motherboard? If so, read on! The ASUS Sabertooth 990 FX motherboard is one of the best motherboards in its price range. It offers great memory compatibility and has many features that make it perfect for high-performance gaming systems.
The Asus Sabertooth 990FX motherboard is a great option if you are looking for a motherboard with plenty of features to get your system up and running. It also has some high-end features that can help you in the future, even when upgrading your CPU. Asus sabertooth 990fx motherboard reviews can help you decide this motherboard.
The Sabertooth also features Asus' renowned UEFI BIOS with tons of overclocking options and features that will take your PC experience to the next level. This board also includes two USB 3.0 ports which are four times faster than traditional 2.0 ports. This blog post will cover these specifications in more detail and provide helpful advice about what other components are needed to get the most out of your system.
Who Is This Product For?
Being an older model, one would think that nobody wants anything to do with the Sabertooth 990FX anymore.
It can be challenging to complete all the necessary components, which are similarly old products. Nevertheless, why waste a perfectly functional PC component if you have access to all the essentials?
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 Introduction
Usually, when a motherboard manufacturer puts its line of wares out there for the public to choose as a nest for that coveted processor, it tends to make things a bit easy for the consumer. The 'King of the Hill' end of the lineup has every bell and whistle soldered to it; the board is littered with sculpted ceramic-covered heat sinks that should take the place of Ellsworth Kelly's Red, Yellow, Blue in any gallery. They are paired with a colour scheme that is either beautifully matched or so loud and gaudy it screams bolt an LN2 pot to me.
ASUS, however, has managed to muddy the waters a bit with the small, medium, and large approach to motherboard offerings with the Sabertooth 990FX R2.0. If this is ASUS' 'medium' in the lineup, it is at least an extra medium. The Sabertooth is part of the TUF series. It's an acronym for 'The Ultimate Force' and denotes the use of military-grade components known for the ability to withstand certain levels of shock, impact, humidity and otherwise all-around abuse. The military standards apply to a high grade and quality of the individual components such as chokes, caps, and MOSFETs. Which military certification the Sabertooth and its components underwent can be looked up from an included document I will elaborate on later. The components used in the build of these boards are, in fact, Military-Standard-Certified.
Accompanying these military-grade components and certifications is an appearance to match. This standard ATX form factor 12.0" x 9.6" board is camouflaged a la an Abrams M1A1 tank. Before you think, "oh great, heat sinks that poorly emulate .50 calibre rounds or tiny guns that look like they fell off a charm bracelet," let me stop you there. This camo-clad hub is actually tastefully done and looks just plain cool. Sticking to three shades of camo colours (brown-grey-dark chocolate), all of them are just muted slightly enough to give the board a very professional appearance that could be at home in an all-out gamer to an office machine depending on what you encase it with.
The heat sinks are covered with what ASUS calls CeraM!X. It's an aerospace-grade cooling technology that I am going to guess is a form of a material found on the space shuttle or some vessel of NASA's that has to re-enter the atmosphere. More on this coating a bit later.
AMD has been too long without a refresh, and now that the 990FX has arrived, it opens the doorway to the upcoming processors codenamed Bulldozer. Sadly, Bulldozer has been delayed until August, but how true this is, only AMD knows. Until then, the 990FX does give some other features aside from the full AM3+ support.
990FX opens up improved DDR3 memory support, the ability to have a UEFI GUI based BIOS, and support for SLI. AMD has hogged the limelight for quite some time, forcing users to buy AMD all the way with the motherboard and GPU combination if wanting multiple graphics cards. Though AMD wasn't completely to blame as it was a battle between them being too proud to ask and nVidia flat out refusing to share a license with them, the 990FX chipset now sees an improvement in this area, allowing for Quad SLI on some boards.
While the 990FX does sound good in terms of small benefits, it really depends on the board that will implement it. Today we are looking at the Sabertooth 990FX from Asus, which provides military-grade components and stability at an affordable price. The Sabertooth includes all of the features above but also has stability in mind by implementing some unique features in terms of keeping your system cool by using a new, improved material called CeraM!x and including various sensors across the board to intelligently monitor the board's temperature and adjust the cooling to suit.
