PRO Z690-A DDR4/WIFI Owners Thread


Sep 9, 2004
PRO Z690-A DDR4 and WIFI discussion thread.

Latest official BIOS: v11

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I got some results from testing the Thermalright 1700 BCF on my 12700k (stock clocks). I also managed to get my hands on the Thermal Grizzly frame that i had to install for my best bud (he bought it from Germany, took it almost 3 weeks to arrive).

First of all, the i got my Thermalright from alliexpress, and it cost me 12.5€ (european warehouse). It was the original frame, with a genuine sticker on the box that can be used to check authenticity on website.

Upon removing my Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280, i saw this:
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To me, it seems like there is perfect contact in the middle, but not in the sides that the ILM is actually applying pressure on the CPU. But again, the middle section of the CPU is most important, since all cores are there.
I cleaned all thermal paste with alcohol, and used an old card with a light source behind to check if the CPU is bended. And i got this:
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... it looks like it's bended, but not that much that most people should worry about.

I was also surprised to see that the original LOTES / MSI ILM already had washers (of some short) on the bottom. Correct me if i'm wrong, but i think that in other CPU sockets, the ILM did not have those black washers. Maybe it is their attempt to ease the pressure on the chip? I have no idea...
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Now, the big question, will it un-bend when ILM is loose? I was happy to see that it gets flat. The following picture is with the ILM removed, and it looks flat.
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... and another one with the thermalright frame installed:
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Now, installation as easy as it can get. Easier than the Thermal Grizzly's frame. The thermalright frame has the actual height needed to put enough pressure on the CPU to work and pins have correct contact. That means that you can actually bottom down the screws without worrying if you apply to much or too low pressure. At lease on MSI z690 pro wifi, it works as intended. I just didn't go crazy on tighten the screws, just applyied normal pressure on them and felt the screws bottomed down...
On the Thermal Grizzly frame, the frame height of the frame is lower than this one. That might make it compatible with more mobos (i have no idea even if that statement is correct), but that makes it harder to calculate how much pressure is needed so that you wont tighten the screws too much or too little.

Now, the test results... I just run several Cinebench R23 benchmarks to see if the results i get are similar, to exclude any type of thermal error. I have 3 screenshots with the standard ILM, and 3 screenshots with the thermalright frame installed. These screenshots are right at the start of the benchmark, after 5mins running a 10min benchmark (middle of the test) and right after it finishes. You will also see other temps in the screenshots, like nvme and GPU temps, but just ignore them. I used the latest HWInfo. CPU was running on stock clocks, only XMP is enabled in BIOS.
All my tests were done with high ambient room temperature (30C). That was intentional, since i didn't want to have any air conditioning in the room while testing.
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With stock ILM, and without the thermalright frame installed, i got this:
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Now, with the Thermalright frame installed, i got this:
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As you can see, temperatures are lower... -6C on cpu package at the middle of the benchmark.
My 2cents on this, if you are a hardcore overclocker, go for it...
... if you are a gamer or a professional, don't bother...

I hope i helped those who are thinking of buying one of these frames... Just don't get the Thermal Grizzly one... it simply does not worth it, its 3 times more expensive and harder to install.
For me, the ease of installation, even pressure and lack of stress on the CPU is worth the frame cost even without lower temp. However I agree with your conclusion.
Great comparison. I was second-guessing using the Thermalright frame, instead of the Thermal Grizzly which I couldn't get in US at the time. After watching the vid on how to tighten the Thermal Grizzly, I wondered if the Thermaltake was too easy because I just tightened it by feel. It worked fine, but thanks to your thorough review of both, I now see why.
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Update after a few weeks of use. Still experiencingf periodic issues. VGA debug light stays on for several minute.
If USB devices are attached at boot or reboot, they will light up during boot then go dark before login prompt appears.
USB ports appear dead. Removing power will sometimes reset everything and it will start working again after a few mopre reboots.
If I were to return the board for rma I doubt they would naccept becuiase issues are not consistent.

