Updated: Mar 30
So about a year ago I moved from water cooled CPU back to Air cooled CPU as the water cooling stuff had become pretty darn noisy.
With 7 Computers in two offices right next to each other the old eardrums needed some respite from the noise generated by all the liquid cooling madness, so I engineered some home office silence for the old sound receiver ornaments either side of my head.
I had shod all my Desktop rigs (5 of them) with X570 Elite motherboards from Aorus and slapped 5900X Ryzen chips in em that was in addition to my two Threadripper Chip designer rigs I use for CAD based work et al.
I have 8 rigs and three laptops right now though I only use two X570 rigs for most of my day job work.
I tried and tested various WiFi 6 AX series products with these Aorus X570 Elite motherboards and finally found a good Chinese manufacturer that knew how to solder a PCB after a dozen or so shoddily made AX210 Chinese made product dramas and decided while doing this that the Motherboard based WiFi might actually solve the shoddy Chinese workmanship problems I was encountering on the AX series WiFi NIC's because the Taiwanese companies who make those motherboards actually by and large do a pretty decent job of it.
When I saw that the MSI MAG X570S Tomahawk MAX WIFI board was $229 on Amazon, I leapt to action with a plot to grab one of them to try it out.
Now I have been hearing horror stories for years that some suppliers of these motherboards to Amazon were sending out returns from other customers who failed to install them or get them going and it is true that 90% of motherboards returned by customers have no issues at all.
So when I ordered one the other week I was disappointed but not surprised I eventually ran into such a motherboard nightmare situation myself.
The box the Motherboard was in was missing the manufacturers cellophane wrap and the static bag for the motherboard was obviously poorly re-sealed with a single strip of tape.
There was no manual and the wireless antennae looked like a dog had been chewing on them.
Applying the 90% of them are fine rule I proceeded with the build.
I shoulda known better.....
The new MSI Motherboard itself looked very second hand and the plate surrounding the USB and Audio ports was bent at the bottom edge of the plate.
I had bought a new MSI case for it a few months back and was itching to get the JRAINBOW effect going between the MSI case and the MSI motherboard.
Now I do not need these aRGB lights but I have found it useful at night when my office is dark to have these lights shine on shit I have strewn all over my main office floor.
So in any event I took a lot of time carefully making sure the bequiet Dark Pro 4 air cooler device came off the 5900X chip that was then mated to a X570 Elite motherboard with meticulous precision, was pickily cleaned and ready for the new compute experience, as was the 5900X Chip itself.
I also tidied up the wiring and custom made a home made system to hold the bequiet fans on this Dark Rock 4 Pro air cooling block as the wire brace things they came with that do this are a bit of a serious joke.
I took my colorful paper clip collection and some beefy rubber hairbands for ladies and went to town with my short nose pliers to do this.
Then there was the matter of the JRAINBOW connectors from the new case and the fans with this capability in the case that also come with aRGB lighting and a PCB Hub thang that I had to hook up to the new MSI MAG X570S motherboard thingamybob.
I started the work at 7 AM last Thursday morning and was done by around 2 PM.
When I was ready to fire up the motherboard, I placed the open case on my lap and was ready to pull power in case it fried and it did in fact spark at the JRAINBOW connector with that awful burnt electrical wire stench and visible sparks instantly manifesting on power up.
I immediately ripped the JRAINBOW connector off it's connector, powered down by ripping out the power plug and removed the eRGB PCB from the case and proceed to fire the motherboard up again after a quick inspection to check nothing major was damaged.
For 5 minutes absolutely nothing happened and then the Monitor flickered and then ran a POST and then booted into Windows 11 Pro.
I immediately ran a benchmark and scored in the UFO class with the CPU at 110% which was the highest I ever have seen in these tests to date.
I then began to explore the BIOS, check the voltage levels and load the drivers that came on a sole MSI USB drive that had come with the motherboard.
I updated the BIOS to v14 sans any drama and benchmarked it again, setting the RAM to XMP profile 1 and getting the clock to 1600 and then I ran the benchmark yet again.
Then I loaded the MSI Center and this was where the weirdness and fun began to begin.
