Just because a PC is being built for gaming, it doesn’t mean that it has to be enormous. With MSI’s Z97I Gaming AC, the ability to build a super-small gaming rig is granted, thanks to its mini-ITX form-factor. Some perks include Killer Ethernet networking, a full assortment of audio enhancements, and a software suite well-worth checking out.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at ASUS’ Z97I-PLUS, its flagship mini-ITX motherboard for its mainstream series. In the same article, I made multiple comparisons to MSI’s Z97I Gaming AC, as it was the only other mini-ITX Z97 I had around. While it’s not fair to compare these two boards in all respects, it’s still interesting to see how they differ.
ASUS’ Z97I-PLUS is targeted at the mainstream audience, much like MSI’s Z97I AC that I’ll talk a bit about later. The Z97I Gaming AC, on the other hand, has gamers (surprise!) in its sights.
Aside from the board’s great-looking aesthetics, MSI caters to the gaming audience here with a robust networking and audio solution, and because a mini-ITX board would be a great base for an HTPC gaming rig, the company even touts SteamOS support. Further, a six-month license of XSplit Gamecaster is included for those that like to stream their games.
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