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Z97 Mini-ITX Motherboard Previews - continued

Gigabyte Z97N-WIFI

Gigabyte has focused purely on the budget end of the mini-ITX market so far but with MSI making the move into the more premium sector with its MSI Z87I Gaming AC, Gigabyte has followed suite with Z97. However, it will also offer an affordable board that uses Intel's new chipset - the Z97N-WIFI.

It's currently pitched at £104 so is very reasonable. It does lack both M.2 and SATA Express, although it does at least offer 802.11ac WiFi.

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Gigabyte GA-Z97N-Gaming 5

If the Z97N-WIFI isn't quite premium enough for you then Gigabyte's new mini-ITX enthusiast board might fit the bill. The GA-Z97N-Gaming 5 - not to be confused with MSI's Gaming 5 board, is available in both micro-ATX and mini-ITX versions with the latter retailing for £123. However, we're not entirely sure what the Gigabyte Z97N-Gaming 5 offers over it's sibling - there's still no M.2 or SATA Express and only a slightly more attractive colour scheme plus a Killer network adaptor for the extra outlay.

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MSI Z97I Gaming

MSI also has a budget and gaming model when it comes to mixing Z97 and mini-ITX, although like Gigabyte's premium model, MSI's Z97I Gaming lacks M.2 and SATA Express support. However, it should at least be equipped with MSI's awesome EFI, 802.11ac WiFi and, we hope, the same overclocking prowess of its predecessor. We have yet to see prices in the US but Newegg has it listed at $190 so we expect it to come in between £120 and £140.

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MSI Z97I AC

MSI's budget model also lacks M.2 and SATA Express but does seem to offer MSI's usual classy EFI, enhanced software features plus 802.11ac WiFi. We can't find any prices yet but we'd expect it to be below £110.

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That's it for our round up. We await the arrival of our review boards so watch this space for some in-depth coverage of these plus other Z97 motherboards. In the meantime let us know your favourites in the comments.

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