me to pocket a GTX 580)

      • bimmerlovere39
      • 9 years ago

      I’m curious as to where you’re finding a Biostar P67 board for $-20…

    • Jambe
    • 9 years ago

    I love reading TR but I often feel like an odd one out when it comes to mobo reviews here.

    I have never spent over $150 for my motherboards and I consider myself an enthusiast. The range I usually buy in is like $80-120. All my boards have lasted quite well (some for 4+ years 200+ hours a week) and they have mainstream chipsets and I/O.

    While this was an interesting review, I think you said it best yourself when you pointed out that it was a gimmick. A gimmick that adds forty dollars to a board that’s thirty dollars too expensive anyway.

    Eh, sigh.

    I suppose I’m just being a pansy because “enthusiast” is a wide spectrum and I’m on the cheaper end of it.

    • shank15217
    • 9 years ago

    Intel’s platform is boring to say the least, you gotta come up these funky ideas to for product differentiation. Hopefully their sandy-bridge e and amd’s upcoming am3+ platforms will shake things up again in this market.

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 9 years ago

    For those looking to actually buy this board this fan looks pretty nice and is reasonably quiet:

    [url<]http://www.quietpc.com/us-en-usd/products/casefans/fd-fan-50[/url<] Personally while I'm unlikely to buy this board I'm still curious whether the fan makes a big difference and if so if it's in a push or pull configuration that it does the best. This also looks good: [url<]http://www.quietpc.com/us-en-usd/products/casefans/50mmfan[/url<] Love the UEFI interface.

    • crabjokeman
    • 9 years ago

    As we all learned in basic science classes, plastic is a great conductor…

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    Five year warranty on an enthusiast board?
    What enthusiast will want to be using this chipset in five years time?

    I don’t even play the hand-me-down game with my machines anymore since a second box will almost always benefit from lower noise, power consumption, smaller form factor etc by replacing with cheap parts. In five years time any features and compatibility this board has will exist on entry-level or mid-range offerings.

    Take an 8800 Ultra, for example.It’s only [i<]four[/i<] years old today. 171 watts of large, noisy obnoxiousness that lacks modern video-decoding features, DirectX 11 support and is outclassed by a $79 near-silent HD6570 that sips just 10W at idle. Hell, integrated graphics aren't going to be far behind 8800 Ultra performance if Llano previews are accurate.... Granted, CPU and chipsets move more slowly but if I was using a five-year-old board I'd have missed out on SATA-300, SATA-600 USB3, UFI BIOSes, the last two generations of core i3, i5, & i7 processors, not to mention PCIe V2.0, V2.2, and V3.0. Some of these are more important than others, but... [i<]I'd miss that[/i<], as an enthusiast, you know.....

    • d0g_p00p
    • 9 years ago

    For people complaining about the fan. I just searched newegg for “50mm silent fan” and got back ONE fan which BTW is out of stock. If Asus designed this board to be used with a fan it should have included one in the box.

      • bthylafh
      • 9 years ago

      Or gone with a more standard size. 60mm fans are somewhat more common, and Newegg’s got a couple quiet ones in stock, one 12 db and the other 20.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Frankly, I like how it looks.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 9 years ago

      Me too. Too bad it isn’t as cool as it looks (ba-dam ching!)

      Was the first mobo that made me say “wow” just by looking at it in a long time, though. But given that I’ve never had case windows and probably won’t, the only time I’d get to behold its grand beauty would be while putting the computer together, a joy that would certainly be overwhelmed with cursing and frustration borne of trying to fit the tinyass screws into the fsking tinyass holes.

      🙂

    • flip-mode
    • 9 years ago

    Stupid marketing gimmick of a motherboard.

    Are motherboard component temperatures even a problem? I’ve not heard anything that says that they are. Last I heard of this is was a problem with motherboard VRM’s when overclocking Prescott CPUs, but I haven’t heard anything since then.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Normally, no, but consider that the issue with P4s was that the power vs. frequency curve jumps upward at about 3.8 GHz and continues on that path, but was already a big problem at that point. Six years later, that’s still the case, as neither Intel or AMD are willing to sell stock CPUs that boost even one core up to 4 GHz.

