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ASUS Sabertooth X99 Review

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Asus Sabertooth X99 Closer Look:

For the Z97 launch, ASUS revamped its entire set of utilities with a new look, as well as added features that work with the 5-Way Optimization Tool to deliver improved usability and functionality at the push of a button. The new look is something that ASUS worked on for a while and in the end, provides the end user with a smoother operating, better functioning set of tools. ASUS still has included all the tools we are used to using and testing, but just brought more to the table. Let's dig into the tools and see what we have and see how it looks.

AI Suite III: Let's start off with AI Suite III, the latest version of ASUS' popular software package that aggregates almost all the software into one simple-to-use tool. If you are familiar with AI Suite, you no doubt have gotten used to the application and how to navigate through it. With this revision, we get an all-new look that takes a few minutes to learn the layout. Gone is the 5-way optimization tool but in its place is a set of utilities that are focused on the thermal and cooling tools associated with the Sabertooth X99. Firing up the Thermal Tuning software allows the TUF Ice processor to manage the fan speeds and deliver the best possible thermal operating envelope possible with the installed fans. It does this by monitoring sensors spread across the PCB. If the Fan Control GUI looks familiar you would be right. This interface looks much like what we see in versions of the AI Suite Fan Expert III software.

 

 

The Thermal Status section shows the sensors used to monitor the assigned temperature zones and includes graphs that show how well the solution is managed. On top of that you can run a thermal assessment to see if and where you need some thermal advantage/cooling improvements.The Recorder section allows you to monitor a range of voltages, all of the sensors including the three user installed sensor leads and the fan operating characteristics of 11 fans. The Digi+ Power Control section allows the user to customize the phase control, VRM switching frequency, Load Line Calibration, Current Control, and Power Thermal Control for the CPU. Under the DRAM section you get the Switching frequency, current capability and phase control by DRAM channel. At the bottom of the window are monitoring options that when you dig into the settings of this section you can setup the operating thresholds so you will get warnings when things go sideways.

 

 

Once you get past the performance tuning 5-Way Optimization Tool section, you have a wealth of other feature to use. AI Charger+ is a USB 3.0 fast charging tool that supports BC 1.1 compatible devices, including iOS devices. Enabling this option will allow a 3x speedup as long as you are connecting a supported device. I found my Google Nexus charged fully in less than an hour when connected to the high current USB 3.0 port. EZ Update is used to check ASUS' servers for the latest CrashFree BIOS 3 BIOS and motherboard hardware drivers. USB Charger is a more flexible application, where you can choose your device type and enable fast charging while in a sleep state by connecting your charging plug to the ROG connect port on the I/O panel.

 

 

 

System information gives you basic information about the installed hardware including the CPU, motherboard, and memory SPD settings. USB BIOS flashback is a tool introduced on the last generation boards that proves its worth. You can use this functionality without the DRAM or CPU being in their sockets to update the system BIOS. As long as power is applied to the board, the flash drive is installed in the USB BIOS FLashback Port on the rear I/O panel, and the USB BIOS flashback button is pushed, the BIOS will flash the CrashFree BIOS. As a tool, it can come in handy if you manage to corrupt the BIOS from some spirited overclocking. USB 3.1 Boost is a truly unique tool that uses optimizations to the BOT protocols and UASP support to drive improved USB 3.0/USB 3.1 performance. Push notice is a tool that can be set to inform the user remotely by pushing system alerts and operating parameters to your mobile devices. A pretty cool and functional tool if you leave your PC running more that the average bear. 

 

 

 

On its own, ASUS' AI Suite III stands as a fully functional suite of tools that just work. There is, however, more to the software package that ASUS includes with the Sabertooth X99.




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