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ASUS Sabertooth X99 Review

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Asus Sabertooth X99 Conclusion:

There is a lot to like on the Sabertooth X99. The first and foremost is the TUF feature set that just looks bullet proof. It reminds me of a line from the movie Full Metal Jacket when Cowboy gets hit: "I can hack it!" From the Thermal Armor on the front side of the PCB to the massive bracing on the back side of the board, it just looks great.

Good looks are just one part of the equation, since this board is built with a plethora of military spec hardware that ensures the Sabertooth X99 is going to be around long term. To make sure you make it well past the five-year warranty, ASUS does some serious burn-in testing and compatibility checks. Using 1000+ devices over 7000 hours, you get incredible hardware compatibility checks to make sure that everything works. From a performance perspective, if you run the same hardware and factory defaults in the BIOS you are going to see similar performance results across the board when comparing the Sabertooth X99 to any other X99 motherboard. That is really an expectation, but it's the overclocking performance and reliability aspect of this board that sets it apart from the masses.

As far as overclocking goes, I was able to get to almost the maximum stable clock speed of my test CPU, only falling 22MHz short of a stable best of 4603MHz. Not bad and really everything I expect from an ASUS board. It builds the baseline hardware so that you get almost the same overclocking performance from the bottom to the top of the product stack.

Much like the rest of the product stack, you get a wealth of software tools packed into ASUS AI Suite III implementation for the Sabertooth lineup. The GUI is a bit different than what I am used to seeing on the rest of the product stack. The main pages focus more on the thermal tuning, fan control using ASUS Fan Xpert III interface, and monitoring aspects of the board rather than the overclocking and tuning functions seen when used in the rest of the product stack. Does that make a big difference when it comes to performance tuning the Sabertooth X99? Not really, since you have monitoring functionality and can tune the system in the, as usual, outstanding UEFI BIOS.

Since I have had this board, two new BIOS have been released, fixing small issues showing that ASUS does pay attention to user feedback in the online forums. Once you move outside the main GUI, you get the rest of the AI Suite III options, including USB 3.1 Boost that improves data transfer speeds. Add in the rest of the software package and you have a comprehensive package that adds value due to its ease of use and functionality.

As I said, there is a lot to like with this motherboard. The only issue I had was with how the USB ports initialize using the default BIOS settings. After the OS would load, neither the mouse or keyboard would be active with the default settings in any of the USB 3.0 ports. I had to put the several mice and keyboards into the dedicated USB 3.1 ports to get them active at POST. A few quick adjustments to the USB management settings in the BIOS fixes this so it could be something as simple as a BIOS update managing the settings.

Other than the one small problem, I have to say that this board is a solid performer. Packed with a ton of military rated hardware and unique features that make it solid enough that ASUS offers it with a five-year warranty instead of the usual three-year positioning we see on most boards. At $310, it is far from the most expensive X99-based board on the market. That distinction goes to a few other companies that offer boards that can't meet the durability features of the Sabertooth X99 and still only carry a three-year warranty. If you are looking for long-term reliability, you may want to give the Sabertotth X99 a try.

 

Pros:

  • TUF feature set
  • ASUS UEFI BIOS
  • ASUS sound
  • Overclocking
  • Five-year warranty

Cons:

  • USB peripheral connectivity
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