      A 5 GHz, highly integrated, high bandwidth quad-core like Sandy Bridge is probably hell on the power circuit compared to a mere single core P4 at 4 GHz.

    • arklab
    • 9 years ago

    Why even bother with a P67 board anymore since the the Z68 is due within days?

    And while I’m thinking of it how about some pre-views of some Z68 mobo’s? NDA’s?
    Can’t wait!

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    How do you screw it in? Looks like a PITA, without magnetic screwdrivers…

    • Dposcorp
    • 9 years ago

    Nice review TR. However, I am very disappointed with Asus cutting corners on this board.
    I just double checked some stuff on Newegg.
    Compare this to the Pro board. You lose the following, real world used important features.

    1) The third physical X16 slot
    2) The on-board Bluetooth, which also gives the ability to boot, monitor and over-clock your board from your smartphone.
    3) No PCI or 2.5″ expansion cover with two additional USB 3.0 ports to plug in to the board.

    So, I pay $40 more and lose all that? What do I gain? 2 more years of warranty and a plastic cover?

    This is a terrible idea Asus; you should know better.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      The 2 extra years of warranty is worth quite a bit. Let’s give credit: It helps especially with resale value after 3 years.

        • Dposcorp
        • 9 years ago

        Well, you need to take away credit where it isn’t due as well. The extra 2 years of warranty do not improve the function of the board at all for the for the three years; the stuff I mentioned does.

        As far as resale value, I think you are wrong. The stuff I mentioned would add more resale value then the warranty, and I doubt most
        people would disagree.

        I just created a poll in the motherboard forum. Maybe I am in the minority. 🙂

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        Although I must give them credit for having the balls to sell something covered in capacitors specifically to people who are going to run preposterous amounts of power through it with a 5 year warranty, a lot of cheap boards have 3 year warranties now, and it doesn’t cost much to extend it.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        It’s weird, though, that they’d take away useful things and replace them with gimmicky crap. If you want to make a top-of-the-line board, don’t make one of your other boards arguably superior in any way.

        • flip-mode
        • 9 years ago

        I almost didn’t catch the sarcasm and was ready to roast you!

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      How is this:
      “2) The on-board Bluetooth, which also gives the ability to boot, monitor and over-clock your board from your smartphone.”

      an “important”, or even “used” feature? To me, it sounds rather idiotic.

        • axeman
        • 9 years ago

        Most enthusiast-oriented motherboards have at least one idiotic feature. Remember Gigabyte’s quad-LAN board? Hell, what’s the percentage of people using 10 SATA ports or even two LAN ports that are prevalent on enthusiast boards? Probably pretty small.

        • sweatshopking
        • 9 years ago

        that’s because it IS idiotic

    • pedro
    • 9 years ago

    Word on the street is that this is the exact motherboard Osama bin Laden hooked up his hard drives to.

      • etrigan420
      • 9 years ago

      Geronimo was hard core.

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    Thermal Armor. You have got to be joking.

    Dear designer, I’m reasonably certain at this point that you have not, in fact, heard of any of the useful focal points of computer cooling, instead giving people this fashion-driven miscreant. You monster.

      • Coran Fixx
      • 9 years ago

      I would have forgiven the thermal armor if it was a harmless add-on, but that it makes the motherboard run hotter is pretty bad.

      As far as calling the ASUS designer a monster, I guess I would look at the sales numbers for the motherboard before I do that 🙂

    • phez
    • 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for not even bothering to go that little extra step to try the 50mm fan cooling.

      • DancinJack
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]The assistant fan is an optional component and doesn't come with the Sabertooth.[/quote<] Did you just look at the pictures?

        • phez
        • 9 years ago

        What stopped them from buying and trying the fan? That a prospective user of this board might do if indeed it did help the cooling?

        But alas, the effectiveness of the vented cooling – the major selling point of this board – will remain a mystery,

          • DancinJack
          • 9 years ago

          The average user isn’t going to get one with their board shipped from Newegg or wherever.

            • haugland
            • 9 years ago

            The average user isn’t going to buy this board.

