MSI X99S SLI Plus Logo

Over at Gamescom, MSI displayed their latest X99S Gaming 9 AC and X99 SLI Plus black motherboards which will be featured in their X99 lineup consisting of four products. We all love the new X99 chipset even though most of us don’t even have the money to but a system based on the X99 chipset but we should appreciate motherboard makers to deliver new innovations and features in the high-end PC desktop sector.MSI X99 Motherboards

Image courtesy of PCGamesHardware.De!

MSI’s High-End X99S Gaming 9 AC and X99 SLI Plus Black Motherboards Detailed at Gamescom

At the booth, MSI’s Channel Marketing Manager, Dirk Neuneier, displayed and detailed two of the upcoming X99 based motherboards from MSI which include the X99S Gaming 9 AC and the X99 SLI Plus Black. The other two X99 products include the X99S XPOWER AC and a fourth product which is yet to be showcased by MSI and could have to do something with the M-ATX form factor which we saw from EVGA and ASRock recently or the X99 GD65 sample they showcased back at Computex 2014. The X99S Gaming 9 AC is termed as a flagship Gaming board while the XPOWER is the flagship overclocking board. The X99 SLI Plus Black edition which is the perfect aesthetically pleasing board for enthusiasts is termed as a standard design for the X99 platform so it could cost around the $250 US range which makes it a pretty decent entry in the X99 line considering it still packs a ton of features.

ASRock X99M Killer FATAL1TY Box

First it was Gigabyte and now we have ASRock who have a X99 motherboard previewed on their Facebook page almost every passing day. Yesterday, ASRock showed off their X99 WS motherboard for workstation PCs and the motherboard ASRock is showcasing today is their X99M Killer FATAL1TY which features a Micro-ATX form factor which has become a modders favorite since it allows for some creative custom case mods and more rooms to expand elsewhere in your PC chassis.ASRock X99M Killer FATAL1TY Box

ASRock Readies X99M Killer FATAL1TY Micro-ATX Motherboard

To start off, the ASRock X99M Killer features the LGA 2011-3 socket supporting Intel’s upcoming line of Haswell-E high-end desktop processors which will be available to consumers along with the X99 chipset based motherboards on 29th August 2014. The X99 Killer series from ASRock is more of a gaming oriented lineup with features such as Killer LAN and LAG Free USB / PS2 ports. The LGA 2011-3 socket is powered by a single 8-Pin EPS connector while the 24-Pin board connector provides power to the rest of the electrical components. Since this is built by ASRock, we expect to see some high quality components including the Super Alloy Power design which includes 50G Aluminum Alloy heatsinks, Premium Alloy Chokes, Dual-Stack MOSFETs, Japanese made high-quality conductive polymer capacitors to make is run and perform better.

The board features a 12 Phase PWM supply which is impressive for a M-ATX form factor motherboard. The LGA 2011-3 socket is surrounded by four DDR4 DIMM slots (two at each side) which are able to support DDR4 sticks with overclocked specs and capacity of 64 GB in total. Since this is a Killer series motherboard, we also look at a red and black color scheme which looks quite nice. A Diagnostic LED can be spotted to the right side of the DIMM slots while the Power On/Off and Reset switches have been moved to the bottom side of the board below the PCH heatsink.


Just when we thought that the X99 teasers were over for today, Cowcotland unveiled three new EVGA X99 boards which include the X99 Classified, X99 FTW and X99 Micro. The EVGA’s X99 lineup showcased are not finalized for retail so we may see some changes but the core components will be a part of the final version.EVGA X99 Micro

EVGA’s X99 Classified, X99 FTW, X99 Micro Motherboards Unveiled

In addition to the specifications which we will detail in a bit, CowCotland managed to obtain the prices of these boards which reveal that the flagship EVGA X99 Classified will retail for $400 US followed by $280 US for the X99 FTW and finally, we have the Micro-ATX variant, the X99 Micro retailing for $250 US. So the prices are a bit high considering that these motherboards are geared for a high-end desktop platform codenamed “Haswell-E” but the FTW and Micro variants have a good price points and users who plan to switch over from Ivy Bridge-E will find this a perfect choice if they are on a budget.

