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TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #8

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have the latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

AMD Announces AGESA Update 1.0.0.6 - Supports up to 4000 MHz Memory Clocks

You've probably heard of AMD's AGESA updates by now - the firmware updates that are ironing out the remaining kinks in AMD's Ryzen platform, which really could have used a little more time in the oven before release. However, kinks have been disappearing, the platform has been maturing and evolving, and AMD has been working hard in improving the experience for consumers and enthusiasts alike. As a brief primer, AGESA is responsible for initializing AMD x86-64 processors during boot time, acting as something of a "nucleus" for the BIOS of your motherboard. Motherboard vendors take the core capabilities of AGESA updates and build on them with their own "secret sauce" to create the BIOS that ultimately populate your motherboard of choice. The process of cooking up BIOS updates built on the new AGESA will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but AMD's Robert Hallock says you should be seeing BIOSes based on this version halfway through the month of June - if your vendor isn't already providing a Beta version of some kind.

This new AGESA update code, version 1.0.0.6, should be just up the alley of enthusiasts, however, in that it adds a grand total of 26 new parameters for memory configuration, improving the compatibility and reliability of DRAM, especially for memory that does not follow the industry-standard JEDEC specifications (e.g. faster than 2667, manual overclocking, or XMP2 profiles). Below you'll find the 26 parameters that were introduced.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 382.33 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released its latest GeForce "Game Ready" drivers. The new GeForce 382.33 WHQL drivers come game-ready for the week's big game releases - "Tekken 7," and "Star Trek Bridge Crew." It also addresses bugs such as Windows Store not opening on Windows 10 Creators Update with 3D Vision enabled on TITAN X; stuttering noticed in "Prey" with GTX 1080 Ti, extended monitors not drifting into Sleep in Windows 10 Creators Update with GTX 1070, and GTX 970 SLI machines not being able to toggle SLI unless Norton 360 is disabled or Windows is booted into "Safe Mode." Grab the driver from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 382.33 Game Ready Drivers

The change-log follows.

Microsoft Announces New Fall Creators Update With Fluent Design System

After announcing its plan for a new, six-month update cycle for Windows 10, which Microsoft is treating as the last, monolithic release of Windows, the Redmond company has now announced its plans for the forthcoming Fall Creators Update (aherm) update.

Microsoft also announced the adoption of a new, Fluent design language, which strikes me as aesthetically pleasing, and a far cry from the Metro interface we've been saddled with since Windows 8. It carries on the bold color schemes, but marries it with a more subdued, less in-you-face style of user interface, and is supposed to encourage developers to design their apps in a way that makes sense on a variety of platforms - which, considering the advent of the Universal Windows Platform, makes all kinds of sense, doesn't it?

TPU's Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #2: MSI and ASUS Updates

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have last week's latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. Our usual format has undergone some tweaks, but it's for the better. For one, we list beta BIOSes as well now. We also only list BIOSes now that have been updated since the last digest, to avoid redundancy.

Microsoft Confirms Windows, Office 6-Month Update Cycle

Microsoft has been steadily increasing stability, features and, the company hopes, attractiveness of its latest Windows 10 operating system. Recently, its Creator's Update has brought, among other features, a performance-boosting Game Mode, a 3D version of the popular and (respectably ancient) Paint app, as well as increased privacy control, something users clamored for. Now, the Redmond company has confirmed that it's looking towards a six month update cycle for Windows 10 (thus aligning it with Office 365 ProPlus), looking to streamline and increase predictability of its support.

Microsoft released the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016, and the Creators Update made its public debut on April 11 2017, which is already close to the six-month update cycle the company is now confirming (seven months, in this case.) Now the company has confirmed that it plans to release its next step on the Windows 10 operating system on September 2017. From then on, updates should arrive in a steady cadence, on every subsequent March and September. Each Windows 10 feature release will be serviced and supported for 18 months, as is currently the case, and the company has also added that its System Center Configuration Manager will support this new aligned update model for Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10, "making both easier to deploy and keep up to date."

