Review

Introduction



Asus have long been known as a premier manufacturer of motherboards and are perhaps one of the first enthusiasts look to when demanding both performance and quality. Recently Asus have answered this call by releasing a new range of mainboards under the banner of TUF (The Ultimate Force).

The 55i Sabertooth is the first board from this range and is based on Intels latest P55 chipset supporting both new i5 and i7 skt 1156 processors. While the Sabretooth name does not muster images of an ultimate force (it is after all an extinct mammal), it does depict strength, power and speed, three description that are foremost in the Asus technicians minds when creating this monster. This is reinforced by Asus’ claim that the components used are all of military grade specification.

Features

TUF , stands for The Ultimate Force.

The TUF series delivers a “tough” image. With the unique design & high quality components (military-standard), TUF series is born for pursuing the preeminent stability, all-round compatibility, and extreme durability

CPU, Chipset and Graphics features

LGA1156 Intel® Lynnfield Processor Ready

This motherboard supports the latest Intel® Lynnfield processors in LGA1156 package which has memory and PCI Express controller integrated to support 2-channel (4 DIMMs) DDR3 memory and 16 PCI Express 2.0 lanes providing great graphics performance. Intel® Lynnfield processor is one of the most powerful and energy efficient CPU in the world.

Quad-GPU SLI and Quad-GPU CrossFireX Support!

SABERTOOTH 55i brings you the multi-GPU choice of either SLI™ or CrossFireX. The motherboard features the most powerful Intel P55 platform to optimize PCIe allocation in multiple GPU configurations. Expect a brand-new gaming style you’ve never experienced before!

Intel P55

The Intel® P55 Express Chipset is the latest one-chipset design to support latest 1156 socket Intel® Core™ i7/Core™ i5 Processors. Intel® P55 providing improved performance by utilizing serial point-to-point links, allowing increased bandwidth and stability.

PCIe 2.0

Double Speed; Double Bandwidth
This motherboard supports the latest PCIe 2.0 devices for double speed and bandwidth which enhances system performance.

Memory Features

Dual-Channel DDR3 2000 / 1800 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 support

The motherboard supports DDR3 memory that features data transfer rates of 2000 / 1800 / 1600 /1333 / 1066 MHz to meet the higher bandwidth requirements of the latest 3D graphics, multimedia, and Internet applications. The dual-channel DDR3 architecture enlarges the bandwidth of your system memory to boost system performance.

“Ultimate COOL!” Thermal Solution

CeraM!X – Heatsink Coating Tech.

Larger area for heat dissipation with the revolutionary ceramics-coating technology
Innovative ceramics actively conducts heat away from the system. It replaces traditional anti-oxidant to dissipate heat better with its microscopic irregular surface and enlarged area. Better cooling leads to overall improvement in system stability.

T.Probe

Leading Active Cooling Technology
The T.Probe microchip detects and balances power phase loads and temperatures real-time. With optimal power phase functions, components run cooler and extend system lifespan.

CoolMem! – Fan Frame

Improves system stability and memory life
CoolMem! fan frame provides an effective and easy DIY way to cool the memory. The frame encloses 40mm or 50mm fans and fits them directly over the memory module. CoolMem! Fan Frame keeps your memory under a proper operating temperature, helping your system cool and stable.

Fan Xpert

Active Quiet & Cool
Fan Xpert intelligently allows users to adjust both the CPU and chassis fan speed according to different ambient temperature , which is caused by different climate conditions in different geographic regions and system loading.Built-in variety of useful profiles offer flexible controls of fan speed to achieve a quiet and cool environment.

“TUF ENGINE!” Power Design

E.S.P. – Efficient Switching Power Design

Optimal power efficiency for key components
Exclusively for this motherboard, the switching power design is provided not only for the CPU, but also for other key components such as graphics card, PCI slots, and chipsets. E.S.P. dramatically improves system efficiency and reduces heat generation.

TUF Cap. & MOSFET(certified by military-standard)

Certified for Tough Duty
Get rugged performance even in the most challenging conditions with robust capacitors and MOSFETs–certified through third-party, military-grade testing.

> Click here to learn more on test report

“Safe & Stable!” Guardian Angel

MemOK!

Any Memory is A-OK!
MemOK! quickly ensures memory boot compatibility. This remarkable memory rescue tool requires a mere push of a button to patch memory issues. MemOK! determines failsafe settings and dramatically improves your system boot success. Get your system up and running in no time!

ESD Guards

Ultra-protection Against Electric Discharge
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) can happen suddenly and its damaging effects is often underestimated. Exclusive ASUS anti-static chip, a protective circuit design, and the I/O shield provides four times better protection to extend component lifespan.

ASUS Drive Xpert

Plug and Safe!
Without BIOS setups, the ASUS exclusive Drive Xpert is ideal for anyone who needs to secure data on their hard drives or enhance hard drive performances without the hassles of complicated configurations. With Drive Xpert’s user-friendly graphical user interface, users can easily arrange hard drive backups or enhance their hard drive transfer rates—making sure that data is looked after every moment, every day.

EMI Eliminator

Eliminate Up to 30% Electric Interference
The design provides better protection against Electronic Magnetic Interference (EMI). More rigorous testing, at 30% higher than the benchmarks, ensure better shielding of sensitive components.

