As we have already seen previous pages, the results from the Sabertooth in particular appear to be miles ahead of the pack in the majority of our benchmarks. It is then most likely fairly safe to say that overclocking on the Sabertooth would only further increase performance, allowing it to be a serious contender for those that are looking for the best performance from their system. So, let’s find out what the board can do when I push it and try to break it (as it were) to see how it handles what I throw at it.
The first thing I’d like to mention is that the BIOS is easy to navigate through and find what you’re looking for. I have to hold up my hand and say that it is most likely because my main system runs an ASUS board. It does feel a little sluggish for my preference as the BIOS has gone towards a ‘let us make it look pretty for everyone’ movement, but it isn’t so dreadful that I wanted to avoid using it. Flicking between pages is more animated than it was in previous examples, and I suspect it is just something that I am not used to. I do like the quickness in older BIOS systems, but you’ve got to move with the times and try to be a little different from your opposition in the field. When I first entered it, I felt like it was a little laggy, and that was until I realised that it was implemented like that.
As with all motherboards that I’ve tested on the Z170 platform, there was absolutely no problem getting my CPU to the maximum 4.8 GHz that it can overclock to. I’d be very worried if there was an issue, especially on such a motherboard, but I have nothing bad to report here. The motherboard remained cool, and does not require any extra cooling. I know I mentioned earlier that some of you may think that the heat gets stuck inside the shielding, but it really doesn’t warm up as much as you’d think. The ventilation holes must be doing their job which means that the ASUS engineers have thought this out very well.
RAM overclocking is a little different to the normal CPU overclocking as there is literally no limits to what you can do if you possess the knowledge. While I do not have weeks to go into the training of the motherboard, I can however tell you that the Sabertooth is able to perform rather admirably. I did not proceed to push the boat out too far as we do not monitor such performance gains in our reviews, or you’d probably only see three motherboard reviews a year from us. Anyway, overclocking the RAM with incorrect sub timings can throw the motherboard into a spiral of doom if it is unable to recover properly by itself. It’s easy enough to sort out by removing the battery or a few other tricks that us seasoned overclockers know of, but it is nice to not have a worry.
Whilst I did note earlier that it is unfortunate that there’s no LED debugger on this board, it is worth me saying that the LEDs by the ICH did come in useful to determine where it was getting stuck. Ultimately, I was forcing the board to throw errors, but it was nice to see that they at least gave me some guidance as to what the issue was.