Tuesday, March 25, 2014

[Rant] Downgrade bios to improve stability on the Maximus VI Hero motherboard?

HeroAsus has been quite busy releasing new bios updates in the last month or so. They are getting ready to welcome the "new" (*laugh*) Haswell Refresh CPUs. Intel is releasing a new chipset as well, namely the 9-series but board manufacturers are updating their boards with 8-series chipsets to support Haswell Refresh. We shouldn't need a separate chipset for the exactly same CPU architecture. Heck, we shouldn't need. A new chipset for Broadwell either. It is still going to be same as Haswell, with a die shrink.

Let's not get carried away now.

So in the last couple of months I saw about 3 firmware versions come out for my board from Asus. In addition to saying that these bring support for the newer CPUs, Asus has been putting the same string of "improve system stability" with each of them. So I updated each time hoping that it would improve the overclock of my 4770K. Sadly, it's done nothing like that. However, I didn't notice any instabilities either.

But I read on the Asus ROG forums that some of the people were having stability issues with the latest firmware. They must have been in the edge of stability all this time. So maybe a small nudge in the wrong direction sent their stability downhill. There were some people asking which was the best firmware version for overclocking and the answer was 711 or 804. They are quite old. The current firmware version is 1402.

Even though I am not the kind of person that want to go back to old stuff, I wanted to try an older firmware out. I didn’t expect to see any miracle though.

CPU-Z__2014-03-26_20-14-43

So you see in CPU-Z screenshot that I just took, I am back to version 711 firmware.

I didn’t go into any issues while downgrading the firmware. I just downloaded the bin file from Asus website, extracted the bin file on to a USB flash drive, went into UEFI and clicked on EZ Flash Utility just as when you would upgrade firmware. It didn’t care whether I was downgrading the firmware. It just let it go through. Since there had been some changes at some point to ROG firmware or whatever that is special about these ROG boards, it had to change them back to what was in the old firmware as well. Basically, it went through without any issues.

So, did it improve my overclock? Actually, it seems to have done that. Not by a huge lot, but now I am running the CPU at 4.4GHz @ 1.275V. I have been playing games, encoding videos and doing what I would usually do with the PC without any sign of instability. Prime95 27.9 1344K FFT passed for 1hr and I stopped there. I tried upping the clock to 4.5GHz at the same Vcore and instantly got a BSOD. Maybe 4.4GHz isn’t 100% stable, but it is stable enough. I don’t want to run stress tests all over again. I should be happy with what I’ve got.

So anyways, if you have a ROG Maximus VI Hero board and you are not getting good overclocks with it, why don’t you try downgrading the firmware to 711 or 804 and see where it takes you?

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