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First Windows 11 Patch Tuesday Makes Ryzen L3 Cache Latency Worse, AMD Puts Out Fix Dates

Microsoft on October 12 put out the first Cumulative Updates for the new Windows 11 operating system, since its October 5 release. The company's monthly update packages for Windows are unofficially dubbed "patch Tuesday" updates, as they're scheduled to come out on the second Tuesday of each month. Shortly after Windows 11 launch, AMD and Microsoft jointly discovered that Windows 11 is poorly optimized for AMD Ryzen processors, which see significantly increased L3 cache latency, and the UEFI-CPPC2 (preferred cores mechanism) rendered not working. In our own testing, a Ryzen 7 2700X "Pinnacle Ridge" processor, which typically posts an L3 cache latency of 10 ns, was tested to show a latency of 17 ns. This was made much worse with the October 12 "patch Tuesday" update, driving up the latency to 31.9 ns.

AMD put out a statement on social media, which surfaced on Reddit. The company stated that patches for the two issues have been developed, and specified dates on which they'll be released. The patch for the Preferred Cores (UEFI-CPPC2) bug will be released on October 21. Customers can request the patch even earlier. By "customers," AMD is probably referring to big enterprise customers running mission-critical applications on Threadripper or EPYC-powered workstations. The L3 cache latency bug will be fixed through the Windows Update channel, its release is scheduled for October 19.

AMD Processors Lose 15% Gaming Performance with Windows 11, L3 Cache Latency Tripled

Apparently, AMD processors officially compatible with Windows 11, exhibit a three-times increase in L3 cache latency with the new operating system. The new operating system is also found to break the "preferred cores" system on AMD processors (UEFI CPPC2), in which the two "best" CPU cores, which can sustain the highest boost frequencies, are highlighted to the operating system, so most of the light-threaded traffic could be sent to them.

AMD and Microsoft jointly made this discovery, and listed out potential impact on application performance. The increased L3 cache latency affects performance of applications sensitive to memory performance. They also warn of a 10-15% loss in gaming performance. On the other hand, a dysfunctional "preferred cores" system would mean reduced performance in light-threaded tasks as the OS is unaware which are the processor's two best cores. Thankfully, both issues can be fixed via software updates, and AMD is working with Microsoft to push fixes for both issues through Windows Update, in an update rollout scheduled within October 2021.

Intel Prepares Seamless Updating of Firmware Without a Need for Reboot

Intel has been working on a technology that will improve the lives of all users that have an Intel-based processor in their system. According to the recent round of patches for the Linux kernel, Intel's engineers have been working on a feature called Intel Seamless Update, which promises to bring updating of system firmware without a need to reboot. First of all, it is important to note that firmware upgrades have been stuck at requiring reboot in order to apply patches. This has caused many systems to be down and to slow down the infrastructure by a wide margin, as these updates can last up to several minutes, where the system is rebooting and can not be used.

Intel has presented an idea of creating a technology that will update system firmware, such as UEFI, in the run time. That means that the system will be able to apply firmware patches, without ever needing a reboot, minimizing downtime. This is especially valuable for customers with very high service level agreements (SLAs) around downtime, meaning that almost 100% uptime (not possible to be 100% generally speaking) is required for these systems. An example of this would be medical server infrastructure, which has to constantly be available for access. Using this technology, systems such as these could update their firmware and be online non-stop, without maybe ever needing to reboot. The said feature is supposed to arrive in time for the launch alongside Intel "Sapphire Rapids" Xeon processors.

Microsoft Dives into the Internals of Windows 11

Microsoft released a fairly detailed run-down of the under-the-hood changes it made to Windows 11 over its predecessor. The operating system is optimized for a zero-trust work environment. This explains making a hardware TPM 2.0 device a minimum system requirement. The company may even penalize PCs running unsupported hardware with no access to security updates. The company also described fine-grained application performance prioritization, which automatically prevents "trivial" apps from taking up too many system resources.

