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ASUS Gryphon Z87 Review


S_A_V
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ASUS Gryphon Z87 is the first The Ultimate Force (TUF) Series board in mATX form-factor.

By default it comes without "thermal shield" but you can order TUF Gryphon Armor Kit separately if you wish.

The price tag is only $170 that makes this board interesting for using in compact PC builds.

It's not ROG board but it still has some features, which is more than enough for daily aircooling OC.

Let see what OC results we can do with this board and Intel Core i7-4770K CPU.

 

Specification

 

Vendor: ASUS

Model: Gryphon Z87

CPU Support: Intel Core i5/i7 LGA1150

System bus: DMI 2.0, 20 GBps

Chipset: Intel Z87 (Lynx Point)

RAM support: 4x DDR3 DIMM slots up to 32 GBytes with dual channel support

Expansion slots:

- 2x PCI-E 3.0 x16 (works in x16+x0 or x8+x8 mode)

- 1x PCI-E 2.0 x16 (works in x4 mode)

- 1x PCI-E 2.0 x1

Multi-GPU support: SLI and CrossFireX - up to 2 video cards

SATA support: 6x SATA3 6 GBps ports (using Intel Z87 PCH)

eSATA support: none

mSATA support: none

RAID support: RAID 0/1/5/10 (using Intel Z87 PCH)

On-board LAN: Intel I217-V Gigabit Ethernet

On-board Sound: Realtek ALC892 7.1+2 Channel HD-Audio Codec

USB 2.0: 4x ports in back panel + 4x internal ports (using Intel Z87 PCH)

USB 3.0: 4x ports in back panel + 4x internal ports (using Intel Z87 PCH)

IEEE 1394 support: none

System monitoring: Nuvoton NCT6791D and Nuvoton NCT7802Y

Power connectors: 1x ATX 24-pin and 1x 8-pin EPS12V

Board size: 244x244-mm

Form factor: mATX

Price: $170 USD

 

Box and accessories

 

ASUS Gryphon Z87 comes in compact box not so much bigger than the board itself:

 

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(click on any picture to see full size version)

 

Back side of the box shows some of features supported by the board:

 

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Items bundled with the board:

- User guide;

- 5 year warranty notice;

- Certificate of reliability;

- Driver and software DVD;

- Back panel I/O Shield;

- SATA 6 GB/s cables (4 pcs);

- Flexible SLI bridge;

- ASUS Q-Connectors;

 

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PCB design and features

 

Board size is standard 244x244-mm mATX.

It has seven fan connectors - 6x 4-pin and 1x 3-pin. Connected fans can be controlled in the BIOS and ASUS AI Suite III.

 

Front side of the board:

 

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Back side of the board:

 

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ASUS Gryphon Z87 without heatsinks:

 

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The board uses Socket 1150 by Foxconn:

 

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This CPU socket supports Intel Haswell-based Core i5/i7 CPUs

 

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There is 4x slots for DDR3 RAM with dual channel support:

 

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And four PCI Express slots for expansion cards (two PCI-E x16, one PCI-E 4x and one PCI-E 1x):

 

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Back panel interfaces includes:

- 4x USB 2.0 ports

- 1x DVI-out

- 1x HDMI-out

- 1x optical SPDIF-out

- 4x USB 3.0 ports

- 1x LAN interface

- 6x in/out 3.5-mm mini-jack for HD Audio Codec

 

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All six SATA ports can works at 6 GBps speed.

Now we can use up to 6x SSD in RAID0 at full speed for PCMark on Intel platform without using some expensive discrete controllers!

 

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Intel I217-V Gigabit Ethernet controller

 

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Realtek ALC892 - 7.1+2 Channel HD Audio Codec

 

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Intel Z87 PCH

 

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There is two buttons in the low left corner of the board - BIOS_FLBK and DirectKey.

BIOS flashback is recovery feature. Even if current BIOS are corrupted and system won't boot - you can save BIOS image to USB stick, insert it to the board and use BIOS_FLBK button.

DirectKey button can be used for entering BIOS after reset.

Alternatively you can select BIOS option to use DirectKey as Power button.

 

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Nuvoton NCT6791D - Hardware monitoring IC

 

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Nuvoton NCT7802Y - Hardware monitoring IC with Intel PECI 3.0 support (voltages, fan control)

 

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ASMedia AMS1480 - PCI-Express Gen3 Switch

This switches commutates 8 lanes between first and second PCI Express x16 slots

If second slot is empty all 16 lanes goes to the first slot.

In case if some card installed in second slot - 8 lanes goes to first slot and 8 to second slot.

