We’ve got our hands on an upcoming ASUS X79 Sabertooth motherboard for a quick run-down of its new features. No benchmarks or details today though – that’s for Intel to announce – we’re just rounding up the new ASUS unique features on this next generation platform.
Built around the upcoming Intel X79 chipset, this TUF series motherboard is aimed at consumer workstations, entry-level servers and users who plan for a long term investment, so require higher than normal reliability, under any conditions.
As usual this TUF series echoes that of its former brethren, and is packed with military spec hardware that’ll withstand temperature extremes beyond the norm. You can check what a TUF board has to go through here.
The X79 Sabertooth dons the same camo/black color scheme again, and while the Thermal Armor makes a comeback it’s now focused to the rear I/O area and X79 heatsink. The two fans (one on the rear I/O is optional) keep the CPU DIGI+ Power Control VRMs and chipset cool even under extremes of humidity and temperature, although don’t worry because both are PWM controlled to keep the noise at a minimum where possible. The rear I/O Armor in particular houses a set of fins that are connected via heatpipe to the CPU digital VRMs, keeping both the dense area of power hardware operating happy and also expelling the heat directly out the back of the case. Win-win.
Updated DIGI+ VRM for CPU and DIMMs
Whereas the DIGI+ VRMs were exclusive to the CPU on the recent LGA1155 series motherboards, this series extends the DIGI+ hardware to feed the DIMM slots as well. With so many DIMMs and a powerful CPU socket in close vicinity, the power demand and density is naturally far higher, which means precise power provision is all the more important – especially when overclocking. We’ll cover more on this after the official launch date.
Pairing up to the Thermal Armour is the Thermal Radar, which includes multiple board sensors to monitor each area precisely. This way you can check if anything suddenly overheats and compensate with extra airflow accordingly – or – in another frame of mind setup the perfect chassis airflow balancing minimal noise and temperature, as you have a much better feel how each component reacts to moving fans around or with different fan speeds. To further complement this there are seven 4-pin fan headers onboard and brand new fan control software via Fan Xpert+ that lets you both calibrate each fan and create custom speed gradients vs temperature!
SSD Caching, 3-way GPUs and tons of memory
The X79 Sabertooth supports 3-way Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFire-X, and also up to 64GB of DDR3 memory across its 8 DIMM slots. Backing up the 8-DIMMs is the MemOK button, which acts as a failsafe to boot the PC if you’re using DDR3 that the UEFI BIOS is unfamiliar with. In addition to its 8 SATA ports (4x 6Gbps, 4x 3Gbps), ASUS also includes SSD caching across two of them for users who want HDD size combined with SSD responsiveness.
On the rear I/O there are four USB 3.0 ports (in addition to another two front-panel USB 3.0), six USB 2.0 ports (plus 8 more via pin-outs onboard), Firewire, two eSATA, PS2 keyboard or mouse, Intel Gigabit Ethernet and 8-channel HD audio with S/PDIF out.
An improved TPU now yields BIOS Flashback
Its new Dual Intelligent Processors 3 includes a revised TPU that now houses BIOS Flashback. With this all you have to do is drop the UEFI BIOS file onto a FAT32 formatted USB drive, then plug it into the white USB slot on the rear I/O and press the button next to it. When the button stops flashing you’re fully updated. The beauty lies in the fact you can do this without even having a CPU or memory installed: all it requires is the ATX power plug. This means even if there’s an incompatibility stopping the new system from booting you can still update the UEFI BIOS to apply a fix.
Speaking of UEFI BIOS’ – ASUS has updated its UEFI to a second generation that includes better compatibility, a new F3 shortcut function, a memory-checking page to see if all the DIMMs are functioning, F12 screengrab for sharing settings and of course the renowned EZMode setup area.
Be sure to check out some other X79 Sabertooth previews too over at Tweaktown, Atomic PC, VR Zone and OCacholic, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our TechinStyle Facebook page.