Closer Look: Z87 GRYPHON
The Z87 GRYPHON seems to sport the same ceramic-coated power heat sinks as previous members of the TUF family. I say “seems” because although the heat sinks have the same rough texture, ASUS doesn’t mention “ceramic” or “Ceramix” (the original term they used to describe the heat sinks) anywhere in the marketing or review materials for this motherboard. Since this is a micro ATX motherboard, there are only four PCI-E slots. The top two PCI-E x16 slots will split the 16 lanes available from the CPU as x8 and x8 if you have two graphics cards.
The accessories include a certificate of reliability, which details the military specification tests the various components have passed; four latching SATA cables, an SLI connector, an I/O panel, ASUS “Q Connectors” for quick front-panel hookup, a manual, and the warranty information.
At the front of the board are the USB 3.0 header, the main ATX power connector, a chassis fan connector, and the “MemOK” button. This handy button will reset memory timings should you render the system unbootable while overclocking memory.
The I/O panel has four USB 2.0 ports, a dual-link DVI port, HDMI port, optical audio port, four USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet jack, and a standard analog audio panel. Missing is a PS/2 port, another sign that this board isn’t aimed at gamers.
There’s not much going on at the back of the board, but you might notice what seem to be some oddly-placed screw holes. These are for the TUF Fortifier component of the optional $49.00 GRYPHON Armor kit. The “Fortifier” is a rather thick metal plate that attaches to the bottom of the motherboard to keep it from flexing under the weight of video cards and giant CPU coolers. Considering how many CPU coolers are much heavier than the Intel recommended maximum, this probably isn’t a bad idea.
Let’s take a look at the details of this board in the next section.