MSI Z97I Gaming AC Review: Small Wonder


As is the case with all MSI boards, the BIOS on the Z97I Gaming AC gives you easy access to tweak system settings with ease. Here’s the configuration we used to test the motherboard:

Motherboard: MSI Z97I Gaming AC

Processor: Intel Core i7 4790K

Memory: 16 GB Corsair Vengeance

Video Card: MSI Radeon R9 270X Gaming ITX

Storage: 250 GB Samsung Evo

Power: Corsair RM850

Cooling: Corsair H100i

Case: Cooler Master Elite 120

We started off with CineBench R15, which resulted in a single threaded score of 178 and multi-threaded score of 867. 3DMark 06 and 3DMark Vantage scores were similarly high, with results of 8514 and 31128. The hardware configuration fared just as well in the gaming benchmarks:

Gaming Benchmarks


The Z97I AC is a great motherboard if you’re looking to do a mini-ITX build. It comes with all the features found in MSI’s larger gaming-oriented boards, and does not feel like a watered down variant at all. Some users may find issue with the lack of more than two fan headers, but for a board in this segment, the Z97I Gaming AC manages to deliver. While the motherboard itself is great, there are issues with the bundled Wi-Fi adapter. Installing the antennae at the back of the adapter turned out to be a hassle thanks to the flimsy screws. Overall, the Z97I Gaming AC is one of the best motherboards you can find in the mini-ITX segment.