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Windows 7: MSI Z170A M7 Motherboard Questions

18 Jan 2016   #1
TDKMate

Win 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 
MSI Z170A M7 Motherboard Questions

Although I have built a few computers, I'm not really too savvy on it. I have a few questions on a "MSI Gaming Z170A GAMING M7."

1) How do you install the dang thing? Before you laugh too hard, please see the attached JPEGs. Two of the mounting holes are occupied by having some sort of shield bolted on. I have no idea the shield is functional/required or if it's just decorative.

So do I round up two longer screws and install the motherboard normally but with the shield? Or do I just remove the shield altogether? The manual was of no help.

2) I'm so lame about OCing that I can't even spell "OC", LOL. My other builds were with Asus motherboards and OCing was a simple, and automatic, choice in the BIOS. The MSI manual had Pages on OCing that made absolutely no sense to me at all.

So does it have a simple BIOS setting to OC 'automatically?' The board is still on the bench so I haven't been into the BIOS yet and I couldn't figure it out in the manual.

3) SATA ports. I had one build that was very confusing to me on ports. It had ports that were not compatible with all drives, like optical units. At least this board seem more clear, but I'd like to confirm before I build. It has two groups of port of different colors. One group is ports 1 & 2. (On the other board, I think it was these two that were for optical drives only, but I don't remember for sure.) The other differently colored group is ports 3 - 6 and has two SATAe ports.

So do I assume the main, (SSD) OS 'C' drive goes to port 1? Or does it go to port 3? I will also be installing two hard drives and two optical drives. After installing the OS drive, does it matter where the others go?

Any and all help and tips with the motherboard will be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Attached Thumbnails
MSI  Z170A M7 Motherboard Questions-motherboard-screw-1.jpg   MSI  Z170A M7 Motherboard Questions-motherboard-screw-2.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jan 2016   #2
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi
Don't have a z170 but can say the shield is decorative but the case screws should be long enough if the existing ones aren't or if MSI didn't send others with the mobo

Sata 1 & 2 would be for as you said cd/ dvd drive and main ssd
Doesn't matter which either is connected to cd/ dvd drive is usually #1 in boot order

All the other sata ports are for storage/ raid...

Oc'ing well I'm sure it has an easy mode and advanced you'd just need to check it out after install
I'm sure there are some youtube videos around
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18 Jan 2016   #3
linnemeyerhere

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

Over clocking properly is always done in the bios but don't overclock anything you can't afford to replace including the items attached to the mobo. MSi has a one button OC but just like the ASUS these tend to get limited increase and almost always add way to much voltage. My suggestion is to install and shake the bugs out at stock setting everything then once the thermal paste is cured you can push very slowly forward. Also please add a proper high performance CPU cooler if this is something you are 100% interested in.
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18 Jan 2016   #4
Ranger4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

It would seem that the shield is part of the MB, so it would not be advisable to remove it. You can generally work on the basis if it's there it's needed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2016   #5
TDKMate

Win 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ThrashZone View Post
Hi
Don't have a z170 but can say the shield is decorative but the case screws should be long enough if the existing ones aren't or if MSI didn't send others with the mobo

Sata 1 & 2 would be for as you said cd/ dvd drive and main ssd
Doesn't matter which either is connected to cd/ dvd drive is usually #1 in boot order

All the other sata ports are for storage/ raid...

Oc'ing well I'm sure it has an easy mode and advanced you'd just need to check it out after install
I'm sure there are some youtube videos around
Thanks for all the tips. I'll look in MSI's box a little closer and see if there are any long screws in there. I'll put the OS drive on SATA #1, the rest in the other ports. Yeah, I'll have to look for an 'easy' mode in BIOS for OCing.
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19 Jan 2016   #6
TDKMate

