Asus adds tactical vest to its TUF motherboards

And a thermal radar

THE TUF SERIES of motherboards from Asus has always been a product range that we haven’t quite understood, as it makes bold claims about MIL-SPEC tested components and has never struck us as a must have type of motherboard. The latest addition to the TUF series is the Sabtertooth P67 and it adds even more head scratching features, although it’s very possible that we’re not the target market and that’s why we don’t understand Asus’ reasoning.

The Sabertooth P67 features the Digi+ VRM, already explained in some detail, and it adds TUF components which mean that you get a five year warranty as opposed to the typical three years warranty on your board.  We’re not sure how many users would be willing to pay the extra cost for the additional warranty, especially as the TUF boards don’t tend to be as feature rich as Asus’ other product lines. Still, at least there is an option out there for those that intend to keep their system for more than three years.

The two new TUF features are the tactical vest and thermal radar. The latter is somewhat self-explanatory, as Asus has covered the board in thermal sensors and then coded some fancy software to be supplied with the board. The software allows the user to get temperature readouts for the CPU, memory, graphics card, expansion slots and the system itself. The software also features advanced fan control where the user can set thermal thresholds whence the fan speed shall be increase upon software command.

The tactical vest on the other hand is a feature is a bit more difficult to understand. In essence it’s a plastic shroud that fits over the top of all the components on the motherboard and it’s said to improve the airflow over hotspots on the motherboard thanks to a kind of wind tunnel system going on underneath the surface of the plastic shroud. The plastic used is meant to withstand temperatures of up to 100 degrees C.  It’s also meant to help re-direct the hot air from the graphics card away from the motherboard. For those that feel that they need extra cooling, Asus has provided a small opening which is sealed by default, but a small hatch can be removed and a fan can be fitted in its place.

We’re not sure how much of a difference the plastic shrouding will make in real world scenarios, but Asus told us that it makes enough difference to make it a valid addition to the board. In all fairness, it does make the board look very clean and tidy, as you can’t see much in terms of the components. The downside would be when you have to clean out dust, bacon bits or other small items from your system and I’m sure fellow pet owners will know what we’re talking about here.

As for the rest of the board, well, it has a pair of x16 PCI Express slots, although we’re not sure on how they’re configured.  Also sporting three x1 PCI Express slots and a single PCI Slot on this board. Asus has fitted a total of eight SATA connectors and next to them is the front panel USB 3.0 connector. The board also has headers for an additional six USB 2.0 ports and a single FireWire port. Around the back we have eight USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a PS/2 port, an eSATA port, a combo eSATA/USB port, a Gigabit Ethernet jack and 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out.

To our surprise Asus has done away with the ceramic coated coolers that were used on previous TUF boards in favour or fairly ordinary aluminium heatsinks. In fact, there’s not a single heatpipe in sight on this board, which is quite unusual on what is likely a fairly expensive model. We’re still trying to figure out exactly who the TUF series of boards was designed for, although Asus told is that it was meant for professional users. In our experience that’s one of many users groups that couldn’t care less about what motherboard is inside their system as long as it works, but hey, if Asus can interest that demographic to care about which motherboard they have in their computer, more power to them.S|A

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