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Armored: ASUS Z87 Gryphon Reviewed - Overclocking and Test Setup Featured

Test Setup

We have an i5-4670K that can hit 4.6GHz before things get unstable and our Noctua NH-U12S does a good job of supporting our overclocks even though it's not one of the biggest coolers we have in the cupboard. The Corsair HX-850 is overkill but it allows us some headroom for SLI configurations and the Lian Li Pitstop T60 open air test bench makes it easier to both relocate and keep our testing area "neat-ish..." 

Open Air Test Bench

CPU

i5-4670K

CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-U12S
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile - Black (4x4GB)
Case Lian Li Pitstop T60
Hard Drive

Seagate Barracuda 2TB & Intel 520 120GB SSD

Power Supply

Corsair HX850

Graphics Cards

Gigabyte GTX670 OC 2GB Windforce3 (in SLI)
MSI GTX 760 HAWK
Gigabyte GTX 580 (Stock cooler)

Tested without a discrete GPU for a number of scenarios

Audio

Corsair HSA-1 headset

Network

Direct connection to the cable modem &
Shared Gigabit connection via Netgear WNDR3700 router

Optical Samsung SATA2 BluRay drive
OS
Windows 7 & Windows 8.1

Closed Case Testing

Due to the nature of the Thermal Armor, we also tested this motherboard in a closed case with a water loop to see how effective the armor kit was in a real life scenario. The case fans and radiator fans were tested running off the mother board headers for the core benchmarking. See the spec below.

CPU

i5-4670K

CPU Cooler XSPC Raystorm 720 EX240 Custom Water loop
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile - Black (4x4GB)
Case Fractal Design Arc Midi R2
Hard Drive

Seagate Barracuda 2TB & Intel 520 120GB SSD

Power Supply

Fractal Design Newton R3 white 1000W Power Supply

Graphics Cards

Gigabyte GTX670 OC 2GB Windforce3 (in SLI)
MSI GTX 760 HAWK
Gigabyte GTX 580 (Stock cooler)

Audio

Corsair HSA-1 headset / GameCom 780 USB Headset

Network

Direct connection to the cable modem &
Shared Gigabit connection via Netgear WNDR3700 router

Optical USB Samsung DVD writer
OS Windows 7 & Windows 8.1

When testing in the closed case, we tested with normal airflow as someone would normally build a PC but then we also tested with obstructed airflow by placing the Arc Midi R2 with its whole front panel 1cm away from a flat surface. The intention was to increase the internal ambient case temperature to see if the armor made a difference and to also test how loud the 40mm fan got on the standard profile.

Overclocking

I was able to achieve a manual overclock of 4.6GHz with our i5-4670K @ 1.30v on air cooling and achieved the same result with the XSPC water loop although temperatures were lower on water.

On the open air test bench with an ambient temperature of 25 degrees, we saw the maximum temperature on the cores hit 84 degrees with an average maximum temperature of 80.5 degrees Celsius. In the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 case with water cooling, the maximum temp reached by any of the cores was 82 with an average of 78.5, again with a 25 degree ambient temperature. 

ASUS don't have any TPU switches or AI Suite software options on the Z87 Gryphon so overclocking is all done via UEFI BIOS. Our chip seems to be stuck at 4.6GHz and we were not able to beat it on the Z87 Gryphon either - in fact it performed the same as the MSI Z87M Gaming and the more expensive Maximus VI Gene.

UEFI Configuration

The UEFI BIOS is straight forward and relatively simple. You can rename the SATA connections, tweak the fans and adjust boot options with ease. The interface is intuitive and a system builder with a little experience shouldn't get lost. The manual is also detailed enough to explain the features and functions. We didn't experience any compatibility issues with our Logitech G110 USB keyboard, Logitech K400 USB wireless keyboard or Corsair M65 USB mouse.

Sound

Analog Testing

After testing the sound solutions on the MSI Z87M Gaming and ASUS Maximus VI GENE, I was expecting a lower grade of sound due to the Realtek soundchip used on the Z87 Gryphon. In order to reduce unintended bias, I didn't compare the sound between the Gryphon and the Gene until the end of the testing. I just used the board to play some games, watch moves and listen to music to see if I felt it was missing anything. The sound clarity, driver implementation and gaming experience was clear and if you haven't had a superior sound solution previously or use the digital output, I would expect that you won't be left wanting in terms of what you hear. Side by side, I believe that I can hear the difference between the Realtek ALC892 on the Z87 Gryphon and an ASUS Xonar DX, the SupremeFX on the GENE or the GameCom780 (USB sound). It's worth noting that I find it harder to tell the 3 high spec audio sources apart but note that there is a difference between them as a group and the ALC892 on the Gryphon.

Output wasn't the issue in my case but the microphone volume was a little low for VOIP during gameplay. I also tested the same headset through a USB sound card and an ASUS Xonar DX with clearer voice to my squad mates. If you don't use VOIP when gaming, this shouldn't matter. The sound software interface is similar to other offerings, allowing the selection of acoustic sound effects and the audio jacks are auto sensing so the system knows when you plug something in.

Digital Testing

I tested Digital Output via optical to a 5.1 channel home theatre system that I have setup in the test lab and the resulting audio was the same as the Xonar DX and Supreme FX. I didn't have any issues whatsoever.

The onboard audio will provide a more than adequate experience for most people but audiophiles and serious enthusiasts will want to add to the platform here. 

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Last modified onMonday, 10 March 2014 23:22

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