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ASUS has the New TUF Sabertooth 990FX R3.0 Motherboard

Posted July 18, 2016 by Josh Jackson in CPU & Motherboards

Let me start by saying that I cover A LOT of AMD news. This is mostly because when I built my latest system in 2012, I ended up with the 8350 CPU due to the purpose and budget I had at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to get my hands on Skylake, but we all have to live with what have at the time. As it is, I’ve become very familiar with the 990FX chipset and the various motherboards. At this point, if you told me there would be ANOTHER 990FX motherboard, I would have told you I also have some ocean front property in north western Colorado for sale at an excellent price! However, ASUS is certainly releasing a new motherboard, it supports 220W CPUs, and at this point, one has to wonder why they would be releasing a board like this with Zen just around the corner.

The Sabertooth R3.0 doesn’t just support 220W CPUs. It’s packed to the brim with awesome features that I can personally say I’ve never seen to this degree. ASUS has maintained the reputation of being the top overclocking board for FX chips since the Crosshair V Formula-Z and nobody has quite been able to take their crown. With this new board, we have the same power capability, but looks to be updated with not only better MOSFETs and chokes, but the option to install a 40mm fan blowing right on the VRM heatsink. Anybody who’s played with AMD knows how useful that is. The Sabertooth also doesn’t sacrifice expand-ability with added features. We still have a good range of PCIe slots on top of the dual USB 3.0 headers. Of course, the addition of USB 3.1 (Type-A and Type-C) and an M.2 slot are things other manufacturers have done, but I’ve noticed those additions have come with sacrifices in other areas. The Sabertooth R3.0 is telling us there won’t be any compromises, even down to the Aura lighting.

The big question about this board showing up now is, “Why!?!” Rumors state that we should see Zen for the high end desktop by the end of this year. That’s less than 6 months away! The amount of R&D, in spite of the board taking most of it’s queues from the R2.0, doesn’t seem hardly worth it. Granted, the motherboard industry is in a bit of a slump, GIGABYTE sort of beat ASUS to the punch with a high end 990FX board, and DirectX 12 is advertised as doing better with multiple cores than previous APIs. However, is there really that many people upgrading to 3-4 year old architecture that ASUS needs those extra sales? Are that many consumers desperate for an M.2 paired with an 8350? Doesn’t Dx12 benefit mostly in the GPU arena, seeing as how INTEL chips have been fairing just fine in Dx12? This board is a serious head-scratcher, but what if………

Sabertooth CoolingOkay, we need to do a couple of things before we go down this road. Grab a salt shaker. Now, shake some salt in the palm of your hand. On second thought, unscrew the lid and dump the whole thing in your hand. Just to make sure you have enough salt, grab the refill container and dump that too. Are you taken care of? Here we go! What if AMD is about to release a new CPU? I don’t know if there is enough salt in the world for me to go here but I can’t help but wonder because of one big reason. Recently, I had the opportunity to review a Carrizo chip and realized that the single thread performance was surprisingly good for AMD. I had single 4.9 GHz Vishera cores getting smoked by a piddly 3.8 GHz boost with a mere 2 MB cache. When you’re talking about INTEL, that’s the norm, but the fact that Carrizo was doing so much better in the single thread realm at such a budget was impressive. Zen leaks have been abnormally sparse for something that sounds like it’s releasing soon. What if R&D and production is delaying Zen until next year, but AMD found a way to make an FX chip based on Carrizo architecture to help fill the gap? There are no leaks or rumors that backs this up, but if it happens, you heard it here first!

No doubt, many a slug perished from all the salt flinging that just happened, but I couldn’t help myself. Regardless of upcoming CPU releases or not, the TUF Sabertooth 990FX R3.0 has left me wiping the drool off my chin repeatedly during the process of covering this board. What ASUS is delivering is by far the highest quality, best featured and greatest looking motherboard for the 990FX chipset to date. If you’re set on owning an FX chip and need some of the latest features, I’d have a real hard time telling you to look anywhere else. The only thing that could hurt this board is the price. Most of ASUS’ other 990FX boards have retained their release pricing, but the current crop of FX chips are not something I’d recommend buying a $200 motherboard for. If it ends up in the $150 price point, I’d think it would be worth it for the current market. Still, the board looks excellent and if Carrizo managed to find it’s way to the FX series……


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