Apps running in the foreground also automatically get a higher app priority. This is particularly useful when your CPU is bogged down with a heavy workload, and you're trying to open a new app. The OS automatically rations resources to ensure the app you just launched is prioritized, making the experience snappy. This technology carries forward even to the Edge web-browser, where the tab that's active has more priority, and tabs that haven't been accessed in a while are put to "sleep" (i.e. their memory is completely paged, and they're given least system resources). Microsoft calls this "Sleeping Tabs." Microsoft claims that the feature can reduce memory savings by around 30%, which could be handy for your foreground tasks. With the feature enabled, the OS (or Edge) handle prioritization automatically.

GIGABYTE Hacked, Attackers Threaten to Leak Confidential Intel, AMD, AMI Documents

PC components major GIGABYTE has reportedly been hacked, with the attacker group, which goes by the name RansomEXX, stealing 112 GB in data that contains confidential technical documents from Intel, AMD, and others; which are released to GIGABYTE under strict NDAs, to help it design motherboards, notebooks, desktops, servers, and graphics cards. The group also deployed ransomware to encrypt GIGABYTE's data, which includes these documents. The attack allegedly occurred in the week of August 2, and GIGABYTE was forced to shut down its systems in its Taiwan headquarters. This even caused some downtime for its websites.

While it's conceivable that a company of GIGABYTE's scale would maintain timely cold backups of its data, and can recover almost everything RansomEXX encrypted, there's another aspect to this attack, and it's the data the attackers stole. They threaten to leak the data if a ransom isn't paid in time. This would put a large amount of confidential documents, including motherboard designs, UEFI/BIOS/TPM data/keys, etc., out in the public domain. GIGABYTE didn't comment on the issue beyond stating that it has isolated the affected servers from the rest of its network and notified law enforcement.

Thanks to Windows 11, Scalpers Buy Out Add-on TPM 2.0 Modules

Most modern PC platforms include an fTPM (firmware trusted platform module) of some form. Those that don't, have a TPM 2.0 compatible header on the motherboards. Microsoft's requirement of a hardware TPM for Windows 11 has scalpers go after add-on TPMs, which are typically priced around $20, but now marked up to $100, according to price-tracking by Shen Ye, a senior HTC VIVE exec, who has been tracking prices of add-on TPMs on Twitter.

Scalpers possibly anticipate a rush of ill-informed buyers out for add-on TPMs, who haven't spent 5 minutes digging through their UEFI setup programs for the fTPM toggle. Below is a screenshot of a Ryzen 7 2700X-based machine, paired with an AMD B450 chipset motherboard (a platform from 2018), with its fTPM toggle turned on. The PC now meets Windows 11 system requirements. Windows 11 uses hardware TPMs for secure storage of credentials. "Microsoft, can you not impose a TPM requirement during a silicon shortage? Especially considering most desktop motherboards support TPM only as a purchasable accessory," Shen Ye tweeted.

EVGA Precision X1 Adds Ability to Toggle Resizable BAR

EVGA GeForce RTX 30 Series utilizing NVIDIA Resizable BAR gives gamers an extra boost in gameplay framerate on select titles by letting the CPU directly access the GPU's entire frame buffer memory. EVGA Precision X1 simplifies the upgrade process and makes it more intuitive, so you can spend less time updating software and firmware and get back to your gaming! All EVGA GeForce RTX 30 Series now feature support for NVIDIA Resizable BAR after updating a brand new EVGA VBIOS.

MSI Announces AGESA ComboPI V2 1.2.0.0 BIOS Updates for AMD 500 and 400 Series

MSI announced that it will begin rolling out UEFI firmware updates for its Socket AM4 motherboards based on the AMD 400-series and 500-series chipsets, which incorporate AMD's latest AGESA Combo PI V2 1.2.0.0 microcode. These firmware updates will enable resizable BAR support for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-series "Ampere" graphics cards, improvements for Ryzen 5000 series "Vermeer" desktop processors, and an assortment of board model-specific improvements or fixes.

