CES 2015: MSI Z97I Gaming ACK Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2015 - 03:24 AM |
Tagged: z97i gaming ack, z97, video, msi, M.2, ces 2015, CES

We have definitely seen our share of Z97 motherboards using the Mini-ITX form factor by now, but the new MSI Z97I Gaming ACK offers a couple of unique twists worth noting. First, the board features both wireless and wired Killer Networking components, has four SATA 6 Gb/s ports and a total of six USB 3.0 ports. Click BIOS, OC Genie and Command Center are all MSI specific features found on the ACK.

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The most interesting feature though is the rear-mounted M.2 port that allows the user to install a full 10 Gb/s M.2 storage device on the back side of the motherboard! Obviously you will have to be sure that the stand offs on your case will allow the spacing required for an M.2 device, but MSI doesn't think it will be a problem for most cases. It's a very interesting way to integrate more hardware on a design that is incredibly space limited. (Note: you'll have to watch the video to see the rear mounted M.2 port.)

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PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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January 5, 2015 | 07:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I watched your coverage and MSI isn't the first manufacturer to put an M2 on the back of an ITX board - the asus boards have been offering that.
One thing I was trying to work out was a series of adaptors to run a PCIe 4X extension off a M.2. (NGFF) so that I could plug effectivly get a thunderbolt external port connected in via the m.2. - this was on the older Z97 boards. Now of course we have USB3.1 and thus the need for a thunderbolt is a lot less.
But i can see a definite market for sata express and M.2. to PCIE adaptors so that people can get around the 1 slot limit of mini-itx.
To be honest what i really want is a microATX motherboard i.e. a mini-itx sized unit but with dual 16x PCIe sli slots - i wonder how long before a manufacturer wakes up and smells the coffee.
Just give me 1 mini-itx sized microATX baord, a Ncase M1, two 980Ti plus waterblocks, a dremmel and I'll give you something that will be being used as a doorstop in 5 years time :p
thanks for all of this

January 26, 2015 | 08:19 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You made my day! I just bought the ncase M1 and I already wasted days on the quest for any solution to continue using my pci (32bit) sat tv tuner card on any Z97 board! Man, what else can be the advantage of a gaming sff case than HTPC with tv?!
I'll try the Asus Z97I-plus, which comes with miniPCIe, and some miniPCIe-to-1xPCIe adapter from CN (not knowing if this will work...) - have to buy a new tuner card anyway as the only miniPCIe-to-PCI32bit adapter I found is full length while the few Z97 boards withminiPCIe only offer half length miniPCIe...
So I continue dreaming of a M-ITX board with miniPCIe in the style of Asus' MPCIE Combo IV but compatible to full-length miniPCIe cards!
Mainboard Manufactures just don't have any glue of what enthusiast diy-users are looking for...

March 28, 2015 | 05:46 AM - Posted by akash kumar (not verified)

But i can see a definite market for sata express and M.2. to PCIE adaptors so that people can get around the 1 slot limit of mini-itx.
To be honest what i really want is a microATX motherboard i.e. a mini-itx sized unit but with dual 16x PCIe sli slots - i wonder how long before a manufacturer wakes up and smells the coffee.
Just give me 1 mini-itx sized microATX baord, a Ncase M1, two 980Ti plus waterblocks, a dremmel and I'll give you something that will be being used as a doorstop in 5 years time :p
thanks for all of this

reply
January 26, 2015 | 08:19 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)
You made my day! I just bought the ncase M1 and I already wasted days on the quest for any solution to continue using my pci (32bit) sat tv tuner card on any Z97 board! Man, what else can be the advantage of a gaming sff case than HTPC with tv?!
I'll try the Asus Z97I-plus, which comes with miniPCIe, and some miniPCIe-to-1xPCIe adapter from CN (not knowing if this will work...) - have to buy a new tuner card anyway as the only miniPCIe-to-PCI32bit adapter I found is full length while the few Z97 boards withminiPCIe only offer half length miniPCIe...
So I continue dreaming of a M-ITX board with miniPCIe in the style of Asus' MPCIE Combo IV but compatible to full-length miniPCIe cards!
Mainboard Manufactures just don't have any glue of what enthusiast diy-users are looking for...

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