ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Posted by: Alex Hull on: 06-10-2011 [ 16 comment(s) ]

The first ASUS TUF motherboard for the AMD AM3+ platform and 990FX chipset has arrived. But is it tough enough? There's only one way to find out.

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Tagged as: ASUS, SABERTOOTH

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ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Qu4k3r



Posts: 30
Joined: 2011-02-21

#18797 Posted on: 07.10.2011 19:44:49
Very nice MB and excellent review as usual

I agree, it should have pwr/rst/clr-cmos buttons.-

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

sethinator06
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 13
Joined: 2011-10-13

#19281 Posted on: 13.10.2011 14:50:28
I dont like the darkbrown at all,no clr-cmos has broke it with me :/

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

superlattice09
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 82
Joined: 2011-10-13

#19803 Posted on: 18.10.2011 11:23:32
No clear-cmos buttons? I'll go for crosshair series.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

alexhull24
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 1027
Joined: 2010-03-31

#19805 Posted on: 18.10.2011 11:47:42
Well if you read the full review you'll have noticed that I stress this is the board for the people who the Crosshair series doesn't suit, but still want high end performance, features and excellent quality and reliability. It's a good buy. The only reason I can see to avoid it is if you really need some of the RoG features, e.g. you always run on a test bench and would benefit from onboard power buttons. Otherwise, with a 5 year warranty you'd be crazy not to consider it just because it has no onboard buttons. My Crosshair III has onboard buttons but I've never used them once it was installed into my case.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Helios1234
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 0
Joined: 2013-07-10

#19815 Posted on: 18.10.2011 12:52:36
I have to admit that I'm a sucker for ROG features and even with my R3E inside my case, I regularly use the features eg RC Bluetooth and occasionally the onboard buttons.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

superlattice09
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 82
Joined: 2011-10-13

#19819 Posted on: 18.10.2011 14:43:02
Your are right that most people don't use buttons on board. I guess because they would need to remove side panel and reach the button with care especially with untidy cables and awkward position of case. Perhaps a clear-cmos button at the rear I/O is better for most overclockers who actually housed their rig in a case, not on test bench.

On the SR-2, there's onboard buttons (power, reset, clear cmos) and a tiny rear I/O clear-cmos button; though need to use with a pen, I usually just reach the back of case and stuck a pen on the clear-cmos button on the I/O plate. Why not all board adapt to this. sigh.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Mike
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 4
Joined: 2011-11-08

#20564 Posted on: 08.11.2011 08:48:31
First off I just want to say I love this board. My question is..I have a Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 case, and the case itself has a HDD docking station wich you can plug a SATA HDD hot-swappable. Should I connect the SATA cable for the docking station to one of the native SATA3 6bps ports on the motherboard or one of the two SATA3 3Gbps? Also the case comes with eSATA, where should a connect the cable? Currently I have the esata cable connected to one of the SATA3 3Gbps. Also are the two SATA3 3Gbps ports which are controlled by JMicron JMB362...AHCI enabled? Because in the BIOS I can enable the AHCI for the 6 native SATA.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

alexhull24
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 1027
Joined: 2010-03-31

#20572 Posted on: 08.11.2011 11:48:53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
First off I just want to say I love this board. My question is..I have a Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 case, and the case itself has a HDD docking station wich you can plug a SATA HDD hot-swappable. Should I connect the SATA cable for the docking station to one of the native SATA3 6bps ports on the motherboard or one of the two SATA3 3Gbps? Also the case comes with eSATA, where should a connect the cable? Currently I have the esata cable connected to one of the SATA3 3Gbps. Also are the two SATA3 3Gbps ports which are controlled by JMicron JMB362...AHCI enabled? Because in the BIOS I can enable the AHCI for the 6 native SATA.
It is a lovely board indeed. Now you have a choice between SATA II and SATA III (i.e. 3Gbps and 6Gbps). Let me prioritise your hardware for you, and this should answer the questions you have: Firstly, you want any devices that would benefit from SATA III on the 6Gbps connections. This will mainly include newer SSDs and not a lot else. Next, I would connect any hard drives (internal) to the 6Gbps, followed by external hard drives. The 3Gbps ports should be the last available really, and are best used for optical drives in my opinion. The JMicron controller does support AHCI and you can enable it on the same page as the AMD controller in the advanced section of the BIOS. This means both have hot swap ability.

So to digest that a little, plug the docking station and eSATA into the 6Gbps ports if you have them spare. If there's an optical drive in the 6Gbps and you don't have enough for the other connections, change it to 3Gbps as there's no real benefit.

I'm working on a round up of all the 990FX boards I have, just waiting on one more ASUS board, and I have tested all with the AMD FX-8150 as well as performing storage benchmarks for the SATA controllers and USB 3.0, so you can see for yourself what sort of difference there is when the review is published.

Any more questions, please ask!

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Essexraptor
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 323
Joined: 2010-09-27

#20581 Posted on: 08.11.2011 19:28:12
Great review Alex

Great looking board and packed full of features.

Not bothered by the no power/clr CMOS on motherboard . Actually found the I/O plate clear CMOS button a pain in the ass to be honest. Forever having to reload the OC Profile everytime a pressed it in error !!

Lets face it ... it does not take much effort to fix up your own power switch. or salvage one from a old case, if your inclined to "out of case" testing

Also Alex ... thanks for the tips above with regards to SATA ports Will find this useful shortly because ..............................