The company will begin releasing these firmware updates for its AMD 500-series chipset motherboards, and its AMD 400-series "MAX" models in January 2021. In February, it will follow up with updates for AMD 400-series non-"MAX" models. The "MAX" model name suffix for an MSI AMD 400-series motherboard denotes a board with a 32-megabyte SPI flash ROM chip that allows MSI to cram in its feature-rich ClickBIOS setup program. Keep checking the "support" section of your motherboard's product page on the MSI website for these firmware updates.

GIGABYTE Z490 Motherboards to Support 11th Gen Core Processors

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and hardware solutions, today announced that all Z490 motherboards featuring PCIe 4.0 hardware design can support the 11th Gen. Intel Core processors perfectly by update to the latest F20 BIOS, and provide the extreme bandwidth and performance for PCIe 4.0 graphics cards and SSDs. With a snap update of the latest BIOS from GIGBAYTE's official site, users can enjoy the full pack of advantages and unlock the Resizable BAR function on GIGABYTE Z490 and H470 motherboards.

The latest 11th Gen. Intel Core processors will be launched on March 2021. The new processors keep the same architecture as the previous generation but they enable the PCIe 4.0 support, which meet a range of needs for users who expect broad bandwidth and super high transfer speed of PCIe 4.0 on the Intel platform. For those who own one of the current generation motherboards, it would be a great deal to enjoy the performance uplift on Z490 motherboards with PCIe 4.0 function and 11th Gen. Intel Core processors support.

AMD Announces AGESA 1.1.9.0 Firmware Updates, Improve FCLK OC Stability

AMD just revealed the top four changes with its new AGESA 1.1.9.0 microcode update, which motherboard manufacturers and OEMs will release via UEFI firmware updates in January and February, 2021. Beta firmware updates with 1.1.9.0 have already been floating around for the past couple of weeks. To begin with, the new AGESA enables support for the S0i3 power state of Windows 10, more commonly known as Modern Standby. Next up, AMD claims that firmware updates with 1.1.9.0 should improve system stability in the FCLK 1800 MHz to 2000 MHz range.

Next up, AMD mentions support for "fanless X570 motherboards." We're not entirely sure whether this means a fan-down mode on existing X570 motherboards, or whether a new wave of motherboards based on the chipset is incoming, which lacks active cooling for the chipset (and makes do with passive heatsinks). One such board is the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero. Perhaps the firmware assists in helping the X570 chipset maintain a lower TDP. Wrapping things up, AMD mentions "general stability improvements," which are always welcome. Keep probing the "support" section of your motherboard's product page on its company website for the latest firmware updates.

MSI Confirms Rocket Lake Arrives in Late-March, 400-series Chipset Compatibility

MSI in a customer service response that's been machine translated and tweeted by harukaze5719, revealed that Intel's 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake-S" desktop processors arrive "by the end of March." This is the first confirmation from someone in the know that "Rocket Lake-S" won't arrive before the very end of Q1-2021, and that one should realistically expect availability only from Q2.

The same CS response also confirms backwards compatibility of the processors with existing Socket LGA1200 motherboards based on the Intel 400-series chipset. It mentions that MSI will release UEFI firmware updates that enable "Rocket Lake-S" compatibility starting with boards based on the top Intel Z490 chipset, followed by other 400-series models. Intel is expected to unveil its 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake-S" desktop processor and compatible 500-series chipset platform in mid-January, as part of a virtual event on the sidelines of the 2021 International CES (a virtual show).

