BIOSTAR is no big fish in the motherboard market in North America. But they are starting to push more SKUs into the market. One area that can always use more competition, to drive down prices, is the gaming motherboard segment. As people discover how awesome PC gaming really is, the BIOSTAR Gaming Z97X motherboard is a welcome addition.
Starting with a a Z97 Intel Chipset, the board of course supports the LGA1150 socket, with cutting edge additions such as USB 3.1. It also has the basic gaming features covered including fast storage options like an on-board PCIe M.2 slot, SATA Express, including SATA3. Their Hi-Fi 3D technology enhances audio, and has a separate amp built in for driving headphones, and they've tapped into both Killer LAN and Intel LAN chips to provide networking.
Included is the Gaming Commander BOX, which gives you visual temperature warnings via LEDs, but also acts as an external audio card. So effectively, you get two audio solutions, for some reason. I guess two is better than one.
The BIOSTAR Gaming Z97X comes with all the usual "durable" elements including a 12 phase power design, super-durable ferrite chokes and solid capacitors. Anti-Surge and ESD design is also onboard, further protecting your components. This also makes the board capable enough for some overclocking capability.
The board will also be equipped with super durable box headers, which help your cables and connectors stay put, even when twisted and turned for the ultimate cable management job.
Finally, let's address the elephant in the room. The BIOSTAR Gaming Z97X does look a whole lot like certain ASUS boards. In particular, ones that bear a "Sabertooth" designation. It even borrows its naming designation from boards made by another company. So in other words, it's not a bad looking board. Could the ASUS B85-GAMER have been a pre-emptive strike?
While the board does look great on paper, and it does have some future proof features like USB 3.1, the execution really does need to be spot on. Gaming boards really need to be ready to work out of the box, and if they are not, then they aren't worth anyone's time. At any price.
The MSRP of the board hasn't been released yet, but based on an educated guess, it should be around the $149 US price range or less. But if they can push that price down even further, and come up with a decent enough out the box experience, as in a problem free basic setup plus stable performance, then it might be seeing more action in more systems.
More photos and the full press release are below.
February 9th, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan – BIOSTAR has launched the latest high-end gaming board, the Gaming Z97X, a board with the new Gaming Commander Box accessory as well as cutting-edge features like USB 3.1 on-board and innovative durability enhancements.
The Gaming Z97X ushers in a brand new series of gaming hardware from BIOSTAR, the first complete gaming motherboard designed byBIOSTAR. This is something new from BIOSTAR, because it's not just a regular gaming motherboard that satisfies a typical gamers' needs by just merely offering top of the line hardware, rather it is designed from the ground up to be cool looking and high performing. Let's talk about what makes the BIOSTAR "Gaming Z97X" so special.
The Gaming Z97X is an ATX form factor board that features Intel socket 1150 support and is based on the Intel Z97 chipset, coming with key features such as USB 3.1, three PCI Express 3.0x16 slots, PCIe M.2 support, Dual GbE LAN and BIOSTAR exclusive Super Hi-Fi Audio technology and support for DisplayPort. Two on-board HDMI supports 4K and 2K resolutions. There is also the introduction of the SATA Express Connector which supports both SATA and PCIe storage solutions giving maximum data transfer speed of up to 10Gb/s.
This board also heralds the launch of the BIOSTAR external Gaming Commander box. It fits in a standard 5.5" (CD-ROM) area; it is also comprised of software with voice control center exclusively designed by BIOSTAR. The external box features an independent USB DAC, dedicated MIC_IN and Line-out jacks, buttons for volume adjustments, a diagnose LED for CPU/ DDR/ VGA temperature indicators, and exclusive XLouder button for quick MIC boost. The Gaming Commander software is a user friendly interface with equalizer functions which allows users to make their own voice effects while enjoying games.
As mentioned before, it should be noted that the Gaming Z97X is the first motherboard that comes with an onboard USB 3.1 connector, a new standard known as SuperSpeed +. The new standard doubles data transfer rate from 5Gbps to 10Gbps, and it's backward compatible with existing USB3.0 connectors and all the USB 2.0 devices.
The On-board PCIe M.2 slot, available for higher performance SSD; and SATA Express ports that supports both SATA and PCIe storage solutions to maximum data transfer speed up to 10Gb/s. Both features can upgrade your system performance in terms of data access and storage.
Most of the features we’ve just talked about are related to system hardware performance, now let's look at the audio performance. The Gaming Z97X adopts BIOSTAR’s exclusive Hi-Fi 3D technology, it enables high definition multidimensional sound and gamers also get extremely high quality sound with an additional amplifier on-board. With the Gaming Commander BOX, you can freely use either sound chips from motherboard or the BOX in different scenarios to get the maximum sound performance.
One thing no gamer can stand is a sudden internet disconnection, so BIOSTAR has prepared two LAN connectors, with the most popular Killer LAN and Intel LAN chips. With Dual GbE LAN, the primary advantage is doubling bandwidth from 1G to 2G, and with two high-speed gigabit networks plus zero packet delay that provides super high data transmission efficiency. Another major advantage is "Load Balancing", it allows a gamer to attach both network adapters to a single network. It will therefore support the aggregation "teaming" function by merging the two connections to support multiple aggregation modes. In addition, two Gigabit Ethernet lightning protection circuits reduce the probability of damage from lightning or other power surge, so if one connection is disabled the other connection will automatically kick in.
We've talked about high-end hardware specs, the high quality sound and the high speed LAN connection, what about product stability?BIOSTAR has that covered. Around the CPU area, there is a 12 phase power design to prevent the CPU from overheating; BIOSTAR’s exclusive super-durable ferrite chokes and solid capacitors also enhance energy efficiency and extend the motherboard’s lifespan. An Anti-Surge and ESD design also provides the best protection and reduces the shocks caused by ESD as well as other damages arising from overvoltage transients thus enhancing system stability and durability.
The Gaming Z97X will come with super durable box headers providing solid, secure and durable connections between the motherboard and peripheral cables. When running such high-end machinery sometimes such tight tolerances call for some expert debugging of overclocked or highly stressed systems. For that, there will be Super Rapid Debug 3 which gives out critical POST code information on a vivid digital LED display. This greatly helps trouble shooting of a system.
And of course, it all looks cool and sharp with the armor design; there are a lot more great features like the LN2 switch, T-Overclocking software & an onboard XMP button for easy CPU and memory overclocking, and dual HDMI ports that support true 4k/2k HD video. We hope you can experience it yourself.
About BIOSTAR MICROTECH INT'L CORP.
BIOSTAR, is a manufacturer dedicated to the production of motherboards, graphics cards and industrial computing systems. Since its establishment in 1986, the BIOSTARGROUP has become a major motherboard supplier in the PC industry. In order to pursue continuous growth, BIOSTAR has invested heavily in acquiring the physical and human resources to excel at research and development. With a constant emphasis on quality, BIOSTAR always seeks to offer products with the highest price-performance ratio.