If you liked the Limited-Edition Sabertooth Z97 Mark S but couldn't get a hold of one, or you simply prefer black, TUF Sabertooth X99 is the new king of the hill.  The new Sabertooth has now been upgraded to the new X99 platform to support the latest Intel LGA2011-v3 CPUs and DDR4 memory, all the usual TUF-branded exclusive features including a new addition TUF Detective, and this is the first consumer desktop motherboard to offer full compatibility with all NVM Express storage options.  A motherboard boasting server-grade stability has never looked sexier!

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Upon opening up the box, I couldn't but feel nostalgia coming over me like I was eight years old again, carefully opening up the box of a LEGO Technic set, meticulously checking that all the pieces are there then planning out how I was going to complete my exciting new project.

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In the box you will find:

  • The TUF Sabertooth X99 motherboard (hopefully)
  • User’s manual
  • Support DVD
  • TUF Accessory Guide
  • ASUS Q-Shield
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s cables
  • SLI bridge
  • 2 x Q-connectors
  • Accessory Fan ( 40 mm )
  • TUF Certification card
  • TUF 5 Year Warranty manual
  • 2 X TUF stickers

For protection against the elements:

  • 2 x PCIe x16 slot dust covers
  • 1 x PCIe x4 slot dust covers
  • 1 x PCIe x1 slot dust covers
  • 4 x DRAM slot dust covers
  • 2 x fan screws
  • 3 x Thermistor cables
  • 1 x connector cap set (Front USB 3.0 and LAN)
  • 11 x back I/O USB 2.0/3.0 connector dust covers
  • 2 X Onboard USB 2.0 connector caps
  • 9 x On board SATA connector dust covers 
  • 1 x SATA Express connector dust cover
  • 5 x Audio connector dust covers

Might have been more fun if I had to assemble the whole thing.  Luckily, there are still plenty of things to play around with. 

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The star-studded cast includes the LGA2011-v3 socket supporting the latest Intel Core i7 processors, Intel X99 Express Chipset utilizing serial point-to-point links to increase bandwidth and increase performance, and a maximum of 128GB quad-channel DDR4 memory.  The supporting cast consists of TUF chokes (marked in red) with 70% more surface to dissipate heat, Japan-made TUF 10K Ti-Caps (yellow) lasting up to five times longer than standard solid caps, and power-efficient Military-grade certified MOSFETs (green) with lower RDS and lower heat.

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There are three PCIe 3.0 X16, a PCIe 2.0 X4 and a PCIe X1 port.  There is support for Nvidia 3-Way/Quad-GPU SLI and AMD 3-Way/Quad-GPU CrossFireX,.  For connectivity, there is the new M.2 X4 Socket 3 (for your PCIe SSD), a SATA Express port, eight SATA III ports, Dual Gigabit LAN controllers, up to eight USB 2.0, up to eight USB 3.0 ports, and in my infomercial voice "but wait... there's more!"  two USB 3.1 ports which are twice as fast as USB 3.0, you can push them even further with ASUS USB 3.1 Boost!   Our challenge to you is to see if you can use up every single port.

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Fortifier can withstand up to a 10kg load, preventing the board from bending, and doubles as a humongous heat-sink to reduce the heat in components by up to 6°C.   With so much tech and armor, this board is quite heavy which means holding the board for long periods of time may cause a lot of pain as pins dig into your fingers... that's if the Fortifier wasn't there.  

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Dust Defenders prevents rust, dust, hair and (in some countries) sand from entering the ports.  While ASUS Q-Connectors help you plug in multiple connectors all at once, so that your head doesn't need to fit into tight cases.

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ASUS Q-Shield also provides a vent for the TUF fan to blow out heat.

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To insert (and hide) your M.2 card, you just need to unscrew, insert  and screw again.

 

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Like its predecessors, there is the Thermal Armor, the TUF fan can reduce the temperature by up to 10°C, and draw heat away from the VRM area.

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 TUF Detective is a new feature allowing you to scan and diagnose your problem using your smartphone!  It's purely hardware and you don't even need a CPU, although you will need your ATX power cable connected of course.  Now you can get live system info on your phone!

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ESD Guards 2 protects each and every onboard port from electrostatic discharges. There is now 30% more protection than the previous generation, so yes this is TUFer.  

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TUF ICe is a dedicated chip to monitor and manage both the system and thermal status, you can also control each fan independently.  There are twelve onboard sensors and eleven fans to control!   Using the Thermal Radar 2 software you can monitor and customize your two CPU fans, four chassis fans and five assistant fans.

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