Intel "Avengers Edition" 10th Gen Core Desktop Processors Reach End of Life (EOL)

Intel today commenced the process of discontinuation of the "Avengers Edition" SKUs of its 10th Generation Core "Comet Lake-S" desktop processors, through a product change notification (PCN). The said PCN #117894-00 mentions December 16, 2020 as a common date for all four key discontinuation milestones in the product's lifecycle, namely Product Discontinuation Support commencement, Last Product Discontinuance Order (the last opportunity for distributors to place orders from Intel for), the date for these orders to become non-cancelable and non-returnable; and the date for the last order to ship. Normally, the latter two milestones are spaced 6 months and 12 months apart from the date of the product discontinuation PCN. To put this in simpler terms—and unless the PCN doesn't have a typo with its dates—Intel is expeditiously discontinuing its 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake-S" desktop processors, marking them EOL (end of life).

AMD Ryzen 3000 and Older Zen Chips Don't Support SAM Due to Hardware Limitation, Intel Chips Since Haswell Support it

AMD Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" processors based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture, as well as older AMD processors based on "Zen+" and "Zen" microarchitectures, do not support the company's Smart Access Memory (SAM) feature being introduced with Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards. SAM is essentially a branding of the Resizable Base-Address Register (Resizable-BAR) feature developed by the PCI-SIG; which enables a processor to see a graphics card's entire video memory as a single addressable block, rather than through 256-megabyte apertures. Apparently the PCI-Express root complex of Ryzen 5000 "Vermeer" processors introduce an instruction called full-rate _pdep_u32/64, which is required for resizable-BAR to work.

It gets more interesting—Intel processors have been supporting this feature since the company's 4th Gen Core "Haswell," which introduced it with its 20-lane PCI-Express gen 3.0 root-complex. This means that every Intel processor dating back to 2014 can technically support Resizable-BAR, and it's just a matter of motherboard vendors releasing UEFI firmware updates for their products (i.e. Intel 8-series chipsets and later). AMD extensively advertises SAM as adding a 1-2% performance boost to Radeon RX 6800 series graphics cards. Since this is a PCI-SIG feature, NVIDIA plans to add support for it on some of its GPUs, too. Meanwhile, in addition to AMD 500-series chipsets, even certain Intel 400-series chipset motherboards started receiving Resizable BAR support through firmware updates.

GIGABYTE Releases Resizable BAR Support for AMD 500-series Motherboards via BIOS Updates

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and hardware solutions, today announces the latest BIOS update on AMD X570、B550 and A520 motherboards for the features of AMD Smart Access Memory and Rage mode. These innovative features enabling a bandwidth boost when the CPU accesses the GPU memory on graphics cards, which enhances and unleashes the ultimate system performance. Now, users with an "AMD Yes" platform on GIGABYTE AMD 500 series motherboards with AMD Ryzen 5000 processors and Radeon RX 6000 series VGA cards, will be able to experience an extra gaming and performance boost.

Through the AMD Smart Access Memory and Rage mode, the CPU has access to the GPU memory. This access unlocks the limited bandwidth to full bandwidth when running 4K gaming. By accessing the GDDR6 GPU memory more rapidly on AMD 500 series motherboards paired with Ryzen 5000 series processors and Radeon RX 6000 series VGA cards, CPU's operating performance and gaming performance are both improved. Based on results of gaming tests with Smart Access Memory and Rage Mode enabled, the 1080P gaming improved by 17%, and a performance increase of 10% was unlocked on 2K and 4K resolutions.

AMD 4th Gen Ryzen "Vermeer" Zen 3 Rumored to Include 10-core Parts

Yuri "1usmus" Bubliy, author of DRAM Calculator for Ryzen and the upcoming ClockTuner for Ryzen, revealed three pieces of juicy details on the upcoming 4th Gen AMD Ryzen "Vermeer" performance desktop processors. He predicts AMD turning up CPU core counts with this generation, including the introduction of new 10-core SKUs, possibly to one-up Intel in the multi-threaded performance front. Last we heard, AMD's upcoming "Zen 3" CCDs (chiplets) feature 8 CPU cores sharing a monolithic 32 MB slab of L3 cache. This should, in theory, allow AMD to create 10-core chips with two CCDs, each with 5 cores enabled.

