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MSI K9N Diamond Mainboard

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How to build a MSI K9N Diamond
from the ground up - REV 8.0

Updated:  Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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Although I wrote these procedures specifically for a
MSI K9N Diamond they can be applied to any PC build.  Check your mainboard manual for specific details.

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How to save $$$
Before you start
Choose a clean room
About the Mainboard
ATX case chassis
ATX power supply unit
The CPU and heatsink
Back IO Shield
Mount the mainboard to the tray
System fans
Inspect your optical (IDE) devices
Floppy drive
Hard drives
Video card(s) and SLI
Hook up the power
LAN (RJ-45) Jack and/or modem
Clear the CMOS
The initial boot
Post-boot Initial Checks
AMI bios
The Operating System installation
Check for stability
Driver installation
Adding other devices


Check the MSI K9N Diamond support page at the MSI website and view the Test Report to see what hardware has been tested and is certified to work with the MSI K9N Diamond.  Don't purchase anything that is not on the approved list.

Here is a list of the parts you will need to build your MSI K9N Diamond. 

  • MSI K9N Diamond mainboard
  • AMD Athlon 64/FX/X2 or Sempron AM2 CPU
  • Heatsink and Thermal Paste
  • ATX Chassis
  • 500W or better name-brand Power Supply (PSU) with at least 28A on +12v
  • Hard Drive(s) IDE or SATA (IDE and SATA cables are included in the box)
  • DDR2 DIMM(s) 240-pin (533/667/800)
  • PCI-E Video Card(s) (two for SLI)
  • Floppy Drive and FDD cable (optional)
  • Optical Drive(s) (DVD-RW/CD-RW)
  • Monitor
  • Speakers
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Operating System
  • metal standoffs to attach mainboard to ATX tray
  • Assorted screws/washers that will come with the ATX Chassis

Parts list (.pdf)

Be a smart shopper.  Purchasing parts locally is best but this option is not always available to everyone.  Comparison shop at a minimum of two stores.  Three or four stores would be perfect.  If you have to shop online the same principals apply.

Be advised that some stores will give you a better deal if you pay in cash vice a credit card.  This is especially true when merchant accounts charge larger fees to process the payments.  You may be able to save as much as 10% which equates to extra $$$ for a lot of upgrade ability.  The objective here is to get the most "bang-for-your-buck."


  • Ask the sales clerk what the store return policy is.  It will vary greatly from store-to-store.
  • Ask the sales clerk what the store cash/credit card policy is.

Here is a list of the parts I purchased and how much they cost.


How to save $$$

This section is for those on a budget.  Not everyone can afford $700, $1000, $1250, $1500 USD or more all at once.  By re-using parts from your old PC you can save a lot of cash.  In addition, you don't need to purchase everything right away, you will need just the bare essentials for your initial build.  Keep in mind if you are on a budget you don't need the best CPU, best video card, or a lot of DIMMs.  If you are able to re-use your old PC parts you can get by with spending less than $345 USD on budget parts.  If you have extra cash spend it on the CPU, DIMMs, and video card.

Minimum parts required (the bare essentials to build your new PC):

  • MSI K9N Diamond mainboard
  • AMD Athlon 64/FX/X2 or Sempron AM2 CPU
  • Heatsink and Thermal Paste
  • One stick of DDR2 DIMM 240-pin (533/667/800)
  • One PCI-E Video Card
  • ATX chassis
  • Power Supply Unit (see my recommended PSU requirements below)
  • One Hard Drive
  • One Optical Drive
  • Monitor
  • Speakers
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Operating System

These items you will normally have to purchase with the understanding that you will be re-using parts from your old PC:

  • MSI K9N Diamond mainboard, about $160 USD
  • AMD Athlon 64/FX/X2 or Sempron AM2 CPU, low-end about $40 USD
  • Heatsink and Thermal Paste, usually comes with the CPU
  • DDR2 DIMM 240-pin (533/667/800), 1GB about $30 USD
  • PCI-E Video Card, 256MB about $40 USD
  • ** Power Supply Unit (see my recommended PSU requirements below).  Due to the unique PSU requirements of the MSI K9N Diamond mainboard you most likely will have to purchase a new PSU, about $75 USD

Here is a list of the parts you can re-use from your old PC until you have the cash available to purchase upgrades.  Of course this all depends on the age of your old PC.

