ASUS X99 Sabertooth Preview
Category : X99
Published by Marc Büchel on 06.07.15
Meanwhile ASUS also has a Sabertooth motherboard in its portfolio, which is based on Intels X99 chipset. As expected this is a high-end motherboard, which comes with a lot of features. As with all Sabertooth models you there is the so called thermal shield and apart from that we find a metal back-plate, which reinforces the entire motherboard.


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The X99 Sabertooth is ASUS' latest model, which belongs to their TUF series. Equipped with the meanwhile well-known thermal armor in combination with a camouflage design, the manufacturer continues this successful brand, which sits in between the ROG and the classic series boards.

Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
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Specs and Delivery

Chipset Intel X99
Memory Quad Channel DDR4, 8 x DIMM, Max. 64 GB DDR3, 2400 (O.C.) / 2133 (O.C.) Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Multi-GPU
  • Supports NVIDIA 3-way SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 3-way CrossFireX Technology
Slots
  • 40 Lane CPU
    • 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16, dual x16, x16/x16/x8)
  • 28 Lane CPU
    • 3 x PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slots (x16, x16/x8, x8/x8/x4)
    • 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (max at x1 mode)
    • 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
Sound Realtek ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
  • Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
  • Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
  • Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
 
Storage
  • 1 x SATA Express port
  • 1 x M.2 socket 3
  • 8 x SATA 6Gbps port
  • Supports Intel Rapid Storage Technology
Network
  • Intel I218V Gigabit LAN
Internal Connectors
  • 1 x AAFP connector
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x SATA Express
  • 1 x TPM header
  • 1 x COM port(s) connector(s)
  • 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
  • 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
  • 1 x CPU fan with PWM control
  • 4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin)
  • 5 x Assistant Fan connector(s) (5 x 4 -pin)
  • 1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
  • 1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
  • 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
  • 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
  • 1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
  • 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector(s)
  • 1 x MemOK! button(s)
  • 3 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
Extrenal Connectors
  • 2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
  • 2 x USB 3.1 (teal blue)
  • 4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
  • 5 x Audio jack(s)
  • 1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
Forfactor ATX (30.5cm x 24.4cm)
BIOS Bios (128 Mb flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS)


   




Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
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Features

Digi+ Power Design

Since quite some time ASUS has been equipping its boards with digital power designs. Using the right software it is not only possible to adjust voltages while being in Windows on can now also control impedances. Furthermore this board features high quality 10K black metallic capacitor which guarantee a long lifespan.
 

ASUS OC Socket

With their OC Socket ASUS is using more pins then on Intel’s reference design. ASUS claims, that these pins help maintaining highest possible CPU voltage stability even when a CPU is being overclocked to more than 5.0 GHz. In other words there is a lower voltage drop when you’re feeding your HEDT CPU with higher voltages at very high clock speeds. This is especially helpful if you do extreme overclocking, since in this case voltage drops can cause instability. Basically the more stable the current and voltage supply is the more likely it is to run a CPU at insane frequency, thus increasing the likelihood to break world records.
 

ASUS Fan Xpert 3

ASUS Fan Xpert 3 provides customizable settings for fans that have been attached directly to the onboard fan headers. With the Fan Auto Tuning feature, ASUS Fan Xpert 3 automatically detects and tweaks all fan speeds and in the end reduces unwanted noise.
   

M.2 Support

The X99 Sabertooth features an M.2 slot. Therefore you can equip this particular model with an SSD in M.2 format, whereas the M.2 slot has been natively wired to the X99 PCH via two PCI Express lanes. In other words there is up to 10 Gbps bandwidth from this slot.  
   

USB 3.1

ASUS equips this motherboard with two ultra-fast USB 3.1 ports. These ports support transfer rates of up to 10Gb/s and they have been placed at back I/O panel. In order to visually show which ones are the USB 3.1 ports, the color has been changed to light blue. When we released this article no devices with USB 3.1 interface have been available. It is to be expected that the first devices will hit the market during the second half of 2015.
 
TUF Thermal Armor The TUF Thermal Armor is basically a cover for the entire motherboard. On the frontside of the motherboard there is a plastic cover, which keeps dust away from the board and on the backside there is a metal cover which reinforces the entire structure. With its integrated shunt design, the Thermal Armor improves air circulation, directing it towards important components. It effectively conducts hot air away and out of the case through special airflow channels, contributing to enhanced system stability and extending component lifespan.


