Monday, July 8th 2019

BIOS ROM Size Limitations Almost Derail AMD's Zen2 Backwards Compatibility Promise

AMD succeeded in delivering on its backwards-compatibility promise for the 3rd generation Ryzen processors on motherboards based on AMD 300-series and 400-series chipsets. This promise was very close to being derailed suggests a community thread on MSI forums. According to MSI representatives active on the forum, the capacity of the SPI flash EEPROM chip that stores the motherboard UEFI firmware is woefully limited to cram in the AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3a microcode on many of its motherboards.

The company had to make several changes to its UEFI BIOS package that's currently being circulated as a "beta," to accommodate support for 3rd generation Ryzen processors along with AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3a. First, it had to kick out support for A-series and Athlon processors based on the 28 nm "Bristol Ridge" silicon. Second, it had to [and this is a big one], kick the RAID module, breaking SATA RAID on many of its motherboards. Third, it had to replace its feature-rich Click BIOS 5 setup program with a barebones "GSE Lite" Click BIOS program, which lacks many of the features of the original program, and comes with a dull, low-resolution UI. This program still includes some essential MSI-exclusive features such as A-XMP (which translates Intel XMP profiles to AMD-compatible settings), Smart Fan, and M-Flash.
The scary part? Many other motherboard brands appear to be using 16-megabyte EEPROMs on their older socket AM4 motherboards. These companies are bound to run into similar ROM capacity issues unless they keep their UEFI setup programs lightweight. Motherboards based on the latest X570 chipset feature 32-megabyte EEPROMs. The AMD X570 chipset lacks support for not just "Bristol Ridge," but also first-generation Ryzen "Summit Ridge" and "Raven Ridge" processors.

We recommend that unless you literally possess a 3rd generation Ryzen processor, do not update the BIOS of your older socket AM4 motherboard. You may risk losing features and break your RAID volumes. Find out the latest version of BIOS that has the classic AGESA PinnaclePI 1.0.0.6 microcode, and use that instead.
Source: MSI
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88 Comments on BIOS ROM Size Limitations Almost Derail AMD's Zen2 Backwards Compatibility Promise

#76
nemesis.ie
Aorus Extreme X570 with a 128Mbit chip? That seems rather short-sighted.

@evilhf Yes, should be good to go with 1.0.0.1. I sure hope so as I am running that on my TCU and should be popping in the 3900X tomorrow.
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#77
Aerpoweron
@evilhv there is currently a beta bios available at the MSI website for your board
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#78
biffzinker
@GoldenX
MSI has a BIOS update posted for my B350 Gaming Pro so you might want to check again for your board.
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#79
GoldenX
biffzinker
@GoldenX
MSI has a BIOS update posted for my B350 Gaming Pro so you might want to check again for your board.

Seems to be the same on the blog MSI posted, but now they properly report it.
Good to know they promise a next one with RAID support.

I kinda like the non-stupid lite UI, I might just update to get that.
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#80
biffzinker






The Hardware Monitor Interface is sure plain looking now.
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#81
GoldenX
Meh, the point and click fan curve was a pain, too imprecise.
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#82
biffzinker
GoldenX
I kinda like the non-stupid lite UI, I might just update to get that.
You too? I honestly prefer it this way.

Edit: Ran into this issue involving Task Manger unable to report reserved memory. Technically there is 16,384 MB installed I can see 16,336 MB through Performance Monitor which means there is RAM being reserved by the mobo firmware. Before the update it use to report 47.7 MB inaccessible.
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#83
Uchchwas
Is it effect on performance? Like overcloking?? I don't need rich user interface.
I planning to buy MSI b450 gaming pro carbon.
Should i buy this now?
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#84
EarthDog
Uchchwas
Is it effect on performance? Like overcloking?? I don't need rich user interface.
I planning to buy MSI b450 gaming pro carbon.
Should i buy this now?
Nope.
Posted on Reply
#85
tony359
just curious: "nope" to both questions?
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#87
Bitgod
Had zero problems with my 3600 and B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. In general, Ryzen 2 doesn't strike me as a CPU to OC anyway, too much hassle for little gain.
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#88
grigo
I am not sure how AGESA fits into BIOS, but my experience has been somewhat confusing. I have an Asus Prime X370-A board. I updated the BIOS before installing a 3900X. RAID BIOS didn't start. I panicked and tried to downgrade the BIOS as low as I could. But downgrading to the lowest version that supported 3900X didn't bring the RAID back. So, I put back the old 1800X and tried downgrading further. EZ Flasher wouldn't let me though. So after some serious searching I found an unofficial method to get even lower with the BIOS version. RAID BIOS got back. I was relieved. I started upgrading the BIOS back to see where RAID BIOS would stop loading. It never did. I got back up to the latest version and RAID was still there. I thought my problem was just that I skipped something like 5 BIOS versions when I did my first BIOS update to support the new CPU. But then I put back the 3900X and the RAID was gone again. That's when I realised that the problem only manifested when the new processor was put in. With the latest version still I put back the old processor, RAID was back. So as weird as it may seem, this is NOT a BIOS chip size limitation. It's with the memory allocated for the BIOS when it loads. If someone has a better explanation, I'm ready to hear it. But this looks more like the programming of the BIOS, not its size.
In the end I have to say I hate AMD RAID. I've had it for many years as a convenience and an additional data protection method but it's a real pain in the ass when you have to migrate it. And nobody seems to support it out of the box. I had a motherboard with 780G chipset before. I could not migrate the VD from the old RAID to the new RAID, although they are both AMD. I had to backup all the data, create the RAID, copy the data back. Same now.
I bought a separate PCIe SATA controller with a Marvell chip and moved my disks there for RAID. Didn't have to install anything, it just worked. With AMD RAID I had to figure out that I needed two drivers to make it work, installed in a specific order, otherwise even Windows 10 won't see the disks. No live linux distro would ever boot with AMD RAID, all panicked. In a way I am glad I was forced out of using it. I don't know why they never bothered to make drivers easily available for all OSes.
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