It kept trying to load drivers for something but it was stuck on the loading drivers, be patient message piece with a reddish circle spinning for eternity.
5 hours later it was still stuck on this part so I uninstalled MSI center with the MSI Center uninstall tool and loaded MSI Dragon Center.
That worked just fine, but no Mystic Lighting app was any part of Dragon Center...
Then I played some chess against my Chess AI and concluded that the CPU itself was working just dandy.
This is my personal hard test check of CPU function by way.
So I now knew for a fact that there was no issue with the CPU and this motherboard per se.
I was quite relieved as the melting of the JRAINBOW connector and aRGB PCB hub on the case had set me to expect the worst with the CPU and the motherboard.
A day or so later I decided OK, lets watch some YouTube videos on the matters at hand and was surprised after following some tips on the videos that MSI Control Center reported the Audio as being that which was present in my NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti card and I had to plug in the headphone through the monitor jack.
This sound was a static nightmare but it did kinda work.
I grabbed the MSI's Motherboard box to see if it came with an Audio Codec and it informed me that the thing indeed had a RealTek ALC 4080 Codec on board with Audio Boost S as a feature.
Mmmm I said to myself....Mmmmmm.....
I launched device manager again and queried new hardware but alas no such Audio device was being reported by Windows 11.
With a deep sigh I removed my Windows 11 NVMe drive and replaced it with with my Mint Linux one.
Linux usually tells me the real story of where the problem is hardware wise.
However, Linux was also not seeing the RealTek Codec..... Mmmmm I thought to myself again....Mmmmm.
So now I was contemplating using the Motherboard as just a CPU platform sans any aRGB light show action and sans Audio but as I thought about it I could not stop worrying about what would fail next.
I really did not want to spend another whole day installing another motherboard either but then again I needed a functioning computer....
So in any event, I eventually tell my tale of woe to she who must be obeyed and she tells me sans hesitation (after asking why I needed so many computers) that I am a nutter and to just send it right back.
So I did.
I had also not been able to locate what burnt other than seeing lightning show sparks on the JRAINBOW connector on that first firing up so now I was bringing the Case and the JRAINBOW aRGB hub PCB thang into question and bought a new Case as they do not sell that aRGB Hub PCB thang separately.
Oh well, Fucking Hell, what choice did I have but to buy a new case right?
A few days later I learn you can in fact buy a decent aRGB hub for a few shekels and that I did not in fact need to buy a new case at all.....
In my defense I had been irked I could not find a replacement for the MSI aRGB PCB thang and was not thinking straight as a result of my stubborn ire over the matter.
Then I started wondering about the HX1000i PSU but when I saw that PSU was now selling for $497 I just ordered a new Type 4 cable set for it for $51 along with the new case but when it arrived swiftly recalled the difference between Type 3 and Type 4 PSU cables.....
Oi Vey, as they say!!
My HX1000i could only take Type 3 cables....Shoulda known that out the gate!
I tested said PSU and put it to the burnt wiring and electronics smell test and it passed both tests.
So now I was waiting for a new case, a new Motherboard and the new PSU cables to arrive and they did a day later.
I sent back the PSU Type 4 cables and bought a 12 pin TPM module for MSI motherboards and an AirGoo aRGB hub thang as well instead...
I really must start playing golf again for Sado Masochistic kicks of this sort, at least I am hitting something with Golf based S&M antics!
This MSI MAG X570S MAX WIFI motherboard also loaded both my WD Black SN850 NVMe 1TB SSD drives which is what the Aorus Elite was no longer doing and why I had acquired another motherboard in the first place by the way.
So I did at least discover that there was indeed something wrong with that Aorus Elite motherboard from a Dual NVMe point of view...
Double Oi Vey, I kept telling myself!! Good job I am an electronics Engineer....!
So the new replacement MSI MAG Motherboard arrived and I did the meticulous setup thang again, only this time I swapped all the goodies such as RAM, CPU, Cooler, Dark Pro 4 CPU Heatsink setup etc. while I waited for the new case to arrive.
This resulted in a much better Dark Pro 4 fan setup on the thang.