 

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ASMedia ASM1442 - High speed TMDS level shift IC for DVI/HDMI-out support

 

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TPU KB3720QF - TurboV Processing Unit

 

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VRM design

 

For input power from PSU there is one 24-pin connector

 

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And one 8-pin connector

 

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CPU VRM uses 8-phase design

 

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Vcore-controller is remarked ASUS DIGI+ APS1251 (I guess it's some sort of CHiL Semiconductor)

 

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There is 8 pairs of ON Semiconductor NTMFS4937N+NTMFS4955N Power MOSFETs and 4 International Rectifier IR3535MPBF drivers:

 

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Memory VRM is 2-phases and uses ASUS DIGI+ ASP1103 controller

 

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Heatsinks

 

ASUS Gryphon Z87 uses two heatsinks. First of them covers MOSFETs of CPU VRM.

 

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Another heatsink cools Intel Z87 PCH

 

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VRM heatsink uses one copper heatpipe. PCH heatsink is fully aluminium.

 

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They used 6 screws to mount on motherboard.

 

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VRM heatsink stays cool even if system is overclocked.

PCH heatsink more hotter than VRM heatsink, but temperatures still in safe range.

 

UEFI BIOS features

 

The board was tested with BIOS version 3009 [24-May-2013].

 

You can download archive with full set of ASUS Gryphon Z87 BIOS Screens from here: asus_gryphon_z87_bios_screens.rar

Also, you can download my ASUS Gryphon Z87 BIOS profile for Core i7-4770K @ 4500 MHz 1.17V from here: asus_gryphon_z87_i7-4770k_4500mhz_bios_profile.rar

 

Available hotkeys in BIOS:

ESC - Exit menu

F1 - Help

F2 - Load previous settings

F3 - Shortcut

F4 - Add shortcut to My Favorites

F5 - Load optimized default settings

F7 - Switches to Advanced mode from EZ mode)

F8 - Boot menu

F10 - Save changes and reset

F12 - Print Screen (make screenshot and save it to any connected storage device)

 

EZ BIOS mode:

 

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My Favorites:

 

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Main:

 

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AI Tweaker:

 

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Advanced:

 

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Monitor:

 

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Boot:

 

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BIOS settings can be stored to 8 OC Profiles:

 

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Any profile can be saved/loaded as .cmo-file to/from USB drive:

 

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BIOS can be updated from .CAP-file using ASUS EZ Flash 2 Utility:

 

m4d5d8pcxzalpfz4g.jpg

 

Testbed

 

The board was tested in open stand with that configuration:

 

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CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K C0 (Haswell), 3500 MHz, Socket 1150

Motherboards:

- ASUS Gryphon Z87, Intel Z87, BIOS 3009

- Intel DZ87KLT-75K (Kinsley Thunderbolt), Intel Z87, BIOS 0334

RAM: GeIL EVO Corsa GOC316GB2400C11QC (Samsung K4B2G0846D-HCH9) DDR3-2400 4x4 Gb

VGA: Intel HD Graphics 4600

SSD: Corsair Neutron GTX 120Gb (firmware M206)

PSU: Corsair Professional Series Gold AX1200 (CMPSU-1200AX) 1200W

Thermal interface: Arctic Cooling MX-4

CPU cooler: Thermalright Archon + 2x Thermalright TY-140 140-mm fans.

 

Drivers and software used:

- Windows 7 Service Pack 1 x64 v6.1.7601;

- Intel Chipset Device Software v 9.4.0.1017;

- Intel Management Engine Driver v9.5.0.1428;

- Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver v12.6.0.1033;

- Intel HD Graphics driver v15.31.7.3131;

- Intel USB 3.0 Driver v2.5.0.19;

- CPU-Z v1.64.1;

- GPU-Z v0.71;

- LinX v0.6.4 + updated linpack_xeon64.exe from Linpack v10.3.11.019;

- Final Wire AIDA64 Extreme Edition v2.85.2454 beta;

- MaxxMEM v1.99;

- Super PI / mod v1.6;

- Hexus PFfast v4.1;

- wPrime v1.55;

- WinRAR v5.00b2 x64;

- Cinebench R11.5

- UnRAR-crack Benchmark 2011;

- Fritz Chess Benchmark.

 

Overclocking results

 

10 minutes of LinX testing was used for checking stability.

Stable CPU OC - 4500 MHz only 1.17V.

Ring Bus (Cache) works at 4500 MHz with 1.20V.

As you can see voltages remains the same in idle and loaded:

 

jf6llz5wym1v2344g.jpg

6h4roh67om872qi4g.jpg

 

With higher Vcore CPU temperature goes too high and it start to throttle.

