ASUS Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard Review

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ASUS Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard

ASUS Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Sabertooth 990FX is part of the TUF series of motherboards. If you aren’t familiar with the TUF series, it’s an acronym for The Ultimate Force. This particular series of motherboards goes through hell and back before it’s ready for consumer use. What, in, particular does that mean? Well, the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX as well as the other Sabertooth boards are all certified to military standards for durability. Currently the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX is available for $199.99 plus shipping. This is on the lower end of the current price spectrum that ranges from $189.99 to $249.99.

ASUS Sabertooth 990FX TUF Components

There are a number of components that that make the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX part of the TUF Series of boards. Among these components are the TUF Capacitors, the capacitors used on the Sabertooth 990FX are two and a half times more durable than the standard Japanese Solid Capacitors and 1.67 times more durable than top graded polymer tantalum HI-C capacitors. The TUF Caps are only part of the mix, though; the ASUS TUF Mosfets are also part of the recipe. The TUF Mosfets are an ideal choice because they are able to sustain the thermal shock between -65 degrees Celsius and 150 degrees Celsius! For those of us here in the United States that are accustomed to temperature in Fahrenheit that’s equivalent to ~85 degrees Fahrenheit to ~300 degrees Fahrenheit! The third piece of pie is the TUF Chokes; instead of the standard iron chokes the TUF Chokes are comprised of various types of metal which will deliver up to 25% higher rated current as well as better emission of vibration noise. An added bonus (according to ASUS) of not using the standard iron chokes is better antirust properties.

One of the features of the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX motherboard that separates it from others is the new AI Suite II software bundle. In the above video we can see the various screens within the AI Suite II. My personal favorite is the Thermal Radar. The Thermal Radar checks the temperatures across several points across the Sabertooth 990FX. When you are overclocking the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX motherboard you can take a look at the Thermal Radar within the AI Suite II and see where the hot spots on the motherboard and be able to see where you need better airflow! The original plan was to do a voice over, but due to a tragic accident my headset and mic are no longer in one piece.

Along with the TUF components that we talked about above, there are a number of other features to cover. Among them are the DIGI+ VRM. The ASUS DIGI+ VRM features an 8+2 digital architecture to provide superior power efficiency. The DIGI+ VRM generates less heat which will put less wear and tear on the components leading to a longer life span. Being digital we can easily see the power phase performance and enable PWM voltage and frequency modulation control. Another of the key features is the UEFI BIOS. If you have had a chance to look at any of the ASUS motherboard reviews this year (12), you know that ASUS implemented their version of the UEFI BIOS with the launch of the Intel “Sandy Bridge” platform back in January. Going on six months later and a dozen or so different motherboards, ASUS still has the nicest UEFI BIOS, at least in my book. The ASUS UEFI BIOS are extremely effective, user friendly, and clean!  

AMD has a new line of processors coming out at an undisclosed date. These new processors are the AMD FX processors and will be the first to take full advantage of the new AM3+ socket. The new FX processors will feature up to 8 cores in a 32 nm package and are based on the bulldozer core. Fortunately, the new AMD AM3+ socket motherboards, including the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX motherboard, are backwards compatible to existing AM3 processors like the AMD Phenom II 1100T Hex core that we will be using today, as well as the Athlon II Series of processors.


ASUS Sabertooth 990FX Specifications

CPU AMD AM3+ FX/Phenom II/Athlon II/Sempron 100 Series Processors
Supports AM3+ 32 nm CPU
Supports CPU up to 8 cores
Supports CPU up to 140 W
AMD Cool ‘n’ Quietâ„¢ Technology
Chipset AMD 990FX/SB950
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB
DDR3 1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz
ECC, Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology
Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology
Expansion Slots 3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16, x8, x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
1 x PCI
Storage AMD SB950 controller:

6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), brown
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10

JMicron JMB362 controller:

2 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), black
1 x Power eSATA 3Gb/s port(s), green
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s port(s), red

LAN Realtek 8111E , 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller
Audio Realtek ALC 892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

- Supports: Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

Audio Feature
- Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound
- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
- ASUS Noise Filter
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel

IEEE 1394 VIA 6308P controller
2 x IEEE 1394a port(s)
USB Ports ASMedia USB 3.0 controller:

4 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

AMD SB950 controller:

14 x USB 2.0 port(s) (10 at back panel, black+red, 4 at mid-board)

Special Features ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM:
TUF ENGINE! Power Design :
- 8 +2 Digital Phase Power Design
- TUF Components (Alloy choke, Cap. & MOSFET; certified by military-standard)
- ASUS DIGI+ VRM Utility
- E.S.P. : Efficient Switching Power Design

Ultimate COOL! Thermal Solution:
- TUF CeraM!X Heatsink Coating Tech.
- TUF Thermal Radar

ASUS Exclusive Features:
- MemOK!
- AI Suite II
- Anti-Surge
- ESD Guards
- Front Panel USB 3.0 Support
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface

ASUS EZ DIY:
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- ASUS MyLogo 2
- Multi-language BIOS

ASUS Q-Design:
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector

Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
1 x Power eSATA 3Gb/s
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x LAN (RJ45) port
2 x USB 3.0
10 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
6 x Audio jack(s)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x USB 3.0 connector supports additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin, moss green)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x COM port(s) connectors
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
2 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
1 x IEEE 1394a connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (3 x 4 -pin, 1 x 3 -pin)
1 x Optional Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
Accessories User’s manual
ASUS Q-Shield
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x SLI bridge(s)
1 x Q-connector(s)(2 in 1)
1 x TUF Certification card(s)
1 x TUF 5 Year Warranty manual(s) (by region)
BIOS 32 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI 2.0a,
Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2,
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

Well, enough with the techno-babble, let’s start looking at the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX motherboard. On the next page we will take a look at the retail packaging and bundle for the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX.

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