ASRock X99 WS Box

ASRock has unveiled their upcoming X99 WS motherboard which is a high-end desktop motherboard based on the X99 chipset for workstations. ASRock has also shown off several other motherboards in the past such as X99 Killer, X99 Extreme 6 and X99 Extreme 4 which are geared for launch along side the Haswell-E processors which arrive on 29th August 2014.ASRock X99 WS Box

ASRock Shows Off X99 WS Motherboard For Workstation PCs

The ASRock X99 WS is a workstation grade motherboard which makes use of high grade components to feature better stability and last longer than traditional motherboards. It features a E-ATX form factor so you may need upgrade of your chassis if you want to use this board. The board comes with the LGA 2011-3 socket which is able to support Intel’s upcoming Haswell-E processors including the 8-Core Core i7-5960X which arrives on 29th of this month.

In terms of design, the ASRock X99 WS makes use of a 12 Phase PWM and the socket is powered by a 8-Pin EPS connector in addition to the 24-Pin power connector that provides juice to the board. Since this is built by ASRock, we expect to see some high quality components including the Super Alloy Power design which includes 50G Aluminum Alloy heatsinks, Premium Alloy Chokes, Dual-Stack MOSFETs, Japanese made high-quality conductive polymer capacitors to make is run and perform better. The color scheme is black and blue for the board which is similar to the ASRock X99 Extreme 6 and Extreme 4 which were displayed a while ago by ASRock. The board has four sets of heatsinks, two for the PWM and power area which are located on the top and interconnected via a heatpipe while the second set is located over the PCH and below the socket which are also connected through a heatpipe.

Gigabyte X99 UD7 WiFi Motherboard

A whole ton of X99 motherboards for Intel’s upcoming HEDT Haswell-E platform have been unveiled by board makers over the past few months and today, we have two more motherboards to feed your high-performance needs. Gigabyte has unveiled their latest X99 UD7 WiFi motherboard while ASRock has detailed their X99 Killer motherboard which was revealed a while back.

Gigabyte and ASRock Preview the X99 UD7 WiFi and X99 Killer FATAL1TY MotherboardsGigabyte X99 UD7 WiFi Motherboard

Gigabyte X99 UD7 WiFi Motherboard

We will start off with the Gigabyte X99 UD7 WiFi which is the latest of the X99 motherboards from Gigabyte, additionally including their X99 Gaming G1 WiFi and X99 SOC Force. Based on a full ultra durable design, the Gigabyte X99 UD7 WiFi features the LGA 2011-3 socket which supports Intel’s Haswell-E processors including their flagship 8-Core Core i7-5960X. The X99 UD7 WiFi is awful lot similar to the Gaming G1 WiFi and the only difference I was able to spot was a different color scheme and a AMP-UP Sound Blaster PCB design. The board features a gold yellow and black color scheme that uses four sets of heatsinks, three near the LGA 2011-3 socket for PWM, VRM cooling and a larger PCH heatsink which cools off the X99 chipset. The heatsinks are connected through a large heatpipe which run across the surface of the PCB dissipating heat off the components for load optimization.

Moving onwards, we have a 8 Phase PWM design featuring high-quality Ultra Durable MOSFETs and black solid state capacitors. The LGA 2011-3 socket is powered by a 8-Pin connector while the motherboard is powered by the 24-Pin ATX connector. The LGA 2011-3 socket is coupled by eight DDR4 DIMM slots (four at each side) and capable of supporting dense memory sticks with speeds beyond 3000 MHz. There are a few overclocking features next to the DIMM slots which include voltage check points, slot disable switches and a Diagnostic LED.

