ASUS Sabertooth AMD 990FX Motherboard
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 08-23-2011
Provided by: ASUS

AMD's Bulldozer processor, code-name Zambezi, while initially slated for an early 2011 release is finally due to hit stores September 19th. With the switch to 32nm die size and a new core design, Bulldozer also garners an updated socket interface, which in keeping with previous naming AMD has coined AM3+. While the new CPUs should be backwards-compatible in many existing AM3 motherboards with just a BIOS update, unlike the previous generation of Athlon II and Phenom II processors the new chips do not have both DDR2 and DDR3 controllers, only DDR3, and thus won't work with anything older.

Fear not however, there are a wide array of motherboard manufacturers cranking out AM3+ boards, with chipsets ranging from the venerable 760G up through the gamut of 800 series. Of course AMD has also refreshed its chipset naming to match the new CPUs, and motherboards based on the 970, 990X and top dog 990FX are also available. It's two of these 900 series of boards that ASUS has sent over for review today, the M5A99X EVO and the Sabertooth 990FX.

The one we will be focusing on today is the Sabertooth 990FX. While functionally identical to the 890FX chipset, like that used in the MSI 890FXA-GD70 board we reviewed last summer, the 990FX does offer a slightly faster HyperTransport Link, from the HT 3.0 rate of 2600MHz (5.2GT/s) the new HT 3.1 is boosted up to 3200MHz (6.4GT/s) to handle increased bandwidth from the new eight-core processors. The big surprise coming from motherboard manufacturers like ASUS is that nVidia SLI is being licensed on the 990 series boards, meaning multi-GPU configurations from either nVidia or AMD are now fully supported on the AMD chipset. This feature is a huge boon to those die-hard SLI users who want to utilize an AMD system, something that has been available with Intel for some time now.

Join me as I take a closer look at the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX.

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