MSI shows next-gen Intel motherboards

Motherboards based on Intel’s next-gen desktop chipsets are almost upon us. We’ve known they were coming for some time, but this is the first glimpse we’ve been able to share. MSI has released pictures of five boards from its upcoming family of enthusiast-oriented Gaming models. Although the images have been Photoshopped to mask the full product names, the boards are otherwise not obscured.

Let’s start at the top of the line with the Gaming 9 AC.

We don’t have accompanying specifications, but some details are still evident. Notice the M.2 slot next to the chipset heatsink, for example. Support for mini SSDs has been rumored for a while, so this inclusion isn’t a big surprise.

The Gaming 9 AC has extra shielding in its bottom right corner, likely for integrated audio circuitry. MSI tells us its new Audio Boost 2 implementation is powered by Creative’s Sound Blaster Cinema 2 software. The onboard audio also includes isolated circuitry, fancy capacitors, dual amplifiers, and additional shielding for the audio codec.

A separate image of the Gaming 9 AC’s box reveals that the board has a Killer E2200 networking chip. 802.11ac Wi-Fi is included, as well. The wireless module is visible in the top left corner or the board.

Next, we have the Gaming 7, Gaming 5, and Gaming 3. Ready your scroll wheels.

These lower-end models have less shielding for their integrated audio, but they still fall under the Audio Boost 2 umbrella. M.2 slots and Killer NICs appear to be included on each one.

MicroATX offerings are conspicuously absent from the images we were sent. However, there is a Mini-ITX variant in the mix:

Despite its diminutive dimensions, this puppy still has Audio Boost 2 goodness, a Killer NIC, and 802.11 AC Wi-Fi. I also spot what looks like a CMOS reset button in the rear port cluster. There’s no evidence of M.2 connectivity topside, but the low-profile slot could be tucked away on the bottom of the board.

More and higher-resolution images are available in the gallery below. This probably won’t be the first early release of information on next-gen Intel boards, so stay tuned.

Comments closed
    • End0game
    • 5 years ago

    I love the colors on these boards, but I’m a little worried about the killer nic. Also, anyone else think that cmos batter would be a PITA to remove on the gaming 9?

    • deruberhanyok
    • 5 years ago

    very cool – I especially like seeing the integrated 802.11ac. 5GHz for everyone!

    I’m curious if we’ll see socketed processors with Iris to go along with the new chipsets. I realize that the gaming / enthusiast market won’t care since they’re using discrete video cards, but for someone assembling a mini ITX box for some casual TF2 or DotA2, Iris is a nice boost.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 5 years ago

      I can see that being standard on ITX motherboards, but imo it should be optional on larger ones because I’d rather not pay for a wireless chipset when I wouldn’t use it.

      • AcidSnow
      • 5 years ago

      Yeah I think 802.11ac. 5GHz is a good thing for the masses, it makes sense to integrate it into the mobo.

    • Umbragen
    • 5 years ago

    I’ll wager they’re still making inefficient use of all available PCIe 2.0 lanes. x2 and x4 slots are going to be quite handy, three-way Crossfire – not so much.

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    Hey MSI, here’s a list of things that ought to be colour-coded, no matter what:

    [list<][*<]Front-panel connector pin-outs [/*<][*<]Analogue audio connectors. [/*<][*<]SATA ports that are connected to a completely different controller.[/*<][/list<]

      • Wirko
      • 5 years ago

      The PS/2 port actually is colour-coded. Or should I say colour-encrypted, because no one knows what red stands for.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 5 years ago

    LoneWolf is not impressed. Though the black-red motif is classy.

      • jibkat
      • 5 years ago

      Not enough jetski chases for you? [url<]http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VUR6EDXML._SL500_AA300_.jpg[/url<]

    • Chrispy_
    • 5 years ago

    A true gamer buys a cheap board, saves $100 and spends the difference on a better graphics card.

      • indeego
      • 5 years ago

      An true psychologist asks you how do you feel when you predetermine the classifications of people into groups of absurdity?

        • Chrispy_
        • 5 years ago

        Truly hedonistic as I bathe in the delicious irony that all sweeping generalisations are wrong.

        But a true psychologist would ignore me for a more lucrative client, make an extra $500 and spent the difference on a better bottle of bordeaux.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 5 years ago

    My scroll wheel wasn’t ready for that much scrolling.

