ASUS Sabertooth X58 ReviewRHKCommander959 - October 17, 2010
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The Intel x58 chipset has been out for a while now and the market has been well served with motherboard choices carrying this chipset. Currently, designs are shifting towards improving upon the old and becoming more trendy. Basically, they're attempting to offer more than their prior counterparts. Some aim to lower power consumption through more efficient designs while others try to provide improved reliability or deliver lower operating temperatures. Another common ploy is adding SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0 to make the boards more future proof. Promises of overclocking capabilities, longer life spans and more efficient operation are all strong reasons to choose a product. With that in mind, we are here to announce that ASUS has returned with their TUF line to bring forth the Sabertooth X58! The Sabertooth claims to do all of these and more with stringent quality testing and a five-year warranty. The color scheme looks similar to army camouflage colors. The green heat sinks are all coated in some sort of ceramic coating that appears related to the automobile industry and which supposedly helps temperatures (although the automotive coat usually holds in heat as in high temperature exhaust systems). The TUF line seems to have a strong following and this board looks good next to the Noctua fans and heat sink!
The box in which the ASUS Sabertooth arrived has a dark blackish background that looks similar to brushed aluminum plate. The TUF (The Ultimate Force) badge hangs at the top left and also exposes an image to the right. The top right shows three Intel badges proclaiming it's six core 32nm CPU ready and offers X58 chipset and Core i7 compatibility. In bold bright yellow, the words Sabertooth X58 sit to the lower left portion with the word "motherboard" in a smaller white font. At the very bottom is another metallic design and the ASUS company logo. Flipping over to the back shows the same TUF and motherboard badges along with the ASUS logo at the bottom with contact information. The middle is dedicated to showing the primary specifications and features such as CeraMIX heat sink coating technology, TUF components and E.S.P. (Efficient Switching Power Design). Immediately below all of this are thirteen different languages briefly explaining the USB 3.0, SATA 6 Gb/s, and TUF Components.
The front cover is also a flap. Opening the flap shows several of the features in-depth with some pictures and icons. The first item is the CeraMix heat sink coating that is supposed to conduct heat from the system and keep the metal from oxidizing. The surface area has been increased by the rough coating allowing more room for heat transmission into the surrounding air (in theory). Next is E.S.P, (Efficient Switching Power Design). Electrical and heat efficiency are increased for the CPU, memory and chipset. Third, is the TUF Components (chokes, capacitors and MOSFETS) for great performance even in harsh conditions. Most of the electronics are shock, humidity and heat resistant (more so than standard components would be). Two SATA ports on the motherboard support SATA 6.0 Gb/s and RAID. The next side has another three features starting with USB 3.0 support which is backwards compatible with prior generations of USB devices. When using high-end memory or odd configurations, not all systems will boot happily. With the Sabertooth, a MemOK! Button has been added that forces the motherboard to load fail-safe memory settings which should allow the system to boot. This is a handy feature for anyone who has run into that problem and had to scrounge around for more memory just to get into the BIOS. Lastly, the ASUS Q-Design feature, built up from the Q-LED, Q-Slot, Q-Connector and Q-Shield devices make DIY assembly and diagnosis simpler. A few more features are shown with pictures at the bottom.
The side of the motherboard box continues the box art trend, nothing new is introduced but at least it isn’t empty. Opening the box, users are greeted by the accessories. SATA cables, back panel and Q-Connectors which make up the hardware accessories along with a user guide, five-year warranty notice booklet, certificate of reliability and case badge with the driver disk.
Underneath a layer of cardboard and accessories is the motherboard protected by a clear anti-static bag. This bag allows for a decent sneak peek at what the motherboard looks like and how it is configured. The earth tones remind me of military camouflage and although the color scheme isn’t too common (brown, green, and black), I think it would look good next to Noctua fans or other similarly colored products. The I/O plate has foam padding with a mesh backing to give it a tight seal with the motherboard I/O panel.
Time to get a closer look at those accessories!