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Thread: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards




  1. #1
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    IMPORTANT SPECIAL BIOS UPDATE INFORMATION FOR ASROCK INTEL 6-SERIES AND X79 CHIPSET MOTHER BOARDS

    This information does not apply to all the BIOS/UEFI updates that may be available for these boards.

    Read this carefully BEFORE you CONSIDER updating your board's BIOS, you may be sorry if you don't!!

    This information applies ONLY to the following ASRock mother boards:

    Intel H67, P67, Q67, and Z68 chipsets used with Sandy Bridge processors. Some models of Intel H61 chipset boards are included.
    Intel X79 chipset boards used with Sandy Bridge E processors.

    All ASRock mother boards made for Intel processors will include the board's chipset in the name. Examples are, H61 Pro, P67 Extreme 4 Gen 3, Z68 Extreme 4, X79 Extreme 9.

    The BIOS/UEFI updates you must be careful with are any that include the following in the Description on the ASRock download page for your mother board, and the versions that follow them:

    Supports Intel's 3rd Generation CPU. To support Intel's 3rd Generation (Ivy Bridge) CPU. Supports Intel IVB-E CPU.

    The special BIOS versions for Ivy Bridge CPU compatibility are labeled as such in the description of the BIOS on a board's download page, and look like this:

    IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock  Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards-sb-ivb-bios-desc-png

    The Intel H61, H67, P67, Q67, and Z68 chipset mother boards were originally designed for use with Intel socket 1155 "Sandy Bridge", Intel 2nd Generation Core processors.

    The following generation Intel socket 1155 "Ivy Bridge", Intel 3rd Generation Core processors are also compatible with the H61, H67, P67, Q67, and Z68 chipset mother boards. Those boards require a BIOS and IME firmware/software update in order to function correctly with the newer Ivy Bridge Processors.

    The problem is this:
    If you use a Sandy Bridge (2nd Generation Intel Core Processor) CPU in your board, and do not plan on changing to an Ivy Bridge (3rd Generation Intel Core Processor) CPU, but update your BIOS/UEFI to the version that provides support for Ivy Bridge/Intel 3rd Generation CPUs, your PC will experience issues after the update.

    If you are NOT planning on changing your Sandy Bridge processor to an Ivy Bridge processor, DO NOT USE THIS BIOS UPDATE!

    The problems range from losing the ability to OC the CPU (X79 boards) to non-booting PCs, black screens on start up, and others. The issues seem to be unpredictable, and vary from board to board, and user to user.

    One reason myself and others believe it is necessary to warn owners of the affected mother boards about this, is because the BIOS/UEFI update instructions for these updates do not provide enough information about the consequences of updating a mother board to these special versions. That is, these BIOS versions should only be applied if you will be using an Ivy Bridge, Intel 3rd Generation Core processor, in your mother board.

    Note that these BIOS/UEFI updates also require an update to the Intel Management Engine (IME) software. That is stated in the description of these updates. What is not included in the description is the BIOS/UEFI update includes an update to the Intel Management Engine firmware.

    The following message will appear inconsistently when a user downloads one of these BIOS/UEFI updates. That is, this important message is not displayed for every download associated with these updates (I added the underline and bold text in the following):

    Note:
    1. To support Intel's 3rd Generation (Ivy Bridge) CPU, corresponding BIOS, drivers, and AXTU updates are required.
    2. After updating BIOS, please press any key to restart your system. At this moment, please do not remove the USB flash until Intel ME F/W update is finished.
    3. After you finish updating the BIOS, please reboot your system.
    4. Please only flash newer versions of the BIOS in the future.


    The IME firmware update is part of the BIOS/UEFI update, and is transparent to the user, meaning it happens but you are unaware of it. The problem we've seen in this forum is the IME firmware update occurs (or is completed) after the PC reboots when the BIOS/UEFI update is completed. If the user removes the USB flash drive (used for the Instant Flash BIOS/UEFI update method) when the PC reboots but before the IME firmware update completes, the firmware update fails.

