UK price (as reviewed): £172.70 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $189.99 (ex tax)
We’ve been keen on Asus’ Sabertooth line of motherboards for a while. They typically offer great performance and a healthy set of features, and represent good value for money too. In terms of hard cash, the Sabertooth 990FX gets off to a good start: it costs just £165, with the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 weighing in at just under £200.
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It sports the green and black details typical of Sabertooth motherboards, with large heatpipe-linked heatsinks covering the chipset and VRMs.
The Sabertooth has a similar layout to that of the Crosshair V Formula, but the PCB is far less busy. There are six fan headers, two of which are 4-pin PWM-compatible to cater for dual-fan CPU coolers; none of these is located in the bottom half of the PCB though.
To aid cable routeing, the 8-pin EPS12V and 24-pin ATX12V connectors are located at the edge of the PCB and all eight of the SATA ports are mounted parallel to the PCB. Six of these ports are rated at 6Gbps and run from the SB950 Southbridge, while the other two run off a JMicron JMB362 controller, and are SATA 3Gbps. There are four PCI-E slots, the lowest of which has just four PCI-E lanes.
Installing graphics cards in the top two slots means that each has access to the full 16 PCI-E lanes, whereas if the top three slots are all occupied, the second and third slots are limited to eight lanes each.
As with the other 990FX chipset-equipped motherboards we've looked at, the Sabertooth supports both SLI and CrossFireX. Four USB 3 ports are included – two via the I/O panel, in addition to a USB 3 header on the PCB – and there are ten USB 2 ports.
Audio is supplied by the standard 8-channel affair using an on-board Realtek ALC892 audio codec, while the SB950 Southbridge supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. Sadly, there are no on-board power or reset switches, with only a standard CMOS jumper in the way of overclocking aids.
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Chipset AMD 990FX
CPU support Socket AM3 Athlon II, Phenom II Sempron 100-series, Future Socket AM3+ CPUs
Memory support 4 slots: max 32GB DDR3
Expansion slots four 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots (two 16x or one 16x, three 8x and two 4x), one 1x PCI-E, two PCI
Sound 8-channel HD Audio via Realtek ALC889
Networking Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit Ethernet
Overclocking HTT frequency 100– 600MHz; max voltages, CPU 2.1V, CPU NB 1.875V, Chipset 1.5V, HT 1.513V, RAM 2.5V
Ports 2 x SATA 3Gbps, 6 x SATA 6Gbps, 1 x PS/2, 10x USB 2, 4x USB 3, 2 x FireWire, LAN, 4 x surround audio out, line in, mic, optical S/PDIF out, eSATA 3Gbps,