CPU Cooler Fit & Included Accessories
CPU Cooler Fit
To test the amount of space surrounding the CPU socket, we mounted the Noctua NH-D15 cooler to the CPU socket. This behemoth CPU air cooler sports a dual fan construction and two huge vertical cooling towers.
As a result of fit issues with the Noctua mount (which we'll go into more detail about later), the Noctua NH-D15 was mounted in a horizontal orientation instead of the normal vertical orientation with the fans blowing towards the rear panel. The board does not impeded mounting the cooler in the horizontal orientation with sufficient room provided along all sides of the cooler. The only tight spot may be when using the uppermost DIMM slot. However, in the dual DIMM setup shown, there are no fit concerns.
In the close-up view of the cooler, it is clear how tightly ASUS conformed to the Intel mount specs. While the fit is tight along all sides of the cooler, the Noctua NH-D15 cooler fits the socket like a glove.
The Noctua hold down mechanism is large enough to quickly determine exactly how much space is available around the CPU socket. With the mount bars mounted horizontally in cage, the Noctua mount fits the socket without issues with no contact between it and the board's components or the armor overlay.
With the Noctua mount seated with the mount bars in a vertical orientation (which is the default mount orientation), a space conflict with the Thermal Armor overlay covering the VRM heat sink to the right of the CPU socket becomes apparent. The rounded section of the mount arm comes into contact with the heat sink cover, causing the mount to not seat fully on the provided uprights. As a result, the mount and Noctua cooler itself can only be used when mounted in the alternate horizontal orientation.
The cooler's backplate rests on the socket backplate, minimizing the risk of direct board contact. Further, there is no circuitry around the socket which could impeded cooler back plates with a larger footprint.
The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 motherboard comes with all the necessary components necessary to get the board up and running, as well as some other nice to have components giving the board added value.
The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 package included the motherboard manual, reliability certificate, warranty statement, driver DVD, and TUF-branded case badge. The version of the manual included with the board thoroughly described onboard functionality and the BIOS, but did not include information concerning bundled applications and related features. However, a newer, more complete version of the manual was available from the ASUS product support site.
The board's rear panel shield is an aluminum plate containing a black insert with the port identifying text and icons in white for easy identification. ASUS also includes a fan port filter that attaches to the rear panel shield when using the option rear inlet fan. The specific ports used for the TUF Detective and BIOS Flashback functionality are clearly marked as well.
ASUS bundled in four black and white 6Gb/s rated SATA cables for use with the integrated port. The cables have integrated port locks and a mix of straight and 90 degree connectors.
For multi-GPU use, ASUS included a single two-way NVIDIA SLI connector.
For use with the on-board front panel header, ASUS included one of their Q-Connector header plugs. You simply plug the front panel case leads into the Q-Connector, then plug the Q-Connector into the appropriate board header. It makes the installation of the front panel plugs much easier.
The ASUS Hyper M2 X4 card gives access to a second PCI-Express based M.2 slot with up to x4 bandwidth for the slot. You simply plug the card into a free PCI-Express slot on the board after inserting an M.2 SSD into the adapter slot and boot your system. There are no special driver requirements to use this add-on card with the system.
ASUS included a CPU installation tool with the motherboard to ensure easy and proper CPU installation into the board's socket. You simply snap the plastic guide over top of the CPU and place the CPU in the socket with the "This Side Up" arrow placed near the socket hinge. The plastic guide remains in place when you lock the CPU into the socket.
For providing airflow through the Thermal Armor overlay, ASUS includes two fans that can be mounted in place of the metal panel to the left of the CPU socket and in the hidden fan bracket just behind the rear panel assembly.
Courtesy of ASUS
Courtesy of ASUS
For slot, port, and header masking purposes, ASUS includes PCI-Express slot covers, DIMM blanks, LAN port covers, USB port covers, SATA port covers, audio port covers, and USB header covers. All included slot, port, and header covers are black colored to blend with the Thermal Armor and are form fitted for a snug fit in their associated location. Additionally, three temperature diodes are included for temperature monitoring via the integrated board headers, as well as fan screws for securing the optional armor inlet fans to the board.