Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Motherboards arrow ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboard
ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by Olin Coles & David Ramsey   
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboard
The Intel X79 Express Chipset
Closer Look: ASUS Sabertooth X79
ASUS Sabertooth X79 Details
ASUS Thermal Radar
ASUS UEFI BIOS
ASUS TUF Sabertooth X79 Specifications
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
PCMark Vantage Tests
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
CPU-Dependent 3D Gaming
PassMark PerformanceTest
Media Encoding Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
SPECapc Lightwave
Blender and POV-Ray
ASUS TUF Sabertooth X79 Conclusion

Motherboard Testing Methodology

It's always interesting for us here at Benchmark Reviews to test a new processor/chipset combination, because normally we have no idea what to expect! The marketing and advertising press materials Intel included with this processor promise unprecedented levels of performance...can these new parts really deliver?

I admit my hopes are high: the original Sandy Bridge processors raised the performance bar considerably, and their new 32nm fabrication process allowed amazing overclocks with relatively low voltages and heat production. The enthusiast chip adds two more cores, nearly double the cache, and drops the relatively unused integrated GPU. ASUS includes its usual bevy of overclocking mechanisms, including automatic "level up" overclocks from the BIOS and test-and-reboot automatic overclocks from within the Turbo V Evo utility.

But overclocking the Sandy Bridge Extreme is more complex than any previous Intel processor: in addition to getting back the "base clock" overclocking lost with the original Sandy Bridge chips, the Extreme series of CPUs allows you to designate the sustained and burst current draw, in watts. Also, Benchmark Reviews didn't have any "high performance" LGA2011 coolers available for these tests, so our overclocking results should be regarded as preliminary. That said, the ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF motherboard easily took the Core i7-3960K CPU to a stable 4.8GHz for all cores under load, albeit at the cost of rather high CPU temperatures, which exceeded 80 degrees in some tests. I achieved this overclock simply by raising the maximum turbo boost multiplier from the stock 39 to 48, and enabling most of ASUS' "extreme" load line calibration settings.

To see how this processor/chipset performs against the best AMD offers and Intel's previous top-of-the-line setups, I included the systems listed below. Each test system used the same hard drive, memory (with the exception of the AMD system), and graphics card. Note that there are two X79 Express systems: a prototype Intel DX79SI motherboard as well as the ASUS Sabertooth. Note that when I speak of how the 3960X performance compared to the other CPUs in the test, I'm speaking of the stock-clocked results on the ASUS TUF Sabertooth unless I specify otherwise.

Intel X58 Test Platform

  • Motherboard: ASUS Rampage Extreme III with BIOS 0901
  • Processor: 3.33GHz (3.6GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7-980X
  • System Memory: 3x4GB Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 DDR3-1600 (9-9-9-24)
  • Primary Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300G
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon 6850

Intel P67 Test Platform

  • Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 with BIOS 1305
  • Processor: 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7-2600K
  • System Memory: 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 DDR3-1600 (9-9-9-24)
  • Primary Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300G
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon 6850

AMD 990FX Test Platform

  • Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair V Formula with BIOS 0083
  • Processor: 3.6GHz (3.9-4.2GHz Turbo) AMD FX-8150 "Bulldozer"
  • System Memory: G. Skill F3-17066CL7D-4GBPIS DDR3-1866 (9-9-9-24)
  • Primary Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300G
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon 6850

Intel X79 Express Test Platforms

  • Motherboards: ASUS Sabertooth X79 BIOS 0707 and Intel DX79SI BIOS SI0280B (beta BIOS)
  • Processor: 3.3GHz Intel Core i7-3960X
  • System Memory: 16GB (4 4GB DIMMs) Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 DDR3-1600 (9-9-9-24)
  • Primary Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300G
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon 6850
  • CPU cooler: Intel High Performance Liquid Cooling System RTS2011LC

