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ASUS Sabertooth X79 (Intel X79) Motherboard Review

We take a bite out of the new Sabertooth X79 motherboard from ASUS and see how it performs today with our 3960X.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sun, Dec 4 2011 9:36 PM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 43 IMAGES

We first saw the Sabertooth name pop up with the introduction of the P67 chipset. The next time we'd see the name show up wasn't in the form of the Z68, though, it was instead in the AMD based 990FX chipset and it didn't quite have that same look about it as the shroud that covered the board wasn't present.

While passed over on the Z68 chipset, the Sabertooth has appeared straight away come launch of the X79 chipset and brings with it the "TUF Components" that give ASUS the confidence to strap a massive 5 year warranty onto the board.

While we've already looked at the ASUS Sabertooth X79 in preview form, like our previous ASUS previews there was still a number of things we couldn't tell you. At the same time, we couldn't show you the bundle of the board, so that's something else we'll be showing you today.

So looking at the layout today, there won't be any surprises. We'll start off by looking at the package of the board including what's in the bundle. Once we've done that we'll move onto the motherboard itself and cover a few of the details that we couldn't when we originally previewed the board. From there we'll move onto the BIOS to see what's going on in that department before we take a look at the overclocking capabilities of the board.

The Package

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ASUS has put together a big box here and you can see it opens up to give us an absolute wealth of information covering all the main features of the Sabertooth board. Of course, most of it is revolved around the "Military Standard" TUF Components along with some of the exclusive ASUS features that are on offer.

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Moving inside, the bundle isn't huge; we've got some paperwork to go with six SATA cables, SLI bridge, EZ-Connectors, little fan that can be added to the board and our typical I/O plate.

The Motherboard

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Moving onto the board itself, there's nothing much that we didn't really already tell you in our original preview. With that said, we couldn't tell you the PCIe x16 setup at that time. We've got a total of three PCIe x16 slots and if you go for a two card SLI or CrossFire setup, both will run at x16. The bottom most slot while also a x16 one, only runs at x8 like other X79 boards we've looked at.

The Motherboard Continued

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Like the bottom half of the board, there was little that we couldn't say when we came to looking at the top of the board. The only thing we can say now, which was already fairly common knowledge is the fact that the eight DIMM slots support up to 64GB of DDR3 in Quad Channel up to speeds of 2400MHz DDR.

BIOS

Moving into the BIOS, we're as usual greeted by the EZ Mode version of the BIOS. You've got a few options here, but nothing too fancy. If you want to start to really do something, you'll want to get into the Advanced area of the BIOS.

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Looking at the Advanced area, you won't be out of your element if you've used any non ROG ASUS board. We've got that typical blue design present here which surprises me a little. I thought with the Sabertooth series we might see ASUS mix up the color scheme a little like they do for the ROG boards which offer us that red theme.

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If you're going to do any overclocking, you'll be in the Ai Tweaker section of the board which offers us all our typical options when it comes to adjusting the speed of our processor, RAM along with voltages for the associated parts. In typical ASUS fashion the options are pretty strong and should hopefully yield us a decent overclock today.

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Moving through the rest of the BIOS, we've got the normal options we're used to seeing and everything is fairly self-explanatory in the above pictures, so let's move onto our testbed and the overclocking side of things.

Test System Setup & Overclocking

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital and Corsair.

Before we get into the overclocking side of things, you can see our main testbed information above. There's nothing that you wouldn't have seen before; before we move onto the overclocking, though, we'll just quickly cover the boards and CPUs that will be in our graphs today.

Of course, the Sabertooth X79 will be included at both stock and overclock. Along with that we've also got the MSI X79A-GD65 and ASUS P9X79 Deluxe for X79 boards. The ASUS Maximums IV Extreme-Z is packing our 2600k and finally we've got our ASRock Fata1ty 990FX Professional motherboard with our AMD FX-8150.

So with that said, let's get into the overclocking side of things and see what exactly what we're doing here today. The first thing we did was jump into the BIOS and mess around with our voltages a bit and then set our BCLK Strap to 125 which pushes our BCLK to 125.

