Overclocking and Conclusion
To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 motherboard, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. While we were able to push the CPU to a 4.67GHz clock speed with a 4.5GHz ring bus speed, we were unable to get the board to run at a base clock speed any higher than 167MHz. When lowered the base clock to its default 100MHz, we were able to push the memory speed to an impressive 3200MHz with the CPU and ring bus running at 4.5GHz. All overclocking sessions remained stable for over 4hrs. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 8x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 16GB (2 x 8GB) of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 and 16GB (4 x 4GB) of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.
167MHz Base Clock Stats
100MHz Base Clock Stats with 3200MHz Memory
Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.
The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 motherboard does the TUF series name proud with stability and performance matching that of the upper-tier boards. ASUS also did a phenomenal job in integrating the on-board devices into the board, all performing well within rated specs.
As of March 01, the Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 motherboard was available at Amazon.com for $229.99 with Prime shipping. The board was also available from Newegg.com for $229.99 and from B&H for $229.99 with free shipping.
The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 motherboard is another feather in ASUS' ever-growing hat and represents the best out of their evolutionary Sabertooth motherboard line to date. The board features an updated version of the TUF Thermal armor, offering full board coverage and increased strength over previous iterations as well as the inclusion of tow optional fans in the kit. The amount of integrated features and included accessories is astounding, making the board worth every penny. Did I mention the ability to create a RAIDed PCIe x4 M.2 set? And the on-board M.2 slot as well as the battery remain hidden yet accessible under a removable panel, giving the drive some protection while maintaining the slick look of the board.
As much as it pains me to say it, the Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 did have one potentially troublesome design challenge – the space provided around the CPU for CPU hold down mounts. As shown below, the Noctua NH-D15’s mounting cage could not be mounted in its standard configuration because of fit issues between it and the wall of the Thermal Armor covering the VRM heat sink to the right of the CPU socket. While the cage could be mounted in the horizontal orientation (instead of its default vertical orientation), this could be potentially problematic from some system builds.
- Stock performance
- Overclocking performance and potential
- Board aesthetics, layout, and design
- Dual PCIe x4 M.2 RAID potential
- Inclusion of ASUS HyperM.2 X4 PCIe card
- Accessible PCIe x1 slot under most operating conditions
- Motherboard manual hardware details
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- Dual GigE network controller performance
- M.2 and CMOS battery placement and hidden access panel
- Innovative QLED indication status interface
- Incompatibility with Noctua NH-D15 mounting cage in default vertical orientation
- Lack of Application information in included manual – updated version available for download online
- ASMedia controlled SATA port performance