MSI OC Certified Mainboard

It is no doubt that MSI has come a long way in the development of high-end motherboards for the desktop PC market. Their recent creations such as the XPOWER and MPOWER series are considered as some of the best products based on the Z87 and Z97 chipset which competitors couldn’t rival in terms of design and features. Today, we will be looking at MSI’s latest and upcoming creation which has got to be their most high-end and uber leet design they have ever made, meet the MSI X99S XPOWER AC Motherboard.MSI X99S XPOWER AC Motherboard

MSI’s Flagship X99S XPOWER AC Motherboard Unveiled

The MSI X99S XPOWER AC is featured in MSI’s flagship XPOWER Overclocking product brand which is aimed at overclockers and enthusiasts who demand nothing less than the best. The picture says it all with the motherboard enveloped in a layer of ice which shows off that it is focused towards LN2 overclockers. The motherboard has a beefy design and comes in the E-ATX form factor, something which the past XPOWER series motherboards have followed and its great to see MSI keeping the traditional alive and updated. The MSI X99S XPOWER AC features the traditional yellow and black color scheme of the XPOWER motherboards.

The board packs the LGA 2011-3 socket that is powered by dual 8-Pin connectors. Considering the X79 Big Band XPOWER II came with a 22 Phase PWM given the space restriction on these boards, the X99S XPOWER AC can feature a 24 or 12 Phase DIGITALL Power VRM, providing unparalleled amount of overclocking performance and stability to the motherboard featuring an 8-Layer PCB design, Military Class IV components with solid state capacitors, Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite Choke while the DARK Cap on the other hand features a core design made of aluminum with a lower ESR and a life space of 10 years. MSI’s boards also use the Super Ferrite Chokes which run 35 degrees cooler, have 30% higher current capacity with 20% improvement in power efficiency and offering stability. The CPU socket is surrounded by four DDR4 DIMM slots (four on each side) which will be able to support overclocked memory beyond 3000 MHz. The first generation of DDR4 memory will feature traditional speeds of 2400 – 3000 MHz at 1.2V but as the memory design matures, we will be looking at faster DIMMs with speeds beyond 4 GHz frequency.

Gigabyte X99 Gaming G1 WiFi Motherboard

Gigabyte has made its way into the top ranks of the motherboard industry and today, they are unveiling their next generation high-performance X99 Gaming G1 WiFi motherboard for Intel’s Haswell-E processors. The X99 chipset powered motherboard comes with a variety of features which include the G1 Gaming design and Ultra durable PCB components which assure you get top notch stability and performance out of this high-end product.Gigabyte X99 Gaming G1 WiFi Motherboard

Gigabyte Shows Off X99 Gaming G1 WiFi Motherboard For Gamers

The Gigabyte X99 Gaming G1 WiFi motherboard comes with the LGA 2011-3 socket which will be able to support Intel’s next generation Haswell-E processors. The Intel Haswell-E lineup launches on 29th August 2014 and will include three processors; Core i7-5960X, Core i7-5930K, Core i7-5820K. These processors would be built on the Haswell microarchitecture featuring better IPC performance and power efficiency while delivering improved performance compared to previous generation Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E processors. The Core i7-5960X would also be the first native 8 Core processor from Intel operating at a TDP of 140W.

The motherboard sticks with the G1 Gaming design scheme we saw on the G1 Gaming WiFi Black Edition which keeps the bulky design intact. It comes in a red/black/silver color scheme and uses four sets of heatsinks, three near the LGA 2011-3 socket for PWM, VRM cooling and a larger PCH heatsink which cools off the X99 chipset. The heatsinks are interconnected via large heatpipes which run across the surface of the PCB dissipating heat off the components for load optimization. The color scheme is a good touch and we expect to see more boards in the future from Gigabyte including their X99 SOC Force.


ASUS today announced the first RoG motherboard exclusive for AMD’s FM2+ socket that is coupled with exclusive ASUS technologies to bring the game enhancement technology platforms for all the AMD users out there. The ASUS RoG Crossblade Ranger comes with several impressive features which cover networking, audio and performance in a complete package. The RoG Crossblade Ranger comes packing Intel Gigabit Ethernet, GameFirst III and LANGuard for networking. In the audio section it comes with SupremeFX audio technology and with Auto Tuning in the performance department.


