ASUS Sabertooth Z170 S Review
It's nice to see the Sabertooth Z170 S appear in a box that isn't a clone of all the regular ROG offerings from ASUS. Even their normal motherboards have that look to them, but the Z170 S stands out before you've even opened the box. Upon doing so you're greeted with a decent selection of accessories befitting it's middle-of-the-road price tag.
The Sabertooth Z170 S looks glorious with the white PCB covered in an Arctic DigiPat. It's definitely attention grabbing and, by virtue of its unique design, inspiring. It makes us want to build a system right away to take advantage of its good looks. The heatsink around the MOSFETs follows the now-standard ASUS design wherein it's bulky enough to disperse all the heat that can possibly be generated whilst also providing a focal point and some shielding for the IO ports.
The black plastic parts look okay but we're not sold on the brown ATX24 or USB 3 front-panel headers. Hopefully for the next revision ASUS will supply white plastics. We find it funny that the ASUS technical specifications list the Z170 S as supporting Quad GPU but only provide 3 PCI Express 3.0 slots. It's not a problem because 99% of motherboards do, it just made us smile. Its probably just the never ending confusion between Quad and 4-way (two dual GPU's).
The heatsink has been struggling down at this end of the motherboard for years. It's usually only used to advertise the manufacturer but ASUS have decided to reinvent it and provided some very clear error message LEDs. It's one of those ideas that is so simple you can't think why nobody else has done it before. Anything that saves us having to sift through an endless table of 2 digit error codes in an appendix is alright by us.
Befitting its mid-range price tag the IO section of the Sabertooth has more space than we've seen in recent ASUS motherboards, but there is still enough connectivity to satiate all but the most demanding user.