Win 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by linnemeyerhere View Post
Over clocking properly is always done in the bios but don't overclock anything you can't afford to replace including the items attached to the mobo. MSi has a one button OC but just like the ASUS these tend to get limited increase and almost always add way to much voltage. My suggestion is to install and shake the bugs out at stock setting everything then once the thermal paste is cured you can push very slowly forward. Also please add a proper high performance CPU cooler if this is something you are 100% interested in.
Didn't know that thermal paste had to cure. I'll keep that in mind. No, I'm not planning on doing any 'real' OCing. Just whatever auto can do, as it worked fine on the Asus boards. But if I read it right, you don't recommend that. I will be using a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo for heatsink and fan. In fact, it's already installed on the CPU; the motherboard is still on the bench.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2016   #7
TDKMate

Win 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ranger4 View Post
It would seem that the shield is part of the MB, so it would not be advisable to remove it. You can generally work on the basis if it's there it's needed.
The fact that it's bolted to the motherboard (there's a nut on the other side of both screws) also suggests that it should be used. Like the old motherboard I took out of the case, this new one is slightly curved upward so I don't want to put it in without being screwed to the case. As the tip above, I'll see if there are extra screws in the motherboard box, and if not, I'll scrounge some up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2016   #8
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
Yep you don't say which cpu you got but AddRam says the 6700 runs very cool on a stock cooler so the evo should do pretty good
You can use realtemp to see how it does
Download Real Temp 3.70 | techPowerUp
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2016   #9
linnemeyerhere

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TDKMate View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by linnemeyerhere View Post
Over clocking properly is always done in the bios but don't overclock anything you can't afford to replace including the items attached to the mobo. MSi has a one button OC but just like the ASUS these tend to get limited increase and almost always add way to much voltage. My suggestion is to install and shake the bugs out at stock setting everything then once the thermal paste is cured you can push very slowly forward. Also please add a proper high performance CPU cooler if this is something you are 100% interested in.
Didn't know that thermal paste had to cure. I'll keep that in mind. No, I'm not planning on doing any 'real' OCing. Just whatever auto can do, as it worked fine on the Asus boards. But if I read it right, you don't recommend that. I will be using a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo for heatsink and fan. In fact, it's already installed on the CPU; the motherboard is still on the bench.
That's a very good cooler and with a "easy OC" you'll likely see about a 10% increase. My point is you can likely get more increase with less voltage by doing it slowly through the bios. In my experience you won't feel that over clock at all. Send us some pictures of your build when done in our "Show Us Your Rig" post and good luck and have fun.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2016   #10
TDKMate

Win 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 

Hi Everyone,

Sorry to take so long in getting back to this thread. Things have been hectic and I haven't had time to 'play' with the build. But I was able to do a little the last weekend and yesterday.

There were no extra screws in the motherboard box, but then it hit me: the 'extra' screws are the ones bolting the shield on!

But things went down hill from there. I got the motherboard in the case but two mounting standoffs just spun so I couldn't tighten things up. So I found some nuts that fit (8x32) to put on the backside where the threaded part of the standoffs protrudes, and managed to break one off.

Then after hooking up the bare minimum (RAM, onboard video, mouse, keyboard, case connections) the dang thing would not boot, giving me an error code of 99 and No beeps. (it's a beeper, not speaker, and I don't even know if it works...) And nothing on the monitor. I took the motherboard out of the case to see if that would make a difference: it didn't.

I tried all I could think of, but nothing changed: I took out all the RAM and tried several sticks one at a time in the primary slot the manual said to use if using only one stick. I tried both HDMI slots. I installed the video card, still nothing on the screen. I tried the working power supply from the old build. No change. Cleared the CMOS several times. Even removed all case connections (front panel, USB cables, Power/Rest switches, and LED lights).

Something is going on, though. Sometimes takes only 3-4 seconds for the Debug Code LED to run thru a bunch of numbers before stopping at 99. On at least one occasion it took several minutes as it cycled thru a bunch of numbers, stopping at 18 for a moment, then repeat a hand full of times. And the onboard HDD LED sometimes goes nuts like you're defragging a mechanical drive, though the one hooked up is an SSD. I didn't think of letting it run until the 18-cycle stopped or the HDD LED stopped as it was many minutes.

Since it's a new problem I'll probably post a new thread on it. I'll post back with a link if I do.

Oh, the heatsink and case fan both spin up.
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