Once we're up and running with that, we head back into the BIOS and start to tweak our multiplier a little bit to see where we can end up at in Windows. Looking below, you can see exactly what we ended up running at.

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With our Multiplier ending up at 39x and our BCLK at 125, you can see our final clock came in at 4875MHz or 4.87GHz as shown in our graphs here today. This is a really strong overclock and should yield with it some strong performance.

Well, that covers just about everything, so let's get into the performance side of things to see just how the Sabertooth X79 performs today.

Let's get started!

CPU Benchmarks

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at HyperPi and AIDA64 numbers, we can see that performance at stock lines up just as we'd expect. Cranking up our 3960X to 4.87GHz, though, we see a really strong boost in performance with a good chunk of time shaved off our HyperPi time and nice boost under AIDA64.

System Benchmarks

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

Developer Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

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MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/products/mediaespresso/overview_en_AU.html?fileName=overview&r=1

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheater video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

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Looking under PCMark 7 and MediaEspresso, we can see that our Sabertooth X79 board lines up with our ASUS P9X79 Deluxe which performed a little better than our X79 MSI board. Overclocked, though, we continue to see really strong performance and under MediaEspresso we see a real world gain as we shave a really nice chunk of time out of the encode process.

USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Checking out USB 2.0 and 3.0 performance, we can see that 2.0 sits a little ahead of the competition while USB 3.0 performance lines up with our other boards for the most part with little separating all the setups.

SSD Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

Developer Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Buy It Here

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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Looking at the performance of our Corsair Force GT drive, we can see that performance is again strong on our Sabertooth X79 board lining up with our other ASUS motherboards.

Memory Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at memory performance, we can see our X79 boards all sit pretty close to each other. Overclocking as usual is giving us a nice overall boost in performance. We continue to see that Quad Channel testing is still a bit wobbly under AIDA64.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com//

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Looking at the video card performance numbers, we don't see anything that we haven't really seen before. We've got a bit of positive movement in the Performance preset under 3DMark 11, but apart from that, there's not much else to see.

Temperature and Power

Power Draw Tests

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Looking at power numbers, we can see they're pretty strong coming in lower than the ROG based ASUS boards. They do sit up a bit compared to the MSI offerings, though. Overclocked of course also sees a decent jump in power draw in both the idle and load department.

Core Temperature

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Checking out our CPU core temperature, we can see we're running a bit cooler at idle. At load the numbers are fairly close to our other X79 boards. Overclocking of course brings the idle and load numbers up, but 71c isn't too bad at all considering the MHz we're running at.

Final Thoughts

Coming in at $339 US, the Sabertooth X79 from ASUS is an expensive board that lines up with the P9X79 PRO from ASUS which comes in just $10 US cheaper. The Sabertooth X79 looks the part when it comes to mean looking motherboards and no doubt inside a system the Sabertooth X79 is going to stand out more so than some others.

There's a lot when it comes to the Sabertooth line and what it ultimately all comes down to is that ASUS create this motherboard that carries with it a massive 5 year warranty. For people who hold their system for a significant amount of time, this is a real bonus. Considering the associated cost of an X79 system, the chances are you'll probably not be upgrading any time soon.

The only thing I would've really liked to have seen was the BIOS move over to a Sabertooth theme instead of that typical one we're used to seeing. Similar in the way we have the Red / Black theme on the ROG boards, a bit of an Army Green / Black theme in the BIOS would've reminded us that we're using the Sabertooth board, verses a non ROG ASUS one.

Really, though, it's the only thing I could nitpick at. ASUS have created a really nice motherboard and you can see why they've chosen to introduce the Sabertooth line as it really offers us something different to the typical Pro / Deluxe models and of course the more expensive ROG options.

Performance on the board was strong and overclocking capabilities were also really good coming in at 4.87GHz at around the 70c point. If you're looking at jumping in on the X79 action and you're wanting something that looks different to what a lot of other companies offer while still giving us great performance, the Sabertooth X79 board is a really nice option.

Throw in the massive 5 year warranty that's associated with it and you can buy the Sabertooth X79 with pure confidence.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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