BIOSTAR announced its latest flagship socket LGA1150 motherboard, the GAMING Z97X. With a design focus on gaming PC builds that are high on connectivity, with a little bit of overclocking thrown in, rather than an all-out focus on overclocking (TPower), this board punches well above its weight with its feature-set. To begin with, the board features a rustic, industrial design, featuring a brown/gold+black color scheme for the various slots and connectors; and a black plastic shroud running the board’s length. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors. A 12-phase VRM conditions it for the CPU.
Expansion slots include three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4); and three PCI-Express 2.0 x1, wired to the PCH. Storage connectivity includes SATA-Express, six SATA 6 Gb/s, and an M.2 (electrical PCIe 2.0 x2) connector. This board also offers two supercharged USB 3.1 (10 Gb/s) ports, in addition to six other USB 3.0 ports, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports. There are two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, one driven by an Intel-made controller, and another by Qualcomm Killer E2200, so you get to choose between Killer and Intel. The onboard audio features a 110 dBA SNR CODEC, a 600? headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation. Also included is a 5.25-inch front-panel head-unit BIOSTAR calls the “Gaming Commander,” which gives you front-panel audio outputs with a volume control, amplifier control, diagnostic LEDs, and a CPU temperature indicator. A variant of this motherboard, which lacks the third PCIe x16 slot, offers a 10-phase CPU VRM, and goes easy on some other features, called the GAMING Z97W, was also released.