MS-7352 Manual

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I just finished one of the trickiest computer builds I’ve ever done. The main annoyance was the motherboard I bought doesn’t have a manual (since it was OEM no manual exists). I wanted to document everything I’ve learned about this motherboard for posterity.

First some info on the motherboard so this post shows up in search engines: MSI HP Intel Q33 Socket 775 mATX Motherboard manual. Also called: MSI MS-7352 manual and installation. The motherboard itself was apparently used exclusively in Hewlett-Packard desktops, which explains why no manual exists anywhere online.

I bought the motherboard as a replacement for the one in my PC which died. Since it was only $40 I thought it was a deal (and it was) but it is an extremely tempermental mobo and was very difficult to get installed and working. Thankfully there were some very helpful resources online so I wanted to make this blog post to gather all the relevant info on this mobo in one place.

The initial problems I had installing this were some combination of the following:

  • It won’t boot without RAM and a CPU. When I say “it won’t boot” here and below, I mean it shuts off immediately without going into BIOS or giving any indication that isn’t broken. It doesn’t show anything on the monitor and it doesn’t send power to your USB devices (although the fans will briefly spin).
  • It won’t boot if the RAM is in slot 4 instead of slot 1. The slots are numbered on the mobo so make sure you’re plugged into slot 1 with a single stick first.
  • It won’t boot if the case power switch is hooked up wrong which is easy since it’s mislabeled on the board itself
  • It won’t boot if the CPU fan isn’t plugged in
  • It won’t boot if the case fan isn’t plugged in
  • It won’t boot if the CPU power connector on the mobo isn’t connected
  • (Potentially) it won’t boot if the CPU fan/heatsink isn’t secured properly or isn’t compatible
  • There’s no feedback when it won’t boot to tell you what’s wrong, except maybe a few beeps on the speaker, but there’s no manual to tell what the beeps mean and the 2-wire connector on the mobo was incompatible with my case’s 4-pin speaker anyway. So I had nothing to go on.

Case Power Switch Hook-Up

I’m pretty sure the labels on the mobo for where to put the various switches are wrong. I used this config instead and everything seems to work great. Credit due to http://www.mxdatarecovery.net/msi-ms-7525-bostongl6-motherboard-power-switch-jumper-settings.html

ms-7525-msi-motherboard-front-panel-power-switch-hd-led-connectors

CPU Issues

I tried to use an Intel heatsink that came with my Core 2 Duo but the snap-based connectors didn’t fit the holes in the mobo. I tried holding it in place just to get it to boot but that didn’t work so I think it may have been incompatible electronically with the hardware check (although the fan did power on). Anyway, this was the heatsink I eventually bought that worked perfectly. It comes with its own thermal paste and also a backplate that its supposed to screw into but I ended up not needing the backplate since the threads on the fan screws matched the threaded holes in the mobo. Don’t overtighten it though.

Fan Issues

As mentioned above, CPU fan must be compatible and both the fan power and the CPU power plug on the mobo must all be plugged in.

Additionally, the case fan must be plugged in and working or the system will refuse to boot. This was a problem since my fan needs a 3-pin connector and the mobo only provides 2-pin. I bought this adapter which lets me send power to my system fan via my power supply. This bypasses the mobo connector, however, so the mobo still thinks there’s no fan and shuts itself off with a broken fan warning after briefly showing the BIOS. There may be a better adapter than the one I used which lets you actually use the 2-pin conector on the mobo.

What I ended up doing, however, was disabling the fan hardware check in the BIOS, but it’s tricky to do. As the computer boots you need to continually hit Control-F10 until you get into the BIOS screen where you can access the Hardware Monitor / Fan Check options and disable all of them.

Credit (and full instructions on disabling the Hardware Monitoring) are at http://retrohelix.com/2012/09/how-to-fix-the-f2-system-fan-error-on-some-hp-computers/

Success!

Once I addressed all the above issues over the course of about 4 hours, I finally got the motherboard to boot into my preexisting install of Ubuntu and everything worked great. I was happy that Ubuntu had no problem with me switching to a completely different make and model motherboard and that the HP MSI MS-7352 eventually worked as expected. The only curve balls were the need to buy a new heat sink, that fan connector converter and the 4 goddamn hours it took me to figure all this shit out.