MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC Motherboard Review

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MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC Motherboard Review

Introduction

The Z97 chipset has so far seen many different options which have satisfied all but the highest level enthusiast (checkout X99).  In saying that though, the i7 4770k/4790k have been a resounding success overall despite the clear problem with thermals; this has led to a select number of users using a method called “delidding” – Please note this voids your warranty and in no way are we suggesting to do this.

So what has the Z97 chipset actually brought us over the previous Z87 chipset?  Well not a lot in terms of features but the most notable one is M.2 SSD support; I personally still haven’t used one and I haven’t had the need but this particular feature allows users to use a PCI lane as a method of attaching a storage device; an SSD.  Of course today we aren’t touching on every single piece of technology in a chipset that has been around for more than 6 months, but I am here to talk about a particular board on said chipset…

Enter the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC, a fully-fledged top of the range offering based on MSI’s Gaming series which as you guessed, is aimed directly at the gamers.  As with the rest of the GAMING range, the GAMING 9 AC features a standard red and black aesthetic with the not that much difference from say the Gaming 7 which looking at both on paper and through images; look pretty much identical.  Of course the proof in the pudding isn’t what is on the outside, but how you mix the ingredients.

The Gaming 9 AC features a 12+4 power phase designed (16 in total) with support for dual channel memory speeds of up to 3300 MHz (OC); this isn’t too far from the MSI MPOWER MAX AC in terms of phases which has 4 more in total.  There is support for M.2 (Z97 chipset) and it uses the highly regarded Killer NIC Ethernet port; designed to be used for gaming which is exactly what this board is geared to do.

Of course there are many other features, but let’s look at the official specifications list and see what the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC is packing…

 

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