So, for now, you can, at the very least, focus on the 990FX chipset, which can be used with the last generation Phenom II X4 and X6 processors. To start off this release on the 990FX chipset launch day, we have prepared a nice review with the help of ASUS. They were the first to submit a 990FX motherboard which includes all the hippest gear like support for USB 3 and, sure, SATA 3 (6G).
The TUF series (The Ultimate Force) Sabertooth 990FX is what we'll be placing under our microscope today. Styled in the very same colour as the earlier models with the ceramic design, we can see a lot of resemblances. But hey, no tactical jacket anymore, though. Instead, ThiA 10-phase Digi+ VRM will power this AM3+ motherboard socket AM3+ to support the Bulldozer-based Zambezi FX Series Processors, which later launch.
The Sabertooth 990FX will come with four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel memory up to DDR3-1866 MHz straight from the EFI BIOS. What you'll also notice is that the TUF (The Ultimate Series) has four PCI-Express 2.0 x16 PCIe graphics card slots based on what you use the slots for, of course. Interestingly, this motherboard series now is SLI compatible, something that was not possible in the past as NVIDIA blocked this at the driver level. It is good to see that opened up.
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 Closer Look
The ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 comes to you in a retail package that is just short of the 'super high-end' boards with the peekaboo windows. The box, however, does have a Velcro-less flap that, when opened up, reveals quite a bit of information regarding the high tech nature and features of the Sabertooth. The mostly black and white box has a prominent TUF insignia next to ASUS' promise of a five-year warranty. Off to the left side is a half outline of the TUF symbol with a photograph of a cross-section of something mechanical, possibly a transmission of a 1973 Thunderbird (just a guess).
The other sides of the packaging are divided into smaller images and a short paragraph about all of the technologies and capabilities possessed by the Sabertooth 990FX R2.0. Earlier I mentioned that ASUS had blurred the lines a bit between the top-level motherboard in the 990FX lineup and the second tier, or the next rung down. So if you were going to decide by the information featured on the packaging, you would know why I would say such a thing. The list of features is long and full of new technologies, and then there is the surprise I was in for when I loaded up an FX-8350 in the socket.
Time to have a look at the packaging and get this fierce-looking thing out of its hangar to see what military might we are dealing with here.
Styling for the Sabertooth 990FX R3.0 is typical for a TUF Sabertooth board. The PCB features a camo black and grey styling with a reflective finish while hints of beige and white are sprinkled around the board, adding to the military-style theme. In addition, RGB lighting, primarily found on the PCIe slot connectors, can be used to add customisable colours.
A rear IO cover serves two purposes – blocking out the ugly rear ports and acting as a mounting location for a small rear fan that can be used to cool the VRM components. A heatsink on the board's rear side cools additional components relating to the power delivery system. A healthy quota of PCIe lanes from the 990FX Northbridge means that a pair of electrical x16 slots are wired alongside two x8 links (one of which is limited to x4 usage).
North Bridge and South Bridge
Around the same time, motherboards used a North Bridge chip to handle the communications between the CPU and parts of the board. The South Bridge chip controlled input and output functions, and it connected to the CPU through the North Bridge. In modern motherboards, part of the North Bridge integrates into the CPU. What's more, the remaining North Bridge connectors integrate into the South Bridge.
Today, we just call the combined South Bridge and integrated portions of the North Bridge the chipset.
ASUS released this motherboard in May of 2011 for the AMD FX 4100, 6100, 8120, and 8150 processors.
It also works well with members of the FX Piledriver refresh, which includes the FX 4300, FX 6300, FX 8320, and FX 8350.
Some of the much later Athlon II, Phenom II, and Sempron 100 Series AMD APUs also function with this motherboard.