ASUS RoG Crossblade Ranger With FM2+ Socket Support Launched – Comes With Auto Tuning And A88X FCH Chipset

The RoG Crossblade Ranger comes with several impressive features under its hood. With the Crossblade Ranger ROG exclusive GameFirst III technology which ensures that no delay whatsoever is experienced with it. It also assigns top priority to game data packets thus ensuring that more bandwidth is allocated to them and therefore a interruption-free online gaming experience.

Apart from this, the ROG Crossblade Ranger also comes with premium surface mounted capacitors and signal mounting technology. All of this is complemented of course by surge protected components which ensure protection against any electrical surges and static discharge. Supreme FX2014 audio on the ROG Crossblade Ranger ensure minimum EM interference. This coupled with Sonic SenseAmp and Sonic SoundStage technologies automatically adjusts amp according to headphone impedence. SoundStage on the other hand calibrates the best sound for any game.

MSI G Series logo

In addition to their X99S Black Motherboard, MSI has also unveiled their upcoming X99S Gaming 9 AC which is a high-performance motherboard built for gamers. Featuring the same DNA as MSI’s Gaming series products, the MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC is jam packed with tons of features, including a protective armor plating which goes well with the HEDT nature of this product.MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC

MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC High-Performance Motherboard Unveiled

MSI wowed hardware enthusiasts last week showing off what is supposed to be the first, full-black PCB board codenamed, MSI X99S Black. Today, MSI is showing off another X99 chipset based motherboard featured in their Gaming brand codenamed, MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC. This confirms that MSI will have various tier X99 boards at launch including their renowned and enthusiast tiered OC series which will probably include the X99S XPOWER. We would love to see that board in action but for now, let’s feast our eyes upon the beastly X99S Gaming 9 AC which has a extremely powerful design and feature set of its own.

Starting with the design scheme, the MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC sticks with the red and black color scheme which MSI has implemented in their Gaming series brand along with several other manufacturers who are using the same scheme. The motherboard has three sets of heatsinks, two along side the VRM, PWM and one on the PCH. The LGA 2011-3 socket is compatible with Intel’s upcoming Haswell-E processors which will be available in retail by this month’s end if reports are true or we will see them in the first week of September. The board features an 8 Phase PWM supply fitted with MSI’s Military Class IV components and powered by a 8+4 Pin power configuration. The LGA 2011-3 socket is coupled by eight DDR4 DIMM slots, four on each sides which can support overclocked DDR4 memory sticks on-the-go.

MSI X99S SLI Plus Logo

MSI has been slowly foraging into the black aesthetics but this is the first time they have featured a single color All-Black motherboard. The color is reminiscent of Black Gold and is a more deeper black than anything else I have seen, including ASUS’s X79 Black and EVGA X79 Dark. This aesthetic is very unique because cool black shade extends not only over the PCB but over all the components as well. Something that hasn’t really been spotted before. MSI X99S SLI Plus Motherboard

MSI X99S SLI Plus Motherboard Unveiled – Features X99 Chipset with All-Black Aesthetic

The box that the motherboard ships in also follows the calm black gradient and professional look that the X99S chooses to go for. The exact specifications of the motherboard are not known but since this is a very high end motherboard you can expect all the features of a X99 Flagship motherboard. Now MSI has thankfully provided us with a high quality image of the motherboard so we can deduce some of the features ourselves. Specifications of the motherboard (by eye):

  • 8 Memory Slots with Quad Channel DDR4 Support
  • M.2 Sata Express Slot
  • 8 Phase PWM Design
  • 40 PCIE Lanes (capable of Quad SLI/Crossfire)
  • 10 SATA Ports 6GB/s
  • 14 USB Ports
  • LGA 2011-3 Socket with x99 Chipset “Wellsburg”
  • Will Support Haswell-E i7-5960X, i7-5930K and i7-5820K