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
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Layout


At a first glance the ASUS X99 Sabertooth leaves a very good impression with its good looking design. The manufacturer decided to go for a combination of black, brown and grey, which suites nicely and in the end you get an aesthetic looking product. The layout itself is well thought and there is for example plenty of space around the CPU socket to install large CPU coolers. The fact that there are SATA connectors which have been angled by 90 degrees allows for an easy installation of oversized graphics cards. Regarding the design language this board perfectly suites the TUF series, whereas compared to the Z97 ASUS is underlining the high-end aspect by increasing the weight of the entire product.



  


The ASUS X99 Sabertooth comes with a digital 8+4 phase power design, where the CPU is backed up by eight phases and the memory by four. Like we've already explained on the features page ASUS is making use of a digital power design. Regarding the CPU VRM there eight IR3535M phases from International Recitifier. They’re being combined with DC-DC converters from On Semiconductor, which go by the name 4C85N. These converters can withstand 25A on the high-side and 49A on the low-side. Apart from that there are black metallic caps, which the imprint FP10K. These caps offer an MTBF of up to 10’000 hours.
A closer look at the power design dedicated to the 8 DIMM slots, reveals that all four channel receive clean power thanks to four phases. The driver MOSFETs come from International Rectifier and the go by the name IR3535M. They maintain stable operation with up to 40A of output current, which is more than enough per DDR4 channel.



  


Totally you'll find eight DIMM-slots on the ASUS X99 Sabertooth. Officially supported are DDR4 2400 (O.C.) and 2133 (O.C.). There is enough space between the DIMM-slots and the CPU socket which means that you won't run into any compatibility problems with large coolers even when you choose to install RAM with big heatspreaders. Also supported are Xtreme Memory Profiles (XMP) in version 2.0.


On the X99 Sabertooth PCH as well as current converters have been equipped with separate cooling blocks. ASUS decided to connect the two VRM coolers with a heatpipe in order to improve the heat transport. Other than that the weight of this board is quite high, which is partially due to cooling blocks. Subjectively speaking a high weight is a first indicator for a quality motherboard. ASUS also treats the heatsinks with a ceramic coating, which should help improving the heat transfer.
  


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
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Connectors and I/O


ASUS equipped the X99 Sabertooth with ten angled SATA ports. All ports offer 6Gbps bandwidth and they've been wired directly to the X99 PCH. Two times two SATA ports can also be combined to a total of two SATA Express ports. There is also a M.2 x2 slot, which has been connected through two PCI Express 2.0 lanes. Overall there is good storage flexibility with this motherboard and gaming systems, workstations as well as enthusiasts rigs can be equipped with plenty of drives. Unfortunately there are no practical power and reset buttons on this motherboard. Nevertheless if you wish to read out post codes, you can do so by downloading the TUF Detective app to your Android or iOS based Smartphone. Once this is done you can connect your phone via USB to the motherboard and start the app. It will then display Information like post codes as well as lot others.
  


In total you'll find twelve fan headers on the ASUS X99 Sabertooth. With this many fan headers ASUS is breaking all records, since up until today motherboards have been equipped with a maximum of eight fan headers. The fan headers are located around the CPU socket as well as spread over the motherboard. All headers offer 4 Pins, which means fan speeds can be regulated from within Windows, via ASUSs Software.

  


  


Looking at the external connectors directly at the back-panel ASUS equipped the X99 Sabertooth with four USB 3.0 ports, five USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports, two Intel gigabit ethernet ports as well as an optical out and an analogue audio panel. Practical: the BIOS reset button.


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion
[pagebreak]

Conclusion

Overall   + -
As expected the ASUS X99 Sabertooth is a well-built motherobard that comes with a plethora of features. Like with all Sabertooth motherboards the X99 model also received the TUF armor, which consists of a front cover and a reinforcement plate on the back. Other than that there is a very decent power design next to other high quality components. These days the X99 Sabertooth sells at 338 Euro, which definitely not cheap. ASUS does ask quite something from you if you want the X99 Sabertooth in all its glory. Good to have are the two USB 3.1 ports and apart from that there is also an M.2 slot.   - Design
- Features
 
       
Layout   + -
The ASUS X99 Sabertooth's layout has been well thought. Once more practical are the angled SATA connectors. There is no debug display and there aren't power and reset buttons. Luckily, if you want to read out post codes and a lot of other information, you can attach you smartphone to the board via USB and use the TUF Detective App for advanced diagnostics. A closer look at the placement of the PCI-Express x16 slots shows that there is a total of three of them. Should you want to do that, you can go ahead and build a powerful dual-GPU system using this board as a basis.   - Angled SATA connectors
- Space around the CPU socket
 


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Layout
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Connectors and I/O
Page 3 - Features Page 6 - Conclusion