    • Ryhadar
    • 5 years ago

    I’m hoping they just didn’t send you any pictures of the mATX boards rather than just not having a solution at all. I don’t even look at ATX boards anymore and I like MSI’s boards.

      • entropy13
      • 5 years ago

      It’s highly unlikely that they don’t have mATX boards…

        • Ryhadar
        • 5 years ago

        I should have been more clear: I meant high end mATX boards.

    • anotherengineer
    • 5 years ago

    Do they come with the delidded cpu protector??

    [url<]http://www.techpowerup.com/199956/next-gen-msi-oc-series-motherboard-to-feature-delid-die-guard.html[/url<]

      • DPete27
      • 5 years ago

      Neat!

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      If I had to do another delid… that would be an extremely tempting feature.

      Believe it or not, most of the work in the delid happens AFTER delidding since you need to spend lots of time wiping away adhesive and remounting the IHS. With that guard, you wouldn’t need to have to clean off the adhesive and you could mount the cooler directly… FTW.

      • spuppy
      • 5 years ago

      I remember using little pieces of copper plates back in the Duron days 🙂

        • Chrispy_
        • 5 years ago

        Still got a couple of socket A shims in a box here!

        I started buying them after I chipped a corner off my Thunderbird – Luckily it still worked without the corner…..

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    Hrmm.. Intel releasing new motherboards before the new chips that go in them launch….

    Well if history is anything to go by, Broadwell is a flop since having the mobos launch months before the new chips that go in them hasn’t been a winner for AMD.

      • Deanjo
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<] since having the mobos launch months before the new chips that go in them hasn't been a winner for AMD.[/quote<] That has more to do with it being a product from AMD for a product with mediocre performance.

      • NeelyCam
      • 5 years ago

      I thought you said Broadwell was cancelled…?

      Make up your mind

        • Deanjo
        • 5 years ago

        edit: thought you were talking to me.

        • chuckula
        • 5 years ago

        Neely Neely Neely, don’t you know that quantum physics is crucial to chip design?

        Broadwell is both cancelled, delayed, out last Tuesday, AND a whale… ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 5 years ago

          [quote=”Chucky”<]AND a whale...[/quote<] [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCRxnjE7JVs[/url<] [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCsfHVM5x_I[/url<]

            • Ninjitsu
            • 5 years ago

            Is the lady in the first link Miranda Richardson (Queen Elizabeth in Blackadder)?

            • stdRaichu
            • 5 years ago

            Sadly not (Miranda Richardson is an utterly spellbinding actress), it’s [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0225549/?ref_=tt_cl_t4<]Sandra Dickinson[/url<]. For those of you that don't recognise the video, it's the 1981 BBC TV adaptation of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Go stick your head in a pig!

    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    I’ve seen enough complaints about Killer NICs to discourage me from buying any mobo with one.

      • colinstu12
      • 5 years ago

      It’s just an overrated Realtek nic. They’re stupid if you’re actually paying for one but if it’s included I wouldn’t sweat it.

        • DPete27
        • 5 years ago

        I’m saying I would [b<]avoid[/b<] mobos with Killer NICs on purpose. At least all the belly-aching about Realtek is based on "Intel NIC's are faster" and I've seen very little evidence that this is still significantly true. On the other hand, I've heard many people complain that their Killer NIC flat out doesn't work or similar.

          • Voldenuit
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]At least all the belly-aching about Realtek is based on "Intel NIC's are faster" and I've seen very little evidence that this is still significantly true. [/quote<] Yep. Realtek's GbE implementations are as fast or faster than intel's NICs these days. [url<]http://www.hardcoreware.net/gigabyte-z87m-d3h-review/4/[/url<]

            • Bauxite
            • 5 years ago

            Speed was never the only issue, and those that know better still avoid realjunk where possible.

            Stability is still a big deal, and your home PC not crashing while moving a couple files across your LAN does not cover all the bases.

            • Deanjo
            • 5 years ago

            Yup, ran across an issue just a while back with Realtek NIC’s (8111’s on Win 8) / Cisco IP Phones and Cisco PoE switches. Realtek couldn’t fix the issue (great speeds for about 30 seconds and then timeout for 20 hanging Win 8). Put intel CT NICs in them and poof, issue resolved and consistent 115 MB/s throughput and no network dropouts.

