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MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC System Build Guide (Page 6)

By: Steven Bassiri from Nov 14, 2017 @ 11:11 CST

Fan Control

I highly recommend positive internal case pressure, with more air blowing in than out, as that will optimize motherboard cooling. 6I prefer setting up my fans in the UEFI because that way there is no need to install Windows-based software to control fans. However, Windows-based fan control software can also be advantageous because Windows programs have more capabilities than the constricted UEFI. I will now show you both on MSI's Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon/AC.


MSI's motherboard has six fan headers, and while all of them can operate in either PWM or DC mode, the two at the top-center of the motherboard (CPU_FAN1/PUMP_FAN1) are default PWM mode while all system fan headers are DC by default. MSI's manual does a decent job of explaining the difference between PWM and DC/Voltage mode headers/fans. However, more simply, in DC mode the motherboard controls the fan speed by regulating the power to the fan while in PWM mode the motherboard feeds the fan the maximum voltage level and a PWM signal and the fan self-regulates. DC/Voltage mode headers can control both DC and PWM fans, but PWM headers can only control PWM fans while DC fans in PWM headers will always run at 100%.

You can change their mode in the UEFI. The benefit to PWM fans is that they operate much smoother at low speeds and avoid the "clicking" noise that voltage mode fans experience when they aren't given enough power to get started. That is because PWM fans are designed to self-regulate, so they know their motors' characteristics better. However, DC/voltage mode fans (always 3-pins) are typically the included case fans, and PWM fans are typically more expensive. To make use of all fans, you need a motherboard with headers that support both types of fans, such as the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon/AC.


MSI's fan control GUI is setup in an easy to comprehend fashion. Each of the six fans has its own tab, and each can reference either the CPU or System temperature for Smart Fan Mode curve control points. You can manually select between PWM and DC mode. The vertical (y-axis) of the graph is a voltage level for DC/voltage mode fans (image on the left) or a percentage/PWM value for PWM mode fans (image on the right). The horizontal axis (x-axis) is always temperature.

To move a point of the curve, you just click and drag the point. The temperature/speed point list is located to the right of the graph. MSI's GUI also offers real-time temperature and RPM monitoring. To make things more interesting, you can also choose the step-up and step-down time interval between points. Increasing this value allows the fan to more slowly ramp up or down, so if your load (and temperature) is fluctuating rapidly, fan noise doesn't need to necessarily follow suite.


MSI's Command Center fan control is not much different from UEFI's GUI. It does offer automatic fan tuning as well, but I prefer manually doing it.

RGB LED Control


MSI has a new application called Mystic Light, and they have also worked with their GPU department and select memory vendors to sync motherboard, GPU, and even DRAM lighting together. In our case, the TridentZ RGB kit was easily detected by the motherboard as was the MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio. When they are all synced, you won't have individual device setting selection. Instead, I used the Party button up in the top right corner, added a profile, and then could mess with the lighting when everything was synced.


However, if you want individual control, you click the setting button after you select "Individual" under the Sync profile drop-down box. You then get a ton of control over each region of RGBs built into each device. Under the Party, which seems to be linked to their Bluetooth application for your phone, you can choose LED settings as well.


The MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon/AC has three types of RGB LED headers and four headers. The JRAINBOW and CORSAIR headers are 5v digital/addressable RGB LED headers, meaning that each LED can be individually controlled, which produces cool effects. However, more simply, normal RGB headers are powered on 12v and are much simpler to control. They are not interchangeable. Now, MSI also has a few ways to control RGB LEDs on the motherboard without even powering up the motherboard. A special connector will accept 5v and light up the RGBs in a demo mode. However, once the system is on you can use the DEMO LED button to change the color or effect of the LEDs, and you will use the selection jumper to choose what the button does.


The image on the left is without any external RGB LED strips, and the image on the right is with an RGB LED strip. You can see how RGB LED strips can add to overall case ambiance.

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