I have one of these babies on my desk next to me as I type this

ASUS AMD 990X Motherboard Pictured



Very similiar layout etc. as this Sabertooth. Just got to put the CPU (1090T) and RAM (8Gb of Kingston 1600Mhz) in and it will be replacing my ageing No.2 rig

EDIT

I think the MEMOK feature is pretty cool !!! And all the LED indicators thoughout the MB to indicate faults/ running ok or wether a feature is enabled or not is also a nice touch

EDIT 2

If your "down Sarf" Alex and would like to review the ASUS M5A99X EVO to add to your review collection let me know ASAP (mail me) before I fit the old girl up The spec does seem to be very close to the Sabertooth

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Mike
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 4
Joined: 2011-11-08

#20904 Posted on: 16.11.2011 00:11:16
Hey Alex
I have a Corsair Dominator GT 2x 4GB RAM @ 1366Mhz(by default) but is capable of going to 1800Mhz
Now on the ASus sabertooth 990fx board it has the option(BIOS) of increasing the memory speed to 1600Mhz. Do you reckon it is ok to do this? Will I risk damaging my Ram and or the memory controller. Will my system be stable. i;m running a AMD Phenom 2 1100XT with sapphire radeon Hd 6990 AND ocz 240GB SSD.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

alexhull24
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 1027
Joined: 2010-03-31

#20905 Posted on: 16.11.2011 00:34:46
Hey Mike!

Firstly, that's a very nice setup you're running. As for your question, the Phenom II 1100T only supports running RAM at up to 1366MHz by default, but the sabertooth will be able to take it higher as you've noticed. I can't remember if it allows you to bump up the RAM multiplier to run it at 1800MHz. There's no harm in trying. If it doesn't work, or if you only have an option for up to 1600 MHz, you'll also need to try upping the base frequency (default 200 MHz) to 225 MHz with a x8 multiplier on the RAM. This will also increase the CPU clock and the HT clock, so you may have to be aware it might make other things unstable unless you give them some extra voltage.

You need to make sure you're running the correct volts for the RAM as on the label (i.e. DRAM voltage), and you can also set the timings (as long as they're not overly aggressive) to the correct numbers. Also, it's common for the CPU-NB voltage of the CPU (i.e. the memory controller) to need increasing as well. Raise it incrementally until it's stable. I've noted that increasing CPU-NB can affect CPU temperatures, so also keep an eye on that. If you find the CPU becomes unstable due to increasing the base clock, you can lower the multiplier on the CPU. Is your CPU running overclocked at the moment?

To summarise:

Try 1600 MHz. It will probably work fine. Make sure the RAM volts are set, you may need to increase CPU-NB volts.

To get 1800 MHz is a lot more complicated on a Phenom II. If you upgrade to a Bulldozer chip, you can run RAM at 1866 MHz by default if you wish though. If you're unsure, post back here and I'll try guide you through it.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

alexhull24
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 1027
Joined: 2010-03-31

#20906 Posted on: 16.11.2011 00:37:49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Essexraptor View Post
If your "down Sarf" Alex and would like to review the ASUS M5A99X EVO to add to your review collection let me know ASAP (mail me) before I fit the old girl up The spec does seem to be very close to the Sabertooth
That's very generous of you mate, sorry I didn't see this until now. You should get your system built up though, we should have more AMD boards incoming soon to look at.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Mike
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 4
Joined: 2011-11-08

#20908 Posted on: 16.11.2011 01:58:00
Thanks Alex
Yeah I'll probably just run it at 1600Mhz as per what the board allows just to be safe. So pretty much I don't have to do anything else right other than just select 1600 from the BIOS? My CPU and video card isn't overclocked at the moment will this have a negative impact? Will this overclocking or overclocking in general improve game performance framerate wise?

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

alexhull24
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 1027
Joined: 2010-03-31

#20909 Posted on: 16.11.2011 03:45:51
Select 1600 MHz but also check DRAM voltage and timings are correct, as per the label on the sticks. Check the system is stable using Prime95 blend or your chosen tool, then if not, try upping the CPU-NB voltage incrementally.

Overclocking the RAM won't yield much benefit in games, a small margin but it depends on the game. Likewise with CPU or graphics card. The CPU is quite powerful and should be decent in all games, usually the graphics card has the biggest impact at normal resolutions and settings, and yours is more than adequate.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Mike
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 4
Joined: 2011-11-08

#20974 Posted on: 17.11.2011 03:46:21
Hey Alex
are you able to give me a step by step guide on how to overclock my AMD to 4Ghz, because i tried using the Asus Bios(EZ Mode) and selected the "Performance" option and it only overclocked it to 3.8Ghz but then it lowered my RAM from 1333Mhz to 1266Mhz.

Is it ok also to overclock this way by just selecting "Performance" option via EZ mode in Bios. I've neva overclocked my CPU b4 and i was just curious as to what I could reach, and 3.8Ghz is fine but just wondering if 4 is possible.

ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX Review

Essexraptor
VTZ Newbie



Posts: 323
Joined: 2010-09-27

#20976 Posted on: 17.11.2011 11:27:27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
Hey Alex
are you able to give me a step by step guide on how to overclock my AMD to 4Ghz, because i tried using the Asus Bios(EZ Mode) and selected the "Performance" option and it only overclocked it to 3.8Ghz but then it lowered my RAM from 1333Mhz to 1266Mhz.

Is it ok also to overclock this way by just selecting "Performance" option via EZ mode in Bios. I've neva overclocked my CPU b4 and i was just curious as to what I could reach, and 3.8Ghz is fine but just wondering if 4 is possible.

Here's a GUIDE Mike that I use for reference from time to time

Dolk's Guide to the Phenom II - Overclockers Forums

It will take you through all the basic stuff that you need to know. After that it's down to slowly adjusting settings to best suit your hardware

Have fun mate

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