Asus SABERTOOTH 990FX Continued
There are no power, reset, or core unlocking buttons on the board. This is not a major inconvenience, as the vast majority of users keep their motherboards in a closed case. There is a “Mem-OK” button which resets major timings without resetting the entire BIOS. This can be very handy when swapping out memory or getting a little too aggressive with an overclock.
The board is busy and packed. I do like the overall design, but there is one glaring issue…
Asus did not just stop at providing a good UEFI BIOS, they have in fact put a lot of work into the AI Suite II. When I first encountered AI Suite with the Crosshair IV series of boards, I was not terribly impressed. The AMD OverDrive program was much more functional and easier to get around. Asus took this challenge and created the very impressive AI Suite II. Not only does it have all the functionality of AOD, but it adds to it. This is essentially the motherboard version of MSI’s Afterburner. It is a very good and useful program, and it includes features such as the “Thermal Radar” which takes temperature readings from most of the major components on the motherboard and graphically displays them in once place. If a portion of the board is getting hot, it is very easy to see when using this utility.
Finally we have the Crossfire and SLI support. Up to four GPUs can be handled in Crossfire and SLI with two dual GPU cards. 3 standard cards can be run in either Crossfire and SLI. If there was a weakness to the SABERTOOTH 990FX, it would be with the bundle included. It is very, very minimal. A manual, CD, a certificate of “TUF”ness, ATX backplate, a couple SATA cables, and a single SLI bridge flesh things out. If a user wants to do Crossfire or triple SLI, they need to get a hold of more cables. For the most part, Crossfire cables are included with nearly every AMD based graphics card, so that isn’t an issue. Getting an extra long SLI cable might be a problem for some.
As mentioned by our member "Nabokovfan" when the default SLI or Crossfire setup using double slot cooling are installed, the cards cover the only PCI-E 1X and PCI slots on the board.
After installing the board and running it for a while, I must say that I was very impressed by the overall integration of the board and its utilities. The finish and polish are very evident. Asus obviously paid very close attention to their previous products when designing and implementing this one. It is honestly one of the most impressive “new” boards that I have laid hands on in a while. What is really good is the care taken with the UEFI BIOS. It is a non-trivial task to code such a BIOS for a product, that until recently had only utilized the older, legacy BIOS architecture.
Everything was seemingly flawless, and it acted like a far more mature product than it actually is.