ASUS Crystal Sound

10-channel Audio

Enjoy High-End 10-channel sound system on your PC!
The onboard 10-channel HD audio (High Definition Audio, previously codenamed Azalia) CODEC enables high-quality 192KHz/24-bit audio output, jack-sensing feature, retasking functions and multi-streaming technology that simultaneously sends different audio streams to different destinations. This motherboard now adopts the future standard to deliver the most vivid audio enjoyment!!

Noise Filter

Eliminate background noise while recording
This feature detects repetitive and stationary noises like computer fans, air conditioners, and other background noises then eliminates it in the incoming audio stream while recording.

DTS

DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC
DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC delivers exceptional 5.1 surround experience through the most common PC audio setups – your existing stereo speakers or headphones. In addition to virtual surround, “Bass enhancement” provides stronger low frequency bass sound, and “Voice clarification” provides clear human dialogue even with loud background sound. With these technologies, you may experience a better home-theater audio with ease.

ASUS EZ DIY

ASUS Onboard Switch

With an easy press during overclock, this exclusive onboard switch allows gamer to effortless fine-tune the performance without having to short the pins!

Q- Shield

Easy and Comfortable Installations
The specially designed ASUS Q-Shield does without the usual “fingers” – making it convenient and easy to install. With better electric conductivity, it ideally protects your motherboard against static electricity and shields it against Electronic Magnetic Interference (EMI).

EZ-Flash 2

Simply update BIOS from a USB flash disk before entering the OS
EZ Flash 2 is a user-friendly BIOS update utility. Simply launch this tool and update BIOS from a USB flash disk before entering the OS. You can update your BIOS only in a few clicks without preparing an additional floppy diskette or using an OS-based flash utility.

ASUS Q-Design

DIY quickly, DIY easily!
ASUS Q-Design enhances your DIY experience. All of Q-LED, Q-Slot and Q-DIMM design speed up and simplify the DIY process!

Q-Connector

Make connection quick and accurate!
The ASUS Q-Connector allows you to connect or disconnect chassis front panel cables in one easy step with one complete module. This unique adapter eliminates the trouble of plugging in one cable at a time, making connection quick and accurate.

O.C. Profile

Conveniently store or load multiple BIOS settings
Freely share and distribute favorite overclocking settings The motherboard features the ASUS O.C. Profile that allows users to conveniently store or load multiple BIOS settings. The BIOS settings can be stored in the CMOS or a separate file, giving users freedom to share and distribute their favorite overclocking settings.

Industry Standard

IEEE 1394a interface

IEEE 1394a interface provides high speed digital interface for audio/video appliances such as digital television, digital video camcorders, storage peripherals & other PC portable devices.

S/PDIF-out on Back I/O Port

This motherboard provides convenient connectivity to external home theater audio systems via coaxial and optical S/PDIF-out (SONY-PHILIPS Digital Interface) jacks. It allows to transfer digital audio without converting to analog format and keeps the best signal quality.

Specifications

Asus Sabertooth i55
CPU
LGA1156 Socket for Intel Lynnfield Processors
Supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology
Chipset Intel P55 Express Chipset
Memory
4xDIMM, max. 16GB, DDR3 2000(OC), 2000(OC), 133/1066MHz DRAM, non-ECC,unbuffered memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Expansion Slots
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (single at x16 or dual at x8/x8 mode)

3 x PCIe 2.0 x1 (2.5GT/s)
2 x PCI
GPU Support Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology

Supports ATI® Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Storage Intel® P55 Express Chipset built-in

6 xSATA 3.0 Gb/s ports (black)
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10
JMicron® JMB363 PATA and SATA controller
1 xUltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
1 xExternal SATA (SATA On-the-Go)
JMicron® JMB322 (DriveXpert Technology) :
- 2 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports (orange and white )
- Supports EZ Backup and SuperSpeed functions
*Drive Xpert function is available only when the hard disk drives are set as data drives
LAN Realtek® 8112L Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET 2
Audio VIA® VT2020 10-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

- Absolute Pitch BD192/24 featuring ENVY HD
- DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC
- Supports Jack-Detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-Retasking
- Optical S/PDIF out port at back I/O
- ASUS Noise Filter
IEEE 1394
VIA® 6308P controller supports 2 x 1394a ports (one at mid-board; one at back panel)
USB 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 8 ports at back panel)
I/O Backplate
1 x PS/2 Keyboard (Purple)

1 x PS/2 mouse port (Green)
1 x Optical S/PDIF Output
1 x IEEE1394a
1 x LAN (RJ45) port
1 x External SATA port
8 x USB 2.0/1.1
10-channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors 3 x USB connectors support additional 6 USB ports

1 x IDE connector
6 x SATA connectors
1 x IEEE 1394a connector
1 x CPU Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
2 x Drive Xpert SATA connectors (orange and white)
2 x Chassis Fan connector (1×4-pin, 1×3-pin)
1 x Mem Fan connector
1 x COM port
Front panel audio connector
1 x S/PDIF Out Header
CD audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
System Panel(Q-Connector)
1 x MemOK! button
1 x Power on switch
1 x Reset switch
BIOS 16 Mb Flash ROM , AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI 2.0
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor

12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
The Sabertooth has a lot of features  that should suffer for even the most demanding enthusiast. Plenty of USB ports, Crossfire and SLI compatibility, e-SATA and even 10 channel audio – it’s all there.
 
 






About the Author

Pedro