Review Index:

ASUS Gryphon Z87 TUF Micro-ATX Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Thermal Armor Kit and Included Accessories

Thermal Armor Kit Preview

Even though the Thermal Armor is not included with the base Gryphon Z87 packaging, we decided to give you a taste of what the board looks like with it armor on.

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Similar in nature to the previous generation Thermal Armor overlay, the board overlay is a tough plastic cover with a finish mimicking the look of corrugated metal. ASUS even provide covers for all PCI-Express ports, SATA ports, and USB headers (both the 2.0 and 3.0 headers).

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One of the new additions to the Thermal Armor Kit is inclusion of a steel back-plate giving the board extra protection and more rigidity. ASUS has dubbed the back plate the "TUF Fortifier".

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In the kit, ASUS also provides covers for all rear panel ports that require them as well as a 40mm fan that sits just behind the rear panel DVI port. The fan is oriented to suck air towards the motherboard components to distribute cooling airflow to the covered areas. Note that the kit also includes a dust cover for the rear panel shield.

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Even with its armor, the Gryphon Z87 easily accommodates even the larger CPU coolers like the Noctua NH-D14 shown. The fit between tall memory modules and the front intake fan is tight, but should not be a problem.

Included Accessories

In keeping with the board's military theme, ASUS included the bare necessities to get the board up and running - only what you need and nothing you don't.

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In typical ASUS fashion, the bundled user manuals and installation DVDs provide plenty of information to get the board up and running. Also included is a warranty guide outlining the Gryphon Z87's five year warranty coverage and a Certificate of Reliability.

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The included rear panel shield is a base black color with all device ports clearly marked in white lettering for easy identification. There is also an air intake over the slot for the DVI port for the air filter provided in the add-on Armor kit.

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A total of four 6Gb/s rated SATA cables. All cables integrate port locks with a mix of straight and 90 degree connectors included.

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For use with the on-board front panel headers, ASUS included their Q-Connector header plugs. You simply plug the front panel plugs into the Q-Connector and plug the Q-Connector into the appropriate board header. It makes installation the front panel plugs much easier.

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A single NVIDIA SLI cable is included for 2-way multi-GPU use.

June 3, 2013 | 08:55 AM - Posted by Nigel (not verified)

Thanks for the review. I'm glad I purchased this board!

June 3, 2013 | 11:06 AM - Posted by HappyUser (not verified)

bro have you bought the armor kit also?
any link where to buy it?

June 6, 2013 | 10:20 AM - Posted by Nigel (not verified)

No mate I have not seen one available anywhere in the UK. I think the armout is a gimmick anyway.

July 1, 2013 | 09:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It is currently available on Newegg. Additionally we have found in our testing that the Armor especially when used with the assist fan can provide lower operating temperatures part of this as a whole occurs as the armor kit works with thermal radar system ( the motherboard has on board temperature sensors ) these will adjust your system fans to provide optimal cooling.

July 1, 2013 | 09:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You can get it from Newegg currently.

June 4, 2013 | 12:00 PM - Posted by Justin 150 (not verified)

This has the same layout problem that I see with virtually every Matx board. There is not enough space between the bottom of the memory sockets and the top PCI-e slot. If you watercool your GPU (or have a GPU with additional cooling on back of card) then you will struggle to use active fan cooling on the memory. If you have a low airflow case that will end up frying the memory.

It is not even a difficult problem to solve, just move the memory slots up the board by 1 cm, there is clearly space

June 5, 2013 | 12:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

why do yo want to actively cool the memory.... that's pointless and a big waste of cash.

If you have a nice big graphics card which is water cooled with a back plate, chances are you have a case with decent airflow as well also high speed memory is pointless unless you are using the on-board graphics which is clearly not the case here.

July 1, 2013 | 09:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

memory speeds at 2400 or greater ideally need active cooling to ensure heavy load stability especially over time. Additionally ram can impact compression and other performance aspects depending on your work load it can be a noticeable improvement. In most standard applications memory speed will not immediately impact performance but there are games that can also be impacted from increase in memory speed as opposed to just the performance increase that can be impacted from the discrete GPU. If you consider at times this swing of 3 to 5 frames depending on the engine could bring up a minimum frame rate this is something that should be factored in a high performance build.

June 5, 2013 | 06:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Does the Armor Kit affect to the board temperatures in any way? And when does it retail?

June 5, 2013 | 08:27 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Not sure on the retail release of the armor kit, but it should be soon.