Parts list (.pdf)


Before you start

Print the Bios settings from this website and keep for later.

Before you begin, read this entire procedure from top to bottom.  It's better to read and understand everything before you actually start the hardware assembly process.

The average build time for a novice is estimated to be between 3 and 4 hours.  Build time is just the time it takes to assemble the system.  It does not include powering up the system for the first time.  If this is your first build I recommend going slowly. 

If you are an expert and have build many PCs you could probably do it in less than 2 hours (and I'm sure you don't need my help!).

Make sure you have the following on hand:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flashlight
  • Electrical tape
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • A few small containers to divide the different size screws and metal standoffs
  • Small knife to open security tape on boxes

Warranty Information.  When you open the various component boxes, look for the warranty information for each component and keep them all in one place.  I keep mine in the MSI K9N Diamond box.  Some components will require you to mail a warranty card or register the product online.

Keep the empty boxes for a while, at least until your system is stable.  This makes it easier if you have to return a component for replacement.  After your PC is stable you can throw the empty boxes in the garbage, if you desire.


Choose a clean room

Choose a clean room to assemble your MSI K9N Diamond.  A room with ceramic tile or a wooden floor is best.  A carpeted room is worst.  I assembled my PC on my kitchen countertop where there was plenty of light. 

Before you touch the mainboard ground yourself by touching the power supply or the ATX case.   Grounding straps are a good investment and they are very cheap. 

Wash your hands to remove any grease or body oil.  If you have long hair wear a hair net or hat.

Remove the soda cans and/or other drinks, food, etc. from the work area.  You don't need the hassle of a spill. 


About the Mainboard

Handle your MSI K9N Diamond mainboard like it's a fine piece of chinaware or glass crystal

MSI K9N Diamond mainboardWhen you take the boxed mainboard home from the store make sure you protect the box.  Don't place anything on top of the box, etc.  Make sure the box doesn't slide around in the back of the car. 

Once you are home and have the box open - do not:

  • handle it excessively
  • apply excessive force
  • touch the mainboard circuits
  • flex it
  • drop it
  • bump it
  • slide it across the table
  • you get the idea :)

All in all the mainboard is built tough but don't unnecessarily abuse it.

When working with your MSI K9N Diamond mainboard, leave it in the cardboard box with the foam sheet at the bottom of the box until it's time to attach it to the mainboard tray.

Examine your Mainboard closely to get a good feel of it's layout.  Match items on the Mainboard with those in the "Quick User's Guide".  Becoming familiar with the layout of the mainboard now will save time later in the build process.


ATX Case Chassis

ATX case right sideChoose a good mid-tower ATX case or larger with at least:

  • 2 external 5.25" bays
  • 1 external 3.5" bay
  • 3 internal 3.5" bays

If you are re-using your chassis from an old build make sure it is clean.  Remove all dust.

Depending on the chassis you choose you may want to perform some case modifications prior to assembling your system.  These modifications should concentrate on your chassis air-flow for maximum cooling.  Your chassis should have fans that bring air into the front of the case (intake) and out to the back of the case (exhaust).  My case has two 120mm fans.

If your ATX case came with instructions or a diagram review them now. 

Inspect the case and become familiar with its features.

Once you are ready to start the assembly process, take the side(s)/cover off your case.   Do not replace the side(s)/cover until your PC is running stable....or until you've given up for the day..... then just throw a clean sheet over it to prevent dust accumulation....


ATX Power Supply unit

Thermaltake TR2 550W PSUYour MSI K9N Diamond will need a good name-brand 500W or better ATX power supply with the +12v circuit rated for at least 28A.  Inspect the power supply cables closely.  Count how many of each power connectors you have.  Choose a power supply with at least 4 SATA power connectors.  The specific requirements are:

  • ATX 12V 2.0
  • PFC
  • Minimum of 28A on the +12v circuit
  • Universal 24-pin Main Power Connector
  • 1  4-pin +12V Power Connector
  • 2  6-pin PCI Express Power Connectors (if you plan to use SLI)
  • 4  5-pin SATA Power Connectors
  • 6 to 8  4-pin Peripheral Power Connectors
  • 1 or 2  4-pin Floppy Drive Connectors

A good 500W power supply will only cost about $70-$90 USD.  If you have to spend $150 USD on a good power supply it will be money well spent.  Do not purchase a no-name/cheap power supply.  A large amount of MSI K9N Diamond problems are due to an inadequate power supply.

Install the Power Supply Unit.

If the back of your Power Supply Unit has an on/off toggle switch ENSURE IT IS OFF.  You don't want your PC to boot as soon as you attach the power cord.

If your ATX case did not come with an installed power supply, screw your power supply into the top/back of your case.  This is usually accomplished with four screws into the back of the ATX case.  Most ATX cases also have a cross-bar that fits underneath the power supply for added stability.  Notice the cross bar in the photo above.  It attached with only one screw.


The CPU and Heatsink

For ease of installation it is best to install the CPU and Thermal compound/heatsink/CPU fan BEFORE placing the Mainboard into the ATX case.  As mentioned above, leave the mainboard in the cardboard box with the foam sheet at the bottom of the box until it's time to attach it to the mainboard tray.

Heatsink & Stock FanTo install the CPU:

  • Pull the AM2 Socket lever slightly sideways away from the socket and lift it up to a 90-degree angle. 
  • Remove your CPU from it's protective box and be careful not to touch the pins with your fingers. 
  • Hold the CPU by it's edges. 
  • Look at the CPU closely.  Look for the Gold Arrow in one of the CPU's corners and point/align it towards the lever pivot on the mainboard CPU seat.  THE CPU WILL ONLY FIT IN ONE ORIENTATION.
  • Using very little force (gravity alone may suffice....) drop the CPU onto the CPU socket seat and it's pins should all lineup and the CPU pins should embed into the socket. 
  • Hold the CPU down with your fingers and close/lock the lever. 

Heatsink Installation:  Ideally you should be able to mount your heatsink on the main board with the main board laying flat in the box it came in.  Leaving the foam sheet on the bottom of the box is even a bigger plus.

My original AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 65W 2.20 GHz Windsor core CPU and replacement AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0 GHz both came with a stock heatsink and fan.

Most heatsinks fit very tightly to the Retention Mechanism and you may have to use a large amount of force.

Look at your heatsink closely.  IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO GET THE ORIENTATION CORRECT.  The heatsink must be seated correctly on the CPU or else you WILL have trouble with high temperatures or system stability.

The mainboard CPU AM2 socket Retention Mechanism will have one lug on each side.  This is where the heatsink clips/hooks will attach.  Since applying the heatsink to the mainboard is such a tricky evolution you may want to practice once or twice before apply the thermal compound to the top of the CPU die.  Once you are ready for the actual installation here is how to apply the Thermal compound.  

NOTE:  Some heatsinks come with thermal compound already installed, you only have to remove a piece of tape. 

Take great care when attaching the heatsink latches to the CPU AM2 socket Retention Mechanism.  You may have to use a screwdriver and press down with a significant amount of force to get the latch in locking position.  I just used my fingers.  BE VERY CAREFUL.  If you use a screwdriver don't let it slip or you many inadvertently damage/score your mainboard.  On some larger heatsinks it may be easier for you to detach the CPU fan from the heatsink during this evolution and reinstall it after the heatsink is securely latched on the mainboard.  See your specific heatsink installation instructions for more details.

Once your heatsink is installed plug the CPU fan into CPUFAN1.


Back IO Shield

Back IO ShieldFit the Back IO Shield into the back of your ATX case.  It is installed from the inside of the ATX case.  It should fit tightly with no gaps on all four sides.

Back PanelThe Back IO Shield will mate with the Back Panel connectors.



Back IO Shield with Mainboard

NOTE:  You may have to remove the old IO Shield if one came with your ATX case.  Push from the outside-in to remove it.


Mount the Mainboard to the Tray

Mainboard Tray

For the MSI K9N Diamond you will use nine metal standoffs, one for each standoff hole marked "A" on the ATX case mainboard tray.  Most ATX cases will have the standoff holes marked with the letter "A" as shown in the picture on the right. 

Look at the photo on the right.  If you look closely you will see the letter "A" marked next to the standoff holes on the mainboard tray.  I have marked these with a black circle in the photograph on the right.  The "A" stands for the ATX standard.

