The ASUS GRYPHON Z87 is a microATX socket LGA1150 motherboard targeted for the “Haswell” processors (fourth-generation Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors). It is part of ASUS’ TUF (The Ultimate Force) series and, as such, comes with ASUS’ exclusive thermal armor to improve the system’s thermal management. Therefore, even though this motherboard uses the microATX form factor, it is targeted to users building a gaming PC. Let’s see what this motherboard has to offer.
The new Intel Z87 chipset provides two important upgrades compared to its predecessor, the Z77: six USB 3.0 ports instead of four and six SATA-600 ports instead of only two. Another important difference between the two chipsets is where the video outputs of the motherboard are connected. While with both chipsets the video is generated by the CPU, on the Z77 the video signal was routed to the chipset, and the video outputs were connected to the chipset. On the Z87 chipset, the video outputs are connected directly to the processor. Both chipsets support up to three independent video monitors. The Z87 supports all other features provided by the Z77, such as Smart Response (installing an SSD as a cache for the main hard drive), Smart Connect (allowing the computer to receive emails and refresh webpages while it is in sleep mode), and Rapid Start (faster boot times) technologies.
You can see the ASUS GRYPHON Z87 motherboard without the thermal armor in Figure 1. In Figure 2, you can see the components of the thermal armor and, in Figure 3, the motherboard with the thermal armor installed. The thermal armor comes with a fan, which is installed at the motherboard’s rear panel and blows hot air present in the unit under the thermal armor to the outside of the computer.