A server grade Intel LGA 2011-3 socketed motherboard along with the Haswell-EP Xeon E5 V3 processor have been spotted on sale over at EBay (via Part of Intel’s upcoming Haswell-EP processor line, the new Xeon E5 V3 chips will feature improved IPC performance to meet demands of high-performance computing.Intel Haswell-EP Xeon E5 V3

Intel LGA 2011-3 Motherboard and Haswell-EP Xeon E5 V3 Processor On Sale At EBay

The server grade motherboard we are looking at is designed for 2S operations so it makes use of dual LGA 2011-3 sockets which are fully compatible with the upcoming Haswell-EP processors. The sockets resemble the LGA 2011 socket since the design for both is kept the same if you have noticed the earlier X99 motherboard leaks. The LGA 2011-3 server motherboard is large and built for workstations and server environment hence the odd design and form factor. It features a total of 24 DDR4 DIMM slots and a total of 384 GB DDR4 memory using 16 GB memory sticks and more if using denser memory sticks or if the motherboard can actually support them but it possibly will given its workstation nature. The motherboard comes with several connectors and ports while the C610 chipset is hidden beneath the silver colored aluminum heatsink.

The motherboard is damaged from several areas as mentioned by the seller on EBay but it is in working condition so you can try your luck to get this working perfectly if you buy one but there’s no guarantee. Aside from the LGA 2011-3 motherboard, there’s also a Haswell-EP Xeon E5 V3 processor on sale which is in engineering state. The specific processor known as QFGH ES 2.10 GHz is clocked at 2.10 GHz and was manufactured in USA but aside from that, there are no details given. 2.10 GHz is a low clock so this chip could boast a higher core count but that is just speculation from my end. A few of you may ask, how do I even know this ES processor is an Haswell-EP CPU?


During a presentation held in Taiwan, motherboard manufacturer ASRock unveiled their latest HEDT X99 chipset motherboards which include the X99 Extreme 6, X99 Extreme 4 and X99 Killer. XFastest was able to grab shots of these new motherboards which we saw back at Computex where they were displayed in engineering state, while now they have been updated with the final heatsink designs and layout for Intel’s upcoming Haswell-E CPU lineup.ASRock LGA 2011-3 Socket

ASRock’s High-Performance X99 Extreme 6, X99 Extreme 4 and X99 Killer Motherboards

ASRock has showed three high-end desktop motherboard based on the X99 chipset which include the ASRock X99 Extreme 6 and X99 Extreme 4 which were seen back at Computex 2014 and a new addition to the lineup, the X99 Killer which is more of a gaming oriented and feature packed offering. Each motherboard supports its own set of features for overclocking and the latest LGA 2011-3 socket to support Haswell-E processors which will be shipping in the month of September in retail. The latest X99 Express chipset features featuring 14 USB ports (6 USB 3.0 and 8 USB 2.0), 10 SATA 6GBps ports, integrated clock support, 8×1 PCIe 2.0, Clarksville GbE PHY and the Realtek Audio Codec.The chip has a max TDP of 6.5W and measures 23x22mm which is larger than the X79 chipset. The platform would also be the first to support DDR4 memory.

WCCFTech Z97 Motherboard Round-Up OC Top

Intel launched their Z97 platform earlier this year which brought new motherboards in the performance platform, aiming support for Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Devil’s Canyon and the upcoming Broadwell CPUs. Intel’s Z97 platform is filled with a variety of boards and each board is targeted towards key segments.WCCFTech Z97 Motherboard Round-Up OC Top

Round-Up of The Best and Top-Tier Overclocking Z97 Motherboards

With such a large list of products that are currently offered in the Z97 chipset based product portfolio, it gets quite frustrating for consumers to find a board that suits their demands. To make it easier for consumers, the board manufacturing companies have separated their products into three categories; Gaming, Overclocking and Mainstream.  Although this helps a bit but even then, the products themselves offer similar specifications, naming schemes and priced equally.  For instance, the MSI Z97 Gaming 3 and Gigabyte GA-Z97X Gaming 3 are both gaming branded motherboards priced at $137.99 US and with “Gaming 3″ in the title, it would more or less confuse the buyer into deciding which product should be bought. While reviews do give a better insight at the products comparing the little details, features and components of products, we couldn’t find a good article which compares these boards against their similar priced counterparts from other manufacturers.

