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ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA 2011 Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Manufacturer: ASUS

Specifications, Motherboard Layout, Included Accessories

 

Technical Specifications (taken from ASUS's website)

CPU Intel® Socket 2011 for 2nd Generation Core™ i7 Processors 

Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2 

* Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list
Chipset Intel® X79
Memory 8 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR3 1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory

Quad Channel Memory Architecture

Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs. 

* Refer to www.asus.com or user manual for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology 

Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (dual x16) *1

1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x8 mode) *1

2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 

1 x PCI
Storage Intel® X79 chipset : 

2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), brown

4 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), black

Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10

Marvell® PCIe 9128 controller : 

2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray

ASMedia® ASM1061 controller : 

1 x Power eSATA 6Gb/s port(s), green

1 x eSATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
LAN Intel® 82579V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Audio Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC 

- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

Audio Feature :

- Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound

- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection 

- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
IEEE 1394 VIA® 6315N controller

1 x IEEE 1394a port(s)

(1 at back panel)
USB Ports ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller : 

6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

Intel® X79 chipset : 

14 x USB 2.0 port(s) (6 at back panel, black, 8 at mid-board)
Special Features TUF ENGINE! Power Design :

- 8 +2 +2 +2 Digital Phase Power Design

- TUF Components (Choke, Cap. & MOSFET; certified by military-standard)

- ASUS DIGI+ Power Control Utility

Ultimate COOL! Thermal Solution :

- TUF Thermal Armor

- TUF Thermal Radar

ASUS Exclusive Features :

- MemOK!

- AI Suite II

- Anti-Surge

- ESD Guards

- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface 

- ASUS SSD Caching

- USB 3.0 Boost

ASUS EZ DIY :

- USB BIOS Flashback

- ASUS Q-Shield

- ASUS O.C. Profile

- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3 

- ASUS EZ Flash 2 

- ASUS MyLogo 2 

- Multi-language BIOS

ASUS Q-Design :

- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)

- ASUS Q-Slot

- ASUS Q-DIMM 

- ASUS Q-Connector
Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)

1 x eSATA 6Gb/s

1 x Power eSATA 6Gb/s

1 x IEEE 1394a

1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)

4 x USB 3.0 

6 x USB 2.0 

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

6 x Audio jack(s)

1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin, moss green)

4 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 8 USB 2.0 port(s)

1 x COM port(s) connector(s)

4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)

4 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)

1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)

4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)

1 x Optional Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)

1 x Assistant Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)

1 x S/PDIF out header(s)

1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)

1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)

1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)

1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)

1 x MemOK! button(s)

1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
Accessories User's manual

ASUS Q-Shield

2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)

4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)

1 x SLI bridge(s)

1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1) 

1 x I/O Cover Fan(s)

1 x TUF Certification card(s)

1 x TUF 5 Year Warranty manual(s) (by region)
BIOS 64 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
Manageability WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE
Support Disc Drivers

Anti-virus software (OEM version)

ASUS Update

ASUS Utilities 
Form Factor ATX Form Factor 

12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
Note *1: This motherboard is ready to support PCIe 3.0 SPEC. Functions will be available when using PCIe 3.0-compliant devices. Please refer to www.asus.com for updated details.

 

 

Motherboard Layout

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The technical specifications are pretty impressive, but nothing compared to seeing the Sabertooth X79 in person for the first time. The edgy, military feel of this board should compliment a rugged and tough PC gamer who prefers Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 over Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead 2.  

The actual layout of all the features and components is pretty standard when you put it side by side other X79-based motherboards, but ASUS did a couple unique modifications that users should take note of. ASUS created a low-profile heatsink and fan to cool the X79 chipset and created another green anodized aluminum heatsink and heatpipe to route heat away from the power components to exhaust it out the back of the case over the back I/O ports.

 

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The back of the PCB resembles every other motherboard I've seen and includes a small aluminum backplate behind the CPU socket.

 

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The back I/O panel includes multiple interface options like six USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, eSATA 6GB/s port, power eSATA 6GB/s port, firewire, Gigabit LAN, PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo, optical S/PDIF out, six audio jacks, and a USB BIOS Flashback button (flashes BIOS without having to into the BIOS!).

 

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ASUS encased the back I/O panel in a black, plastic schroud that houses a small fan and aluminum fin array that exhausts heat from the power components above the CPU socket. This feature is part of ASUS's Thermal Armor technology that directs heat away from MOS area components and out the rear I/O section.

 

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One of the key features, beyond the military-grade power components and other upgrades, that users will look at is the Sabertooth X79's three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots that support quad-GPUs in both SLI and CrossfireX graphics. They can be run in single x16, dual x16 or triple 16x16x8 configurations. These features help extreme gamers who will use dual video cards take full advantage of the board's x16 speeds over both PCIe slots to get the sharpest high-resolution gaming capabilities available. ASUS also threw in two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots and a legacy PCI slot. 

 

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The bottom of the motherboard is lined with additional headers to support everything from USB 3.0 to legacy firewire devices. The photo above shows the board's high-definition audio, communications, and two USB 2.0 headers.

 

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The Sabertooth X79 actually has four USB 2.0 headers that support up to eight USB 2.0 devices. ASUS also added six four-pin fan connectors to help users connect their system fans directly to the motherboard. The additional fan connectors also ensures these fans are managed by the system BIOS and ASUS's third-party software that can be adjusted to the user's specific cooling preferences.

 

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The front I/O header that manages the power button, reset button, power LED, HD activity, and speaker is located on the bottom right corner of the Sabertooth X79. While the header is not color coded, ASUS did add a simple legend to help users connect their front panel buttons and LEDs. There is also a small clear BIOS header that makes clearing the BIOS quick and easy.

