Asus Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 - Review


Review

I bought this motherboard because my previous motherboard "Asus M5A99X EVO" was damaged by my previous power supply due to "coil whine" problems - quickly I changed the power supply with a new one "Corsair RM850i" (of which you find my review on this site) in order to avoid damaging another motherboard.
This motherboard has a 5 year warranty, confirmed personally by Asus technical support. So at least from this point of view, we do not worry about it, and we make any sense of the price of this motherboard that is not affordable for all people (I paid it 177 euros).
I will avoid giving a description of the functionality of this motherboard, since there are so many features and, in any case, they are available on the Asus website.
It is a motherboard mainly designed to overclock, I’ve put a CPU AMD 8320e overclocked to 4.2 ghz and it works without any particular problems. I mounted 4 modules of RAM model "G.Skill Ares 8GB DDR3-2400" (low profile) for a total of 32 GB of RAM. Unfortunately the overclocking of RAM at 2400 mhz gave me random blocks during some stability tests (such as "Prime95"), but putting the frequency at 2133 mhz everything works without particular uncertainties.
The motherboard has 8 internal SATA3 ports + 2 external ESATA ports (unfortunately not powered ones) and a total of 6 USB3 ports (2 internal + 4 external). The main feature is the presence of 8 SATA3 ports, all managed by the AsMedia controller. It’s great for people like me who have many disk drives to handle at the maximum speed guaranteed by the SATA3 standard (which I remember to be, theoretically, 600 megabytes per second).
The BIOS is the usual UEFI, already used by the most advanced Asus motherboards, obviously already prepared to work with Windows 8 and 10 (as well as with 7). Obviously, since I still use 64-bit Windows 7, I have disabled the BIOS protection features since they can not be managed from version 7, instead they must be activated if you use Windows version 8 or 10.
The overclocking is under user's responsibility, the BIOS has a rather strange behavior with the unlocked CPUs (like my 8320e), since it continues to behave as if the CPU was blocked, thus overclocking the bus frequency and the frequency of the CPU, when it would be enough to raise the frequency of the processor and recalibrate the same voltage without touching anything else - which unfortunately must be done manually, and here is the complexity of overclocking, you have to go to trial, especially you have to guess the correct operating voltage of the CPU, perform specific tests of system stability, and try, try and try again until the system is finally stable.
Furthermore, it will be necessary to pay attention to temperatures, voltages and frequencies.
In order to avoid wasting time, I searched the Internet for tests on the latest generation of AMD FX CPUs (such as 8320, 8350, 8370, also in "e" variants like my CPU), to get a more accurate overview about the voltages and parameters to be set in the BIOS. In this way I quickly changed the BIOS parameters, without becoming crazy due to 100,000 BIOS options. I highly recommend this to all people who have never overclocked a CPU before, in order to avoid huge waste of time.
Fortunately, using advanced testing programs, such as "FinalWare Aida64", you have a good amount of sensors, inserted in the motherboard, very useful to test the system thoroughly and to achieve high overclocking goals.
I would like to clarify that the AMD 8320e CPU warms up a lot already when overclocked to 4.2 ghz, I have tested it up to 4.5 ghz, but in this case the heat is really too much, and it pushes the fan of my old CPU heatsink (a CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo) at top speed even without sustained work peaks. The frequency of 4.2 ghz I consider it to be a good compromise between generated heat and performance, beyond that frequency you need to have an excellent heat dissipation system, and be ready for a power consumption that, without going too far, can also reach the 150 watts (power consumption referred to the CPU only).
Theoretically this motherboard can also support the 200 watt AMD CPUs, take care about it, since even the CPU cooling must be proportionate to such a power consumption, moreover it will be necessary to provide with the cooling of the whole computer system.
In 2017 AMD has foreseen the entry of a new platform, called "Zen" with higher speeds, in order to be able to compete with Intel's i7 processors. If you do not rush, and if you still want to take advantage of the relatively low AMD AM3 socket prices, then this motherboard is a great choice, perhaps one of the best for AMD's AM3-FX platform.


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