    That is another reason for this thread, to provide users with improved instructions for performing these updates. The requirement to not remove the USB flash drive during the reboot phase of the BIOS/UEFI update is not stated anywhere in the description of these updates, or in the general BIOS update instructions on the board's download page.

    The BIOS/UEFI updates for the 6 series chipset boards have existed for over a year now, and now with the (impending) release of Ivy Bridge E processors for X79 boards, similar updates are being posted on ASRock X79 board download pages. These new IVB-E updates also include the need for an IME software update, and an INF file update. The 6 series chipset boards do not include an INF file update, which seems odd IMO.

    Which brings me to another reason for this thread, as a forum for exchanging information and experiences about these Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge CPU BIOS/UEFI updates. The amount of information supplied by ASRock and other mother board manufactures about this is minimal at best. How often are BIOS/UEFI and software updates done by any of us, to support a new generation of CPUs on our mother boards? Rarely if ever.

    The intent of this thread is to warn and educate owners of the affected boards about these unusual BIOS/UEFI updates. Frankly, we are not 100% certain that an update to the Ivy Bridge CPU compatible BIOS/UEFI and software, if done correctly, is not always incompatible with Sandy Bridge CPUs. That is yet another part of the unknown information about these updates.

    Basically, we are left with these questions about the Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge CPU BIOS/UEFI updates:

    1. Do the Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge CPU BIOS/UEFI updates cause the mother board to no longer be compatible with Sandy Bridge processors?

    2. If the answer to question 1 is yes, then:
    • Should the special SB to IVB BIOS/UEFI update be ignored and not used by SB CPU users?
    • Can SB CPU users use the BIOS/UEFI updates released after the special IVB compatibility version, without any issues?
    • Does the SB to IVB BIOS/UEFI update mean no further updates will be available for SB CPU users?


    3. If the answer to question 1 is no, then:
    • Why do users of these boards have issues after applying the SB to IVB compatibility BIOS/UEFI update?
    • Are the issues simply caused by an incorrectly performed BIOS/UEFI update?
    • What is the correct, complete procedure for each BIOS/UEFI update type (Instant Flash, Windows, DOS) available, for the special SB to IVB compatibility update?


    IMO, answers to these few questions would provide owners of SB and SB-E mother boards with all they need to know about this subject. Is that an unreasonable request?


    Owners of these boards are encouraged to post their experiences using these BIOS/UEFI updates, whether or not they changed to Ivy Bridge CPUs. Questions and comments are very welcome, as there are details I have not covered in this initial post.

    EDIT: I must point out that ASRock has provided instructions for updating the BIOS of compatible boards to Ivy Bridge CPUs, in the 02/2012 entry of their FAQs:

    http://www.asrock.com/support/QA/TSDQA-92.pdf

    The instructions are better than the brief ones provided on the board's download page. But these instructions do not answer the questions about Sandy Bridge CPU compatibility with the Ivy Bridge compatible BIOS versions.
    Last edited by parsec; 09-17-2013 at 02:53 PM. Reason: Added IME FW update instructions

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    How To Correctly Flash The Sandy Bridge To Ivy Bridge BIOS/UEFI Update With Instant Flash


    Finally a follow up to the original post, given more information, and confirmed by the very helpful experiences of ASRock board users that have successfully performed these update.

    First I will let ASRock explain it in their own words. NOTE: This message applies ONLY to the Instant Flash BIOS update method.



    All one needs to do is do not remove the USB flash drive until after Windows boots.

    Start with the USB flash drive in a USB 2.0 port on the board's I/O panel, and the unzipped Instant Flash BIOS file on it. Start Instant Flash in the BIOS or via the function key entry (may vary from board to board) available during POST. Instant Flash will detect and read the USB flash drive, and display the BIOS file name. Click on the file name and away it goes. You are committed at that point, just sit back and let it run.

    When the Instant Flash BIOS update is complete, you will be prompted to reboot the PC, do so but again, do not remove the USB Flash drive!!!!

    Simple, isn't it.

    What's All The Fuss About And How Did We Get Here?


    We find our one and only hint in the warning message that ASRock provides, that I included above: "... do not remove the USB flash until Intel ME F/W update is finished".

