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Tested: ASUS M5A99X EVO, Sabertooth 990FX, Crosshair V Formula: Waiting for Bulldozer

Tested: ASUS M5A99X EVO, Sabertooth 990FX, Crosshair V Formula: Waiting for Bulldozer

am3cikk_logoThe time is approaching. October is coming soon. October 12 is Bulldozer launch day. We have a promise from AMD that a Bulldozer sample will reach us as well, so our own test for AMD’s new flagship won’t be missed either. In the meantime, we made a small motherboard maker in ASUS mode, with a 990X / 990FX chipset and an AM3 + socket.

The latter, however, is a prerequisite for receiving Bulldozer CPUs. In this article, three models are tensioned to each other in-house, one cheaper - available to a wider range, and two more expensive, more exclusive pieces. You can already read from the title that these were specifically the ASUS M5A99X EVO, the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX and the Crosshair V Formula.

In addition to presenting each board in a few words, we also performed tests on them. To do this, we have integrated our current only AMD test proc- tion, the Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition, into the products, spiced up with the usual hardware environment, which of course will be covered in detail later. Our plans also included tuning, so we can find out later about what we have come up with.


Jump on it and start getting to know the defining members of the ASUS 990 (F) X-based offering!


This model is the current only piece in the ASUS 990X range. That means AMD works with the 990X North Bridge and the SB950 South Bridge. There is not much difference between the 990X and the 990FX, in essence, the 990FX manages multiple PCI Express cables that can be used for multi-card systems. The product, of course, features an AM3 + socket that is compatible with the upcoming AMD processors based on the Bulldozer architecture, as well as those with previous Phenom, Athlon and Sempron models that have an AM3 enclosure.


The CPU is powered by the Digi + VRM, which has been presented several times, with 6 + 2 phases. The 30,5 × 24,4 cm black printed circuit board has four DIMM sockets that support dual-channel operation with DDR3 modules up to 2133 MHz. The PWM area on the motherboard as well as the bridges are cooled by blue ribs, the whole product is characterized by a black-blue-white color triple, which is now considered a standard style at ASUS. Power is supplied through a 24-pin and an additional 8-pin power connector.


We also get a suitable offer with EVO for expansion rails. Three full-width PCI Express slots are available for work, of which blue and white can be used for graphics cards, one for VGA × 16, for two more cards shared in × 8 / × 8 mode. Both CrossFireX and SLI are supported. The third black slot is capable of × 4 mode and is recommended for other expansion cards. In addition to the long sockets, we also get two short (× 1) PCI Express and one traditional PCI bus.


A few words about backing up storage: The AMD SB950 provides native SATA 6 Gb / s ports, six in number, that support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 modes. A JMicron JMB362 controller has also been added to the board, offering two additional SATA ports, a Power eSATA and an eSATA to its host. Each port is capable of speeds of 3 Gb / s. A Realtek 8111E is responsible for the network and a Realtek ALC 892 8-channel control chip for the sound generation. The number and type of USB connectors are also important. Unfortunately, the SB950 only offers a USB 2.0 port, but at least 14 of them (8 of them on the back). Of course, there isn’t much of a motherboard without USB 3.0 anymore, so the M5A99X EVO comes with an ASMedia controller, offering four USB 3.0 adapters, two of which are on the back. If we’ve talked about it so much already, let’s take a look at the back section!


Of course, the M5A99X EVO does not lack the usual ASUS technologies, especially the EPU and TPU. All further details can be found in the specification list.


Key features summarized:

  • Dual Intelligent Processors 2 technology with DIGI + VRM digital power supply
  • UEFI BIOS (EZ Mode) - Flexible, easy-to-use BIOS interface
  • Auto Tuning - Auto System Level Up
  • Quad USB 3.0 and 6 Gb / s SATA support
  • Management of four GPU SLI and four GPU CrossFireX

Specification table:


ASUS M5A99X EVO gallery:

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{jospagebreak_scroll title = ASUS Sabertooth 990FX}

ASUS Sabertooth 990FX

Within the ranks of ASUS, the TUF (The Ultimate Force) family of sheets is perhaps even more special and special than the ROG series. When making TUF sheets, tuning is not the focus (it is also perfectly suitable for standard functions), but we get the best in everything else. The primary goal is reliability and longevity. The first and most important condition for this is the use of quality components and materials.