Since all ATX chassis' are different perform a preliminary match-up of the 9 holes on the mainboard and the holes on the mainboard tray.  Perform this test twice, once with no  standoffs in place and second time with standoffs in place on the mainboard tray.  These step will help you to orientate the position of the mainboard better and ensure everything is lining up correctly.

Metal standoffsInstall the NINE (9) metal standoffs onto the mainboard tray.

Properly mount the mainboard onto the ATX case mainboard tray on top of the standoffs with 9 screws.  The first screw should be placed nearest the Back Panel connectors.

Take special care in seating the spring on the Optical S/PDIF-Out connector.  It should not be sticking outside the back side of the Back IO Shield.   

It is extremely important that you use all 9 standoffs/screws to ensure the mainboard is supported, especially in the middle of the board.  You don't want to be in a position where the board flexes when you install DIMM or PCI cards.

NOTE:  The MSI K9N Diamond mainboard does not require washers.  It has built-in washers around the screw holes on the mainboard.

Ensure your carefully lineup the Back Panel connectors with the holes on the Back IO Shield.

IMPORTANT:  Make sure the only metal touching your mainboard are the nine standoffs.  Otherwise your mainboard may suffer an electrical short.  Use a good quality electrical tape to patch any metal object that appears to be in danger of touching the mainboard.  Any chassis that was designed well will not have this problem.


System fans

120mm 1300 PRM System fanInstall and plug in system fan(s).  Utilize SYSFAN1 for your main system fan. 

If your have additional fans, they will plug directly into the power supply 4-pin Peripheral Power Connectors.

The system fan on the right is a Thermaltake 120mm, 1300 RPM exhaust fan that came with my ATX chassis case.



Plug in all Connectors paying particular attention to the wire pin definition chart in the MSI K9N Diamond Quick User's Guide.  The key to success here is to CAREFULLY determine the PIN number by matching it with the corresponding Pin Definition Signal in the Quick User's Guide. 

Believe it or not, in my opinion, this is the most difficult procedure in the entire PC assembly process...and this step is not really that difficult, just take it slow and concentrate on the task at hand.

Front Panel ConnectorsThe Connectors on the MSI K9N Diamond are:

  • JAUD1 - Front Panel Audio Connector.  Leave as-is.  It should come with jumpers already installed on pins 5&6 and 9&10.

    • NOTE:  99.9% of MSI K9N Diamond owners will not want to hook up the front audio connectors on their ATX case.  You will want the audio directed to the audio connectors on the back of your mainboard.  The MSI K9N Diamond comes with the JAUD1 jumpers already configured for back panel setup (pins 5&6 and 9&10 jumpered).  If you configure your mainboard to use the front panel audio on your ATX case you will not be able to use the build in Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE sound card.  This feature was one of the major buying points for purchasing the MSI K9N Diamond, right?
  • JIR1 - IrDA Infrared Module Header.  For Infrared devices.
  • JUSB1/JUSB2/JUSB3 - Front USB Connectors.  Hook up your ATX case Front Panel USB here, if so equipped.
  • J1394_1/J1394_2 - IEEE 1394 Connectors.  Hook up your ATX case Front Panel Firewire here, if so equipped.
  • JFP1/JFP2 - Front Panel Connectors.  This is where you hook up the Power LED, Power Switch, HDD LED, Reset Switch, and Speaker to your ATX case.
  • JDB1 - D-Bracket™ 2 Connector.  I highly recommend you install this troubleshooting component.  One connector will fit on JDB1 and the other connector will fit on a JUSB connector.

Don't worry about getting any of these connectors backwards; you cannot harm anything here.  If after your initial boot something here doesn't work properly, just shutdown the PC, turn the culprit connector around, and reboot.



NOTE:  You may chose to ignore the advice in this section.  Read it and make your own decision.

Barebones simply means do not install/hook up all of your peripherals before the initial system boot.  Choosing to utilize the barebones technique may become very useful if your initial boot fails and troubleshooting is required.  A major advantage of barebones is it will not strain your power supply upon attempting the initial boot.

