If you’re looking for a tough motherboard with lots of overclocking headroom, it’s time for you to learn about the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX. This board belongs to the TUF series board from ASUS; it uses military grade components to secure its durability. In addition to its toughness, ASUS provides more features to keep the entire system cool.
Another great looking motherboard from ASUS in black and brown color, the same as their previous TUF series motherboard but doesn’t have an armor vest. As a tough board, an oversized heatsink with ceramics coating, it has 50% more heat dissipation capacity covering the MOSFET voltage regulator, the 990FX Northbridge and the SB950 Southbridge.
This will surely withstand any heat under heavy stressed conditions. Assuring its toughness, an all solid Japanese caps and alloy chokes are presence on the board. If that’s not enough, it provides six fan headers which all automatic speed controlled to further ensure the system coolness.
The AM3+ socket is well spaced for oversized cooler when overclocked. To physically distinguish the pairing of dual channel memory, ASUS create some color coding scheme here in dark and light brown. This is exactly what they also did in the case of the four PCIe slot, the 2 light brown are in 2-way 16x or 3-way 8x including the dark brown and black in 4x. A single PCIe and PCI slot are located in between of them to keep a proper spacing for GPU when installed.
It’s got six SATA 6GB/s in gray and two SATA 3GB/s in black, it is installed in right angle manner at the edge of the board for quick access, the same as the 8/24 pin power connector. On the back panel, it provides 12 USB port, ten of these are 2.0 and two 3.0 in blue. This also includes 1 x Power eSATA 3Gb/s, 1 x IEEE 1394a Firewire, 1 x LAN port, 1 x optical out and 6 x audio ports. Overall, a very neat design board that you’ll surely like.
Supports AMD AM3+ FX /Phenom II/Athlon II/Sempron 100 Series Processors
Chipsets: AMD 990FX North Bridge and AMD SB950 South Bridge
4 x DDR3 DIMM slot supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
Supports Dual channel memory architecture for DDR3 1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz
Support the 3-Way NVidia SLI and 3-Way AMD CrossFireX multi GPU technology
3 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, running at dual x16 or x16, 8x, 8x mode
1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, running at x4 mode
1 x PCI-E x1 slots
1 x PCI slot
8 x SATA connectors, 6 x SATA 6GB/s and 2 x SATA 3GB/s
14 x USB 2.0 ports (10 x back panel, 4 x internal USB headers)
4 x USB 3.0 ports (2 x back panel, 2 x internal USB headers)
1 x eSATA supporting 3Gb/s at the back panel
2 x IEEE 1394a Firewire (1 x at back panel, 1 x internal USB headers)
6 x port 8 Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
1 x Intel Gigabit LAN Controller
Aside from being tough motherboard, the Sabertooth 990FX is loaded with features that you’ll never have any shortage. The TUF thermal radar that monitors the temps all over the most critical parts of the board via sensors, it has an excellent monitoring capability. This will automatically increases the fan speed if needed to maintain coolness in the overall system temperature.
The TurboV and Digi + VRM are great gamers’ stuff that gives you more possibilities for overclocking, a user friendly that lets you tweak on the OS. Another very useful feature here is the Al Suite II, this serves as all in one utility. No need to search all over, everything you need to supervise the system is already here.
The UEFI EZ BIOS is the all time favorite since they introduced it first; this totally eliminates the use of traditional keyboard control. This converts it into an easy GUI navigation using mouse just like you’re in the windows OS mode. You got two choices here, the EZ mode for the most frequently accessed setup and the advance mode for enthusiast that demands more out of their system. The UEFI BIOS also supports large capacity disk more than 2.2TB, this is ideal if the demand for huge disk space is necessary.
The Memory OK quickly resolves any compatibility issues in just a single push of a button; you got a system running in no time. This also includes the ESD guard that keeps it safe from any Electro Static discharge that may any cause harmful damage on your system board.
This also provides you an extra USB 3.0 port on the front panel that fits any casing of your choice. This is very convenient when you need to access data at faster speed from your PC, no need to look behind the casing.
Testing The Sabertooth 990FX
The Sabertooth 990FX was tested using Phenom II X6 1100T 3.3GHz. To get an instant overclock, take advantage of the BIOS OC tuner if you want an effortless speed boost. For sure none of the enthusiast are happy with the preset OC values, if you’re willing to spend some time on it the results is overwhelming.
We need to understand that overclocking is an art that needs some basic skills, the outcome may vary that depend on the person who do it and other components being used. Some may get better results and others may get lower, in short, this is a game of chances. You need to find the best combinations for voltage, multiplier and the bus speed.
By keeping the voltage at 1.45v, the highest stable speed achievable is 4.133GHz from the stock of 3.3GHz. This result is better than the previous ASUS M4A89GTD. A huge gain of 833MHz is definitely shows some smoothness is various games application.
We can how great the Sabertooth 990FX performs, this board can compete with other high end pricey motherboard. A mid-entry level board from ASUS which is not only design for toughness but shows some headroom for overclocking.
This is the first time ASUS made a Sabertooth board for AMD, we can see this version showed in most intel processor socket based. However, this is much better due to the fact that, it offers a dual 16x SLI and Crossfire multi GPU configuration which you can’t find in any intel based motherboard.
Speaking of SLI multi GPU, this is good news for those Nvidia fans. The new 990FX now supports this without the need of costly Nvidia nForce chipset. Using this new SLI, you can expect up to 75% increased in its performance in 2-way and 3-way configuration.
If you’re seeking for ultimate coolness you’ll love this TUF series board, you can’t it find anywhere. This is the most equipped board from military parts, tons of fan headers and monitoring sensor to keep it cool safe. There’s nothing lacks in here when it comes to quality and reliability.
Overclockers will also happy with this because, it provides more headroom for speed boost. The BIOS is so easy to tweak especially when you need to pushed it further. The Digi + VRM are very impressive when it comes to its handiness. The only flaws we can see here is the omission of the onboard switches. You can’t be short in ports with this board, it provides a healthy dose of SATA 6GB/s, Firewire, PCIe 2.0 and the quick access USB 3.0 is very useful.
Although we can’t see yet its full potential in the absence of the new FX series processor from AMD, using only the Phenom II processor, this already exceeds our expectations. This alone is a worthy upgrade. What else do we miss here? A great performing board with lots of goodness in it, the great news here is that, ASUS keep it in the mid price range for a high quality it offers plus a 5-year warranty is truly unbeatable.