The components of the TUF boards are “Military Class” certified. What it means? Wrinkle-resistant performance, even in the harshest environments, thanks to the use of robust TUF coils, solid-state capacitors and MOSFET components that meet independent military standards and are tested by an independent partner. TUF coils, also known as metal alloy coils, are not made of ordinary iron, but of an alloy of various metals, thus coping with a rated current of 25 percent higher than the load capacity of a conventional component, up to 40 A.


And the one-piece housing eliminates the emission of vibrating sounds, resulting in excellent characteristics and durability, even in extreme conditions. Of course, this is only half of the coin, they also need a proper power supply for reliability. This is also done by Digi + VRM for the Sabertooth 990FX, working with 8 + 2 phases. We’ve heard a lot about this, but it’s even complemented by ESP.


ESP Efficient Switching Power provides optimal power supply to key components. The system, which is found exclusively on this motherboard, provides power to the switch not only to the CPU, but also to other key components (video card, LAN, and USB 3.0). ESP significantly increases the efficiency of the system and reduces the heat produced. In addition, ASUS pays special attention to cooling for TUF tiles and uses a special ceramic-containing process.


The ceramic coating of the CeraM! X heat sink coating technology provides 50 percent more surface area for heat dissipation. Innovative ceramics efficiently dissipate heat from the system. The ceramic used instead of the traditional antioxidant layer dissipates more heat due to its microscopic, irregular - and therefore larger - surface. Better cooling always contributes to better system stability. TUF Thermal Radar is responsible for the control.


TUF Thermal Radar monitors the temperature of critical parts of the motherboard in real time and automatically regulates the speed of the fans so that the system maintains excellent stability and does not overheat. There are a number of sensors next to many parts of the motherboard, and it is even possible to monitor them individually. Thermal Radar automatically calculates the ideal fan speeds based on the various parameters specified by users for each component, so everything stays cooler and more durable.


While we don’t usually attach much importance to the thing, surely electrostatic protection can also “save lives”. The Sabertooth 990FX does not ignore this issue either. ESD Guards are unique protection for motherboard components against unexpected electrostatic discharge (ESD). Electrostatic discharges occur at lightning speed and their effects are often underestimated. ASUS 'exclusive anti-charge chip, protective circuits and I / O backplate offer four times better protection to extend component life. Based on the information in the paragraphs above, it is not surprising that ASUS offers a 5-year warranty on motherboards in the TUF family.


This model also measures 30,5 × 24,4 cm using the frames provided by the ATX standard, the color of the printed circuit board is the usual black. The area around the AM3 + socket is quite airy and tidy, the rib system extends beyond the power supply to the 990FX north bridge with the help of a heat pipe. In addition to black, the colors of green and brown are predominant on the sheet, thus providing a kind of military style to the product. We find the usual four DIMMs next to the socket, with DDR3 and dual channel support. The limit is 32 GB in terms of capacity and 1866 MHz in terms of clock speed.


Power is also provided with a 24-pin and an 8-pin power connector on this model. Beneath the RAM slots is the SB950 South Bridge, with an unadulterated TUF rib on it. The same is true for storage storage as with the M5A99X. The AMD SB950 provides native SATA 6 Gb / s ports, six in number, that support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 modes. A JMicron JMB362 controller has also been added to the board, offering two additional SATA ports, a Power eSATA and an eSATA to its host. Each port is capable of speeds of 3 Gb / s.


