Silently, Gigabyte launched the product page for its Z97X-Game Plus motherboard. Although the Z97 chipset launched about a year ago, this is actually the first Z97 board with a black and green theme – something that's been sought after for quite a while.
Aside from the colors, Gigabyte stuck with a fairly straightforward board design. The LGA1150 socket is wired to four DDR3 memory slots, along with three PCI-Express 3.0 16x slots, three PCI-Express 1x slots, and a single legacy PCI slot. There is one M.2 slot capable of pushing 10 GB/s (meaning it's wired to two PCI-Express 2.0 lanes), and a single SATA-Express interface (which can turn into two SATA3 ports) with four more SATA3 ports.
Rear I/O is handled by two old-school PS/2 ports, VGA, DVI, HDMI, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and 7.1 channel HD audio outputs.
In terms of gaming-oriented functionality, the board eschews the Intel NIC that's integrated into the chipset in favor of a Killer E2200 NIC. Additionally, it comes with Gigabyte's AMP-UP audio circuitry, which is essentially higher-grade audio hardware with a decent headphone amplifier and a Realtek ALC1150 115dB SNR DAC.
The board itself, aside from the black and green theme, isn't all that remarkable. True, it does come quite well-equipped, but there are no features aside from its theme that, when taken as a whole, make it stand out from the rest of the boards in its segment. Even so, that doesn't make the Z97X-Game Plus a bad purchase. The gear on it is good stuff, and you'll have one heck of a pretty board to work with. Pair this together with NZXT's Razer-branded H440, and you can build yourself a very, very pretty machine.
Unfortunately, a Gigabyte rep informed us that the company has no plans to bring the board to the U.S. market. That's a shame, because we really could use a black and green Z97 board. Sure, it's late, but better late than never. If Gigabyte does change its mind, we're probably looking at a $150-ish price tag.
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On the Z87 boards. They updated to the en vogue red and black on the z97 boards. But even that doesn't really do a whole lot of justice for a blue/black case.... if it even matters depending on where you place your tower.
Because that would make sense.