Benchmark Applications

  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
  • SiSoft Sandra Lite 2011.SPS (1780)
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition v1.85.1600
  • Futuremark PCMark Vantage v1.0.2.0 64-Bit
    • TV and Movies
    • Gaming
    • Music
  • Maxon CINEBENCH R11.5 64-Bit
  • Street Fighter IV benchmark
  • PassMark PerformanceTest 7.0b1021
  • x264Bench HD 3.0, including AMD-supplied variants using new FX instructions
  • SPECviewperf-11:
    • Lightwave 9.6
    • Autodesk Maya 2009
    • Siemens Teamcenter Visualization Mockup
  • SPECapc LightWave 3D v9.6
  • Handbrake 0.95 video transcoding
  • Blender 3D rendering
  • POV-Ray 3D rendering



 

Comments 

 
# sata/raid supportscott macfarlane 2011-11-14 20:52
Wow, another awesome review by the Benchmark Folks!
Thorough, detailed, and on the cutting edge as usual.
Not to mention that it coincides with their timely reviews of the new CPU chips and the Intel "Extreme"(cough) motherboard - its put them all together in perspective so we know where to focus Mom's xMas gaming and upgrade cash!

I have a previous X58 Sabertooth motherboard that has the Intel Raid chip supporting 6x3gb sata drives plus the Marvel chip that adds another 2x6gb ports. I have my C: Drive SSD and another SSD for virtual machines on the Marvell and two raid 5 arrays on the six sata ports.

One question is: with the new configuration that has 2x6gb asus ports plus 2x6gb chipset ports plus 4x3gb ports, will I be able to support both of my raid 5 arrays?
i.e. are all six of the chipset ports on the same controller, or are they logically split so raid arrays must stay within each set of ports?

Thanks BMR!
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: sata/raid supportOlin Coles 2011-11-14 20:59
Once you set ports to RAID within the UEFI (formerly called BIOS), it will boot right into your old drives because they use the same Intel RAID driver.
Report Comment
 
 
# sata/raid supportscott macfarlane 2011-11-14 20:59
O, and one more thingy: I see this baby has two fans integrated right into the motherboard to cool the components. Are these standard sized fans that can easily be replaced with aftermarket ones after they blow up or will we have to fly to Asia and wait in the cattle line to get a $99 cent proprietary fan replaced for one-k large?
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: sata/raid supportOlin Coles 2011-11-14 21:01
Sadly, it's the latter. The back panel fan is fairly common if you order online, but that 'Southbridge' fan (which is really the X79 chip fan) is much harder to come by.
Report Comment
 
 
# Wow, that's really too badMergatroid 2011-11-14 21:37
This looks like an excellent board. It's really too bad to hear they went with proprietary fans. Do they give any type of MTBF on those fans? I'm hate to be at their mercy.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF MotherboardAthlonite 2011-11-15 08:29
The south bridge/x79 chipset fan looks like something out of a laptop maybe you'd be able to get one from a laptop repair shop or from an old dead single slot ATI cooler like an old HD2600/HD2400
Report Comment
 
 
# LINUXThe Techno Alien 2011-11-15 12:33
Too bad I can't use all those nice features for overclocking and BIOS and stuff, I can always Dual Boot, but *sigh*... Why not? Windows is for gaming.
Report Comment
 
