The increase in leaks and teasers regarding X99 makes for some compelling reading. Shortly after showing off their X99S SLI PLUS on Facebook, a couple of Gaming 9 AC renders seem to have been posted as well. The X99S Gaming 9 AC, as the name suggests, represents the top member of MSI’s gaming motherboard range if previous range identifiers are to be continued. Along with the 802.11ac support, the board looks like it will have eight DDR4 slots, five PCIe slots with SLI and Crossfire supported, an M.2 slot up to 2280, SATA Express, ten SATA 6 Gbps ports, eight USB 3.0 ports, upgraded audio and a Killer E2200 series network interface.

Right in the middle of the motherboard is a feature called ‘Streaming Engine’, which is plugged into what looks like a mini-PCIe slot. Current internet chatter is wondering if this is some new proprietary feature from MSI, or something akin to onboard WiDi allowing video streaming without wires. MSI is remaining tight lipped until the full release.

It is interesting to see SATA Express and M.2 on X99, and we are still in the dark as to whether these features have shared bandwidth via the PCH due to Intel RST limitations or can be used concurrently.

Pricing is unknown, and will most likely be in the higher echelons of the X99 price bracket in. If MSI is going to release an X99 XPower type of motherboard, it will be either the XPower or the Gaming 9 AC that would be the most expensive.

Source: MSI US Facebook

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  • Phylyp - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    Compelling specs, but they lost me at the Killer NIC. Why do they opt for this snake oil instead of a good Intel NIC (or better, 2 of them!)?
  • dgingeri - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    Well, the Killer NIC isn't as good as an Intel, and is more expensive, and uses a precious PCIe lane instead of the chipset's dedicated NIC interface, but it is better than a RealTek or Broadcom NIC. So, there's that at least.
  • takeshi7 - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    Every test I've seen the Killer uses way more CPU than any other NIC, only performed equally, and sucks because it's Windows only. I will avoid any motherboard with a Killer NIC. Buying one was a mistake I won't make twice.
  • R3MF - Friday, August 8, 2014 - link

    Re Windows only

    Absolutely yes, will never buy a m/b that forces this.
    I guess the Creative based Supreme FX is in the same category...?
  • DanNeely - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    Do you know any sites that've benched current wired NICs from Killer and Intel? I've seen articles showing both of them trouncing RealTek, Broadcom, etc; but am not sure if I've ever seen one comparing both of them for wired use.
  • Kumouri - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    The last article I read with a review of a Killer NIC was on (I believe) TomsHardware and it was only wireless, unfortunately. The Killer killed the Intel, the Intel killed everything else. This was also a few years ago, who knows how it is now.
  • dgingeri - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I've read that while the Killer N2200 can match the Intel in performance, the Killer software makes the system a bit unstable. Some people are actually reverting it back to the Atheros basic driver (It is actually an Atheros 8161 with a modified PCI identifier that allows the Killer software to be used) in order to make their systems stable. It apparently doesn't work very well at all with Windows 8 or 8.1, and the Atheros driver is much better.

    The Atheros chip is a good NIC, but it's $8 compared to the Intel i217-LM being $1.92, as was the 82579LM. The Killer N2200 is $40! Obviously to me, the Intel NIC is much better for the price, since it is more stable and performs just as well.

    Still, it is better than putting a RealTek or Broadcom NIC on the board. Those are both under $1, but the performance hit is just too much to justify saving $1. Anyone who puts a RealTek NIC on a board has money on their mind too much, and are not interested in putting out a decent product. (I have a Asus H97 board with a RealTek NIC, and I am annoyed with it.)
  • mzrxa - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link
  • Tarkhein - Friday, August 8, 2014 - link

    Asus ROG did some testing earlier this year (11th April) with three wired NICs and concluded that Intel was better than Realtek or Killer. Their specific configuration was a Maximus VI Formula for Intel, a Z87-Deluxe for Realtek and an MSI Z87-GD65 for Killer. It's on their ROG blog if you want to search for it as I can't link to it due to the spam filters.
  • WithoutWeakness - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I'm fine with third-party NICs on board as long as an Intel NIC is there as well. I don't mind manufacturers putting Killer NICs on to try to sell them to the "gamer" crowd or slapping on an additional Realtek NIC but at least leave the Intel NIC on the board.

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