    Besides the less than perfect English, we find "Intel ME F/W update", which is what? This refers to the Intel Management Engine firmware (not software) that is a part of the BIOS update file, and also part of the BIOS image stored on the board's CMOS BIOS chip.

    Starting with Sandy Bridge processors, and increasing in complexity and importance with each Tick and Tock of the Intel CPU architecture cycle, the Intel Management Engine Firmware (IME FW) has become an integral part of Intel based PCs, whether we know it or not. IME FW is somewhat mysterious, and contains multiple elements such as Intel's AMT feature, used to remotely manage multiple PCs in the enterprise environment. Without becoming sidetracked into IME FW, know that it affects the ability to OC a 'K' type Intel CPU, and adjust the processor's BCLK multiplier in the BIOS. One of the main symptoms of a botched IME FW update is the inability to set and change the multiplier.

    So we now know that the IME FW is part of the Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge compatibility BIOS/UEFI update. While the PC reboots just after the BIOS flash, the IME FW is updated. THAT is a critical part of this process!

    Why are people botching the IME FW part of this BIOS update? They did not follow the instructions. What instructions? Therein lies the problem...

    The BIOS download page has an instruction link for the BIOS update process. The problem is those instructions do not include the warning message I posted above.

    The driver download page has a listing for the new version of the Intel Management Engine (IME) software that is also needed after this BIOS update is performed. The description of this includes a link to the related BIOS update. When that link is clicked, the warning message above is displayed.

    When looking for a BIOS update, and finding one, who then immediately checks the driver download page? Right, no one. The missing warning message on the BIOS download page is the reason why people do not properly perform this special BIOS update.

    Some people are used to removing USB flash drives or other media, when installing Windows before it boots the first time after the installation, which at times will begin the installation process over again. When have we been required to not remove the USB flash drive after a BIOS update? So IMO that action by some people is not unusual or unexpected.

    Removing the USB flash drive early does not allow the IME FW update to occur. What precisely happens when the USB flash drive is removed early? I'm not certain, certainly the new IME FW is not installed. It seems as if no IME firmware is included after the main BIOS update is finished, or it is there but is in some incomplete, partially functional state, given the issues people have in this situation. If SB processor users had no issues when the IME FW update is not done, then we could assume that the IME FW was not changed by the BIOS update itself, or is the same as that of all earlier BIOS updates, but that is not the case. It is the SB processors users that apply the SB to IVB compatibility BIOS update that suffer the worst results of a failed IME FW update.

    If you have any questions about this, just post them in this thread.
    Last edited by parsec; 02-09-2014 at 02:36 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    That is interesting! The manufacturers really don't tell much about things like that.
    I was just reading yesterday about problems people had or were having after updating the BIOS.
    Thanks for the info.

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    Default Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    Asrock please update WELL our bios!!!!

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    Default Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    Here is something interesting from ASRocks CPU support list for my P67 Extreme6, this is my CPU.
    1155 Core i5 i5-2500K(D2) Sandy Bridge 3.30GHz BCLK 100MHz 6MB 95W "All" , that "all" right there is since BIOS "ALL"
    Confusing isn't it.

    I did a little checking if you download the BIOS from below the intel MEI file you get a message popup not to remove the flash drive until MEI firmware is updated.
    If you download it from the bottom of the page, you get instructions for a file only usable in windows.
    And of course under CPU list for P67 Extreme6 it says my sandybridge CPU is compatible with all BIOS. ME CONFUSED!
    Last edited by WillyG; 08-24-2013 at 05:25 AM. Reason: further instructions

  6. #6
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    Default Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    Thanks to everyone that posted in this thread. None of us own or use every ASRock board, so we the need contributions of those that have dealt with this BIOS update on their boards, or anything that will help others that have or consider applying these updates.

    Quote Originally Posted by WillyG View Post
    Here is something interesting from ASRocks CPU support list for my P67 Extreme6, this is my CPU.
    1155 Core i5 i5-2500K(D2) Sandy Bridge 3.30GHz BCLK 100MHz 6MB 95W "All" , that "all" right there is since BIOS "ALL"
    Confusing isn't it.