 

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The storage support features on the Saberbooth X79 all derive from Intel's X79 chipset, Marvel's 9128 controller, and ASMedia's ASM1061 controller. Intel's storage controller manages two SATA 3GB/s ports (black) and two SATA 6GB/s ports (brown), while Marvel added two additional SATA 6GB/s ports. The ASMedia controller actually manages the eSATA 6GB/s ports located in the back I/O section of the motherboard.

 

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The Sabertooth X79 has eight DIMMs that support up to 64GBs of DDR3-1866, 1600, 1333, and 1066 MHz system memory. The memory ratings are a bit lower than other X79 motherboards that support up to 2133MHz, but most isers will purchase DDR3-1866 or DDR3-1600 because of the overall cost and minimal performance differences they will experience. The CPU socket is a bit cramped as well with the eight DIMMs and other power components surrounding it. We recommend users keep a close eye on how much clearance they will having using third-party heatsinks or other CPU coolers with large aluminum fin arrays.

 

Included Accessories

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The bundled accessories that come with the Sabertooth X79 include an I/O cover fan, SLI bridge, quick pin connectors for firewire and front I/O panel buttons, and black back I/O backplate.

 

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Users also get four SATA 6GB/s and two SATA 3GB/s cables with right-angle heads to help system builders improve cable management in their PCs.

 

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Lastly, ASUS included a certificate of reliability that discusses the features of their power components and a basic user manual to help people understand all the features and capabilities available with the Sabertooth X79.

 

June 5, 2012 | 12:29 PM - Posted by Olternaut (not verified)

I think I like the p9x79 deluxe better. The i/o ports on the sabertooth version is too limited for me.

June 5, 2012 | 12:36 PM - Posted by deowll (not verified)

Looks like this was written by the company rather than being a review but it was interesting.

June 5, 2012 | 01:28 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

did you read the whole thing? ;)

June 5, 2012 | 01:30 PM - Posted by mc (not verified)

Why does this review keep repeating "SLI/CrossfireX Quad GPU support" when I only see THREE pcie x16 slots?

PCPer usually gets it's reviews right, but I agree with deowll, this review reads like an ASUS press release...

I ended up going with the P9X79 Pro for my lga2011 build. I didn't want the noise of those two little fans and I liked the layout/ports of the pro better than the sabertooth.

June 5, 2012 | 02:11 PM - Posted by Thedarklord

Because Quad SLI/CrossfireX support means 4 GPU linking, not 4 cards with 1 GPU each. So support for 2 GTX 690's or 2 HD 7990 (Whenever they do come out).

Just my guess, because it is technically accurate. ;)

But obviously if you want 4 PCI-E slots Asus (and others) have options there.

BTW-side note, I do own a X79 Sabertooth and the PCH fan is 100% silent, I didnt install the optional fan (over the VRM area).

June 5, 2012 | 04:59 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Yup, what Thedarklord said. These boards can do 4WaySLI and CrossFireX using two dual GPU NV cards or two dual GPU AMD cards.

June 5, 2012 | 02:01 PM - Posted by dreamer77dd

I dont know about this review.
The features like the Bios and easy update etc seem nice.
But the other boards seem to do better over all in performance?
So i dont know if the board should get Gold?
Not saying it is a bad board but maybe price comes into play here to give it a Gold Award.
I think i would be a harder marker.

June 5, 2012 | 03:57 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I think in the world of motherboards these days performance really means very little, and features and usability are now king.

Thoughts?

June 5, 2012 | 05:32 PM - Posted by Thedarklord

Yeah I agree, with how the motherboard arena has become a "set in stone" approach thats dependant on your choice of CPU. Ex: You want a Sandy Bridge-E which means, X79. Or the Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge gives you more choices but performance isnt really the difference in those chipsets (ignoreing overclocking "K" series CPU's, obviously).

So with how the CPU to Motherboard Chipset has changed, and how it is now, performance from a motherboard is not really there, meaning there is no real difference.

The difference has become about the user experience. So things like features, overclocking, built in audio, expansion slots, customer support, design (how good it looks), these are things that motherboards are all about these days. (Really ever since Intel's Nahalem, and AMD's Phenom II).

June 5, 2012 | 02:03 PM - Posted by Thedarklord

I got this board back in march to be the platform for my Core i7-3930K and I am loving this board, I have this in my primary system (where I do OC, but I much prefer stability over performance, this board delivers with both).

I also did not install the optional fans (didnt need to, board runs cool in my Corsair Obsidian 800D). I was worried the PCH fan would be loud, but nope, and it has a 5 year warrenty (fan included) so should last me a long time. :)

Great review PCPer, good read.

October 27, 2012 | 12:56 AM - Posted by Prasannan Krishnan (not verified)

Your explanation is very informative. I like the way you present it. I appreciate your hard work. A big hai for this. Please continue these sort of nice work.

Kind reards
Krish

November 26, 2012 | 06:35 AM - Posted by zizo (not verified)

how to connect an extenvtion firewire IEEE ON MOTHERBOARD asus sabertooth x79 because i have one on the foront of my Cooler Master Case HAF932

December 24, 2012 | 04:14 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have bought a SABERTOOTH X79 with 16G Kit 1866(8Gx2) Patriot Viper Memory and i7-3930K.... i bring it from out side of my country. those r not available in our Bangladesh.
now i need some advice.
First of all which power supply is good for this system?.....
in our country Thermal Take is available.

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