The Sabertooth 990FX will not be a bottleneck for its owner either in terms of expansion rails. You get no less than four full-width PCI Express slots, of which black is limited to × 4 mode. It can also be used with three brown video cards, with × 16 / × 16 for two VGA systems and × 16 / × 8 / × 8 mode for three controllers, be it CrossFireX or SLI. We get a piece of a short, × 1 PCI Express, just like we get from the old PCI bus. We won't miss USB connectors either, the SB950 provides 14 2.0 ports (ten of which are on the back and four as pin pins on the PCB). In terms of USB 3.0, the ASMedia controller already mentioned for the M5A99X EVO is back, with four clips on the back and two pins on the PCB. LAN works with a Realtek 8111E, auido works with a Realtek ALC 892 8-channel chip.

Sabertooth 990FX back section:


Key features summarized:

  • TUF CeraM! X heatsink coating technology - Ceramic coating provides 50 percent more surface area for heat dissipation
  • TUF Thermal Radar - Real-time temperature measurement and heat dissipation
  • DIGI + VRM
  • TUF components (metal alloy coils, capacitors and MOSFET components; military specifications)
  • ESP [Efficient Switching Power] - Optimal power supply for key components

Specification table:


ASUS Sabertooth 990FX gallery:

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{jospagebreak_scroll title = ASUS Crosshair V Formula}

ASUS Crosshair V Formula

Members of the ASUS Crosshair series are the most beautiful dreams for AMD-minded, tuning and gaming-conscious customers. Crosshair V Formula (and Crosshair V Formula ThunderBolt) seeks to carry on this beautiful tradition. The fresh ROG board, of course, got the latest and greatest of everything currently available. AMD 990FX north bridge, SB950 south bridge, AM3 + socket. He is waiting for the Bulldozer with open arms, but is also willing to work with previous models up to the AM3 socket.


In this case, the power supply is provided by Extreme Engine Digi + VRM, with 8 + 2 phases. Needless to say, the design and style of the ATX standard 30,5 × 24,4 cm printed current follows the usual ROG recipe, true to the material and surface of the ribs, the use of color, and this to the unique ROG properties. In addition to the AM3 + socket, a densely laminated black rib runs along the 990FX chip and in the VRM area, with a heat pipe connection.

RoG Crosshair V Formula 2Dk

DDR3 modules can work in two-channel mode in the four DIMM slots, with a total capacity of up to 32 GB and a speed of 2133 MHz. Beneath the RAM sockets is the south bridge, on which a flattened, ROG-designed rib culminates. The advantage of the 990FX North Bridge is also evident in the Crosshair V Formula, for which we need to look at the area of ​​the expansion rails. This model also wears a total of four full-width PCI Express rails.

RoG Crosshair V Formula 3Dk

This allows you to use up to four video cards simultaneously (Quad SLI and Quad CFX), but since the fourth slot can only work in × 4 mode, this can be a limiting factor for the card. The specification therefore officially includes Tri-SLI and 3-way CrossFireX, the three rails can operate in the following modes: × 16 / × 16, or × 16 / × 8 / × 8. The latest Crosshair also comes with a short × 1 PCI Express and a PCI slot. What is certain is that with a well-tuned Bulldozer and a brutal 3D subsystem, this motherboard will have a chance to break records.


Regarding SATA ports, we can practically quote the other two boards: The AMD SB950 provides native SATA 6 Gb / s ports, six in number, which support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 modes. A JMicron JMB362 controller has also been added to the board, offering two additional SATA ports, a Power eSATA and an eSATA to its host. Each port is capable of speeds of 3 Gb / s. The network controller in the Crosshair V Formula is no longer an Intel solution, but an Intel solution, and the sound generator is also a much more steep copy in the person of the Supreme FX X-FI 2 8-channel controller, with support for many Creative features.


Legend has it that SupremeFX X-Fi 2 endows games with stunning sounds - the dream of every ROG staff member. EAX 5.0 and OpenAL provide realistic, cinematic sounds. The THX TruStudio Pro branding guarantees that games, music and movies sound even better. SupremeFX X-Fi uses 2 gold-plated connectors and high-quality capacitors to offer the best quality.


