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.