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MSI Announces Flagship Gaming Series Z97 Motherboard

MSI has announced the new Z97 Gaming 9 AC motherboard. This motherboard is the company's flagship gaming motherboard based on the new platform from Intel, and as such it is quite well-equipped.

The ATX format motherboard has support for up to three graphics cards. The motherboard features an LGA1150 socket, which is wired to four DDR3 memory slots. The CPU socket is fed power through a 16-phase VRM circuit. This circuit draws its power from a single 8-pin EPS connector. Expansion is taken care of by three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, along with three PCI-Express x1 slots.

Regarding storage connectivity, the motherboard has a total of eight SATA3 (6 Gb/s) ports, along with a single M.2 slot for those super-speedy SSDs that are slowly coming to shelves. SATA-Express connectors do not seem to be present, unfortunately.

As far as special features go, the motherboard has built-in Wireless 802.11ac support, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. MSI is also one of the few vendors that does away with the integrated Intel NIC, and has instead opted to wire a Broadcom Killer E2205 gigabit NIC to the Ethernet port. The motherboard also has MSI's Audio Boost technology for improved audio quality as well as its OC Genie.

Rear I/O connectivity is handled by 10 USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, two "Gaming" USB 2.0 ports for peripherals, a legacy PS/2 port, as well as optical audio out along with 7.1 channel analog audio connectors, and lastly, connectors for the WiFi antennae.  

No exact word on pricing yet, though given that the Z97 Gaming 9 costs about $185 we can expect the Z97 Gaming 9 AC to be priced around $200.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • roymustang
    Might wanna fix that title.
    Reply
  • Josh Hird
    Msi is apparently working backwards
    Reply
  • patrick47018
    Might wanna fix that title.

    What's wrong with another Z79 board article ;)
    Reply
  • DookieDraws
    That's a good looking board.
    Reply
  • ekagori
    "No exact word on pricing yet, though given that the Z97 Gaming 9 costs about $185 we can expect the Z97 Gaming 9 AC to be priced around $200."

    So does it cost $185 or $200? Lol... might want to fix that as well
    Reply
  • patrick47018
    "No exact word on pricing yet, though given that the Z97 Gaming 9 costs about $185 we can expect the Z97 Gaming 9 AC to be priced around $200."

    So does it cost $185 or $200? Lol... might want to fix that as well

    It isn't the same board, the non AC board is 185, they are saying they expect the AC board to be around 200
    Reply
  • marc79
    I'll stick with Z87, Z79 seems like a downgrade.
    Reply
  • Onus
    Pardon me if this is a silly question, but I thought Intel included VRMs on die now. Why are mobo vendors still hyping lots of VRM phases? Is it only marketing?
    Reply
  • ekagori
    13329159 said:
    "No exact word on pricing yet, though given that the Z97 Gaming 9 costs about $185 we can expect the Z97 Gaming 9 AC to be priced around $200."

    So does it cost $185 or $200? Lol... might want to fix that as well

    It isn't the same board, the non AC board is 185, they are saying they expect the AC board to be around 200

    Oh my bad, completely misread that statement lol
    Reply
  • neon neophyte
    whatever happened to proof reading...
    Reply