The SB950 has already been noted to provide only a USB 2.0 port, in this case 12 (8 of which are on the back, 1 is reserved for ROG Connect). Of course, the Crosshair V Formula wouldn’t be able to afford not to carry some of the newer standard either, so came the good old ASMedia controller, offering six USB 3.0 adapters, four of which are on the back.

Here is the back structure and connectors of the Crosshair V Formula:


Of course, there is a lot to be written beyond what has been described so far, such as the exclusive ROG “tentacles,” but since we’ve had quite a few ROG models lately, and we’ve covered these features in detail more than once, we won’t do it again now, but summarize it.


Key features summarized:

  • Three-card NVIDIA® SLI ™ / AMD CrossFireX ™ technology support
  • Extreme Engine Digi + - High-performance combination of analog and digital design elements
  • SupremeFX X-Fi 2 - Play with realistic, cinematic, surround sound
  • GameFirst - Speed ​​with traffic control
  • Intel® Gigabit LAN
  • UEFI BIOS - Flexible, easy-to-use BIOS interface

Specification table:


ASUS Crosshair V Formula Gallery:

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ASUS 'full 970/990-based AM3 + offering:


{jospagebreak_scroll title = Test Configuration, Consumption, Test Results I}

Test configuration

Our test configurations for measuring these three motherboards are made up of the following components. Of course, the latest BIOS available at the time was also posted on the boards before the tests were performed.



When assembling the machine, all parameters were left at their default values, except for the memory, which was set to 1600 MHz with timings of 8-8-8-20 for all models. The first and second CPU-Z images show the idle and load characteristics of the processor, respectively.



ASUS Sabertooth 990FX:


ASUS CrossHair V Formula:

c5f_cpuz_idlek c5f_cpuz_loadkc5f_cpuz_mbkc5f_cpuz_ramk


We started with high hopes for the tuning, and we had every reason to do so when looking at the motherboards. Then, unfortunately, the mood soon subsided as the fact began to take shape: This Phenom II X4 970 is certainly in vain Black Edition, our copy is a massively antituning piece. Obviously we didn’t spend days testing, but about the case [email protected] we also asked, unfortunately this time his good advice did not help the procin either. It is also revealing that practically all three sheets proved to be stable in the same clock. It was 3812 MHz, which means a “hard” 300 MHz plus, this is definitely not the case on the motherboards, we tried quite a few settings. The right hardware and software were both provided, however, this AMD CPU unfortunately did not prove to be a good partner. For the sake of order, we performed a series of measurements with 3812 MHz enforced in the Crosshair V Formula, and this was also included in the results. The real time for tuning will come with these pages with us when the FX 8150 arrives at the editorial office (= my room). 🙂




ASUS Crosshair V Formula


Consumption, of course, was also measured with these configurations, now with our new wattmeter, which I finally got from vatera after a thorough (= five minute) search of the market, I say this only as an interesting thing and not because of advertising. Of course, this is not suitable for laboratory-accuracy measurements either, but it conveys more accurate and balanced values ​​than its age predecessor. As shown in the table, we looked at it in four different modes consumption of the entire system. All power management capabilities of the processor were turned on. The three tabs are very close together, which is not surprising, but the tuning shows that the Phenom II's appetite has increased nicely.


test Results

The first of these measurements is the results related to the processor. During the test, we tried to create a comprehensive mix, so the table includes both synthetic, “rendering” and “coding” measurements.


The second table shows the results of the 3D measurements. Here we expected even fewer differences between the numbers than in the previous table, but for the sake of order, we took out the usual programs and some of the more popular titles from the games as well.


