Twice as TUF: Sabertooth 990FX R2.0

Just as the Crosshair V Formula-Z has been upgraded, the Sabertooth 990FX gets an R2.0 update as well. Here's a quick unboxing and overview for TUF fans to see what's new:


Open Boxening

Win 8 ready - how exactly? We'll explain over the page.


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Inside Goodies

  • Manual and driver disc
  • 5 year warranty notice, certificate of component reliability (certifying TUF standards)
  • 4x SATA cables (with 90 degree connectors for flush fitting HDD/SSD/optical drives)
  • Q-Connectors for USB and front panel
  • Q-Shield
  • SLI bridge
  • TUF Sticker


What's New On R2? An Upgrade Overview

Much like the Crosshair V Formula-Z there's more going on under the surface than immediately meets the eye. The R2.0 has had several upgrades;

First of which is full DIGI+ Power Control, which includes a DIGI+ VRM controller for the (2 phases on the) DDR3 channels as well as another for the (8+2 phase) CPU VRMs. Both chips are highlighted in red below. Between this and the new MOSFETs that now have little TUF arrows on them (see that?), this is now branded together as the TUF Engine Digital Power Design.

T-Topology DDR3

At the PCB level, all four memory slots have had the T-Topology workover, which enables better dual-channel overclocking and full 4-DIMM support. See our previous article for further details on its effect.


CeraM!X technology

In place of the Thermal Armor that jackets other TUF models, the heatsinks here have specialized CeraM!X coating technology that increases the surface area, aiding heat dissipation.


By the memory slots is also the MemOK button. If you're ever having memory compatibility issues, hit this button and it will intelligently seek a configuration that works, allowing you to boot the system. Use this as a foundation to further tweak the memory settings if necessary.


Win 8 Ready

Windows 8 ready? That will be the the DirectKey. By pressing the button it sends the board straight into the UEFI BIOS upon the next boot, so no need to smoosh the Delete key into oblivion. This is due to Windows 8 Fast Boot function, which, while a great new asset to accelerating your PC into Windows in about 6 seconds, can also make getting into the BIOS particularly difficult.



The PCI-Express/PCI slot layout remains the same, with 3-way SLI and CrossFireX supported via the grey and brown 16x slots. The PCI slot is still included for those who still have a Xonar D2, DG or DS, for example.


Moar SATA III & Moar USB 3.0

There's now a full complement of 8 SATA 6Gbps ports internally, and two more eSATA 6Gbps on the rear I/O as well (whereas previously the extras were SATA 3Gbps). Next to these is a capped USB 3.0 front panel pin-out (in green) that are 2 of the 6 USB 3.0 ports (which is an upgrade from 4 previous). The brown SATA ports (from the SB950 southbridge) support RAID 0,1,5,10, JBOD.


T-Probe & new Network iControl

The Sabertooth has its unique T-Probe still (highlighted in red below), which has had an upgrade to include additional control for the case side-fan in order to regulates the extra airflow to hot graphics cards. The Gigabit Ethernet takes a leaf out of the Sabertooth Z77 book to include the Network iControl software. This function allows the user to regulate which software has bandwidth priority.


Rear I/O connectors

On the rear I/O there's more USB than you can swing a fist-full of mice at: 8x USB 2.0 & 4x USB 3.0, while there's those red SATA 6Gbps underneath. Highlighted in red is a new feature: BIOS Flashback, especially useful on AM3+ thanks to its cross compatibility with (soon) three generations of CPU, so you don't even need a CPU to update the latest BIOS should the board ever lack compatibility out the box.

PS2 keyboard/mouse will keep n-key rollover lovers happy, while next to this is S/PDIF optical out. At the other end is the Gigabit Ethernet socket and 6x 3.5mm stereo audio jacks providing 7.1 surround sound & microphone support.


The new Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 is out now.