To address this issue and to help ease the process for buyers to get the right product, today we will be doing a round-up of the Z97 “Overclocking” motherboards. We will obviously not be comparing performance based on benchmarks but design schemes, feature set and the components used on these Z97 motherboards which will tell us why they are better than the other similar priced option or why does a $399 US overclocking board is a better option for enthusiasts then a $249 US overclocking board. The products we will be comparing are strictly the flagship overclocking boards from each separate manufacturer so you might see us talk about a XPOWER board and not the MPOWER board so please excuse me but that doesn’t mean that I won’t ever do a similar comparison on the other segment based boards, so stay tuned for that. Regardless, let’s start off these round – up with the beastly, Z97 XPOWER AC from MSI:


Details of Intel’s next generation Skylake-S platform have been revealed by VR-Zone, unveiling that the new processors will be available in 2H of 2015 and a new motherboard series featuring the latest 100-Series chip. Configurations of various Skylake series processors were unveiled not long ago which mentioned that the time span between the launch of Broadwell and Skylake generation would be small and both platforms would be available to consumers by 2015.Intel Skylake-S Desktop Z170 Chipset

Image Courtesy of VR-Zone!

Intel Skylake-S Desktop Platform Detailed – Z170 Chipset Replaces Z97 in 2H 2015

While the current Z97 series motherboards do add support for Broadwell processors, Intel won’t have the chips ready for consumers till at least Q2 of 2015. The first iteration of Broadwell processors which will launch for PCs will be in the form of Intel Core-M and Broadwell Y-Series which will arrive in holiday 2014 and are aimed toward the tablet and laptop market. The actual desktop processors won’t be available till 2015 which is a bit surprising since at the time Intel launches Broadwell-K series, they will be shipping Skylake-S to consumers in the exact same quarter or a bit late (moving in early 2H 2015). This was showcased in the latest Intel Desktop roadmap leak for consumers.

The transition to Z170 chipset will not be a massive upgrade and would be similar to what the Z97 was to Z87 with a little added features such as more PCI-e lanes, Super Speed USB and up to 10 USB ports compared to 6 standard ones found on the current iteration of motherboards. There will be a total of six 100-series chipset SKUs which will include the Z170 (Performance) replacing the Z97, H170 (Mainstream) replacing the H97, H110 (Value) replacing the H81, B150 (Small and medium Business) replacing the B85 and the Q170 plus Q150 chips with Intel vPro / SIPP which will replace the Q87 and Q85. So as you can note, Intel has the entire replacement plan ready which will update the current desktop chipset stack in 2015. Intel is already phasing out their Ivy Bridge-E and Z77/H77/H75/Q75 chipsets in early 2015. This transition won’t eliminate support for Z97 or Z87 in 2015 since there would be a majority of consumers who will still be running Broadwell and Haswell processors since these platforms have spanned a longer shelve-time in the market and will cease to exist along side each other for a couple of years.



Founded in 1986, Biostar is one of the prominent hardware manufacturers of the tech industry focusing in the Asian market. What started as a motherboard manufacturing corporation has now expanded into new markets such as add-on-cards and multimedia solutions along with graphics cards (popular in mainland China).

Coming to multimedia, the motherboard we are going to test today has a large focus on the audio system that it features on-board. The Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE comes with an isolated PCB on the motherboard that houses the on-board audio system which other manufacturers have started to offer starting with Haswell generation platform however it should be noted that Biostar was the first to implement this technology back in 2012 prior to Haswell as a part of their Puro Hi-Fi design scheme. So credits for this design scheme have to be given to Biostar in setting a new industry standard.

In addition to the feature, the Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE is also special due to its pricing. The board comes at a very reasonable and budget friendly $124.99 US which is lower than what a motherboard with similar feature set may cost. Whether or not these features are as impressive as the higher quality parts remains to be seen in this review.

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