Asus X99 TUF Sabertooth Review – Asus is well known for its high-end componentry. Yes, it can come at a premium, but it’s often money well spent if you’re looking for feature-rich, reliable products. So, does TUF’s latest X99 Sabertooth board hit that mark? Oh yes.
Since launch Asus’s TUF brand has focused on two things: reliability and consistency. And, although the RoG and Workstation series still exhibit these traits, it’s hard to argue with TUF’s reputation for being the workhorse of the breed. Certainly, over the three years since its first Z77 chipset and its first thermally armoured boards, these have been values that Asus has aggressively expanded upon.
This board looks spectacular, hiding the vast majority of the all-black PCB under the thermal armour. This gives the Sabertooth an incredibly clean look. Whether or not you believe in the heat-regulating effects of TUF’s layers of reinforced steel and plastic, it’s hard to deny it looks stunning.
Internally, the board supports tri-SLI and Crossfire, thanks to three PCIe 3.0 lanes (for 16x16x8 or 16x8x4, depending on which monster you plug in to that 2011 socket). This gives you enough graphical horsepower to not bat an eyelid when staring down the barrel at our eternal enemy – frame rate. For storage, there’s support for M.2 PCIe. Additionally, there’s access to one SATA Express connection alongside eight standard SATA 6Gbps ports. What’s insane is the fact Asus has managed to cram 11 fan headers across this board. But then that’s something we’ve come to expect from Asus. With offerings such as Fan Xpert II and the TUF ICe chip solution (allowing for an additional 5 PWM controlled fans), the X99 outstrips almost all of the competition for cooling capacity.
For rear I/O, there’s four USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports and two of ASMedia’s new 3.1 ports, allowing for transfer rates of up to 10Gbps. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of USB 3.1 Type C, something that would’ve been nice on such a highend board. Audio is handled with the standard 5.1 setup we’ve come to expect, with additional optical output, which is separated from the rest of the mobo. It’s supported by TUF’s audio tinkering to make sure there’s as little electromagnetic interference as possible.
Plenty of Bite
Core features include Asus’s current iteration of AI Suite and UEFI BIOS, all repackaged in TUF’s military design, with easy automated overclocking features for the more faint-hearted.
As for performance, we overclocked our 5820K to a respectable 4.4GHz at 1.3v with relative ease, and achieved some strong benchmarks. The Sabertooth also comes with access to TUF Detective, a specialised USB port in the rear I/O, allowing you to hook up an Android device to monitor your mobo in real time, similar to the RoG Extreme Front Base, but with added utility and without being so cumbersome.
This Sabertooth is impressive. Its cooling potential is second to none, and certified with a five-year warranty, it certainly pulls its weight. Aesthetically, it’s a beauty and we can’t wait to get it into a proper build. We’ll admit that it isn’t cheap, but then if you’re buying into the extreme edition processors, you’re going to be used to paying that premium for reliability (and potentially looks, if you’re into that kind of thing). If you’re after a board that’s a dab hand at gaming and overclocking, plus a dependable workstation, the Sabertooth is definitely worth your time.
- Thermal armour
- Sleek and sexy aesthetics
- TUF Detective
- Huge cooling capacity
- Additional fan can be noisy
- No USB 3.1 Type C
Asus X99 TUF Sabertooth Specifications
- CPU support Intel X99 / 2011
- Form factor ATX
- USB 3.1 support 2x USB 3.1 Type A
- M.2 support M.2 PCIe SSD