The MSI GUNGNIR 110R case I had ordered was slightly smaller than the other MSI MAG case I had bought at BestBuy three months ago.
I initially connected everything bar the aRGB lighting cables and that worked real swell.
When I did connect the aRGB JRAINBOW 1 connector on the motherboard all 4 fans went instantly MSI Red.
No sparks, no burning germanium smell but the LED switch on the new case did nothing so I dove into the BIOS and switched between PWM and DC control to no effect and then played with the LED SW1 switch on the motherboard, also to no effect.
I took off both case side panels often this last week to trace the cables and yesterday I realized there was a splitter cable for 3 of the 4 case fans and when I connected the 4th fan solo I suddenly had some aRGB control with the LED switch on the case but burning once again occurred and that fan is now locked into Blue and the front three case fans are still MSI Red.
The LED Switch on the case now does less than zilch.
This made me dive into the aRGB hub thang a bit deeper and I got me an education on them thangs while I was at it.
Lots of Redditors were of the opinion their MSI based aRGB shite only started working when they bought a separate and decent aRGB hub and trashed the MSI aRGB Hub Circuit board PCB thang and I now had two dead ones to confirm this harsh view for myself!
I also concluded this aRGB PCB thing was very poorly made and was what was burning every-time I hooked it up to SATA power.
This is where I also recalled not all SATA Cables from PSU vendors are the same and had to spend considerable time going through over 90 cables for my various PSU units to Match SATA Cable to the right PSU... Boy was that a ball ache and a half!
Seems that the motherboard cannot really provide aRGB 5v power for more than one or two fans anyhew.....
I also started to realize my fun home made hooks and hairbands work on the Dark Pro 4 fans had meant I had to invert all the case fans so that air flow direction was all in the same direction.
Before I did this the CPU was at 64 degrees C on full AI load and after I fixed the airflow problems it now sits at 54 degrees before slowly climbing to 58 but staying mostly at 56 with a 2nd stage CPU load taking it to 58 degrees. Before it would climb to 70 degrees but hang around at 68 and the second stage would take it to 75 degrees C.
Operating at under 60 degrees C on air is no mean feat in my humble opinion.
So when I switched back to the Aorus X570 Elite, a funny thing happened...
I messed with custom profiles on Ryzen Master and now the thing is running at 4.3 GHz on all 12 cores and it obviously does this at a higher temperature range.
Now it is sitting at 55 degrees C at idle and goes to 68 degrees of stage one at 4,267 MHz and will slowly rise to 73 degrees depending on how difficult a problem my AI is crunching.
This is what I have been trying to get them all to do this past year.
I uncoupled RAM Clock and System Fabric clock but they both run the same regardless at 1600.
Now one of my new rigs is a donated 7950X based setup which I never run due to the noise the water cooled stuff makes and I am actually of the opinion my 5900X Air cooled setup is near workstation operating perfection.
I cannot tell the difference between the 7950X and the 5900X with what I do on them compute wise, apart from the deafening silence of the 5900X rigs.
Sure, if I benchmark them the Threadrippers kick everything's ass and that 7950X scores better than the 5900X rigs but I can honestly not tell the difference myself if I am not playing a hefty graphics game on one of them that is.
I hardly ever do, I have PlayStation, XBOXEN and Nintendo Swift gear for that shite...Which I also hardly ever use either by the way....
I only need moderate GPU for the P-CAD PCB work I do for my various electronics projects by the way...(I spend most of my weekend making PCB's for various avionics projects I have on the go).
So I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of my AirGoo aRGB hub to see if this would in fact solve the aRGB stubborn refusal to operate as advertised.
So in any event the 12 Pin TPM the MSI MAG X570S Tomahawk Max WIFI manual specified arrived and does not even work!
That is to say the board will not even boot into BIOS with it plugged in! The connector is in fact a 14 pin connector and the manual specifies a 12 pin, so I got the MSI 12 pin TPM.
The BIOS on this thing does not stutter either with Windows 11 so they must have got that piece sorted somehow.
The Asus and Gigabyte attempts at vTPM or fTPM as they call it suck for some reason.
So I did not waste much time on this other than to note my actual TPM Header is a 14 pin one and fitting this thing means moving up two pins which does not strike me as being right!