USB ports being dead on boot are a big issue. Most recently... Shutdown system. Remove power frokm psu for a minute.
Recvonnect power, power on with usb devices connected. VGA light on for 30 seconds, Keyboard/mouse light up then shut off during boot.
Windows login screen comes up but any usb ports in use durign boot are now dead. Moving mouse keyboard to another port provides power for mouse/keybvoard lights but windows doesn't respond to keyboard/mouse. Power off again, remove power for a minute, remove all use devices, reconnect power and boot system. Once booted reconnect usb devices. System works normally, keyboard'/mouse work normally.

I am having to run through this multiple reboot cycle frequently.
Is this motherboard bad or are all Z690 motherboards this buggy?
Mine's not.
I completely removed thje MSI Pro Z690-A and replaced it with an ASUS Prime Z690-P motherboard. Everything works as it should I lost a couple SATA ports, but I was able to confirm that all my components work fine with the ASUS motherboard. I am going to get an RMA on the MSI motherboard for repair/replacement.
I completely removed thje MSI Pro Z690-A and replaced it with an ASUS Prime Z690-P motherboard. Everything works as it should I lost a couple SATA ports, but I was able to confirm that all my components work fine with the ASUS motherboard. I am going to get an RMA on the MSI motherboard for repair/replacement.
You sure tried everything on that board. MSI should replace it with an upgrade. How do you like the ASUS bios in comparison (disregarding all the issues/problems).
Main difference, besides it working with all my devices and no strange behavior?
MSI has more M.2 slots than the ASUS. ASUS has more x4 slots than the MSI.
MSI board -> PCIe x16, x4, x3, x1, x1
MSI board -> M.2 x4, x4, x3, x4
MSI board, lots of USB ports
ASUS board -> PCIe x16, x4, x4, x1
ASUS Board -> M.2 x4, x4, x4
ASUS board, not as many usb ports.
The ASUS board has been stable from day one with all the sata ports filled and 2 nvme slots in use.
MSI was sometimes stable with 3 nvme and one sata. When I went to 6 sata drives it kept having problems.
I have yet to lose usb ports on the ASUS, but it was a daily occurrence on the MSI.

I hope it was just a bad board from MSI.
Oh, I see. I have to say I did not have the best experience with my Prime B660M-A D4 (which was my first MB in my first PC build). Long story short it was phase issue.
This board however, I have no complaints.
Also, I appreciate the information, but I was referring to this BIOS version of this board. I previously had the 1.20 version installed and flashed it to 1.70 yesterday - but underneath the download it says, "fine-tuned memory compatibility." So, does that mean this new BIOS is compatible to more RAM kits? Or do they mean this newest BIOS trains better?
I have been using the latest bios. I didn't have any issues with memory compatibility, but I wasn't overclocking either.
I enabled XMP and undervolted the cpu , but that was pretty much it for bios changes. I used an Asrock board earlier this year and it was buggy till they released a new bios. Ended up selling that one and building my current system. The Asus board was supposed to go in my Unraid server, but that will have to wait, for now. Changelogs on bios updates are underwhelming in their actual information. It's almostr as if they don't want yuou to buyh their product.

Received the board back from service. Missing CMOS reset button. Part of it just wasn't there anymore. DOA.

RMA'd the board back to MSI. Got it back just a couple days ago. Installed and it seems to work fine, but....
As soon as I try to press the cmos clear button, it literally falls apart. Button doesn't work.
I can pull the battery and clear it that way, but that involves pulling the GPU to get at it.

I can seriously not recommend this board. I don't know if other MSI products are like this or if I just got lucky.
I don't plan to purchase anything from MSI again. Do you hear me MSI. Either this board has bad quality control
or your service department is not doing their job.
Hey guys - so, I went ahead and flashed the newest bios (7D25v17) for Pro Z690-A DDR4. I see that it's ready for Raptor Lake, but it also says, "fine-tuned memory compatibility." Anyone know what they mean by this?
With previous BIOS, i lost XMP stability. It seems it tries to operate ram at 1.15v and it can't post. I have to manually set voltage at 1.35v. Maybe they fix this kind of issue. I guess i'll flash the new one and find out