Some weeks ago I’ve reviewed the Asus Prime Z270-P – one of the best motherboards for mining rigs with 7th gen CPUs. The Z370-A can be considered a sort of upgrade that allows you to use an 8th gen Intel CPU (Coffee Lake series), while enjoying most of the things we liked in the Z270-P.
I’ve already made rigs with a 8th gen socket motherboard before – the MSI Z370 SLI PLUS. While I liked the results, the configuration process was quite tedious. It took me a while to figure out how to make it work as intended.
The MSI Z370-A PRO, on the other hand, is way easier to set up. Besides, it is priced 30 dollars less than the MSI Z370 SLI Plus on Newegg, which makes it even more appealing.
I’ve equipped the motherboard with the i3-8100 Coffee Lake CPU, which is the cheapest alternative. Sadly enough, the Intel 300 series motherboards are not backwards compatible with 7th generations CPUs so you’ve got to use the latest processor.
Recommended CPU: Intel i3-8100
Recommended RAM: Kingston 4GB DDR4 2400MHz
MSI Z370-A PRO Specs
List of mining-related specs:
- Socket 1151 (8th gen Intel)
- Supports up to 64GB DDR4 Memory, up to 4000+(OC) MHz
- One M.2 PCIe 3.0 Slot: Delivering Speeds Up to 32Gb/s, Intel Optane Memory Ready
- 4 PCIe 1x and 2 PCIe 16x ports
- Supports AMD 3-Way Crossfire
- USB ports: 8x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A + 6x USB 2.0 ports
Security and durability:
Just like the PLUS series, the Z370-A PRO features Military Class 5, Guard-Pro components, reinforced motherboard mounting holes and one reinforced PCI-E slot. Its heatsinks are also quite impressive by size. It not only cools well but it also looks quite stylish and professional for the price, which might add to the resale value.
Building a Rig with the MSI Z370-A PRO
Mining Setup and Configuration
1 Flash Windows 10 on USB driver UEFI
2 Windows 10 UEFI installation
- Download Rufus https://rufus.akeo.ie/ and run it
- Follow their instruction to flash Windows 10 with GPT partition for UEFI
3 Windows 10 Mining tweaks and Driver installation
- Shut down the rig
- Unplug all GPUs from motherboard
- Unplug Ethernet cable (internet cable)
- Plug in display cable to motherboard
- Power up the rig and go to BIOS settings
- Press F7 to enable advanced settings, go to Settings\Advanced\Integrated Graphics Configuration and set “Initiate Graphic Adapter” to IGD
- Proceed with windows installation
4 Bios modifications to run 6x GPUs
- Once windows is fully installed DO NOT plug in the internet cable
- From your personal computer download Windows 10 mining rig tweaks reg file and disable automatic updates, sharing, antivirus, firewall, cortana etc and what ever you feel like :), note that you wont need to disable every feature.
- Install the drivers. If you don’t have an external DVD rom, you will have to manually download the drivers and install the following drivers: Chipset, LAN, On-Board VGA Drivers
- Once drivers are installed shut down the rig, plugin one GPU and power up
- Install Nvidia/AMD drivers, restart the rig then go to device manager and check display adapters, there you should have on-board video card and one gpu
5 Connecting the GPUs
- Go to BIOS Settings\Advanced\PCI Subsystem Settings and set PCI Latency Timer to 96 PCI Bus Clock and enable Above 4G memory/Crypto Currency mining
- Settings\Advanced\Power Management Setup select Last State
- Save changes & Reset
- Shut down the rig, connect the second GPU and power it up
- Check in device manager if the new video card is discovered
- Shut down the rig again and connect the 3rd GPU
- Repeat until you have all the GPUs connected and discovered by the system, i recommend to connect the gpus one by one to avoid any conflicts
The Z370-A Pro is obviously a budget motherboard, which makes it a great choice for a mining rig. While it features fewer M.2 and USB slots than the SLI PLUS, it makes that up by not being a pain to configure. It has got the minimum amount of features to get the job done, so I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t be recommending this board.
Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.
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