* Crysis 2: 1024 × 768/1680 × 1050/1920 × 1080: Time Square, DX11, High, 0 × AA, 16 × AF
* Dirt 3: 1024 × 768/1680 × 1050/1920 × 1080: DX11, Ultra, 8 × AA, 16 × AF
* Hawx 2: 1024 × 768/1680 × 1050/1920 × 1080: DX11, High, tessellation, all on, 8 × AA, 16 × AF
* Far Cry 2: 1024 × 768/1680 × 1050/1920 × 1080: DX10, Ultra high, 8 × AA, 8 × AF

{jospagebreak_scroll title = Test Results II, Final Word}

AIDA64 memory operations:




ASUS Sabetooth 990FX


ASUS Crosshair V Formula


ASUS Crosshair V Formula OC

AIDA64 read speed test (read test suite):




ASUS Sabertooth 990FX


ASUS Crosshair V Formula



Each of the three motherboards in the test is a strong competitor within its own category, along with the fact that the Sabertooth 990FX and Crosshair V Formula are hard to find even in real competition. Although the North Bridge-South Bridge dual still exists on the AM3 + platform, things that really affect performance are also on the processor at AMD, so it’s no wonder we didn’t measure much difference between the boards. However, there are huge differences in service and design.


The M5A99X EVO is the product of the common man. A smart choice is the 990X bridge, as it is cheaper than the 990FX, and the average buyer doesn’t even build a two-card system often, not that three-card. This model is free of anything other than features that help with average use, but it has no significant quality disadvantages in terms of structure. The price of around 32 forints, which is the final price, is formed from the totality of its properties advances to the recommended purchase. It’s also a good starting point for the Bulldozer.


The Sabertooth 990FX is hard to judge as it is a completely special model. In the case of not tuning and hard play is the primary, yet suitable for both. The motto of the TUF Sabertooth 990FX is strength, quality and reliability, resulting in a presumably long service life. What exactly this ingredients consist of is already covered in the description. What is certain is that if such a Sabertooth 990FX is installed in the machine, we can sit back, our components will be safe (of course, a good power supply is a prerequisite for this!) And our unique favorite will serve us for a long time.


We feel that new AMD processors would also like to reside on such a motherboard. The price of the product is a very interesting question, because the TUF Sabertooth 990FX can also be an easily recommended model when looking at the price lists. There seems to be a huge variance between the amounts. It is certain that in the more famous stores you can get it for about 45 forints from a warehouse, and in smaller places it will show up at the height of 000 forints. If they really buy there for that much, then we can talk about only 38-000 thousand forints difference compared to the M5A6X EVO, for example, which clearly recommended he also makes Sabertooth.

Crosshair V Formula BOX-Eng-3D-2k

The last cannon, the Crosshair V Formula, is roaring last. The capabilities of ROG sheets will hopefully no longer need to be introduced to most of our readers, as there were already many types in our hands. Now the latest AMD release is proven, we got what we expected from it. It is important to mention that we had a version without Thunderbolt card, but a package that includes an expansion card is available. Surprisingly, we have to look for this as ASUS Crosshair V Formula / Thunderbolt.


Like all ROG cards, it fully caters to the needs of gamers and tuners, soon with a Bulldozer-based processor thanks to the AM3 + socket and the AMD 990FX / SB 950 pair. With the price of 60 HUF, the Crosshair V Formula will not be the model the average user is looking for, but this is not one of its goals. It appeals to those who seek uniqueness and strive for the maximum - and are willing to sacrifice that. Although recommended in this way, keeping in mind the average needs you get a rating you like from U.S. The release of the new AMD proci is on the doorstep, and the ASUS AM3 + range is wide enough to offer an affordable product for every wallet, from entry level to starry skies.


The ASUS M5A99X EVO, Sabertooth 990FX and Crosshair V Formula motherboards are ADomestic representation of SUS provided for our test, thank you!

Gábor Pintér (gabi123)

 Thanks to the following sponsors for our permanent test components in this article:

Tried: ASUS M5A99X EVO, Sabertooth 990FX, Crosshair V Formula: Waiting for Bulldozer 1

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