Thursday, May 15th 2014

MSI Announces Z97 Gaming 9 AC Flagship LGA1150 Motherboard

MSI launched its Intel Z97 chipset-based Gaming series lineup with three ATX motherboards, the Z97 Gaming 3, the Z97 Gaming 5, and the Z97 Gaming 7. The company now made a high-end addition, with the Z97 Gaming 9 AC. Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board is filled to the brim with features targeted more toward high-end gaming PC builds, than professional CPU/memory overclocking. It still offers a decent overclocking feature-set. To begin with, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS connectors, and uses a 16-phase VRM to condition power for the CPU, which is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x4/x4 when all three are populated, x8/x8/x0 when two are, and x16/x0/x0 when one is. 3-way SLI and CrossFire are supported.

An EMI shield covers the rear-panel I/O, while another shields the entire onboard audio circuitry, and the NICs. Audio is care of a 100+ dBA SNR DAC, which an external headphone amp circuit, ground-layer isolation, audio-grade capacitors, and EMI shielding. Wired connectivity is handled by Broadcom's newer Killer E2205 gigabit NIC. Wireless connectivity is handled by an Intel-made chipset that offers 802.11 ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Storage connectivity is devoid of SATA-Express, but features eight SATA 6 Gb/s, and an M.2 slot. Overclocking features include voltage measurement points, and POST LED display. Expect this one to go for over US $200.
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15 Comments on MSI Announces Z97 Gaming 9 AC Flagship LGA1150 Motherboard

#2
Breit
It seems everyone is doing the red-black-theme these days. I guess ASUS has to find another color scheme for their ROG boards now... 8)
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#3
BorisDG
High-end? ONLY 3 full PCI-E slots, not SATA Express and VRM part looks like s*it? Just MSI...
by: Breit
It seems everyone is doing the red-black-theme these days. I guess ASUS has to find another color scheme for their ROG boards now... 8)
Pink? Red typical is the color of "aggression". We have "Green", "Yellow", "Blue", "Gold", "Orange" ... so no attractive colors are available...

Hope soon mobos to change it's color - entirely white PCB for example will be cool!
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#4
radrok
I like it but that badge on the PCH heatsink is ewww
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#6
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
by: BorisDG
High-end? ONLY 3 full PCI-E slots, not SATA Express and VRM part looks like s*it? Just MSI...

Pink? Red typical is the color of "aggression". We have "Green", "Yellow", "Blue", "Gold", "Orange" ... so no attractive colors are available...

Hope soon mobos to change it's color - entirely white PCB for example will be cool!
How does the VRM section look like shit? It has 16 phases. Which is more than enough for Haswell. This is also gaming board.
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#7
BorisDG
Compare ASUS motherboards VRM (R6E, R4E, R4BE...) and this MSI. It looks totally lean and cheap.
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#8
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: BorisDG
Compare ASUS motherboards VRM (R6E, R4E, R4BE...) and this MSI. It looks totally lean and cheap.
I like how you skipped mentioning current ASUS 8-phase VRMs. :p Platform itself MIGHT pull 150W on 24/7 OC. Kind of a weird thing to be concerned about, honestly.
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#9
radrok
I can tell your that R4E's VRMs on a 5+ GHz overclock can scorch your eyes if you look directly at them, even with waterblocks. That board needed way more phases imo.
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#10
BorisDG
by: cadaveca
I like how you skipped mentioning current ASUS 8-phase VRMs. :p Platform itself MIGHT pull 150W on 24/7 OC. Kind of a weird thing to be concerned about, honestly.
8 + 3 + 2x2. Also the VRM part in ASUS motherboards (specially M6E, R4BE) is from kick-ass components. :D
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#11
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: BorisDG
8 + 3 + 2x2. Also the VRM part in ASUS motherboards (specially M6E, R4BE) is from kick-ass components. :D
But you are comparing VRM for SKT2011 to Z97. I have all these boards...well, not this GAMING 9 yet, actually, but the others... sit in their boxes next to my desk. Haswell platform has VRM control inside CPU itself, so board VRM is not as critical as on other platforms. Even ASUS has reduced VRM phases for Z87/Z97. ASUS has same VRM design on HERO, GENE, FORMULA, IMPACT, EXTREME for MAXIMUS VI series, and MAXIMUS VII series. RANGER gets "reduced" VRM.


If HERO has same VRM as EXTREME...VRM is not that important for overclock like is has been on other platforms. So focusing on that is equally un-important. I dropped covering that in detail on my reviews due to this.

That's all I had to say, really.

On Z87/Z97, even puny 4-phase or 6-phase VRM can OC CPUs to 4.6 GHz+.
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#12
TheHunter
MY delux has 16vrm too :p

btw that msi SFC vrm are like on gpu's and those can sustain some serious stress, dunno why this dissing
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#13
GhostRyder
That board, is beyond awesome. Reminds me of the Asus series of boards and contains some very nice looking Heatsinks and a nice cover.
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#14
wot
No 3-way Sli with 8x-4x-4x only crossfire, but I like the layout you can do 3x290x and a soundcard.
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#15
Arrakis+9
This is a gaming board not an overclocking focused board if you don't like the features it has then look at an M power or X power board not this. features cost money and you guys are trying to compare "ricers" with "race cars" here. I for one like the look of this board its nice and clean AND from the looks of it the VRM heatsink can be painted easily with those phillips head screws :pimp:
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