Asus Sabertooth Z77 review
LGA1155, ATX, Intel Z77 chipset, supports: 2nd/3rd Generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7
Asus's Sabertooth Z77 is one of the more expensive LGA1155 motherboards you can buy and it certainly looks the part. It comes sheathed in black cowling with mounting points for the supplied auxiliary fans that cool the board, while slide-in covers help to protect the expansion slots from dust, fluff and damage if they're not in use. We've removed all of these in our photos so you can get a decent look at the motherboard itself.
It's certainly not short of features, with three PCI-E x16 slots, so you can run two cards in SLI or CrossFireX mode. However, even though the motherboard is high end, only the top slot is a true x16 slot and if the second slot is populated, both run at x8. The third slot runs at x4 and is designed for expansion cards. There are also three PCI-E x1 slots. We were pleased to see that none of them is crammed under the main PCI-E x16 slot, so none is blocked if you install a single graphics card.
The motherboard has four SATA2 ports and four SATA3 ports. Two of the SATA3 ports are on a separate controller, which also provides two eSATA ports on the back panel. You'll also find four USB3 and four USB ports on the rear of the board, in addition to two USB headers and one USB3 header. For integrated graphics there are HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, while audio from the Realtek ACL892 codec is available through either six analogue 3.5mm audio ports or an optical S/PDIF output.
As you'd expect from a modern motherboard, there are four DDR3 memory slots, which can take up to 32GB of RAM. That's definitely going to plenty, even if you intend on building a really high-end system.
Surprisingly for a board that seems to be eminently well suited to overclockers, there's a CMOS reset button on the back but no onboard power or reset buttons. The clearly designed UEFI interface has an automatic overclocking feature, which pushed the processor up to 4.2GHz and an overall score of 105 in our benchmarks. You'll be able to squeeze plenty more performance out of this motherboard if you tweak the settings yourself and use a heftier cooler than the basic Intel one. At default settings, we got an overall score of 101.
Although it's built with quality components, has plenty of USB3 and SATA3 connection options and is extremely well designed, we nonetheless prefer the more modestly priced microATX Asus Maximus V Gene.