When it comes time to make a motherboard purchase, one of the first names that comes to mind is Asus. Having been in the business of making quality motherboard for years. Asus knows what it takes to produce a quality driven product that produces the performance that we enthusiasts require on a daily basis. With the success of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) series of motherboards, Asus has added to their wide range with the TUF (The Ultimate Force) series. We are going to take a look at the first of Asus’s offerings in the TUF series, the Sabertooth 55i.
The TUF series is specially designed to meet the demanding needs of power users while performing well even under extreme conditions. The TUF series have been submitted to a more stringent testing program compared to other motherboard producers. To deliver the most performance, the TUF series is solidly constructed and equipped with resilient components that have undergone military-style testing. The Sabertooth 55i is designed around a “Marine Cool” concept, which incorporates the Intel P55 chipset along with “tough” features to give users a solid and stable computing platform.
Not only did the Sabertooth 55i go through military-style testing, it appears that it picked up some of the military’s colors. I can think of several mods that this would look great in like either of AmericanFreak’s Radio Pack mods.
CPU, Chipset and Graphics
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.
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.
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!
PCIe 2.0 – This motherboard supports the latest PCIe 2.0 devices for double speed and bandwidth which enhances system performance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
DTS – Plug and Safe! – 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
Q-LED – The Q-LED lights make it easy to identify any errors found in the boot process. In the event of a device failure on POST, the corresponding LED for that device will light up until the problem is resolved. This covers the CPU, VGA, DIMM and Boot devices.
Q-Slot – The Q-Slot makes the removal of PCI Express cards a lot easier than the older tab styles. Rather than trying to squeeze your finger down to try and lift the tab and slide the card out at the same time, you simply use a pencil or pen to press down the Q-Slot tab and the card pops right out.
Q-DIMM – The Q-DIMM allows quick and easy installation and removal of memory. Using the older dual clip style latches, there are times you will find that there is a clearance issue with the latch closest to the VGA slot when used with larger video cards. With Q-DIMM this is no longer a problem.
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.
*Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs. Some hyper DIMMs only support one DIMM per channel. Refer to Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors List) for details. **Please visit www.asus.com or refer to the user manual for the Memory QVL.
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (single at x16 or dual at x8/x8 mode) 3 x PCIe 2.0 x 1 (2.5GT/s) 2 x PCI
Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology Supports ATI Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology
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
Realtek 8112L PCIe Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2
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
VIA 6308P controller supports 2 x 1394a ports (one at mid-board; one at back panel)
14 USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 8 ports at back panel)
ASUS Unique Features
Exclusive TUF Features
“TUF ENGINE!” Power Design – 12-phase CPU Power – 2-phase Memory Power – 2-phase VTT_CPU Power – E.S.P. : Efficient Switching Power Design for 3VSB/1.8V/1.05V – TUF Cap. & MOSFET (certified by military-standard)
“Ultimate COOL!” Thermal Solution – CeraM!X Heatsink Coating Tech. – CoolMem! – T.Probe Technology – ASUS Fan Xpert
ASUS Q-Connector ASUS Q-Shield ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED) ASUS Q-Slot ASUS Q-DIMM ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3 ASUS EZ Flash 2 ASUS MyLogo 2 ASUS O.C. Profile Multi-language BIOS
Back Panel I/O Ports
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
16 Mb Flash ROM, AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI 2.0a
WfM 2.0,DMI 2.0,WOL by PME,WOR by PME,PXE
User’s manual 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable 6 x SATA cable 1 x 2-port USB and eSATA module CoolMem Fan Frame ASUS Q-Shield 2 in 1 Q-connector 1 x ASUS SLI bridge connector
Drivers Anti-virus software (OEM version) ASUS Update ASUS Utilities
ATX Form Factor 12 inch x 9.6 inch (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm)