Build Tips for the Beast
We always end up installing the CPU, so I will let you know how I do it hundreds of times a year and have yet to drop one and bend pins in the socket or short the CPU. If we look at the LGA1151 socket, we see that at the top/bottom and left/right center edges we find that the plastic has been recessed a bit. That recess is what allows two fingers to gently place the CPU into the socket. I prefer holding the left and right edges of the CPU with my thumb and index finger at the center of the left and right edges. I then place the CPU into the socket, but I leave the socket cover in place. I then proceed to close the CPU socket, and the socket cover pops off when the CPU is secured all the way.
The motherboard supports the M.2 Shield as well, which means you have a heat sink to help cool down the M.2 drive during bursts of activity. You just remove the blue plastic cover on the thermal pad, install the M.2 drive, and then screw everything down with a single screw.
You want to always install your first two memory DIMMs in the slot furthest from the CPU and then the slot second closest to the CPU. These slots are the priority slots for each of the channels.
The MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio is a very heavy GPU, and it's huge, so the fact that MSI provides a support bracket means that you should try and use it. The support reaches out to the rightmost area of the GPU and supports it. It helped keep my GPU from drooping down and perhaps even hurting the motherboard's reinforced slot over long periods of time or if the case is moved. You will also see the right-angled USB 3.0 internal header is used since the GPU goes over that area. We also installed the WIFI/BT card that uses an Intel, WIFI controller. Since Bluetooth cannot be transferred over PCI-E, we need to plug in the included USB 2.0 internal cable. We also installed the RGB LED Y-cable, HD audio header, power and reset button headers, and also a USB 2.0 internal header for the front panel.
The motherboard's manual is a great resource. Some of the SATA ports and the two M.2 slots share a bit of bandwidth. SATA ports 2, 3, and 4 will always be enabled. If you put a PCI-E/NVMe based M.2 drive in both ports, SATA5 and 6 will be disabled. If you put a SATA card in M2_2 and a PCI-E in M2_1 then SATA 5 will be disabled. You can see all the other combinations in the image on the right, as well as where the M.2 and SATA6Gb/s ports are on the motherboard in the image on the left.
Make sure to install your WIFI/BT antenna. Also, it's important to plug into the GPU outputs of the graphics card and not those of the motherboard. If you plug into the motherboard's graphics outputs, you will only get the performance of the integrated GPU inside the CPU, so make sure you plug into your new discrete GPU instead. Don't forget your fans either. I have the exhaust fans at the top of the system, blowing air out of the case through the radiator. I then have two front intake fans and a rear intake fan. For the most part, it's better to have more intake fans than output fans because positive pressure enables better component cooling and less dust.
So, upon first boot, you might get a few reboots, as that is typical behavior after the CMOS memory is reset, as it should when new CPU or DRAM modules are installed. If you aren't getting any output, you can look at the debug LEDs to see if it's the CPU, memory, GPU, or boot drive keeping things from working.
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