I will send a sarky email to MSI today.
The thing that was real interesting the weekend was what I now call the aRGB saga.
It seems the aRGB PCB circuit board found in any MSI case and the motherboard manuals are at serious odds with each other.
It took some installing and uninstalling as well as BIOS fiddling to get the MSI Center software which loads the Mystic Light component to even see the motherboard RGB piece.
This started working between turning EZ RGB on and off and a fresh install of Windows 11.
There is also an RGB LED switch on the motherboard which also influences things somewhat.
After various combinations I had realized I needed a separate aRGB hub which I was now fiddling with.
Interestingly enough the AirGoo unit I bought was more suited to 4 pin fans and mine were all 3 pin fans with LED lights.
This would give them power and they light up in MSI red for the front three fans and the rear one did switch to Blue from the case LED but after a swift cable burn smell it was locked into blue.
I will purloin a case fan from the MAG case to see if it is damaged as I plugged the other three fans one by one into JRAINBOW 1 or 2 and they work.
What the Airgoo does not have is a way for the mystic light software to control the switching of colors.
Right now the top and bottom fan of the front panel are connected to JRAINBOW1 and 2 respectively and the Mystic light software will switch those in cahoots with the motherboard RGB LED's.
This Airgoo thing is a HUB and I suspect that for this to work we need a controller that mystic light will work with as it is a what happens to one happens to them all kinda setup.
That is to say all fans and all aRGB devices should respond to one command and change in unison.
However I can only control the aRGB direct from the JRAINBOW connectors.
I did me a logic diagram in Visio and rapidly ascertained the color changing would need a 2 pin switch signal the Airgoo does not have to work.
For the software to do this it needs the same control pressing the physical LED switch would deliver and that piece is missing.
MSI need to update their exquisitely crappy manuals to explain the aRGB PCB hub operation as well as the JRAINBOW operation.
This the Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers all fail to do in a spectacular manner when it comes to aRGB.
Even reading them in Chinese offers no clues as to their proper function.
I did note however that aRGB is 5v and RGB is 12v and that mixing these by mistake will cause quite the cockup.
I suspect these people who claimed success with 3rd party aRGB controllers did so because the good ones have a separate remote control device and this remote control device provides the missing switch command combinations the motherboard and mystic light is failing to provide adequately.
This solution takes the MSI center and Mystic light capability away from the Motherboard unless mystic light can work with that controller you buy.
My AirGoo hub actually has a MSI Mystic Light logo on the box and it does provide 5v power to the aRGB and 12v power to the fans but that is it.
Mystic light commands to change color only work with one fan plugged into each JRAINBOW connector on the motherboard.
So I built my own PCB Sunday that will accommodate simple 555 IC silicon to do the job and I sent it off to a place in Arizona that can make the 4" square motherboard for me.
I also power it via SATA 12v connector power.
When it comes I will solder in the IC's, Diodes and resistors with the standard SATA connector package I like from Mitsui Corp electronic components portfolio.
I used very expensive components as I build to never fail.
The PCB has four replica circuits and any 555 that fails will bring the remaining survivors into the logic equation.
I also rectified and smoothed the 12v and 5v rails with a solid earth setup.
It will take a 10 amp surge to kill this PCB but I also put two gas arrestors used in lightning strike surge devices to mitigate so it has some surge protection built in.
I will await the arrival of all those goodies to continue the aRGB lighting adventure!
By the way if you just want a system that just works do not bother with the aRGB shenanigans as it can be quite the rabbit hole.
You can actually buy these for $12.50 on Amazon...
My theory is if it was designed to do X it better do X..........
A flaw I must work on....
So this morning (3/20/23) total disatrum struck the new rig with the replacement motherboard and briefly sorted out aRGB lighting.
I changed the aRGB workload between JRAINBOW1 and JRAINBOW2 and rebooted.......
I did not even get a bluescreen, it just hung without even a prompt...FML I exclaimed loudly as I stared at the solid red CPU LED on the motherboard.....
Oh No! I thought, a blown CPU?! I went downstairs quiet as a mouse in a huff and had a coffee and a logical think session.
