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.
Pretty good writeup, the “I’m
Pretty good writeup, the “I’m bored” comments were kind of unwanted, but I wanted to ask something and I am not sure if you noticed it or I missed it when reading.
The MSI board allows the PCI-E x1 slot to be used in addition to dual gpu setups, while the ASUS board covers the PCI-E x1 slot no matter what.
You could use the extra x16 slots if need be, but wouldn’t that cut down the PCI-E x16/x16 bandwidth?
That alone sways what board to get for me, despite the asus board being better. I need a PCI-E x1 slot for wireless, here’s to hoping MSI fixes the bios and other issues quickly.
EDIT: The asus board only has 6 slots, which is kind of odd.
Generally speaking, and you
Generally speaking, and you would have to consult the individual manufactures user manual for the specifics. But particularly on the older (same?) 890FX boards, specifically the MSI890FXA, there are only two true electrically x16 slots.
When running in a x16/x16 configuration, one of the slots is disabled (if memory serves it was the lower most slot), and the middle “x16 size” slot, which is physically only x8 electrically, would only being allowed x4 bandwidth.
Now, if you populate the lower most “disabled” slot (x8 electrically), it will be given x8 bandwidth, and the above true x16 slot would be reduced to a x8 as well, as the lanes on those slots are split. Which is why in a true x16/x16 configuration, it is effectively disabled.
So it is completely dependent on how the manufactures split the lanes on the board, and what slots share those lanes when split. And MOST (not all) manufactures usually give a comprehensive slot population chart to explain how it will work. But on average with a x16/x16 configuration, there will always be one remaining x4 electrically, x16 physically slot.
Usage of the slots and add in
Usage of the slots and add in cards is obviously going to differ by individual. The MSI board does give slightly more flexibility in that you can use both the PCI slot and 1x PCI-E slot even when in Crossfire or SLI. So yeah, their layout is better overall than the Asus board. Then again the DIMM slots on the MSI board are physically closer to the socket by a decent amount, which is going to cause headaches for some folks.
But in terms of a better overall board in testing, Asus has the edge here.
Agreed, definitely wooped
Agreed, definitely wooped them. Hopefully september when the fx is out (rumor) and by then the MSI big bang conquerer/AMD board is out, with something that isn’t this bad.
Unless you must have a 1x
Unless you must have a 1x PCI-E slot I see no reason to buy the MSI board over the Asus one unless there is a large discrepancy in price.
I have nothing against MSI, heck my backup PC uses a P55-GD65 and a MSI 4870×2 which I’m using to type this message, but I was sorely disappointed by the 990FXA-GD80 given the stellar performance of the 890FXA-GD65.
I need one for wireless, so
I need one for wireless, so yes, I need one. I am working on trying a powerline setup, but the power in my house isn’t the best.
I just don’t get why they leave off a slot. The heatsink blocks it, but why not go up with the heatsink, not like anything is going right there.
FYI, MSI Bought(?)
FYI, MSI Bought(?) Afterburner’s from guru3d’s RivaTuner. A good utility like that, working for all boards would be welcome.
Hmm I purchased this board
Hmm I purchased this board and really am not a fan of the BIOS but reading MSI forums it looks like this should be resolved relatively soon.
Overall, the board is working solid and while it may not be perfect, it is not “bad” to the point of not wanting to own one.
I think a lot of the issues
I think a lot of the issues with the board are related to the BIOS in one way or another. ClickBIOS II is supposed to be a major upgrade, and should feel a whole lot faster than the current one. I would imagine that overclocking the HTT bus will also show improvements, as well as the random network issues that have been reported for this board by a handful of reviewers.
Glad you are having a good experience with your board though. You are right, it is far from being a bad board, but it just didn’t quite match the level of its predecessors and competition.
I bought the Sabertooth last
I bought the Sabertooth last week.
But I have a problem with AI Suite II. It won’t start, generating an APPCRASH on my Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (x64).
I tried to uninstall it, but it leaves a bunch of entries in registry and two related services still running…
Did you run the installer
Did you run the installer from the CD, or download it from the Asus website? I have found that often it is preferable to download that version, as sometimes the ones on the CD are more than a little old and could have poor support with new products. This is something of an issue with most motherboard manufacturers.