They look nice but I still want to see the ability to order custom boards with different color schemes for both the PCI-E and Memory slots, as well as the heatsinks. Offer green, blue, gold, purple, white or other colors with select boards.
Hopefully taking the pcie lanes from eSata means that a full 16 lanes will still go to the graphics card, even with an m.2 drive installed. The Asrock Extreme6/9 Z97 boards turn the primary graphics slot into an x8 slot if the "Ultra M.2" slot is utilized. I'm hoping that won't have to happen under Z170.
To be quite honest, it's all well and good having two M.2 ports, but I'd rather have that and a set of 6-8 working SATA ports as well. Intel's current tech won't allow for it, unless MSI allow you to dedicate some PCI-Express lanes to this job if not using SLI.
How do these compare to the Z170 Krait they just teased? Which is considered to be the higher end mobo?
For Z97 it certainly wasn't the Krait. While the Gaming Series kicked tail in gaming the Karit's performance was, for whatever reason, woeful.
It was only 71% as fast as the MSI Z97 Gaming 9. Here they are ranked by 5 of fastest board
MoBo % of Leader
MSI Z97 Gaming 9 100.00%
MSI Z97 Gaming 5 99.86%
MSI Z97A Gaming 6 98.96%
Asus Z97 TUF Sabranco 96.13%
Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 95.00%
Gigabyte Z97X SOC Force 94.95%
Asus Z97 Maximus VII Hero 93.67%
Asus Z97 Maximus VII Formula 93.58%
Asus Z97 Maximus VII Gene 91.69%
Asus Z97-A 89.57%
MSI Z97 Mpower MAX AC 88.20%
MSI Z97S SLI 71.01%