 
# Memory supportratnev 2011-11-16 00:04
Does this board support 2133 MHz memory without overclocking? I mean if the memory module of 2133 MHz with xmp profile on is activated through the bios, will the motherboard recognize it? I'm asking because sabertooth x79 manual guide says it supports only 1866 memory max.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Memory supportDavid Ramsey 2011-11-16 06:48
We didn't test 2133Mhz memory in this board, but I recall seeing that frequency as an option in the popup menu where you select memory frequency in the BIOS, so I don't see any reason it wouldn't work...
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: Memory supportratnev 2011-11-16 07:41
Thank you for your reply. It was very helpful for me and gave the last step in choosing the board. )))
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Memory supportOlin Coles 2011-11-16 07:56
My answer is that 1866MHz is suppported, as that's what the manual claims is the maximum speed. However, UEFI firmware revisions may change this.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: Memory supportratnev 2011-11-16 08:15
I saw another review of that motherboard where the g.skill ripjaws Z 2133Mhz were used. They claim no problems at all. I just wanted to be insured that this will work.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: RE: Memory supportDavid Ramsey 2011-11-16 13:29
Right now, this is my favorite X79 motherboard. I'm sure you'll like it.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: RE: Memory supportDavid Ramsey 2011-11-30 13:58
Just in case anyone was still wondering: according to the specs on the box, the board handles up to DDR3-1866 memory. However, in the BIOS, you can set up to DDR3-2666.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboardanonymous 2011-11-25 22:35
Here you say: "And it's really odd that only two of the SATA ports are SATA 6G"

But in the comparo-graph on this web page:
#benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=833&Itemid=69&limit=1&limitstart=2

for SATA this for this motherboard it says:

4xSATA 3G, 4xSATA 6G

Please clarify, am I reading one of these pages wrong?

Also, not really an issue, but on this page it says:

"there are 14 USB 2.0 ports and 6 SATA ports"
and
"touted as a reason for not supporting SuperSpeed USB 3.0"
which doesn't explicitly say that there are no USB 3.0 ports, but it sort of reads that way to the casual reader. On the other page listed above it says for USB for this motherboard:

"6xUSB 3.0, 14xUSB 2.0"


Thanks for the wonderful reviews of this cutting edge stuff! Its great to get all of this info so quickly after they are released.
Report Comment
 
 
# ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboardcmjohncheng 2011-11-25 22:55
another 2 SATA 6G is [ESATA]
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboardanonymous 2011-11-25 22:36
Oh, there - you do say it: "no USB 3.0"
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2011-11-26 08:15
Anon, you're confused. The section where I say there are only 2 SATA 6G ports and no USB 3.0 is the section on Intel's X79 chipset. The clue is the heading "Intel's X79 Express Chipset" in large type at the start of that section.

ASUS adds extra SATA 6G ports and USB 3.0 via third party controller chips, which is part of the "added value" they bring to this board.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboardanonymous 2011-11-28 16:46
Awesome. I am indeed going to build a computer based on this board. Thanks for the clarification!
Report Comment
 
 
# Software EngineerVan Anast 2011-12-07 17:31
The most complete review of a product this type i've ever seen and since i recently ordered the exact pair of mobo-processor i have to thank you very much for this article.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF MotherboardArt Ford 2011-12-22 11:48
I wanted to use G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9Q-16GBXL with the mobo but have been unable to find out if this RAM is compatible.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2011-12-22 15:22
That memory will work fine...
Report Comment
 
 
# tpurichard alexander 2012-01-30 19:42
Where exactly is the tpu switch located?
Report Comment
 
 
# PCI-E:16/16/8 = okay for Revo?Bruce 2012-05-13 22:21
Hi.
Love the review... nice and thorough.
Question (as I have been looking for a suitable upgrade & replacement for my P67 Sabertooth board...

Will this board allow me to run my two GTX580's in SLI @ 16x, and allow the Revodrive3 x2 to run in the bottom PCI-E okay?

In my present rig, I have to drop a GPU.

Thanks
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: PCI-E:16/16/8 = okay for Revo?David Ramsey 2012-05-14 07:55
Yes. In fact, I'm running two GTX 580s in exactly the configuration you mentioned. In the bottom slot, I'm running an Asus Xonar sound card, but your Revodrive will work just fine.
Report Comment
 
 
# terrific review siteGord 2013-02-11 21:49
Thanks for the very comprehensive review. Off to buy one tomorrow for my graphics workstation build along with the i7 3930K and a Corsair Graphite Series case and various other goodies.
Report Comment
 

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews
QNAP Network Storage Servers

Follow Benchmark Reviews on FacebookReceive Tweets from Benchmark Reviews on Twitter