The Asus Sabertooth line are built for toughness, reliability and thermal protection. Asus uses a battery of Military grade certification tests to ensure that their Sabertooth lineup will stand up to the toughest environments. Cased in steel from the bottom and resilient plastic shielding from the top the Asus Sabertooth is easily the heaviest board we’ve ever laid eyes on. Packed with a 5 year warranty and Asus’s Sabertooth toughness our lab smack in the center of the Sonoran Desert is the perfect place to test the board. Will the Sabertooth Roar or crawl away meowing like a kitten?
Asus Sabertooth X99 Review, Military Tough
Asus supplemented the expansive Sabertooth lineup with the Sabertooth X99 the most expensive of the Sabertooth clan. Included in the lineup are B85, Z77, Z87, Z97 and X99 chipsets from Intel and 990FX from AMD. The design ethic behind the Sabertooth is to provide a board that provides server level reliability and an armor like shell that helps prevent dust buildup.
What differentiates the Asus Sabertooth X99 is the care and consideration Asus put into extending reliability. The Tough Armor extends across the top of the board and the back is protected by a TUF Fortifier metal shield plate. The reasoning behind the TUF Plate is to prevent bowing when heavy GPU’s and CPU coolers are attached but it also adds a level of shock resistance should the board receive some rough handling. Rumor has it that Asus considered naming the Sabertooth the “Delivery Man Special” because not even the rough package handling of delivery drivers can damage the board. When the board first arrived we heard the truck and went out to meet the driver who was dragging packages across the floor of an unmarked cargo van, no racks were apparent and no care was being given to gentle handling. The driver merely tossed packages back until he found the two that were destined for the lab. While he had his back turned we mentioned “If you don’t mind my package costs in excess of $300 I’d appreciate it if you’d treat it more like a package and less like a WWF opponent.” Sabertooth TUF extends to more than just hanging GPU’s from the board with heavy tower coolers the Sabertooth toughness extends to all aspects of board handling.
We’ve heard growling from Naysayers that it’s just a gimmick. Dust isn’t a problem it’s a marketing technique. This lab is located in the Sonoran Desert and I’ve seen and lived through dust and sand storms that would send the naysayers searching for their mothers apron strings. Just to get it out-of-the-way what kind of environment the Sonoran Desert is and the different places that can truly appreciate the Sabertooth X99 watch this little video of Phoenix in 2011 and keep in mind just last year we were blasted with a dust storm so severe it deposited inches of dust and sand around un-taped windows and doors.
That’s a wall of dust and sand extending thousands of feet into the air rolling across Phoenix and it happens all across the American west. The Asus Sabertooth is designed to combat conditions like that and prevent dust buildup. While your house may be fairly sealed against the dust it still gets in and carry’s an electrostatic charge so severe that propane dealers have to shut down dispensing propane and the Asus Sabertooth even addresses electrostatic discharge.
“Electrostatic discharge (ESD) can happen suddenly, and its damaging effects are easily underestimated. TUF ESD Guards 2 technology is tested to standards that are 2X higher than industry standards and exclusive pin-level on specific rear IO connectors* testing is 30% higher than previous TUF standard, ensuring electrostatic discharges are properly grounded from all onboard connectivity — and that means greater component longevity.”
Asus takes the Sabertooth series very serious and so should you, if you must have server level reliability and want the military grade certified components there’s only one place to get them and that’s Asus and their Sabertooth series.
Pictured without the (included) PCI-E covers you can already see that Asus put a physical barrier to dust in the Armor shield covering most of the components. The vital components are squashed to the sides of the board to allow for more shielding so the edges of the board are a bit busy,
The metal backplate on the Sabertooth dubbed the TUF Fortifier is just that a heavy plate of metal strapped against the back of the board with a little breathing space. Overkill perhaps but if you’ve ever seen a board bow from a heavy CPU cooler or a couple of Nvidia TItans the Sabertooth will stand strong and not bend. Asus claims that the backplate can reduce board temperatures as much as 6°C by use of a thermal pad that whisks heat away from VRM and other vital components.
ASUS Sabertooth X99
Intel® Socket 2011-v3 Core™ i7 Processors
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x16/x16, x16/x16/x8) *1
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 ( x16, x16/x8, x16/x8/x4) *1
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4 (x2 mode)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
8 x DIMM, Max. 64GB
DDR4 2400/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Rear I/O Panel
2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.1 (teal blue)
4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
4 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
Internal I/O Connectors
1 x AAFP connector
2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x SATA Express connector: gray, compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s
1 x TPM header
1 x COM port(s) connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
1 x CPU fan with PWM control
4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin)
5 x Assistant Fan connector(s) (5 x 4 -pin)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
1 x Chassis Intrusion connector(s)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
3 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)