It seems Haswell CPUs needs thermal interface replacement under HSF for overclocking more than 4400-4500 MHz on air cooling, but it is another story.

 

Minimal voltage to boot Windows at 5 GHz was 1.30V.

CPU-Z valid shows it as 1.31V for some reasons, but it was 1.30V set in BIOS and shows in Windows.

Ring Bus (Cache) works at 4700 MHz with 1.25V.

In this mode CPU can run some benchmarks, except long and multithreaded like wPrime 1024M.

 

qr0w4qajq1ypwum4g.jpg

 

Working BCLK range with default 5/5 REG/DMI ratio (CPU Strap = 100): 100-106 MHz

 

ylber2idyg4qcl34g.jpg

 

Working BCLK range with 4/5 REG/DMI ratio (CPU Strap = 125): 125-128 MHz

 

di6dakdbtqk8y1n4g.jpg

 

I tried to boot with 3/5 REG/DMI ratio (CPU Strap = 166) multiple times but no success.

The same CPU was checked in Intel DZ87KLT-75K board for 166 MHz BCLK OC.

Disabling intergated graphics core and using Palit 7300GT Sonic card won't help.

 

Memory OC was 2666 MHz 10-12-12-28 1T 1.85V - it's the same stable OC for used memory kit as it works on most Z77 boards before.

 

ubm1ij2jnv6qbj84g.jpg

 

I was not able to boot at 2800 MHz memory clock on this board, even with 11-13-13-30 2T.

 

Performance

 

Performance measures in two modes - stock clocks (Turbo Boost enabled, 3700-3900 MHz depends on loading) and stable CPU OC on air cooling to 4500 MHz.

For comparison I used Intel Z87 reference board (DZ87KLT-75K) and one of the best Z77-based board ASUS Maximus V Extreme with i7-3770K CPU.

Memory runs with the same setting on all boards and both stock and OC modes - 2400 MHz 9-11-11-28 1T 1.80V 4x4Gb in Dual Channel mode.

 

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Power consumption

 

I used UNI-T UT71E with power adapter to measure power consumption of the whole system "from the wall".

 

Z77+3770K stock mode settings: 3700-3900 MHz 1.000V CPU (Turbo Boost enabled), 1150 MHz iGPU

Z77+3770K OC mode settings: 4500 MHz 1.30V CPU, 1650 MHz 1.35V iGPU

Z87+4770K stock mode settings: 3700-3900 MHz 1.017V CPU (Turbo Boost enabled), 1250 MHz iGPU

Z87+4770K OC mode settings: 4500 MHz 1.15V CPU, 1800 MHz 1.35V iGPU

 

All Power-related BIOS settings and Windows power profile was set as "High performance".

There was some fluctuations all the time, I recorded peak power consumption in each measurement mode. It gives a rough estimate, but it's better than nothing.

 

1vdwpuxig3ijwba6g.jpg

 

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Conclusion

 

After all I think Gryphon Z87 is a good small board for non-extreme users. It has all that they need.

 

Pros:

 

The board works stable and without any issues. Voltages remains the same in idle and loaded (when CPU Load-line Calibration is set to Level 7 or 8).

Available voltage ranges, memory timings and other BIOS settings is enough for daily overclocking (air/water). Not checked any extreme OC with this board yet.

5 year warranty for TUF Series board.

Price isn't too big ($170) for the features it offers.

 

Cons:

 

Big CPU heatsinks (like Thermalright Archon) can't be used with discrete graphics card and RAM modules with big heasinks at the same time.

If you mount CPU heatsink vertically - it will blocks first PCI Express slot.

If you mount CPU heatsink horizontally - it will blocks 3 of 4 RAM slots (but you still can use standard height modules).

It's very common restrictions of many mATX boards (and some ATX too), not only ASUS Gryphon Z87.

 

Memory performance is slightly lower than Intel reference board (DZ87KLT-75K).

I think it's because of some subtimings settings used different values by default and can be fixed in next BIOS versions.

On the other hand I stuck at 2400 MHz with Intel board no matter what timings and voltages.

In this case, lower memory performance of ASUS Gryphon Z87 at 2400 MHz is compensated by better (than Intel board) memory overclocking.

 

I was not able to boot at 166 MHz strap with the same CPU that works at this base clock on Intel board. May be it's just needs more time to tweak BIOS settings, I had only few days to test.

Also I can't boot at 2800+ RAM. May be it's matter of my CPUs IMC quality, need to check with more Z87 boards first before make final conclusion.

Edited by S_A_V
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