MSI’s Z97 Xpower AC motherboard is packed to the brim with features that assist overclockers in getting the most out of their systems.
Although MSI’s Z97 boards were already announced last month, Computex is the first time we’re getting a look at the upcoming X99 motherboard.
While the actual finished board is not available, MSI has shared details of the X99 board, which will feature the LGA 2011 socket for the Haswell-E extreme edition CPUs. This will be the first motherboard from MSI to feature DDR 4 RAM and a USB 3.1 controller. MSI mentions that the USB 3.1 controller will have a bandwidth of 10 Gb/s.
With the Z97 boards, the M.2 connectors are making their debut, and in addition to offering the port, MSI is bundling a M.2 to SATA-E converter on its motherboards. The vendor has mentioned that the M.2 controller is still in its nascent stages, and that a SATA-E port would be more useful to enthusiast users in the near future. Also new on the motherboards is something MSI calls USB Steel Power, through which the vendor is able to deliver a constant 5 V across all USB ports.
Continuing on in the motherboard segment, MSI is adding water cooling support on its E-ATX form factored Z97 Xpower AC motherboard. As the board is targeted at overclockers, MSI has created a delid die guard, which acts as a cover for your processor if you remove the IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader). The IHS is the metal plate on the CPU that provides a larger surface area for liquid/air cooled solutions to interact with. Users removing the IHS do so to change the TIM (Thermal Interface Material) that forms the layer between the die and the IHS, which can lead to significant reduction in temperatures.
The delid die guard acts as a layer of protection between the die and the waterblock or cooler. It is an innovative solution, and is currently offered only in the high-end Z97 Xpower AC motherboard. A fan stand, which is being bundled with the motherboard, is also new. The fan stand allows you to mount a fan and direct airflow to specific components.
The Xpower AC includes hardware buttons that allow you to clear, reset and adjust OC settings like BCLK and CPU multiplier. Another innovative feature on the board is a hardware-controlled slow mode setting, which allows you to underclock the CPU voltages during boot. Once Windows initialises, the setting automatically reverts to previous voltage configurations.
With the ability to connect three multi-meters to check hardware statistics, a delid die guard and a new fan stand, the Z97 Xpower AC motherboard is one of the most feature packed boards available for enthusiast overclockers.
MSI was also highlighting its new line of video cards at its booth. Nothing new here, but they do look good.