MSI isn't the only one prepping a Z97 motherboard with USB 3.1 connectivity. Biostar also has one in the works. The Gaming Z97X first appeared on the company's Facebook page last week, and a gallery loaded with pictures was added today.
The tightly cropped shots reveal a largely blacked-out board loaded with the usual mix of enthusiast-friendly accoutrements. Features include triple PCI Express x16 slots, dual Gigabit Ethernet jacks, one M.2 slot, and a smattering of onboard buttons. The port cluster is predictably loaded, too, but it doesn't include the reversible Type-C connector commonly associated with USB 3.1. Hmmm.
The USB 3.1 specification has provisions for different ports, including the Standard-A derivative typically found on motherboards. Biostar may be using one of those to provide next-gen USB connectivity. The firm could also be running USB 3.1 through an internal header meant for front-panel hardware. Putting a Type-C connector up front makes sense, though I'm not aware of any cases that integrate the reversible port. Biostar would have to provide its own front-panel hardware, possibly through a 5.25" bay insert.
We've reached out to Biostar for more details on the Gaming Z97X's USB 3.1 implementation, and we'll update this story when we hear back. Thanks to VR-Zone Chinese for the tip.