Asus Sabertooth Z97 Mark S review

A super-special Z97 primed for Winter warfare

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Our Verdict

Mainly for the modders as it doesn't offer enough for the rest of us PC enthusiasts.

For

  • Looks cool
  • Great thermal management
  • Dust prevention packages

Against

  • Too expensive
  • No chipset-supported M.2 slot

So, you want to stand out from the crowd and build an all-white PC? Well let's see how far you can get.

Case, no problem. Many case manufacturers make them. PSU? Check. There's a few of those around as well. Graphics card? Tick. Harder to find but there are one or two available. White motherboard?

Well, that's much more of a problem, sir.

White motherboards are like the Holy Grail of the modding world. In fact, giving it some serious thought, we can only think of two board manufacturers that ever ventured into the expensive world of producing white PCBs: Sapphire and Soyo. Hold on, ancient Abit made one too, so that's three.

And mentioning those last two long-forgotten names will give you an idea of how long ago it was.

Battle ready

All is not lost however because Asus has come to the rescue with a limited edition white version of its Z97 Sabertooth motherboard. The Sabertooth Mark S (which carried the codename Sabranco for a while) is an absolute stunner, too.

It may seem a little shallow to get excited about how a motherboard looks, but it must be said that even this cynical old hack cracked a smile and must tip his hat in approval at just how classy the Mark S looks.

The Mark S isn't an unrelenting sea of white, however, as the TUF Sabertooth 'thermal armour' sports a natty white and grey camo scheme, beloved of Arctic-based Special Forces teams and Battlefield 4 players alike.

It's up to you to decide whether this enhances the white PCB or makes you wish Asus had gone the whole hog and made everything just plain white, we're still not sure.

Even the reinforced back plate, or TUF Fortifier technology as Asus calls it, gets the camo treatment.

But, why oh why Asus, do you go and compromise the scheme by adding a couple of green and beige ports when every other port and slot is black?

Benchmarks

CPU rendering performance
Cinebench R15 - Index score: higher is better
Asus Z97 Sabertooth Mark S - 756
ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 - 778
Gigabyte Z97X-SLI - 746

CPU encoding performance
X264 v4.0 - Avg FPS: higher is better
Asus Z97 Sabertooth Mark S - 45.69
ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 - 47.12
Gigabyte Z97X-SLI - 45.32

Sequential storage performance
AS SSD - Reads (MB/s): higher is better
Asus Z97 Sabertooth Mark S - 502
ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 - 480
Gigabyte Z97X-SLI - 482

4k storage performance
AS SSD - 4k reads (MB/s): higher is better
Asus Z97 Sabertooth Mark S - 24
ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 - 21
Gigabyte Z97X-SLI - 20

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