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Asus Shows Off Glorious TUF Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 Motherboard

As part of its Z170 lineup, Asus revealed its TUF Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 motherboard. Asus's TUF lineup of motherboards are built to be as tough as possible. "TUF" is a play on the word "tough," but it actually stands for "The Ultimate Force," with the idea behind the boards being that they are built with the highest-quality components, and thoroughly tested.

The board is based on the ATX form factor, and centers on an LGA1151 socket. This socket is wired to four DDR4 memory slots, which allow the board to handle up to 64 GB of memory. Lower down, there are three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, up to two of which can be used for graphics cards at any given time (due to the limited number of PCI-Express lanes on the CPU). Eight Sata 6 Gb/s ports handle storage connectivity, although four of these can be used to make two 10 Gb/s Sata-Express connections. Asus also mentioned that the board has an M.2 slot, which has access to four PCI-Express 3.0 lanes, creating 32 Gb/s of available bandwidth.

Rear I/O on the board is fairly standard, with the exception of dual-gigabit Ethernet and a USB Type-A 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gb/s) port, and a 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port (read more about the what USB 3.1 Gen2 is here).

The back of the motherboard is strengthened by a so-called "TUF Fortifier," which increases the board's torsional rigidity, which according to Asus makes it capable of handling heavy coolers and graphics cards without buckling the board. The front of the board is covered by TUF Armor, which serves a couple of purposes. One is to protect the board from the elements, and Asus claimed that it also helps with cooling. Two small fans take care of moving air underneath the shield.

Additionally, over each of the PCI-Express slots Asus placed dust caps, which nicely cover any potentially unused slots. Also included are caps for all of the rear I/O ports so that you can close up the unused one, protecting them from dust.

The Thermal Radar software is the TUF-branded system monitoring software from Asus, which you can use to monitor all your fan speeds, temperatures, voltages and more. This feature is topped off with the TUF Detective 2 app, which can run on your mobile phone and be used to monitor and control your system, too. All of the sensors are accessed through a TUF ICe chip.

Overall, you're looking at a board that is designed to outlast your interest in it. Even if you argue that the TUF Armor doesn't add any functional value, the true testament to this board being TUF-worthy is that Asus is including a five-year warranty.

Asus did not reveal pricing or availability.

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Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.