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.