Next up, are two features that should interest overclockers - which is Bubliy's main domain. The processors should support a feature called "Curve Optimizer," enabling finer-grained control over the boost algorithm, and on a per-core basis. As we understand, the "curve" in question could even be voltage/frequency. It remains to be seen of the feature is leveraged at a CBS level (UEFI setup program), or by Ryzen Master. Lastly, there's mention of new Infinity Fabric dividers that apparently helps you raise DCT (memory controller) frequencies "slightly higher" in mixed mode. AMD is expected to debut its 4th Gen Ryzen "Vermeer" desktop processors within 2020.

MSI Releases AGESA V2 1.0.8.1 BIOS Updates for AMD 500-series Chipset Motherboards

MSI began rolling out UEFI firmware updates that pack AMD's latest AGESA Combo PI V2 1.0.8.1 microcode, for the company's Socket AM4 motherboards based on the AMD 500-series chipsets. The company released firmware updates for 9 of its B550 motherboards today. Some time mid-September, it plans to release updates for X570 chipset boards, and the rest of its B550 motherboards. By late-September, updates will be released for A520 chipset boards.

MSI says AGESA V2 1.0.8.1 improves memory compatibility and memory overclocking headroom, and supports UMA memory share control for Ryzen 4000G / PRO 4000G "Renoir" desktop processors. MSI added fixes specific to its products, such as Soft RAID issues on B550, and PCs refusing to resume from S3 state. Check the "support" section of your motherboard's product page on the MSI website for the new firmware updates.

New BootHole Vulnerability Affects Billions of Devices, Compromises GRUB2 Boot-loader

Even if you don't have more than one operating system installed, your PC has a boot-loader, a software component first executed by the system BIOS, which decides which operating system to boot with. This also lets users toggle between different run-levels or configurations of the same OS. The GRUB2 boot-loader is deployed across billions of computers, servers, and pretty much any device that uses a Unix-like operating system. Cybersecurity researchers with Oregon-based firm Eclypsium, discovered a critical vulnerability with GRUB2 that can compromise a device's operating system. They named the vulnerability BootHole. This is the same firm behind last year's discovery of the Screwed Drivers vulnerability. It affects any device that uses the GRUB2 boot-loader, including when combined with Secure Boot technology.

BootHole exploits a design flaw with two of the key components of GRUB2, bison, a parser generator, and flex, a lexical analyzer. Eclypsium discovered that these two can have "mismatched design assumptions" that can lead to buffer overflow. This buffer overflow can be exploited to execute arbitrary code. Devices with modern UEFI and Secure Boot enabled typically wall off even administrative privileged users off from tampering with boot processes, however, in case of BootHole, the boot-loader parses a configuration file located in the EFI partition of the boot device, which can be modified by any user (or malicious process) that has admin privileges. Thankfully, patched versions of GRUB2 are already out, and the likes of SUSE have started distributing it for all versions of SUSE Linux. Expect practically every other *nix vendor, server manufacturer, to release patches to their end-users. Find a technical run-down of the vulnerability in this PDF by Eclypsium.

Windows 10 Scheduler Aware of "Lakefield" Hybrid Topologies, Benchmarked

A performance review of the Intel Core i5-L16G7 "Lakefield" Hybrid processor (powering a Samsung Galaxy S notebook) was recently published by Golem.de, which provides an in-depth look at Intel's ambitious new processor design that sets in motion the two new philosophies Intel will build its future processors on - packaging modularity provided by innovative new chip packaging technologies such as Foveros; and Hybrid processing, where there are two sets of CPU cores with vastly different microarchitectures and significantly different performance/Watt curves that let the processor respond to different kinds of workloads while keeping power-draw low. This concept was commercially proliferated first by Arm, with its big.LITTLE topology that took to the market around 2013. The "Lakefield" i5-L16G7 combines a high-performance "Sunny Cove" CPU core with four smaller "Tremont" cores, and Gen11 iGPU.