A Barebones PC will be configured like this:

  • Operating System Hard Drive
  • mouse
  • PS2 keyboard (some USB keyboards on initial boot have failed on the MSI K9N Diamond)
  • One DVD/CD-rom device
  • A 56K PCI modem (in PCI Slot 1) to get on the internet for your download updates (If you do not intend to utilize the onboard LAN RJ-45 jack.
  • Two speakers in 2-channel mode for Stereo-speaker Output

I recommend you do not initially install the following devices:

  • PCI cards
  • Joysticks
  • Palm cradles
  • Printers
  • Other USB devices

This is only my recommendation.  What you chose to do in this area is up to you.  The biggest advantage to this approach is that the Operating System installation will be a lot smoother.  The fewer peripherals the OS has to initially install will mean a faster installation.


Inspect your Optical (IDE) Devices

The MSI K9N Diamond only supports two IDE devices (a Master and a Slave device) on one IDE channel.  You may install Optical Devices (DVD-R/DVD-rom/CD-RW/CD-rom) or hard drives to IDE-1.  The choice is yours.  I recommend you install Optical Devices (DVD-R/DVD-rom/CD-RW/CD-rom) on the IDE channel.

Inspect your IDE devices and ensure the device jumpers are set to Master/Slave correctly.  Each device should have a legend on the attached factory sticker explaining it's correct setting.  The location of the master/slave jumper is circled in the photo below.  The device you will use the most should be set as Master.

DVD-RWI recommend installing the following IDE devices:

IDE-1 Master:  DVD-RW (place your burner on the Master)
IDE-1 Slave:  DVD-rom (place your reader on the Slave)

One at a time, verify the jumper settings and place your IDE device into your ATX case.

  • Place the Master IDE device at the top of your ATX case.  Attach the device to the bay using two screws on each side.  (My Thermaltake Armor Jr. ATX case is configured to use tool-free drive bay rails.) 
  • Place the Slave IDE device under the Master device in your ATX case.  Attach the device to the bay using two screws on each side.

Use the rounded red IDE cable that came in the MSI K9N Diamond box and connect the devices to your mainboard in the yellow slot IDE 1.  Notice the square notch in the middle of the IDE 1 connector, match this slot with the slot on the IDE cable.

Connect a 4-pin Peripheral Power Connector(s) to the back of your optical device(s). 


Floppy Drive

Place your floppy drive into a 3.5 inch bay in your ATX case.  Screw the floppy drive into the bay using two screws on each side.

FDD1 Connector

Use the rounded red FDD cable that came in the MSI K9N Diamond box and connect the devices to your mainboard in the black slot FDD1.

When attaching the ribbon cable to the back of the floppy drive, ensure the "twist" in the cable is on the back-left of the unit.  The "twist" on the cable goes to the left.  It only works one way.

Connect the 4-pin Floppy Drive Power Connector to the back of the floppy drive. 

NOTE:  If your floppy drive doesn't work after OS installation you probably just have to turn the cable around; you may have it backwards.


Hard Drives

The MSI K9N Diamond comes with six SATA connectors.  I highly recommend using only SATA hard drives, although if you chose to use IDE this is entirely up to you.

Install your hard drive(s) in a 3.5" bay in your ATX case.  If you install more than one hard dive try to space them apart for better air flow.  Be sure to attached your hard drive(s) with two screws on each side.

My system is configured as follows:

  • SATA1 - 80GB (Windows Vista Home Premium & programs)
  • SATA2 - 250GB (Data, MP3, documents, photos, etc.)
  • SATA3 - 120GB (Windows 7 RC build 7100 & Programs)
  • SATA4 - 500GB (Backup of all data files auto configured to start weekly)
  • SATA5 - Open
  • SATA6 - Open

NOTE:  If you are only using SATA hard drives the bios will automatically configure SATA1 as the Operating System hard drive.

RAID:  If you plan to utilize RAID your hard drives should be exact models with the same specifications to obtain the best performance.  JBOD array allows the combining of odd size drives into one big drive.  See Appendix C of the Quick User's Guide for more info.

I am not running RAID on my PC.

Connect a red SATA cable to the back of your hard drive(s).  Connect the other end to the SATA connector on the mainboard.

Connect a 5-pin SATA Power Connector to the back of your hard drive(s). 


