If you’re looking for tough level performing board, the ASUS Sabertooth Z77 is the ultimate enthusiast motherboard you can have. This board belong to the TUF (The Ultimate Force) series, everybody knows how versatile the board is as it earns great success from the previous version. The plastic shield suffers from some flaws with fewer upshots from earlier model but, this time it comes back with vengeance in its full effectiveness.
This TUF board from ASUS is aim to support the latest Ivy Bridge processor from Intel, comes in socket 1155 platform that is also backward compatible with Sandy Bridge, good news if you’re planning to use your existing 2700K/2700K. Loaded with features, more overclocking possibilities and built to last longer.
What Makes It Tough?
The Sabertooth Z77 is made of highest quality components design to meet the military standard testing for ultimate durability. This includes an alloy chokes, solid caps and MOSFETs, these components manage to handle 25% higher than any traditional parts.
The thermal radar has become questionable by many users with the earlier model; however, the new improved version has a better cooling. The plastic covered shield hence called armour is equipped with two fans, this are strategically arrange in push pull manner to achieve maximum cooling effects. Backup with thermal radar monitors scattered in critical areas that automatically adjust the fan speed according to the heat generated by the components.
Improved Graphics And Faster Video Conversion
The combination of an integrated GPU and the discrete GPU are firstly seen in the Z68 motherboard, the results are phenomenon. With the new improved LucidLogix Virtu MVP you can enjoy a smoother output by eliminating the tearing effects caused by the mismatch in display and the GPU.
A faster video conversion can be experienced with the latest QuickSync feature. The new HD 4000 iGP creates a smoother gaming experience that can match any mid-priced GPU, this makes it possible with the new Ivy Bridge processor.
In addition to its TUF Armor is the Dust Defender, it covers the unused slots that prevents it from building contamination on the connectors. Asus includes an anti-static chips that keeps the entire components safe from unwanted electro static discharge.
Everybody knows how fast the USB 3.0, it doubles the existing USB 2.0. ASUS improves it further by increasing it up to 70% more making it the fastest USB 3.0 port in the planet. Thanks to its new technology called the UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol).
Some of the best ASUS features are the USB BIOS Flashback, this offers an easy way to update the BIOS using a flash drive. The SSD caching boost the system performance by using the installed SSD as a cache in tandem with the huge hard drive, by storing the most frequent accessed data on the SSD you got a faster loading time.
There’s the famous UEFI BIOS that gives you the easiest way to setup the BIOS using a mouse. This also supports hard drive with more than 2.2TB size. You can save energy by charging you smartphone, iPhone or iPod while working on your PC. Charge it with 3 times faster even during sleep mode.
The Looks And Connectivity
The Sabertooth Z77 is one of the most handsome motherboard in town, the armor vest in grey colour looks wonderful, if that would be a deciding factor for you this perfectly suits you. Four DIMM slots are provided in grey and brown color combinations for easy identification of proper pairing that supports up to 32GB.
The PCIe 3.0 slots supports the new Gen3 graphics, the future standard in display. It provides 3 slots with the first one in grey runs at x16 for single, x8/x8 for double that includes the second in black, the third is at x4 mode. In between we can see three PCIe 1x slots.
There are eight SATA ports in total, four SATA 3GB/s in black, two SATA 6GB/s in brown, all provided by the Z77 chip and the remaining two in grey is powered by ASMedia controller that includes the two eSATA located on the back panel.
Moving on the back I/O panel, starting from the left there’s a four USB 2.0 in black, the BIOS Flashback button for easy recovery, two eSATA ports in red and four Superspeed USB 3.0 ports in blue. You are limited to two video ports, the HDMI and display ports are the only provided here. The vacant space is used for the additional fan.
Overclocking The Sabertooth Z77
To find out how far this board can take the new Ivy Bridge processor we have to set it into an overclock mode. The rated speed of the Core i7-3770K is at 3.5GHz, the default settings for the base clock is 100 MHz with the multiplier set to x35.
We have to take note that, if you want to do an overclocking you have to pick the unlock version with the K on it. An oversized CPU cooler is also required. However, you have to pay an extra premium for it but, the results it will bring are definitely worthy.
To have a quick start though, you can tweak right on the ASUS BIOS then select the performance mode if you want an instant boost on your system. This will take you to 4.2GHz effortless with 700MHz gain with low extra power consumption. The results are simply amazing with concrete stability.
Some are happy with 4.2GHz to 4.6GHz but, the Sabertooth Z77 can bring you up to 5GHz with the liquid cooler. To achieve the 5GHz speed limit we have to set a higher voltage at 1.425v and the multiplier to x50 while the base clock remain intact at 100MHz.
This is probably the highest mark for the Ivy Bridge processor, a 1.5GHz on top of 3.5GHz is phenomenal and the performance improves drastically. The power consumption was expected to increased but, the good thing about the Ivy Bridge is the lower wattage requirement, it consume almost the same as the core-i5 of Sandy Bridge when both overclocked.
The ASUS Sabertooth Z77 is a rock-solid performer, this is probably the first one to reach the 5GHz using the new Core-i7 3770K Ivy bridge, just don’t forget the liquid cooler. Not only the ease of overclocking will struck you with this board but, the overall performance as well. The thermal vest works fine as it shows great system cooling capability not just to impress us with the looks, tremendous improvements over the earlier versions.
The new HD 4000 of the Core-i7 3770K shows remarkable smoothness over the HD 3000 of Sandy Bridge, producing high image quality in various games such as Far Cry 2 are noticeable. The QuickSync remains undisputed in transcoding applications as no other video card can match their speed, with this new version the completion was totally buried. If you love to convert your favourite HD movies into different formats, this would be your biggest ammunition. This is how Intel shows a big leap over its previous generation’s processors.