The Golem.de report reveals that Windows 10 thread scheduler is aware of the hybrid multi-core topology of "Lakefield," and that it is able to classify workloads at a very advanced level so the right kind of core is in use at any given time. The "Sunny Cove" core is called upon when interactive vast serial processing loads are in demand. This could even be something like launching applications, new tabs in a multi-process web-browser, or less-parallelized media encoding. The four "Tremont" cores keep the machine "cruising," handling much of the operational workload of an application, and is also better tuned to cope with highly parallelized workloads. This is similar to a hybrid automobile, where the combustion engine provides tractive effort from 0 kph, while the electric motor sustains a cruising speed.

Microsoft Extends its ATP Defender Protection to UEFI BIOS With UEFI Scanner

Microsoft has announced an extension to the Windows Defender System Guard which will allow it to also verify and guarantee integryity of systems at a UEFI BIOS level. Citing an increase in hardware and firmware-level attacks over the years, the extended protection functionality aims to guarantee protection across the entire hierarchy of a device, from firmware up through to cloud processing.

The UEFI scanner is a new component of the built-in antivirus solution on Windows 10 and gives Microsoft Defender ATP the unique ability to scan inside of the firmware filesystem and perform security assessment. Working in conjunction with your systems' chipset, the UEFI scanner features a three-pronged solution to firmware security: UEFI anti-rootkit, which reaches the firmware through Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI); Full filesystem scanner, which analyzes content inside the firmware; and a Detection engine, which identifies exploits and malicious behaviors.

New SMM Callout Privilege Escalation Vulnerability Affects AMD Platforms

AMD on Wednesday disclosed a new security vulnerability affecting certain client- and APU processors launched between 2016 and 2019. Called the SMM Callout Privilege Escalation Vulnerability, discovered by Danny Odler, and chronicled under CVE-2020-12890, the vulnerability involves an attacker with elevated system privileges to manipulate the AGESA microcode encapsulated in the platform's UEFI firmware to execute arbitrary code undetected by the operating system. AMD plans to release AGESA updates that mitigate the vulnerability (at no apparent performance impact), to motherboard vendors and OEMs by the end of June 2020. Some of the latest platforms are already immune to the vulnerability.
A statement by AMD follows.

MSI Confirms "Zen 3" Support on its AMD 400-series Chipset Motherboards with 16MB ROMs

MSI confirmed that AMD's "Zen 3" processor support will be added to the company's AMD 400-series chipset motherboards, including the non-MAX SKUs that only have 16 MB EEPROM chips. Marketing Director Eric van Beurden in an MSI Insider video presentation confirmed that with the non-MAX motherboards, "Zen 3" support will be added as AMD planned to go about doing so (i.e. add "Zen 3" support by cutting out support for older processors and slimming down the UEFI setup program down to the GSE Click BIOS program, which may not correspond with your motherboard's original feature-set). On the other hand, the MAX SKUs, with their 32 MB EEPROMs will receive "Zen 3" support painlessly, meaning that the board may retain support for some, if not all, older processor generations, and retain their original feature-rich UEFI setup programs.

AMD Releases AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.5 Microcode

AMD formally announced its AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.5 microcode. The new microcode is intended to be encapsulated into motherboard UEFI firmware updates and distributed by motherboard- and OEM desktop manufacturers, at their discretion. AGESA 1.0.0.5 improves POST (time) with select Micron Technology DDR4-3200 memory chips. An intermittent virtual memory error with certain Realtek onboard Ethernet PHY chips has been fixed. The microcode also improves PCI-Express bus stability and interoperability, in general. A PCIe lane configuration issue with Ryzen 3 Pro 2100GE has been fixed. Besides these, all other performance- and stability-improvements part of older 1.0.0.4 a/ab/abb/abba microcodes are incorporated into 1.0.0.5. Keep an eye on the BIOS updates section of your socket AM4 motherboard's product page on its company website.