Video Card(s) and Scaleable Link Interface

Plug your Video card into the PCI-E1 slot and connect the monitor.

If you will run two video cards in SLI configuration (Scalable Link Interface (SLI)) seat the second video card into PCI-E4 and attach the SLI Video Link Card (bridge).

NOTE:  If you install two x16 video cards in SLI configuration make sure that they are the same brand and specifications.

If your video card(s) have a power connector slot attached it to a 6-pin PCI Express Power Connector JPWR2.


Hook up the power

JPW1 and JPWR2JPWR1 - ATX 24-pin Power ConnectorThere are 3 power connectors on the MSI K9N Diamond mainboard.

  • JPWR1 - ATX 24-pin Power Connector
  • JPW1 - ATX 12V Power Connector
  • JPWR2 - ATX 12V Power Connector

Plug in the 24-pin power connector at JPWR1.

Plug the square 4-pin connector into JPW1.

Plug the standard 4-pin peripheral power connector into JPWR2.

In the United States ensure the voltage switch is set to 120.  Most countries outside of the U.S. will use 220 volts.


LAN (RJ-45) Jack and/or Modem

Back PanelPlug your LAN (RJ-45) cable into the Jack on the Back Panel.

If you do not intend to utilize the onboard LAN (RJ-45) Jack for online internet updates now is the time to install your 56K modem PCI card in PCI Slot-1.

Hook your telephone Jack to the back of your modem card.

NOTE:  Modems have two phone jacks on the back: one is for the line connected to the wall jack. The other is for plugging in a telephone, answering machine, fax machine, etc.


Very Important Step - Clear the CMOS

Clear CMOS buttonClear CMOS by using the "Clear CMOS button" (SW1) method.



DIMM SlotsPlace one (and only one)  DDR2 DIMM stick into DIMM1 on the MSI K9N Diamond mainboard.

If you have more sticks, you will add them after subsequent successful boots. 

NOTE:  If you have two matched sticks of DDR2 DIMM the second stick will be placed in DIMM3.  This will result in "Dual-Channel" memory population.



First Real System Test - The Initial Boot

Set your PC upright and do not replace the side panel.  You want to have a clear view of the inside of the Chassis while the PC initially boots to bios. 

If the back of your Power Supply Unit has an on/off toggle switch ENSURE IT IS OFF.

Plug the power cord into the back of the Power Supply.  Plug the other end into an AC outlet.  

Ensure the following are attached to your PC:

  • mouse
  • PS2 keyboard (USB keyboards on initial boot have failed on the MSI K9N Diamond)
  • monitor attached to video card in PCI-E1
  • LAN cable or 56K modem PCI card

Turn ON your monitor.

 If the back of your PSU has an on/off switch turn it on now.   

Press your PC chassis "ON" button to Boot your PC.  The first thing you will see on the monitor is the bios screen.  You may hear a single beep from bios after the power-on test is completed. 

  • Look at the CPU fan.  Is it turning?  If not shutdown the PC.
  • Look at the NorthBridge heatsink fan.  Is it turning?
  • Can you hear the hard drive spinning?
  • If your Graphics card has a fan is it turning?
  • Look at the Chassis and System fans.  Are they turning?

Shutdown the PC if you encounter any of the following:

  • Strange, weird, or excessive noise from a component
  • Smoke/arc/electrical flash

If all goes according to plan your computer will boot to the bios screen.  Congratulations!  Your system has passed the Initial Boot.  You are half-way there!

If your PC did not boot to Bios see my Troubleshooting Guide.

Let your PC run and continue to the next step.


Post-boot Initial Checks

At this point you will want to perform some simple initial checks.  This can be performed while your PC is running for the first ten minutes.

Check the following indicators:

Perform the following tests:

  • Press your Optical Drive(s) eject button.  The tray should move.

  • Place a diskette in the Floppy Drive.  The light should come on.

  • Test the Caps Lock and Number Lock on your keyboard.

After ten minutes have passed restart the PC and watch the initial boot screen carefully.

  • Does your total DIMM display correctly?

  • Do your Hard Drives display correctly?

  • Do your Optical Drives display correctly?

  • Was your keyboard detected?

Last test:

  • Test the Reset button.


AMI Bios

Once you have completed the Post-boot initial checks above it will be safe to enter bios for the first time.

