Now that Intel's latest 4th Gen Core i7/i5 CPUs have launched, there's been a bit of grumbling in enthusiast circles about the chips, but with Computex running at the same time, the boards themselves haven't received a lot of attention. I myself thought of having a few motherboard reviews ready for the launch of the platform, but the high volume of traffic related to Computex-specific news made posting reviews a risk, as a good product might have gone by unnoticed. The last day of Computex is still underway as I write this review, and a slew of different products have also caught my attention every day of the exhibit, yet Z87-based motherboards are still arriving at stores, ready for purchase, and I, contrary to the reaction of many enthusiasts, actually like Haswell a lot.
Rumors that many Haswell CPU reviews posted on sites other than TechPowerUp used ES (Engineering Sample) chips without the same overclocking potential as retail chips, and that retail chips actually clock lower overall, are now also rampant, but I haven't run into any such problems myself. Several retail i7-4770K chips I have clock just as high as previous Intel-based CPUs while performing better clock for clock, making the motherboards one of the first things to examine for a commonality that is limiting clocks. I happen to have a lot of different motherboards that support Intel's latest i7-4770K. In fact, hardly anyone else has so many boards and retail chips, so I set to testing these boards with that query in mind.
With the launch of Haswell, many motherboard makers have introduced brand-new product lines that were each built after speaking to end users about what they want. One of the biggest things I heard people asking for was a larger selection of smaller "high-end" motherboards, both in mATX and mITX form factors. That said, packing in a lot of features can be a truly complex task with a smaller motherboard as there is less available space to fit stuff into, but over the years, ASUS has proven time and again that moving into smaller form factors with their ROG product line hasn't hampered them one bit, and there are in fact quite a few enthusiasts out there that swear by the memory-overclocking ability of ASUS's ROG Maximus V Gene. However, not everyone likes black and red. ASUS, knowing this, already had several "TUF" series motherboards that were a complete diversion from what the ROG product line offered. This time around, ASUS has, like with its ROG line, updated their "TUF" line-up to include a mATX product, and I've put it to the test. Does the motherboard matter when overclocking Haswell? Does moving to a smaller motherboard affect clocking ability? How about stuffing two high-end VGAs into a smaller board? The ASUS Gryphon is ready to fight THAT battle.
4th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processor family for the LGA 1150 Socket
CPU Power: 8 Phases Memory Power: 2 Phases
Intel Z87 Express
Dependant on installed CPU
4 x DIMM, Max. 32 GB, DDR3 1066 to DDR3 3000+(OC)
AMI UEFI BIOS with 64 Mb Flash ROM
2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16 or x8/x8) 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot(x4 mode max)br /> 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot
6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Intel Z87)
1 x Intel I217V Gigabit LAN
6 x USB 3.0 ports (2 at front panel, 4 at rear panel) 8 x USB 2.0 ports (4 at front panel, 4 at rear panel) 1 x RJ45 LAN connectors 1 x Audio block with 6 OFC audio jacks 1 x Optical Digital Audio port 1 x HDMI port 1 x DVI-D port
Realtek ALC892 HD CODEC
6 x 4-pin PWM, 1 x 3-pin
uATX Form Factor (244 mm x 244 mm)
TUF ENGINE! Power Design
TUF Components (Alloy choke, Ti-Cap. and MOSFET; certified by military-standard)