This board's unique shielding afford the Sabertooth X99 some additional functionality. The reinforced front and back plates help support heavy weight video cards and CPU coolers. With the reduced footprint and added plating material, you might think the X99 Tuff is a bit cramped to work on, but we didn't find that to be the case.
The design is well laid out and amply spaced. Around the left and right edges where the first and fourth DDR4 slots are housed, is rather tight, so choose memory modules wisely. Anything with overly wide heatspreaders could be problematic.
Beginning from the upper portion of the board we have the main OC Socket resting amid ample room for us to seat our Corsair H110 AIO water cooler atop the Intel 5960X Haswell-E CPU. There we find the Military grade TUF MOSFETs and TUF Chokes, partially covered by the TUF Fortifier armor. At the very top are a couple of power connectors—4pin and an 8pin. Only one is necessary in conjunction with the main 24pin power connector found to the far right of the board.
Lining the right side and below the 24pin connector are the first of many fan connectors. There are 11 in all--nearly twice as many as we found on the Extreme 11. Below that is your CMOS switch for quickly reverting back to BIOS defaults. Moving down further is the USB 3.0 internal connector and another 4pin fan connector.
Here we find the 10x SATA 6Gb/s ports. Two of these are for SATA Express. Behind the SATA ports, moving to the left toward the middle of the board, we see where the X99 chipset is housed. Below the chipset is the board's only M.2 socket.
Along the bottom of the board we have more fan connectors (part of the total 11), audio connectors, internal USB headers and to the far left, we see the TUF 10K Ti capacitors. There are three PCI Express x16 slots on the board, which support CrossFire and SLI, but Quad GPU will have to come from two dual-GPU solutions, like a pair of AMD R9 295x2 cards, for example.
Here's a look at the rear IO on the X99 TUF. From the left we first see the 8-channel audio ports and optical SPDIF. The dual LAN ports sit atop 4x HighSpeed USB 3.0 ports, which are seated next to a pair of even speedier USB 3.1 ports. Next, we have the BIOS Flash switch followed by the dedicated TUF Detective USB port for phones and tablet system monitoring. Finally, on the end are a quartet of old legacy USB 2.0 ports.
The board is not large at all but the spacing is fantastic and well thought-out providing a good number of cutting edge features while also offering plenty of room to work.