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ASUS SABERTOOTH Z87 Intel Motherboard Review

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ASUS Z87 UEFI

ASUS has always had one of the best UEFI interfaces, and they’ve added a whole raft of new features with their Z87 boards. The basic layout remains the same, but it’s been optimized and enhanced. Take a look at the main screen of the “EZ” interface: functionally, it’s divided into 5 “rows” of information and controls:

  1. At the top you have the BIOS revision, CPU type, and amount of RAM.
  2. Next is the “information row” showing CPU temperature and voltage, RAM speed and provisioning, and CPU and chassis (scroll the pane) fan status. The drop-down menus by the fan status area allow you to quickly select pre-defined fan profiles like “Silent”, “Turbo”, etc.
  3. Next are large, simple buttons you can choose to optimize the system for power draw or performance.
  4. Next are the available disks, which you can drag into the boot priority order you want.
  5. Last are a set of useful buttons. For example, the Shortcuts button opens a selection window that can take you instantly to various parts of the BIOS…

sabertooth_bios_main.jpg

…while clicking the “SATA Information” button displays all the devices connected to your SATA ports, as shown below. ASUS did miss a bet here, though: although you can assign descriptive names to your SATA devices (see the next screen shot), the names you assign don’t appear here.

z87_gryphon_bios_sata_info.jpg

One of the many “Why didn’t I think of that?” features is the ability to assign names to any connected SATA device. In this image, I’ve named the device at SATA6G_4 to “SABERTOOTH Z87 BOOT”.

sabertooth_bios_sata_rename.jpg

Although the SABERTOOTH is not directly aimed at overclockers, ASUS’ Ai Tweaker feature is present and accounted for, in all its multiplier/base clock/clock strap/memory tweaking/power fiddling glory.

z87_gryphon_bios_ai_tweaker.jpg

Ai Tweaker can be a little intimidating, but you can perform some simple overclocking at its upper menu levels without needing to dive too deeply into the details.

z87_gryphon_bios_overclock.jpg

Of course, if you do like diving into the details, it’s all there. Here we see just some of the settings available for ASUS’ DIGI+ Power Control feature.

z87_gryphon_bios_power.jpg

Here’s another new convenience feature: My Favorites. Almost any individual adjustment or setting, no matter how deeply buried, can be assigned to this screen for quick access.

z87_gryphon_bios_favorites.jpg

One last, cool feature (there are many more): have you ever spent half an hour tweaking BIOS settings, then prepared to save them, and realized you’d changed so many things you couldn’t remember them all? Every time you save changes to the SABERTOOTH BIOS, you get a nice little summary screen like this.

sabertooth_bios_change_summary.jpg

Next, let’s take a look at some of the utility software ASUS includes with this board.


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Comments

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1 comment

  1. CrazyElf

    Supposedly, this board is marketed towards the “long term” upgrade market, that is, people who upgrade every 4-5 years, so the emphasis is put on durability.

    I mean, what I like about this board is the backplate. That said, the Maximus VI Formula might have all of the features on this board and is expected to be in the ~$300 USD range, plus it comes with more OC power, and better components, so it’s probably a better buy.

    Actually on that note, is there anyone that knows when the Maximus VI Formula is to arrive here in North America?

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