The Sabertooth 990FX has four DDR3 DIMM sockets, each capable of holding a module with a max volume of 8GB.
For 64-bit operating systems, you can have a maximum system RAM capacity of 32GB.
However, if you plan to use a 32-bit operating system, it may only recognise less than 3 GB of system RAM.
While ASUS designed the board to support memory speeds up to 1333MHz, some AMD 100 Series CPUs will only allow up to 1066MHz.
Memory overclocking can go as high as 1866MHz with better CPUs.
For expansion, the Sabertooth 990FX has four PCIe 2.0 x16 sockets, one PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, and one PCI socket.
The first three PCIe 2.0 x16 sockets can run on x16/x0/x0, x16/x16/x0, or x16/x8/x8 modes.
You can use a combination of these sockets for multiple graphics cards using NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI or ATI Quad-GPU CrossFireX.
The South Bridge chip can connect six SATA 6Gbps ports and support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.
Additionally, this motherboard carries two JMicron SATA 3Gbps controllers.
The green port is a Power eSATA 3Gbps, and the red port is a regular eSATA 3Gbps port.
Network Connectivity Feature
The only network connectivity component of this motherboard is its Realtek 8111E Gigabit LAN controller.
It will need a Wi-Fi module if you want to add wireless connectivity. You will find the RJ45 port on the rear I/O panel.
The rear I/O panel includes six colour-coded audio jacks and an optical S/PDIF out port.
We don't like the optical S/PDIF out port placement, as it sits near the far end of the panel opposite the audio jacks.
This motherboard uses the Realtek ALC892 8-channel HD audio codec, which offers 192KHz absolute pitch and 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound.
Plus, the codec also supports jack detection, multi-streaming, and front panel jack retasking.
Peripheral Device Connector
The Sabertooth 990FX has two ASMedia USB 3.0 controllers.
You can have two USB 3.0 ports at the front panel through a mid-board header in addition to two more already on the rear panel.
The AMD SB950 South Bridge chipset provides 10 USB 2.0 ports on the rear panel, but you can add four more through the internal headers.
Non-USB connectors on the rear panel include a legacy PS/2 combo port and a FireWire IEEE 1394A port.
This is quite a big selling point for loyal AMD gamers – these are the first motherboards to support Nvidia's multi-GPU tech, and the very fact it's included suggests Bulldozer has the grunt to match SLI'd GPUs.
Sabertooth comes without that TUF thermal armour that gives its P67 iteration that odd look but still sports the rugged design and heatsinks painted in ubiquitous military tones.
There's plenty of space to fit a cooler, and the side-mounted SATA ports are out of your GPU's way, and it's compact enough to fit in most cases despite supporting three GPUs.
ASUS' fan and monitoring section are strong. The TUF motherboard supports PWM and DC fan control and ships with three pre-set fan profiles in addition to the option for manual tuning. Unfortunately, ASUS' manual fan curve tuning is conducted numerically, which isn't as intuitive as a graphical approach (as is present in the OS software). In addition, the CPU fan cannot be set to operate at 0%, which is disappointing and removes a level of user control.
It's not the beast performing motherboard we've seen, but the military stylings betray the serious overclocking performance you can get out of the Sabertooth.
Ultimately, the excellent build quality and Bios make this motherboard another great Asus offering.
Frequently Asked Questions About Asus Sabertooth 990fx Motherboard
This item ASUS TUF SABERTOOTH 990FX R2.0 Socket AM3+ DDR3 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 AMD 990FX ATX Motherboard, $28202.
Sabertooth 990FX came out last May 30, 2011.
This item ASUS TUF SABERTOOTH 990FX R2.0 Socket AM3+ DDR3 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 AMD 990FX ATX Motherboard. The size is 10.47 x 2.99 x 13.03 inches.
The best way is to download the bios update to a USB thumb drive. Then restart the computer and go into the advanced bios mode and the Tools tab, and you will see the tool for flashing the bios, and you will probably see the new bios file you downloaded to the USB thumb drive.