The ASUS SABERTOOTH Z87 is an ATX version of the GRYPHON Z87, with two more SATA-600 ports and a better audio codec. It is part of ASUS’ TUF (The Ultimate Force) series and, as such, comes with ASUS’ exclusive thermal armor to improve the system’s thermal management. Let’s check it out.
The new Intel Z87 chipset provides two important upgrades compared to its predecessor, the Z77: six USB 3.0 ports instead of four and six SATA-600 ports instead of only two. Another important difference between the two chipsets is where the video outputs of the motherboard are connected. While with both chipsets the video is generated by the CPU, on the Z77 the video signal was routed to the chipset, and the video outputs were connected to the chipset. On the Z87 chipset, the video outputs are connected directly to the processor. Both chipsets support up to three independent video monitors. The Z87 supports all other features provided by the Z77, such as Smart Response (installing an SSD as a cache for the main hard drive), Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while in sleep mode), and Rapid Start (faster boot times) technologies.
You can see the ASUS SABERTOOTH Z87 motherboard with the thermal armor in Figure 1. In Figure 2, you can see the motherboard after removing the thermal armor.
The motherboard comes with two 35 mm fans that can be installed to improve the airflow under the armor. There is also a set of covers for the unused connectors, slots and sockets, and three thermal probes that allow you to monitor different points of your system. Those parts are shown in Figure 3.
The SABERTOOTH Z87 has also a metal shield on the solder side of the motherboard, as shown in Figure 4.