As far as temps, we will have a follow-up review covering the amor kit and its impacts on temperatures and board performance in the near future.


June 9, 2013 | 09:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'd like to ask about the power consumption levels on this board compared to other boards

June 10, 2013 | 01:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm planning my next build on this motherboard. But I'm still curious about the back-plate. Is it included with the board or must be purchased separately?

June 11, 2013 | 01:01 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

If you are talking about the Fortifier back plate, it is not included in the base board packaging.  You must purchase the Gryphon Armor Kit to get the armor and the fortifier back plate...

June 16, 2013 | 02:01 PM - Posted by Anonymousse (not verified)

Do any 1150 micro mb come with both 4 ram slots and mpci onboard for taking an 11ac card today ? As this is holding up any buying choices I make in the next few weeks to build a new PC here.... I wonder why I can't seem to buy what I want and potentially need sooner than later.... and were might I find a good wireless 11AC card to use in the UK today !

July 1, 2013 | 09:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The maximus VI gene has on board support for mini PCIe wireless as well as support for M.2 flash storage. Depending on your total expansion needs though you could easily go with a higher performing 3x3 PCIe based solution like our PCE-AC66.

June 17, 2013 | 01:33 AM - Posted by FanBoy (not verified)

I have the Z87 Gryphon mATX mobo with a Haswell i5-4670K unlocked CPU. When I run AI Suite III, there are no "Dual Intelligent Processor" pages. At least, I can't find them.

--> Were you really running this on a Gryphon? If so, PLEASE tell me how to get from the Thermal Radar pages to the DIP pages.

I'm suspecting that the Gryphon actually doesn't have DIPs, and that Asus is carefully not mentioning this fact in all the hype.



January 22, 2014 | 11:39 AM - Posted by Sephie (not verified)

That sucks. :(

Did you find out what the situation is for the Gryphon?

June 19, 2013 | 12:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Will the NH-D14 block the 1st PCI-E x16 slot?

June 24, 2013 | 03:47 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"In the upper left quadrant of the board are the front panel audio header, S/PDIF output header, Thunderbolt device header, CHA_FAN4 header, clear CMOS jumper, and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header."

So is Thunderbolt working or not? Curious as to why you mention it, and did not test it.

June 25, 2013 | 09:13 PM - Posted by Patosan (not verified)

Does Gryphon have the usb3 sleep problem ?
If so, is there an expected date for the "fixed" batch to hit the shops ?
Generally do the maufacturers release fixed boards as old stock ends in each flavor of board ? Or do they decide on a fixed date to release all boards with fixes on the one date ?

June 27, 2013 | 02:22 AM - Posted by Smitty (not verified)

You mention a BIOS switch that enables you to choose between the primary and secondary bios, but I can't seem to find the switch. Does it really have one? I might have accidentally bricked mine.

July 1, 2013 | 09:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This was noted incorrectly in the review. Should you need to I would recommend you attempt to recover the UEFI ( bios ) via USB Bios Flashback.

December 24, 2013 | 12:26 AM - Posted by peru (not verified)

i been having a lot problems with the sound
it shows that is sound coming out but no noise

December 24, 2013 | 12:26 AM - Posted by peru (not verified)

please can someone help me with this problem

January 15, 2014 | 06:05 AM - Posted by Waki (not verified)


thanks for a nice review. Nice to see NHD14 is ok for ram modules, but is not that cooler wide enough so it will collide with dedicated graphic card in PCIE 3.0 slot? Seems more than tight from the picture. The 14cm fan could be the issue, but that can be replaced with 12cm one. I would like to buy this board for its 5y warranty, got NHD14 and r9 280x already. Thanks for the answer.

January 22, 2014 | 11:36 AM - Posted by Sephie (not verified)

This review contains falsehoods, saying that "The main app opens to either the Thermal Radar 2 or Dual Intelligent Processors 4 page, .."

The Grypnon does NOT include DIP afaik. It has EPU and Turbo V Evo (which is similar to TPU), but not the TPU + EPU = DIP feature.

Whether or not this is is ASUS providing misleading info or the reviewer not paying attention, this has apparently already duped one buyer.

@Waki Noctua (NH D14) has a compatibility list on their website and they would have listed this issue. Please double check with them, but I believe the D14 will not obstrucy the 1st PCIe slot.

February 27, 2014 | 05:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What is the deal with the Thunderbolt header on this board. Is it operational? Or can it be made operational?

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