|ASUS Sabertooth P67 B3 TUF Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 02 May 2011|
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ASUS Sabertooth P67 Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
The ASUS Sabertooth P67 brings a lot of performance enhancing features to the table; most of which are shared with the other members of the ASUS P67 family of motherboards. The ASUS TurboV Processing Unit helps manage CPU usage by handing off some of the CPUs duties to let the CPU focus on more the more demanding ones. The ASUS uEFI makes managing many aspects of your computer a lot easier, including overclocking. ASUS AI Suite II makes that overclocking extremely simple, even from within Windows. Any would be enthusiast previously wary of overclocking can increase system performance with ease using the Sabertooth P67.
The appearance of the ASUS Sabertooth P67 is quite unique. The style has been utilized by ASUS in the past for other versions of Sabertooth motherboards. The idea behind the completely shrouded motherboard is that it will keep heat coming off the components from heating up the rest of the motherboard. Also, air flow can easily whisk away heat from the components from atop the shroud. It seems like it might have some actual value, but in reality, I think a lot of the design is actually just for looks. In my opinion, it looks awesome. I really like it, and since my cases are usually either open or have a clear side panel, I dig the look. A lot of people don't like it, and I have seen a lot of complaints about the look around the internet. To each his own I suppose. If you don't like the look, don't worry too much about it. After installing all of your components, you don't see much of it anyway. Besides, if looks aren't your thing, it's all about how it performs, right? At least the Sabertooth P67 doesn't go to the extent of the P8P67 motherboard and include a useless northbridge heatsink for purely aesthetic purposes.
The TUF Thermal Armor and Thermal Radar are only a small part of the constructional differences with the ASUS Sabertooth P67. While ASUS consistently uses high-grade materials for their components, the Sabertooth P67 utilizes their TUF components. These pieces are certified to be military-grade by third-party testing. The TUF components include alloy chokes, solid capacitors, and MOSFETs. With this type of material, you are looking at a motherboard that will far outlast any real usefulness it will have for you. Long after you have decided to upgrade, whether that be a few months or many years, the ASUS Sabertooth P67 will continue to run smoothly.
The TUF Armor may actually make a small difference in cooling performance, but I have to say, it's probably very minimal, if any with the P67-Express chipset. The Sandy Bridge CPUs run extremely cool as it is, so any heat generated there is minimal and can be mitigated even further with the use of an after-market CPU cooler. In my testing, I used the Scythe Yasya CPU Cooler. Idle temperatures for the CPU stood about 22 degrees Celsius with a 20C ambient room temperature. Load temps, even with all four cores overclocked and running in Turbo Mode at 4.7GHz were still only 62C. That's pretty lightweight. Additionally, newer GPUs are running a lot cooler now as well. The NVIDIA GTX 500 series runs a lot cooler than the 400 series did and exponentially cooler than the 200 series did. Of course, I used a MSI GTS 450 Cyclone in testing here, which is a very cool card. Anyway, what I am saying is, the TUF Armor probably made a lot more of a difference on an X58 platform running a Core i7-920 with an NVIDIA GTX 285.
In terms of functionality, the ASUS Sabertooth P67 gives users a lot of versatility in some areas while skimping a little in others. For any mainstream user, the Sabertooth P67 will offer everything you need. For extreme enthusiasts, however, you will find a few things lacking.
Beginning with the functionality the Sabertooth P67 brings to the table, we have to mention the UEFI. The new interpretation of on the BIOS is so much easier to use than a BIOS that it's not even really comparable. With the UEFI it is so easy to tune your hardware and profile settings and even to overclock. And, by the way, using a mouse reduces my stress level 100 fold from dealing with a traditional BIOS. The ASUS MemOK! button is another functional feature ASUS adds to the Sabertooth P67, helping to minimize the memory incompatibility boot problems. The TPU and EPU in the ASUS DIP2 are great for helping increase performance while decreasing power draw. The EPU is so effective that idle power draw on our setup was only 28W while load power draw was a mere 121W, even with four cores fully overclocked. The DIGI+ VRM made overvolting a charm by eliminating the +/- error factor and thereby increasing component lifespan. Also, the control given to the user within Windows through the AI Suite II software is nothing short of amazing. Basically, most of what you can tweak in the UEFI can also be handled from within Windows with this software package. With all of these features, the ASUS Sabertooth P67 has to be given high marks for functionality. However, there are some things I would have liked to see.
To begin with, many of the P8P67 motherboards got an onboard Bluetooth 2.1 receiver. Simple additions like power and reset buttons on the motherboard are absent as well. Getting picky here, it would have been nice to dual Gigabit Ethernet adapters as opposed to just a single one, although at least the Sabertooth P67 has eSATA ports. These were omitted from the P8P67 line. Additional PCI-Express lanes would have been awesome. Single video cards are getting to the point where they are enough for even hard-core gamers, but some people need, or want, more. Adding a second card for CrossfireX or SLI mode means splitting the available PCI lanes to 8+8. There are 8 more lanes available on the P67-Express chipset, but they are taken up by the USB 3.0 ports and the third-party controllers. Still, for the most part, this is just nit-picking, as the ASUS Sabertooth P67 offers a lot of functionality.
The ASUS Sabertooth P67 motherboard costs $219.99 at NewEgg.com. This sits squarely between the P8P67 EVO and the P8P67 Deluxe and offers most of the same features and few those boards don't, like the TUF Armor and components and eSATA ports. That price is a little high for mainstream, but a little low for enthusiast. I'd say it's a good price for the features and what it offers, but not an extreme value.
To finish off my review of the ASUS Sabertooth P67 motherboard, I just have to say that, in my opinion, ASUS did a lot right here and little wrong. Motherboard manufacturers have to add their own touches to their boards to make a splash in the market and to differentiate them from every other P67 motherboard out there. The Sabertooth P67 is a great example of adding features to make the motherboard stand out. From TUF Armor and components to two extra SATA controllers to a completely revamped method of hardware setting management through the UEFI, the Sabertooth P67 makes the standard P67 motherboards look watered-down and boring. Digital voltage regulation, efficient energy processing, TurboV processing, and a software suite to control it all from within Windows are things you won't find everywhere. Overall, I am very impressed and I highly recommend the ASUS Sabertooth P67 for anyone looking at upgrading to a Sandy Bridge desktop.
+ UEFI Introduces Graphical User Interface BIOS replacement
- High priced 'mainstream enthusiast' motherboard solution
- Does not support UEFI screen capture
- No dual Gigabit Lan
- Lacks hardware-based encryption features
- SATA6G/USB3 borrow from PCI-E link lanes
- No Bluetooth like P8P67 series
Final Score: 9.10 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award. (Eligible for final score of 9.0 and higher.)
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