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Event Coverage
ASUS X79 Motherboard Technical Seminar - Next Gen. ROG and TUF
By Wong Chung Wee - 26 Oct 2011,11:16am

Are You TUF Enough?

Sabertooth X79

This board’s predecessor is the Sabertooth 55i and they belong to the 'TUF' series and this acronym stands for 'The Ultimate Force'. In this lineage's proud military tradition, the color scheme of the Sabertooth X79 is in the tones of earthy greens set against a jet black PCB. This board boasts of military standard components for durability. Its ferrite chokes, solid capacitors and MOSFETS are screened by rigorous tests to ensure superior life-span even under the duress from their operating environment.

The Sabertooth X79 is targeted at rig builders who look for server-grade components for their computing needs as well as military specification components that have long lifespans even under the most punishing operating environment. In attestation to the reliability of the board, its components come with a 5-year warranty.


Unveiling the Board, Showing Off its TUF Thermal Armor

On first glance, this board also resembles the ASUS P67 without its thermal plastic sheath that covered a large part of its board. The Sabertooth X79 features is its new generation TUF Thermal Armor with its innovative vent design and integrated fans to draw heat away.

This section of the TUF Thermal Armor comprises the PCH cover and the fan assembly and they provide effective heat dissipation. Our only concern is that it sits right below the first PEG slot and as such, this part of the TUF active thermal armor may not be as useful as previously planned. We'll find out in future when we assess the board's performance.

 To complement the PCH cover and fan assembly, this component of the board's TUF Thermal Armor comprises the I/O panel plastic sheath and a mounted cooling fan. The fan is provided but has to be assembled and its spares are sold as optional accessories. The plastic sheath sits over the back panel I/O ports of the board and draws hot air from the VRM component area.


Cooling the Board with Heatpipes and Heatsinks

The heatsink crowning around the LGA2011 CPU socket area resembles the ones found on the ASUS Sabertooth 55i and are made of ceramic. It conceals a metal heatpipe that draws heat from the critical electrical components (mostly related to power regulation) near the CPU socket. The heatpipe extends to terminate in a heatsink that is located just above the external SATA 6Gbps port on the back panel of the board. This area is part of the TUF active thermal armor as shared above and works hand-in-hand to keep temperatures around the CPU socket in check.

The silver heatpipe extends from the olive green heatsink into the TUF Thermal Armor I/O port plastic sheath. Notice the tiny red arrow indicating the direction of the heat flow.

The silver heatpipe extends to this heatsink that seats above the bright orange external SATA port. The back plate provided has ventilation holes that allows heat dissipation from this heatsink.


Got a Dozen of them Under its Skin

Complementing its TUF Thermal Armor are twelve thermal hardware sensors for real-time thermal detection. It has a comprehensive software menu for a user-friendly experience.

The Thermal Radar software reports the temperature of twelve critical components. They include the CPU, its VCORE, the board itself and its PCH.


Performance to Boot

Underneath the TUF exterior, the Sabertooth X79 features ASUS SSD caching when the system has a SSD paired with a HDD which is set as its primary drive. In lieu of the Intel X79 motherboard not supporting the Intel Smart Response technology first featured in the Intel Z68 series, ASUS has stepped in with their own variant that's supposedly more convenient to set up. The frequently accessed files of the HDD will be cached on the SSD, and according to ASUS, the SSD caching technology will boost performance up to 3x when pit against a similar system without an installed SSD.

ASUS SSD caching allows the installed SSD to act as a backup drive for the primary HDD. It also speeds up the HDD's performance by storing files that the system accesses frequently on the SSD.

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