If you are not familiar with the Bios Setup Menu STOP and read "Bios Setup" in the K9N Diamond "Quick User's Guide".

To enter Bios, press the "Delete" key when your PC initially boots.

Continuously hit the DEL key until the Bios Main Menu screen is displayed.

Enter "PC Health Status" and Check your CPU temp.  IMHO a temporary stable temp is anything less than 100f.  If your temps are above 100f you may have installed your heatsink incorrectly.  Fix it before continuing.

Press ESC to return to Bios Main Menu.

To prepare your system for the Second Real System Test - The Operating System Installation you will set the bios to the "Fail-Safe Default" settings.  These are the most stable settings recommended by the Bios manufacturer.

Enter "Load Fail-Safe Defaults" and then select OK.

Press ESC to return to Bios Main Menu.

Enter "Advanced BIOS Features" in Bios.

Modify the "Boot Sequence" for the Operating System (OS) you plan to install.  

Set 1st Boot Device to "CD/DVD" IDE1 Master.

Press ESC to return to Bios Main Menu.

All other Bios settings can wait until later when your OS is installed and your system is stable.


Do not proceed to the next step until you have at least 2 hours to spare.

Second Real System Test - The Operating System Installation

Place the WIN XP/Vista/WIN 7 Install DVD/CD into the CD/DVD tray.  The system will look for the '.iso' file.

While still in Bios select "Save & Exit Setup".

Your PC will now "reboot" to "DVD/CD" for WIN Vista/XP install.

NOTE:  ALWAYS perform an Operating System "Clean" Install from the Fail-Safe Default Bios settings.  Format and partition the hard-drive (HDD) according to your preferences.

I recommend using "NTFS" on the primary petition.

Activate the Windows Firewall.

After the OS has been installed and boot up is successful, let the PC run for at least ten minutes.

The first program you Install should be your anti-virus program.


Check for stability

If your system is stable for ten minutes you can shut it off an install any addition DDR2 DIMMs you may have.

NOTE:  If you have two matched sticks of DDR2 DIMM they will be placed in DIMM1 and DIMM3.  This is optimum "Dual-Channel" mode.

Reboot and check for the additional DIMM status and PC stability.

Once your PC is in Windows and is stable follow my other Bios suggestions.

Reboot and once again check for stability.

Plug your speakers into the back panel connectors per Appendix B of the "Quick User's Guide".


Driver Installation

Drivers CDIf your PC is running fine it's time to install the drivers.

Install drivers from the MSI K9N Diamond CD or download from the MSI site.  Having these available before hand is a good idea and much quicker.

NOTE:  The drivers on the MSI website may be more up-to-date.

Test your internet connection.  And go straight to the Windows Update site.

Install all Windows Updates from the Microsoft website.

WARNING:  Do not surf the internet until your anti-virus program is installed.

If utilizing Scalable Link Interface (SLI) install the NV SLI driver/utility. 

  • Connect the video output to the first card (PCI-E1).
  • Later, you will install the NV SLI driver/utility where you will check the "Enable Multi-GPU" box to enable SLI function.
  • Upon reboot you will get a system pop-up message saying "Multi-GPU has been enabled".

Check the "Quick User's Guide" for more specific information on SLI.

If utilizing RAID consult Appendix C of  the "Quick User's Guide".  (I do not use RAID).


Adding other devices

Once your PC is stable you can add your other HDD/devices one at a time.  Reboot each time and watch for stability problems.  

Always power down your PC and unplug the power cord when entering your ATX case.



If everything went well and your new MSI K9N Diamond system is running fine, I congratulate you on a job well doneMicro Star International (MSI) makes fine quality mainboards and the MSI K9N Diamond is the best! 

If you have any problems please do not hesitate to contact me.  I'll try my best to assist you.  If you would like to speak to me on the telephone please send me an email and I will give you my phone number.  I do not accept collect phone calls.  My advice is free of charge. 

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a professional computer consultant.  I have no certifications.  This is simply one of my hobbies.



My Troubleshooting Guide is here.


Honor the Missing in Action and Killed in Action of Taffy III

We do remember.  We won't forget.

Robert Jon Cox -
Last revised May 17, 2011
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Void where prohibited.