            • DancinJack
            • 9 years ago

            I should have worded it better. I didn’t mean the average user, just that the average person that buys this board isn’t going to have the fan included.

            e:spelling

            • phez
            • 9 years ago

            What makes you say that? People buy aftermarket heatsinks for their CPUs, and case fans to fill empty slots. Not sure what’s the difficulty in adding such a fan to your cart during purchasing.

            • DancinJack
            • 9 years ago

            I am sorry, I’m still not wording it quite right. Since a fan isn’t included with the motherboard, most people aren’t going to think about adding one either. I know that you think the 50mm fan is a big deal about this board(I admit that for the main feature of this board, it is – that’s not what I’m arguing), but a lot of people are either not going to even know about the fan or won’t want to have the added noise. Considering ASUS didn’t think it necessary to include the fan, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have the armor anyway.

            As to your point though, a CPU is a little more central component of the PC. To me, there might be a little more interest in cooling your CPU with an aftermarket cooler rather than adding a 50mm fan to your motherboard.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 9 years ago

          Why would you even want a 50mm fan in your system?

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      I’m also a little mystified by this. Won’t the average enthusiast have a small fan kicking around anyway?

        • DancinJack
        • 9 years ago

        I, for one, don’t have a 50mm fan lying around. Buy a motherboard in which its main selling point isn’t 96 percent gimmick.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        They’re noisy and die prematurely. I think it’s for the best that ASUS doesn’t include one standard for that reason.

          • phez
          • 9 years ago

          Everything you said is true; but for this board and for this review, the entire point of the armor (and quite frankly, probably the biggest reason people will read this review) is to have air moving via that 50mm fan.

            • etrigan420
            • 9 years ago

            Then Asus should have included it.

            Actually, if the “entire point” is to have air moving via a fan, the fan should be *integrated*.

            Stupid and pointless concept is stupid…and pointless.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 years ago

            You got that -1 fixed. Not sure why you’d get marked down for making a good point.

    • internetsandman
    • 9 years ago

    This was a bit disappointing. Apart from the killer overclocking results it just seems like a bunch of wasted money next to the P8P67 pro. By the time the warranty runs out on the PRO motherboard you’re probably looking at a replacement anyway, so the extra two years that the Sabertooth gives you probably wouldn’t make much difference either way. I love the aesthetics of the armor, but again, finding out it does more harm than good thermally is just disappointing. I wanted to like this mobo, I wanted to have a reason to buy it over all the others, but it just doesn’t seem like that’ll be the case

    • Jigar
    • 9 years ago

    Great review Geoff, and thanks for letting us know about the armor crap. If i were looking for a good mobo right now, i would go for the P8P67 PRO, the bios is just awesome.

      • moshpit
      • 9 years ago

      Terrible review flies in the face of every other one out there that tested the Armor. In fact, it was shown on multiple other reviews where the armor made a positive difference in favor of lower board temps. This review is flawed.

        • indeego
        • 9 years ago

        Terrible? I Googled for reviews, of the top three hits:

        – guru3d didn’t even test the fan, or really mention its absence at length. [quote<]"Admittedly I really had to get used to it and I still doubt its functionality. Rather than creating proper airflow I really think it could potentially trap heat coming from motherboards components." [/quote<]Their conclusion isn't taking temperatures into consideration much at all. They love the overclocking/UI though. "Vortez.net" (never heard of it personally) Marginal difference in temperature with shroud. They also glow about the EFI, like TR and guru3D. bit-tech: More glowing for EFI. We get the point now everyone likes it. [quote<]"In reality, though, this will only work with coolers that blow downwards towards the motherboard in the same way as Intel’s reference cooler - we’d hope that anyone buying the Sabertooth P67 wouldn’t be using such a basic cooler. In addition, the air will be quite warm, having passed through the CPU cooler’s heatsink. The shroud also made it a challenge to fit our test cooler, as it gets very close to the socket mounting holes. Thankfully, it’s possible to remove the shroud by unscrewing half a dozen screws on the rear of the PCB."[/quote<] ... [quote<]"As a result, the Sabertooth P67 would be a good, rather than an exceptional, purchase. "[/quote<] They gave it 78%. So what exactly should TR have done differently?

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 9 years ago

          Tested the mobo with a fan.

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