Source: Blogs.Windows.com, Tom's Hardware

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 Drivers

AMD today released the latest version of Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition. The new Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 WHQL drivers add official support for the newly launched Radeon RX 500 series GPUs, such as the RX 580, RX 570, RX 560, and RX 550; besides support for Windows 10 Creators Update (v17.4.2 already added WDDM 2.2 support). Grab the drivers from the links below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 WHQL

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.2

AMD today released the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.2 drivers, its second release this month. The drivers are important if you've updated Windows 10 to the latest "Creators Update" (version 1703), since it supports the new WDDM 2.2 driver model. In addition, the drivers fix bugs related to SteamVR asynchronous reprojection, poor multi-GPU scaling for "Battlefield 1" in DirectX 11 mode, flickering noticed on ReLive running on Windows 7, and a bug with Radeon Settings that removes application profiles upon logout. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.2

AMD Releases Balanced Power Plan for Windows; Optimized for Ryzen Processors

In another Community Update from Robert Hallock, some more developments on the platform have been announced, after the last one's commitment to upcoming updates. AMD has done good on their promise for an optimized power profile for Windows systems that better leverages Ryzen's design and features.AMD's SenseMI technology allows the processor to fine-tune voltages and frequency on-the-fly, with a much higher granularity and lower latency than any software-based solution - such as Windows 10's power plans. These transitions between frequencies and voltages are governed by "P-States", which are frequency/voltage combinations requested by the operating system.

It so happens that Windows 10's Balanced power plan delays changes towards faster P-states - which bring increased frequency and voltage and hence, power consumption - so as to save more power. However, this means that there is an increased delay (latency) between the moment more processing power is required of the Ryzen processor and the moment the processor is allowed to change P-states to deliver it. Add to this the fact that Ryzen takes a significant performance hit with core-parking enabled, and Windows 10's balanced power plan attempts to park all logical processors beyond the first 10% whenever possible means that most of Ryzen's cores will have to be unparked before they can process any kind of workload - and this in itself incurs in an increased latency and, therefore, performance penalty.

Windows 10 Creators Update to Feature New Levels of Privacy Control

Developing on the latest Creator's Update release version of Windows 10 being available from Microsoft's Update Tool, there is a feature that needs further addressing: the new privacy settings. Microsoft is well aware (as well it should be, given the public outcry at its telemetry features) that Windows users were not happy with the fact that the company seemed to be trading their privacy for increased information - and ad revenues - in their new "Windows as a service" approach. Even though some of this telemetry and usage reports are essential towards achieving a good user experience in later updates, the general opinion was that Microsoft collected too much, with too little information being shared with users about what, when, and why. Now, Microsoft is looking to clean up its act without the obfuscation of hiding privacy setting in endless sub-menus.

There are now three levels of diagnostic information collecting being done at the OS level: Basic, Enhanced, and Full. Notice the absence of an "off" mode, which is something Microsoft likely will never budge on this new "Windows as a service" approach. However, the Basic mode now collects almost half of all the information that was previously collected. Users installing new versions of Windows will see a screen upon the configuration stage where they will be able to toggle privacy settings with a more refined filter than before, and your privacy settings will now (finally) carry over between major Windows updates, which means they won't reset without your knowledge. The same will happen with users that simply upgrade their Windows version with the new Creators Update.

Source: Windows Blogs, Tom's Hardware

Apple to Update its Mac Pro Line of Desktop Computers

For some users, it's been a long time coming. For others, it just meant that Apple had given up entirely on the desktop ecosystem, choosing to focus on its "mainstream luxury" approach towards selling phones with a BOM of $219 for $1000. Most others, though, will probably look at this update as more of a passing shot than an actually thought-out product development.

For now, Apple is going to update the innards of its Mac Pro line with some pretty interesting (if expectable) hardware: the $2,999 model sees a two-core bump from the quad-core Intel Xeon E5 3.7 GHz processor towards a six-core Intel Xeon E5 3.5 GHz. The same path will be followed by the $3,999 model, bumping towards an eight-core Intel Xeon E5 3 GHz processor from the six-core Intel Xeon E5 3.7 GHz processor that just kept on giving since 2013. Both models have also been updated with dual AMD FirePro D500 and D700 GPUs. The $2,999 model also sees an increase in its available memory, from 12GB of DDR3-1866 memory to 16GB.

AMD Community Update: BIOS Updates, Patches, Performance Improvements

Yesterday, we covered how Ryzen's performance has seen a needed lift-up through an upcoming update to Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. Performance improvements of up to 30% do wonders in bringing up the 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 1800X's performance up to speed with its svelter gaming enemy, the 4-core, 8-thread i/ 7700K. And through a community update, AMD has now shed some light on the ongoing crusade for adapting an entire ecosystem to its Ryzen line of processors architecture features. Case in point: BIOS updates and game patches,

ASUS 200-series Motherboards Receive BIOS Update for Intel Optane Support

ASUS has released BIOS updates for its 200-series motherboards (for the Z270, H270, Q270 and B250 chipsets) that brings full official support and compatibility with Intel's Optane products, such as the recently-released cache SSD.

These first Optane drives use the M.2 form factor, and are designed to be used as ultra-fast caching drives for slower, HDD-class storage - a case of having your cake and eating it too, looking to ally the speed benefits of an SSD with the capacious storage space of traditional plater-based storage. Intel says an Optane-cached 1TB hard disk (at 7,200 rpm) will become twice as responsive when performing daily computing tasks or booting up, and can reduce the time it takes for a game to launch (or level to load) by around the 65% mark. A pure SSD solution will always be faster - and usually more predictable - than the Optane-cached HDD, but Intel's Optane solutions offer a tempting option in terms of a cost-effective speed boost (a 16GB module goes for around $44.)

Source: ASUS, VR Zone, TechRadar, ETeknix

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Update Brings Improved Performance to Ryzen

Some outlets are reporting that Stardock's Ashes of the Singularity is about to receive the much-referred-to patch that allows for improved performance on AMD's Ryzen line of processors. If you remember, rivers of ink flowed regarding AMD's Ryzen performance in gaming, with its monstrous, high-performance 8-core, 16-threaded design sometimes delivering performance below expectations. At the time, AMD clarified how Ryzen is a distinctive CPU architecture, similar yet fundamentally different from Intel's x86 implementation, promising upcoming patches from game developers that would allow Ryzen's architecture to truly deliver.

After Creative Assembly and Oxide Games vouched to improve Ryzen support, Oxide seems to be the first developer with a patch available (from version 25624 to 26118) that improves performance by up to 30%. Reportedly, it took the developers around 400 work-hours to improve the game code in respect to its execution on AMD hardware.

AMD Preparing BIOS Update to Fix FMA3 Freezes on Ryzen CPU Family

AMD has acknowledged an issue in which applications utilizing FMA3 code (basically compute and floating point heavy applications) can freeze Ryzen-based desktops. According to AMD, a fix is already on the way in the form of a basic bios update that will be issued to motherboard vendors, who will then most assuredly update their boards with the fix. If you want to be sure your Ryzen based system is not affected by this or numerous other teething issues, making sure you are running the latest BIOS will go a long way towards easing your experience with your new platform.

Windows 10 Creators Update Might Force Updates Even on Metered Connections

A wording change in the latest build of the upcoming Creators Update for Windows 10 has users on metered connections worried. In previous Microsoft Insider's builds of the Creators Update, the section of the license agreement pertaining to automatic updates said "updates will be downloaded and installed automatically, except over metered connections (where charges may apply)."

In this latest build, the wording has been changed to a more worrisome version implying updating may still happen for important updates: "We'll automatically download and install updates, except on metered connections (where charges may apply). In that case, we'll automatically download only those updates required to keep Windows running smoothly."

Microsoft Locks System Updates for Windows 7, 8.1 on Ryzen, Kaby Lake Systems

It would seem Microsoft is ever looking for more creative ways of pushing its Windows 10 operating system towards the masses. Some Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users have apparently encountered one of these: a lock on system updates. The error message, which reads "Your PC uses a processor that isn't supported on this version of Windows", points towards a hardware lock-in in exchange for added security and updates.

A Microsoft Support page sheds some light on this issue: that Windows 10 is the only Microsoft operating system to support particular hardware configurations. Namely, systems based on Intel's "seventh (7th)-generation processors or a later generation" (Kaby Lake); "AMD seventh (7th)-generation ("Bristol Ridge") processor or a later generation"; and "Qualcomm "8996" processor or a later generation". This move on Windows 7 might make some sense; however, Windows 8.1 is still in its lease of life (and Microsoft support) until at least 2018.

Source: Microsoft Support

Microsoft Windows 10 "Game Mode" Further Detailed

At GDC 2017, Microsoft trickled out a few more details regarding its upcoming "Game Mode" for Windows 10. If you remember, "Game Mode" is an upcoming Windows feature which is currently going through its "Beta" phase on Windows 10's Creators Update, which will purportedly improve performance in games or similar full-screen applications.