While nibbling on a tasty lemon cream it struck me that changing the aRGB workload was impossible to have resulted in a blown CPU and I brought the circuit into my head in 3D and examined the signal path in my minds eye.
I was absolutely certain of this.
Proving it logically was a testicle ache however....
By the time I was on my second cup of coffee and my third lemon cream I realized I would have to use one of my spare rigs to prove out the components one by one, starting with the Power supply.
I stopped both machines in my no 1 office and ripped out their respective PSU's.
I put the 750 Watt Thermaltake in the machine that had red CPU LED'd on me and boy was this painful and time consuming.
Interestingly the aRGB was being controlled but the machine failed to boot while I watched the impressive aRGB light show.
I removed all aRGB inputs and redirected FAN outputs to the motherboard 4 pin posts for Sys Fans and removed the Airgoo aRGB hub for everything.
The Red CPU LED was ceaseless in its solid red light shining antics.
Next I put the HX1000i in cahoots with the motherboard the other machine was using at boot failure and it worked AOK.
So now I knew the PSU was fine.
There have been occasions when failing GPU can cause the CPU LED light to shine and cease all POST antics so I swapped those as well, also no problem with any GPU I put in them.
Next was the RAM and I swapped that as well. The Red CPU LED still shone ceaselessly on....
The last thing was to remove the CPU and put it in one of my other X570 motherboards.
This was my biggest fear, even though I knew it was theoretically AOK, nonetheless seeing it AOK would be a welcome experience at this juncture...
So after a rapid heatsink cleaning, thermal paste application and bolting on a Dark Pro 4 session I turned it on with the SSD it had last booted with and watched it boot flawlessly.
So now I knew for certain that my second MSI MAG X570S MAX WIFI motherboard in a week had croaked on me.
I was well wicked displeased by this shit, I can tell ya, in no uncertain terms!
So I put the errant motherboard in my open test rig just to make double sure and it was clear it had definitely reached the square root of five.
I was now no longer a fan of anything MSI...AGAIN!
Fortunately, nobody had bought any of my old X570 Elite motherboards so I picked the best one and mounted it real swell in the new MSI GUGNIR 110R case.
I cleaned the CPU, checked the PSU and sorted out the MO for the interim which was fan power only, no aRGB monkey business!
Then I did a clean install of Windows 11 Pro on one WD SN850 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD and went about doing the Windows 11 update chikken dance et al.
By 4 PM it was mostly a done deal so I popped off to UPS to send the offending piece of silicon shite back from whence it came.
This time I elected a refund as the second motherboard also arrived pre-opened but this time had come with a manual and the RealTek Audio codec was even working, however it is clear these units are refurbished units.
The only thing to discover with them is what, exactly, is wrong with them.
I was surprised at this particular failure as it had passed all benchmark tests for three days up and until it failed. I have never seen a motherboard do this with just aRGB futzing.
So my dream of pairing up an MSI case with an MSI motherboard is not to be, but then I did also figure out how to get the Aorus RGB Fusion software working right with the RGB fans and all other RGB goodies.
I had similar angst with my X370 MSI motherboards 5 years ago which also ate PSU modules like candy.
I am mulling an ASUS X570 Godlike for my next adventure...with a Lian Li case....
It will probably be another Aorus motherboard though.....I must be biased but hey ho they seem to just work...
And on that note, the Aorus X570 Elite Motherboard I was having the issues with that made me get the MSI MAG X570S was pressed back into service while I await my refund from Amazon.
I blew it clear of dust and shook out all the hardened thermal paste bits and I did swap the PSU between these two machines in my no 1 Office.
I also did a fresh and new Windows install and ran it with just one SSD the first part of the week.
On 3/23 I put the second SSD in and its has been working AOK so far.
The Gremlins must be on vacay somewhere!
It also Benchmarked at 140% as a worksation which was astounding!
So now I am wondering why it went flaky as it seems just fine now!
Still suspect the PSU may have been the issue here...
The funny thing is that I have now got the aRGB stuff on this motherboard to work with the Aorus RGB software! Go Figure!
Triple Oi Vey! as my Rabbi would say!