ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S - Not the usual beast


As battle between motherboard manufacturer gets heated up with them coming out with various innovative features for the different target audience and market group, we have reached a point where performance of motherboard is almost negligible. All manufacturers make decent consumer motherboard as long as they follow the respective Intel guidelines. Today, we can only compare motherboard innovation in terms of aesthetic design, power design and probably... how it is marketed. This motherboard that we are working on today excels in all these categories. With extraordinary aesthetic design and unique in house created chips to ensure the utmost reliability of this motherboard, the ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S is one motherboard not to be missed today.

ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S is a limited edition motherboard. I.E. to say, only a limited number of such units will be produced and each unit will be individually tagged. We've got our hands on lucky number 1718 from ASUS SG to put this wild beast to test.


Intel Sockset 1150 for 5th and 4th Gen Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron
Intel Z97
4 x DIMM 32GB Max, DDR3 1866/1600/1333, Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture

Integrated Graphics Processor via Intel Processor ( Intel HD Graphics support)
Multi-VGA Output : HDMI/Display ports
Multi-GPU Support
Nvidia Quad GPU SLI Technology
AMD Quad GPU CrossFireX Technology
Expansion Slots
2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (Single x16, dual x8/x8)
1x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode)
3x PCIe x1
Intel Z97 Chipset:
1 x SATA Express port compatible with 2 x SATA 6Gbps ports
4 x SATA 6Gbps ports
RAID 0,1,5,10
ASMedia ASM1061 controller:
2 x SATA 6Gbps ports

Intel I218V Gigabit LAN Controller
Realtek 8111GR
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers – Energy Ethernet appliance
Realtek ALC 1150 8 Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
USB Ports
Intel Z97 Chipset :
6x USB 3.0
ASMedia USB 3.0 controller :
2 x USB 3.0
Intel Z97 Chipset :
8x USB 2.0
Onboard USB ports

Back I/O Ports
1 x Display Port
1 x HDMI
2 X RJ45 Gigabit LAN
4 x USB 3.0
4 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out
5 x Audio Jacks
1 x USB BIOS Flashback button

Form Factor
ATX 12inch by 9.6inch (30.5cm x 24.4cm)


Upon first look at the ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S, you'll know that it is not the usual Z97 motherboard. In fact, it is the only motherboard with a white PCB in the market right now, making it extremely rare. Many could find pure white quite plain. That is why ASUS also decided to add on a special Artic Camo design throughout the front thermal armor. 

Every owner of the Sabertooth Z97 Mark S will want to show off this motherboard. That is why, the trademark TUF logo and "Sabertooth Z97 Mark S" branding is located at the top left of the thermal armor, probably similar to the uniform of a soldier. 

Thermal vents can also be manually opened or closed. Unique grooves also brings texture design to the thermal armor, resulting in an overall ruggedness feel to the motherboard. 

A reflective metallic southbridge heatsink adds as a perfect addition to the overall design of the motherboard together with the thermal armor.

ASUS calls the whole thermal armour a tactical vest for the motherboard. Tactical in cooling the various components of the PC. We will take a deeper look of the vest later in the article, but the beefed up motherboard is certainly an eye candy for many.

The TUF Fortifier which is placed at the back of the motherboard has two special chinese characters. 虎魄 stands for "The spirit of the tiger". -- The legendary Sabertooth Tiger. 

Power Design and Unique Features

TUF Components

Various enhanced and customized components are used in the Sabertooth Z97 Mark S motherboard to improve its durability. With such high grade components, the motherboard is made to last. This is also why ASUS is confident to provide a 5 year warranty to this motherboard and even provide a certificate to the motherboard to certify its reliability.

TUF Thermal Armor + TUF Fortifier

The Sabertooth motherboard is unique because of its Thermal Armor. Like the other Sabertooth Z97 variants, Sabertooth Z97 Mark S comes with the Thermal Armor. Thermal Armour essentially aims to separate the different components of the PC and cool each component individually out of the PC. As shown, the VRM area is cooled by the fans from the IO area, while the graphics expansion area is covered to prevent heat from the graphics card to the motherboard. The final results? An ultimate cooling solution to the motherboard that has an highly extended lifespan. 

In the past, there has been problems of motherboards getting bent because of the different components that are added on it such as heavy heastsinks or graphics card. In order to better protect the motherboard from physical damage, a fortitier is placed at the back of the motherboard to increase the overall strength of the motherboard. Additionally, because the fortitier is made of metal, it is able to conduct heat quickly away from the motherboard as well.

Two fans (included) can be installed on the motherboard for better cooling of the VRM. This will results in even higher overclocks when squeezing the extra megahertz out of your PC.

Dust Defenders

To prevent dust and corrosion to the Sabertooth Z97 Mark S motherboard, ASUS also included dust caps with the motherboard. 


A important part of the motherboard is the TUF ICe chip. The TUF IC Cool processor monitors the different temperatures at various places of the motherboard and targets specific fan speeds to attain the best cooling package to the whole motherboard.

Thermal Radar 2

Thermal Radar 2 software gets information from the ICe Chip to track all temperature of the motherboard. The UI of the software lets the user know which component is the core culprit in the hot exhaust air coming out of your PC and then recommends you to tune your PC to effectively cool the system.

Automatic Thermal Tuning feature helps you to tweak the different fan speeds of the computer to make the best balance between fan noise and cooling performance.

Individual Component temperature tracking

Thermal control can also be done within the BIOS. This means that the Thermal Radar software makes differences to the PC at a hardware level instead of a software level. It is important to overclockers who do not want to run additional software on the PC which slows down the computer. 

Performance and Overclocking

ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S
Intel Core i7 4790K
Samsung 1600MHz DDR3 RAM 2 x 4GB = 8GB
40GB Mechanical HDD
Intel HD 4600


In today's test of the Sabertooth Z97 Mark S, we will target on the CPU and memory speeds by running Cinebench 15 and AIDA64 benchmark. By running  "out of the box" and "overclocked" performance test, we can determine how much additional performance we can get out of the system by overclocking it.

Out of the box Performance

For our out of the box performance test, we managed to get average results from the Intel Core i7 4790K processor. DRAM Speeds are also quite normal at 1600MHz like any other system regardless of motherboard.

Overclocking the beast

The results coming from an overclocked system is an real eye opening. By increasing the CPU multiplier from 44x to 45x and increase base clock to 102MHz from 100MHz, we saw immediate and huge performance improvements. Thanks to the strong IMC on the i7 processor, we were also to reach a DRAM speed of 2176MHz, up from a stock speed of 1600MHz. That is a huge 36% increase in speeds!

The results were fascinating. In the AIDA64 benchmark, we saw performance improvements of up to 25%. In the Cinebench 15 benchmark, the CPU score increased from 838 cb to 916cb. OpenGL score also increased from 31.03fps to 35.17fps. Of course, the system was extremely stable throughout these test. Free performance gains!


The ASUS Z97 Sabertooth Mark S motherboard is a motherboard for the collectors. Its unique design should land itself into a motherboard museum which showcases the best motherboard technologies in the world. Both thermal armour and thermal fortifier gives great unique cooling and aesthetic features to the motherboard, making it the top of the line motherboard in all aspects. The specially selected components that ensure reliability of the motherboard. 

The Sabertooth Z97 Mark S is the epitome of product excellence and innovation. If you are looking for a motherboard that can last "forever" or something that is simply just so unique, look no further. Purchase the Sabertooth Z97 Mark S quick as this limited edition motherboard is going to be sold off very soon.

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