According to the details Microsoft let out, Game Mode will ultimately dive deeper than the simple attribution of higher priority to a game's process. Instead, "Game Mode" will be able to allocate entire CPU cores (whether there is any distinction between physical or logical cores wasn't disclosed) solely to the purpose of processing your game of choice. This will probably end the dynamic allocation of threads that currently occurs, where game processing can jump around in the cores employed, while also looking to ensure that the entirety of the CPU and cache is dedicated to the game. This could, theoretically, aid performance in some more exotic core complexes (I'm looking at you, CCX).

NVIDIA Working on a Major DirectX 12 Focused Driver Update

NVIDIA is reportedly working on a major driver update that improves performance across the board on games that take advantage of DirectX 12. The company is working with major game studios to improve DirectX 12 performance by up to 16 percent on recent AAA titles, such as "Gears of War 4," "Hitman" (2016), "Rise of the Tomb Raider" and "Tom Clancy's The Division." Even "Ashes of the Singularity" is getting a performance improvement.

At its GeForce GTX 1080 Ti launch event, NVIDIA revealed that its "Pascal" and "Maxwell" GPU architectures are capable of tile-based rendering, a feature that significantly improves video memory bandwidth utilization. With the GTX 1080 Ti going on sale later this month, one can expect NVIDIA to release new drivers.

Source: OC3D

Microsoft Confirms Upcoming "Game Mode" on Windows 10 "Creators" Update

In a bid to improve overall gaming experience on their Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft will introduce a new feature on their next big OS update. "Game Mode" is Microsoft's take on a modern, console-like take on the CPU and GPU of any given user system, so long as they are running the as of yet upcoming "Creators" update for Windows 10.

Essentially, "Game Mode" is an optional setting which dedicates more of the available CPU and GPU resources to a given gaming application - whether on Windows' new UWP or the good-old Win32 games (though Microsoft was clear in that they expect the feature to have more of an impact on UWP games simply because "Game Mode" then has more information on the game's requirements and performance profiles). This means that less of your system's resources will be available to and used by background tasks, and should make itself visible not so much on peak frame-rates, but on a arguably more important metric: a more consistent, less "stuttery" frame-rate.

Digital Storm Showcases Its "Aventum 3" Update

At CES 2017, Digital Storm made sure to showcase the computer case to devour all others: the Aventum 3 stands tall and deep with 28" height and more than 25" front-to-back, this is a truly massive tower, with room for more fans (it has about 20), cables (more than can be sanely counted), and custom liquid cooling than two or three mid-tower-size typical desktops.

Seasonic Updates its PSU Product Lines

After taking a long while - a very long while, in fact - to launch its flagship Prime Titanium PSU series, and after leaving its product line seemingly dormant for a while, it looks like Seasonic was actually getting ready to wake the proverbial sleeping giant: according to the company, 2017 will be an important milestone because it will feature the release of several new product lines that will include high performance - and high quality - power supplies.

NVIDIA's GeForce 376.33 WHQL Drivers Fix Multiple Kernel Faults; Update ASAP

If you're one of those people who doesn't regularly update their graphics card drivers, and you're rocking an NVIDIA graphics card, you really should update your drivers to the latest WHQL version, 376.33. The release notes and a security bulletin issued by the company point towards the fixing of multiple detected kernel layer (nvlddmkm.sys) vulnerabilities in NVIDIA's previous driver releases, which could "Lead to a Denial of Service, Escalation of Privileges, or Both".

In total, there are seven reported vulnerabilities as having been fixed, with NVIDIA acknowledging contributions in the issues' detection from engineers with Google Project Zero and Cisco Talos.

Source: NVIDIA Security Bulletin

Realtek HD Audio Codec Driver Updated for 2016 - Version 2.80 Now Available

Realtek have recently updated their High Definition Audio drivers. Version 2.80 of the drivers brings some overdue improvements to the table, at least when it comes to the time frame of their release: Windows 10 is now supported, and there are some mysterious "customizations" added. Codecs ALC255, ALC235 and ALC867 where also added, and support for Windows 8.1 was improved.

You can grab the drivers from Realtek's own site, right here.

Sid Meier's Civilization VI Gets a DirectX 12 Renderer in Latest Update

Firaxis Games released the biggest update to Sid Meier's "Civilization VI." The update is particularly big for the PC version, as it adds a DirectX 12 renderer, letting the game take advantage of performance-enhancing features introduced with the API, such as multi-threaded rendering, which could improve frame-rates in CPU-limited low-resolution setups. The in-game benchmark tool is also updated. The update also adds new content, user-interface updates, and gameplay changes.

Source: Kotaku
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