    I did a little checking if you download the BIOS from below the intel MEI file you get a message popup not to remove the flash drive until MEI firmware is updated.
    If you download it from the bottom of the page, you get instructions for a file only usable in windows.
    And of course under CPU list for P67 Extreme6 it says my sandybridge CPU is compatible with all BIOS. ME CONFUSED!
    Willy, you found it! I was looking for that message, since I could swear that same message was displayed when the Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge BIOS download link was clicked in the past. I wanted to include it in this thread but could not find it. Thanks for your contribution!

    IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock  Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards-sb-ib-ime-warning-msg-png

    You've also brought up another important point, the documentation is not kept up to date. I get the feeling that the people that do some of this work are not trained adequately, or technically savvy enough to be aware of the situation.

    Regardless, the main point of this thread and my comments are not to criticize ASRock, but to discover and sort out the details of these special BIOS updates, and save users and ASRock from the grief caused by the lack of information.
    Last edited by parsec; 08-24-2013 at 01:14 PM.

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    Default Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    I would like to know how ASROCK expects someone to update the Intel MEI firmware through the windows method.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    Yet another good point!

    Willy's board, and other ASRock P67 boards, only have the Windows BIOS/UEFI update program available, which does not use the Instant Flash method with the update file on an USB flash drive.

    To be fair, the Windows BIOS/UEFI update program should perform the required IME firmware update. Unfortunately, the only warning message about this update refers only to the Instant Flash method, and nothing about the Windows update program method.

    This is another example of the confusing and incomplete instructions about this BIOS/UEFI update. It also leaves the user wondering if the IME firmware was updated, which is precisely Willy's point.

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    Angry Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    I hosed the BIOS on my x79 Extreme 6 with the beta BIOS 2.41L

    It was acting kind of funny, so I went back to the ASROCK download page and saw that they posted a new one a few days after I had installed 2.41L

    I tried flashing to 2.45L multiple times, but after it read the BIOS file name, it kept stopping on a non-existent file name of MyUpdateLog.log

    I tried multiple USB sticks as well as an SD card with a reader. Same exact thing every time.

    I also tried different BIOS versions as well as re-downloading 2.45L again, but the same thing happened every single time.

    As a last resort I used AFUDOS to try to flash back to 2.24L, and it hosed the BIOS. All I get now when I power on is a LED code of 19.

    I should have foerce flashed the whole BIOS instead of just using the default option of only flashing the main BIOS. I am guessing that the boot code is different between the non IB-E and the IB-E BIOS.

    Now I am waiting to hear back from ASROCK so I can get a new BIOS chip.

    I do have an ASROCK x58 Deluxe, and thought about doing a hot BIOS flash with it, but was unsure whether or not I would be able to do that with the x58 board since I was not sure if the x58 board would work with the x79 BIOS chip (maybe different capacity).

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    Default Re: IMPORTANT BIOS Update Information For ASRock Intel 6 Series and X79 Chipset Mother Boards

    Quote Originally Posted by WillyG View Post
    Here is something interesting from ASRocks CPU support list for my P67 Extreme6, this is my CPU.
    1155 Core i5 i5-2500K(D2) Sandy Bridge 3.30GHz BCLK 100MHz 6MB 95W "All" , that "all" right there is since BIOS "ALL"
    Confusing isn't it.

    I did a little checking if you download the BIOS from below the intel MEI file you get a message popup not to remove the flash drive until MEI firmware is updated.
    If you download it from the bottom of the page, you get instructions for a file only usable in windows.
    And of course under CPU list for P67 Extreme6 it says my sandybridge CPU is compatible with all BIOS. ME CONFUSED!
    So if your using a Sandy bridge CPU, the new bioses hes talking about do not apply. As they are for the motherboards(yours too but)to make the board usable with the newer Intel CPU'S that came out after Sandy bridge. Also if your not having issue's to begin with do not flash your Bios!!!! As never fix a none broken computer!!

    Quote "That is, these BIOS versions should only be applied if you will be using an Ivy Bridge, Intel 3rd Generation Core processor, in your mother board."
    Last edited by jaggerwild; 09-15-2013 at 08:09 PM.
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