The Security Focused Tails OS adds Support for UEFI Secure Boot

Tails OS the operating system recommended by Edward Snowden, now works on systems with UEFI Secure Boot enabled. Tails OS is built from the ground up to offer maximum security and privacy running of a portable drive and leaving no trace on the host computer. The latest Tails OS 4.5 update added support for this crucial UEFI Secure Boot feature which was already found in most operating systems. Secure Boot uses cryptographic signatures to verify the integrity of firmware files loaded on system boot and insure they have not been tempered with.

Secure Boot has been available as part of the UEFI specification now for over two decades but is rarely used due to compatibility reasons. While not commonly used, the fact that a security focused operating system did not support this security feature was worrying for many as it meant Secure Boot had to be disabled on the host computer before the OS could boot. Work to add the feature has been ongoing over the last 6 years and is now complete and ready for use.
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AMD AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA Detailed, Fixes Zen2 Boost Issues

AMD is giving final touches to an AGESA microcode update that fixes the issue of underwhelming Precision Boost behavior on its 3rd generation Ryzen processors. Version ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ABBA is being pushed to motherboard manufacturers to integrate with their UEFI firmware, and one such dispatch to MSI got leaked to the web on ChipHell. Tom's Hardware grabbed the BIOS as it was compatible with the MEG X570 Creator motherboard they have, and tested the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X with it.

In its testing, posted in a mini-review article, Tom's Hardware observed that with AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA, their 3700X sample was correctly hitting 4.40 GHz across the board at stock settings. With the older 1.0.0.3AB, it would touch 4.375 GHz. The Ryzen 9 3900X behaves slightly differently with this microcode. Tom's Hardware was able to raise its peak boost frequency from 4.575 GHz to 4.625 GHz (above the 4.60 GHz specification), but in certain tests such as POV-Ray and Cinebench, its boost frequency decays down to 4.250 GHz. Overall, the reviewer tabulated improved performance on the chips with the new microcode. The new microcode also apparently changes the processor's thermal thresholds.

Update (10/9) AMD posted an elaborate release detailing the AGESA 1.0.0.3ABBA update.

MSI MAX AM4 Boards Real: 32MB BIOS ROMs and Ryzen 3000 Out-of-the-Box Support

MSI is among the motherboard manufacturers who had to significantly modify their UEFI firmware packages to cram in AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ab microcode on their AMD 300-series and 400-series chipset motherboards, due to firmware ROM size limitations. Most older MSI AM4 motherboards have 128 Mbit (16 MB) SPI flash ROM chips, which proved insufficient to integrate the latest AGESA microcode alongside its feature-rich ClickBIOS 5 UEFI setup program. MSI addressed the issue on two fronts. For its existing motherboards that have 128 Mb flash chips, it released BIOS updates that have AGESA 1.0.0.3ab, but shed some bulk on the setup program, by replacing ClickBIOS 5 with the "GSE-lite" setup program. The company is also releasing newer revisions of many of its AMD B450 chipset motherboards anticipating demand from the section of 3rd gen Ryzen buyers who don't want to spend at least $170 on an AMD X570 motherboard.

These revised motherboards feature "MAX" in the name, and come with 256 Mb (32-megabyte) SPI flash ROM chips, enabling MSI to combine AGESA ComboAM4 1.0.0.3ab with ClickBIOS 5, and not compromising on any of the motherboard's BIOS-level feature-set. These motherboards also come with out-of-the-box support for all of the 3rd generation Ryzen processors launched so far, as indicated on the box. The boards also retain support for A-series "Bristol Ridge" and "Raven Ridge" Athlon APUs that had faced the axe with the latest BIOS updates. The B450 Tomahawk MAX and Mortar MAX are characterized by matte-black heatsinks replacing silver; while the B450-A PRO MAX has the "MAX" logo clearly printed on the VRM heatsink. Pricing of these boards are expected to be on par with the models they're replacing.
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