            • Andrew Lauritzen
            • 5 years ago

            Asus claims that Intel is still better under a variety of test cases and make some (correct) arguments about why the commonly employed throughput benchmarks are not particularly applicable to games:
            [url<]http://rog.asus.com/312772014/labels/guides/tried-and-tested-why-intel-ethernet-is-still-better-for-gaming/[/url<] I think the reality is that if most people are fine with Wifi for gaming, the vaaaaaast majority of people are not going to notice these differences in practice even if they are measurable. But personally given the relatively small cost delta and proven track record, I still tend to look for Intel NICs (as most of the other gimmicky features on motherboards I care even less about).

            • Klimax
            • 5 years ago

            Not speed, but CPU utilization. (And variation between Intel’s and Realtek can be huge) Offloading and well written drivers…

          • stdRaichu
          • 5 years ago

          It’s not really about speed; Realtek’s have been as fast or nearly as fast as Intel at throughput for years now.

          But their driver support is about a decade behind. If you ever try to use advanced functions like jumbo frames, any of the various offloading technologies, bonding… you are frequently in for a whole world of hurt. By comparison, Intel ones tend to Just Work. Yes, they have a boatload of errata the same as their CPUs but they’re streets head of other NIC vendors in reliability. If you never use any of these advanced features, the worst you’ll see is slightly higher CPU load at a given throughput… if you do make use of these advanced features you can expect to experience a number of random crashes or network outages or speed drops or autoneg failures or a million other symptoms that somehow disappear once you stump up for an Intel NIC.

          There is another more server-centric vendor that I’ve had colossal problems with in the past but I won’t mention any names.

          *cough cough*Broadcom*cough cough*

            • UnfriendlyFire
            • 5 years ago

            On the flip side, Intel’s WiFi drivers don’t play nice with some of the routers at my university. I can’t use the WiFi in parts of the campus or buildings even if the signal strength is 5 bars.

            In fact, my university’s IT service told me, “Use Intel’s WiFi cards at your risk.”

            • Bauxite
            • 5 years ago

            The fact that intel wifi is in exactly 0 access points or nothing except clients says a lot.

            Atheros and broadcom are the ones you want, depending on driver needs.

            • Deanjo
            • 5 years ago

            On the flipside, I actually change all my wifi cards to intels (namely because they have bluetooth as well). I’ve had zero issues with them and they constantly give me the best throughput and connections of all the wifi cards I have replaced (Ralinks, Broadcom, Realteks). Then again I am in linux 99% of the time so there could be issues with their Windows drivers.

            • UnfriendlyFire
            • 5 years ago

            You should test run those cards on University of Iowa’s campus. Trust me, you will have constantly dropping or refusal of connections, and connections that are slower than dialups.

        • Waco
        • 5 years ago

        No, they really are that annoying.

        The NIC itself is fine – but the software/driver stack is GODAWFUL.

        I have both a G45 and a GD65 – both have incredibly obnoxious 30-60 second hangs on boot from the driver loading. This isn’t an uncommon issue but MSI/Killer have no solution.

        Once the NIC is up it’s fine, but it’s incredibly annoying on any machine you actually turn off.

      • JosiahBradley
      • 5 years ago

      Well here is a non complaint. My Killer NIC in my MSI MPower Max is doing just fine and the CPU usage shows 0 with a measly 5M of RAM used. I don’t like the software but you don’t have to use it. Also because it is made by Qualcomm I can be ensured it’ll work fine on Linux too, just like on all of my machines.

    • entropy13
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]The Gaming 9 AC has extra shielding in its bottom [b<]right[/b<] corner, likely for integrated audio circuitry.[/quote<] It isn't on the left...?

      • superjawes
      • 5 years ago

      Well it all depends on the orientation 😉

    • tay
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]There's no evidence of M.2 connectivity topside, but the low-profile slot could be tucked away on the bottom of the board.[/quote<] Missed that line and kept looking for the slot until I re-read. Seems odd to leave M.2 off the smallest form factor.

    • DancinJack
    • 5 years ago

    I probably won’t be buying a MSI board, but yayayayayyaayayay. Come on Devil’s Canyon and 9 series!

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