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MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC (Intel Z97) Motherboard Review (Page 1)

MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC (Intel Z97) Motherboard Review

We look at our second MSI Z97 motherboard today. Let's see how the new Z97 GAMING 9 AC performs under our tests as Shawn puts it under the spotlight.

By: Shawn Baker from Jun 19, 2014 @ 16:02 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction of the MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC

As we gear up for Computex, it's been a non-stop week of testing and writing. While there's no denying that the new Z97 platform from Intel is taking up a bunch of room on our to-do shelf, we managed to find some time to have fun with our new 4K monitor that we picked up just the week before. The fun and games have quickly come to an end, though, and we're back on the motherboard train again.

The particular board we're looking at today comes from MSI. Already, they've done a fantastic job of impressing us with the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC. Offering great performance, a strong bundle, and a great set of features, it was a really good showing for the folks over at MSI. Today, we're hoping that the Z97 GAMING 9 AC from them does just as good of a job, if not better.

While the Z97 platform on a whole hasn't done much in terms of performance, it has brought with it some cool new motherboards with a ton of features. Let's find out just what this GAMING Series motherboard brings to the table today.

Package - What comes inside the box


Starting off with the front of the box, you can see the typical GAMING Series color scheme going on with the black and red alongside the dragon. You can clearly see the model and brand here, and across the top, you can see some of the main features, including Xtreme Audio DAC, Audio Boost 2, and Killer E2200 networking. As we open up the box, you can see across the top that we've got information on the Audio Boost 2 and Extreme Audio DAC features that are present.

Audio Boost 2 offers EMI Shielding, High Quality Audio Capacitors, an Amplifier, Audio Isolation Line, Golden Audio Jacks, and Direct Audio Power to improve the quality of the audio. Xtreme Audio DAC brings with it High Fidelity USB Audio, D/A Convertor, A/D Convertor, Audio Amplifiers, Audio Capacitors, and Audio Relay in conjunction with Audio Boost 2 to give us the best onboard audio. This is all then combined with the Sound Blaster Cinema 2 software.


Heading over to the other side, you can see our first look at the motherboard behind the GAMING Series logo. Around it, you can also see some more of the main features that are offered on the board. These include OC Genie 4, Multi-GPU support, Command Center, and Gaming APP software along with Military Class 4 components and Click BIOS 4. Finally, heading over to the back, you can see the four main features pushed on the motherboard are Speed, Sound, Stability, and Streaming. Across the bottom, you can see a number of logos that coincide with the main features, and the main specifications and a look at the I/O ports are shown.


Moving into the bundle, you can see we've got a bunch of paperwork that sits alongside a sign for your doorknob, SATA Cable Labels, a G Series case badge, and two CDs. Moving to the cables, you can see we've got six SATA cables along with an SLI Bridge and an I/O cover. Here we can also see our cables that can be used in conjunction with the V-Check points and an EZ Connector, which makes the installation of your main case header a little bit easier.


Finishing off our look at the bundle, you can see we've got a rear connector that offers support for eSATA. The last piece to the bundle puzzle is an Intel WiDi networking adapter that offers support for Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac along with Bluetooth 4.0. Along with this, you can see two pretty meaty antennas to help make sure you get a strong signal to your access point.

PRICING: You can find the MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC retails for $321.00 at Amazon.

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