Thursday, July 26th 2018

Custom BIOSes Harden Intel X58 Motherboards Against Meltdown and Spectre

Legendary soft-modder Regeneration released a vast collection of motherboard BIOS updates for socket LGA1366 motherboards based on Intel X58 Express chipset, because motherboard manufacturers have abandoned the 10-year old platform (yeah, it's been a decade since "Nehalem"!). The BIOSes have been made by transplanting the latest micro-code updates by Intel, which run all the way back to the 1st generation Core micro-architecture.

These are unofficial BIOSes which you use at your own risk, but they've been made by a person with more than two decades of fanfare in the PC enthusiast community, famous for unofficial, performance-enhancing NGO VGA drivers from his now defunct blog NGOHQ.com. Find the links to the BIOS of your X58 motherboard in this thread on TechPowerUp Forums (hosted externally).
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16 Comments on Custom BIOSes Harden Intel X58 Motherboards Against Meltdown and Spectre

#1
Fierce Guppy
Thanks for posting this. I have a Rampage 2 Extreme and will try the BIOS.


Update: Didn't work. I updated the BIOS using EZ Flash 2 and it successfully flashed. However, GRC Inspect still reports that the PC is protected against "Meltdown" only.
Posted on Reply
#2
Regeneration
NGOHQ.COM
Fierce GuppyThanks for posting this. I have a Rampage 2 Extreme and will try the BIOS.


Update: Didn't work. I updated the BIOS using EZ Flash 2 and it successfully flashed. However, GRC Inspect still reports that the PC is protected against "Meltdown" only.
A few 1st generation i7 CPUs (early steppings) didn't receive a new microcode from Intel.

The following CPUIDs got a new microcode: 106A5, 206C2, 206E6, 206F2.
Posted on Reply
#4
Fierce Guppy
RegenerationA few 1st generation i7 CPUs (early steppings) didn't receive a new microcode from Intel.

The following CPUIDs got a new microcode: 106A5, 206C2, 206E6, 206F2.
Mine is an Intel i7-965 ( Bloomfield ) which is a first generation i7. Oh, well.
Posted on Reply
#5
Assimilator
@Regeneration Presumably you're using MMtool to update the microcode portions of each BIOS and not touching anything else?
Posted on Reply
#6
Regeneration
NGOHQ.COM
Assimilator@Regeneration Presumably you're using MMtool to update the microcode portions of each BIOS and not touching anything else?
Only the microcode portions were manipulated carefully. BIOS ROMs are too sensitive to temper with, even with AMI/Award tools.
Posted on Reply
#7
CheapMeat
Now THOSE are heatsinks, wow.
Posted on Reply
#8
timta2
CheapMeatNow THOSE are heatsinks, wow.
As someone who used to own a X58A-UD7, they were more a gimmick than they were useful, which is why you don't see motherboards with them today.
Posted on Reply
#9
lexluthermiester
Fierce GuppyMine is an Intel i7-965 ( Bloomfield ) which is a first generation i7. Oh, well.
You could upgrade to a Xeon which that board supports. They are very reasonably priced right now. And an X5672, the Xeon version of the i7-965, runs cooler at lower power draw. A really good upgrade would be an X5670 or X5680. 2 more cores and dual QPI links will give a good boost in performance for less than $60.
Posted on Reply
#10
Fierce Guppy
lexluthermiesterYou could upgrade to a Xeon which that board supports. They are very reasonably priced right now. And an X5672, the Xeon version of the i7-965, runs cooler at lower power draw. A really good upgrade would be an X5670 or X5680. 2 more cores and dual QPI links will give a good boost in performance for less than $60.
That PC has 12GB of RAM and a GTX 980 and I have no desire to further upgrade it. It's good for the tasks I use it for. My primary PC has an X99 Rampage V Extreme mobo with an i7-5960X..
Posted on Reply
#11
Jism
timta2As someone who used to own a X58A-UD7, they were more a gimmick than they were useful, which is why you don't see motherboards with them today.
Back in the days chipsets used to put out way more heat compared to now?

Part of the chipset is housed in CPU's these days. I remember there where alot of boards with crazy copper heatsinks all over the place.









Still looks impressive tho.
Posted on Reply
#12
_JP_
JismBack in the days chipsets used to put out way more heat compared to now?

Part of the chipset is housed in CPU's these days. I remember there where alot of boards with crazy copper heatsinks all over the place.









Still looks impressive tho.
Also, copper was waay cheaper back then :)
Posted on Reply
#13
Jism
_JP_Also, copper was waay cheaper back then :)
Yes, but copper generally had a better response to heat compared to aluminium. So when people saw a motherboard with copper heatsink the marketing succesfully did their task by thinking it was better. Some chipsets pushed out over 40watts of heat if there was a GPU housing inside of it.
Posted on Reply
#14
Assimilator
JismBack in the days chipsets used to put out way more heat compared to now?

Part of the chipset is housed in CPU's these days. I remember there where alot of boards with crazy copper heatsinks all over the place.









Still looks impressive tho.
Ah, the nForce days.
Posted on Reply
#15
tbob22
Fierce GuppyMine is an Intel i7-965 ( Bloomfield ) which is a first generation i7. Oh, well.
That Rampage 2 deserves a $20 x5650. :)

I think you could sell the 965 for ~$40 pretty easily.
Posted on Reply
#16
Fierce Guppy
tbob22That Rampage 2 deserves a $20 x5650. :)

I think you could sell the 965 for ~$40 pretty easily.
OK, you convinced me ...1.5 years later. I have replaced the i7-965 on my rampage II extreme with a Xeon X5690 (6-core, 12-threads, 3.47 GHz.)

This 11 old PC is quite pimped out right now. Even Battlefield V runs well on it.
Posted on Reply
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