Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2018 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: uefi, SPI, security, Intel, bios
The one part of your computer you still rely on to be safe are firmware updates to your UEFI, but of course there are also cases where this too can prove to be vulnerable. It seems there is a vulnerability in the way the the SPI flash is configured on on a variety of Intel CPUs stretching all the way back to Broadwell, straight through to the current chips. There is good news as a patch for this vulnerability has already been provided to PC and motherboard manufactures according to the information over at Bleeping Computer so check for BIOS updates over the next while. As this does stretch back to models which no longer receive regular updates, hopefully even those ancient devices will receive an update.
"According to Lenovo, who recently deployed the Intel fixes, "the configuration of the system firmware device (SPI flash) could allow an attacker to block BIOS/UEFI updates, or to selectively erase or corrupt portions of the firmware.""
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hackers Stole a Casino's High-Roller Database Through a Thermometer in the Lobby Fish Tank @ Slashdot
- Thousands of Android apps may be collecting children's data illegally @ The Inquirer
- Sophisticated APT surveillance malware comes to Google Play @ Ars Technica
- Google is testing 'self-destruct' function for Gmail @ The Inquirer
- Exposed: Lazy Android mobe makers couldn't care less about security @ The Register
- Apple's leaked memo warns leakers to stop leaking leaks @ The Inquirer
Subject: Motherboards | January 17, 2018 - 09:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, spectre, meltdown, bios, update, security
MSI have released updated BIOS versions for their Z370 motherboards to protect against Meltdown and Spectre which you can grab here.
These patches are live now, with new BIOS versions in the works for the renaming series, including all X299, 200, 100-series and X99 series including the various X, H and B sub-series motherboards. The list is quite impressive, follow that link to see if your board will be getting an update in the near future. The page lists the version number of the upcoming BIOS you will need, so keep an eye on this page and MSI for the official release.
AMD AGESA Update 126.96.36.199 Will Support Configurable Memory Sub Timings And Clockspeeds Up To 4,000 MHz
Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2017 - 04:05 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x370, ryzen, overclocking, ddr4, bios, b350, amd, agesa
AMD recently announced a new AGESA update that will improve memory compatibility and add new memory and virtualization features that have been sorely missing from AMD’s new Ryzen platforms. The new AGESA 188.8.131.52 update has been distributed to its motherboard partners and will be part of updated BIOSes that should be out by the middle of June.
The AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture) code is used as part of the BIOS responsible for initializing the Ryzen CPU cores, memory controller, and Infinity Fabric. With the 184.108.40.206 update, AMD is adding 26 configurable memory options (including subtimings!) that were previously locked out or limited in the range of values users could set. The biggest change is in clockspeeds where AMD will now allow memory clocks up to 4,000 MHz without needing to adjust the CPU base clock (only the very high-end motherboards had external clock generators that allowed hitting higher than 3200 MHz easily before this update). Additionally, when overclocking and setting clockspeeds above 2667 MHz, users can adjust the clockspeeds in increments of 133 MT/s rather than the currently supported 266 MT/s increments. Also important is that AMD will allow 2T command rates with the new update (previously it was locked at 1T) which improves memory kit compatibility when pushing clockspeeds and/or when running in a four DIMM configuration rather than 2 stick configurations (2T is less aggressive). These changes are especially important for overclocking and, in addition to all the other knobs that will become available, dialing in the highest possible stable clockspeeds. Reportedly, the updated AGESA code does improve on memory kit compatibility and support for more XMP profiles, but the Ryzen platform still heavily favors Samsung B-die based single rank kits. In all, it sounds like there is still more to be done but the 220.127.116.11 update is going to be a huge step in the right direction.
Beyond the memory improvements AMD is also adding support for PCI Express Access Control Services which will improve virtualization support and allow users with multiple graphics cards to dedicate a card to the host and another card to the virtual machine.
ASUS and Gigabyte have already rolled out beta BIOSes for their high-end boards, and other manufacturers and motherboards should be getting beta update’s shortly with the stable releases based on the new AMD code being available next month. I am very interested to see Ryzen paired with 4GHz memory and how that will help gaming and everyday performance and improve things in the Infinity Fabric and CCX to CCX latency department!
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2017 - 08:43 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: video, unlock, shaders, shader cores, sapphire, radeon, Polaris, graphics, gpu, gaming, card, bios, amd, 1024
As reported by WCCFtech, AMD partner Sapphire has a new 1024 stream processor version of the RX460 listed on their site (Chinese language), and this product reveal of course comes after it became known that RX460 graphics cards had the potential to have their stream processor count unlocked from 896 to 1024 via BIOS update.
Sapphire RX460 1024SP 4G D5 Ultra Platinum OC (image credit: Sapphire)
The Sapphire RX460 1024SP edition offers a full Polaris 11 core operating at 1250 MHz, and it otherwise matches the specifications of a stock RX460 graphics card. Whether this product will be available outside of China is unknown, as is the potential pricing model should it be available in the USA. A 4GB Radeon RX460 retails for $99, while the current step-up option is the RX470, which doubles up on this 1024SP RX460's shader count with 2048, with a price increase of about 70% ($169).
AMD Polaris GCN 4.0 GPU lineup (Credit WCCFtech)
As you may note from the chart above, there is also an RX470D option between these cards that features 1792 shaders, though this option is also China-only.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | October 28, 2016 - 12:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170, LGA 1151, kaby lake, Intel H170, Intel B150, H110, bios
If you are running an LGA 1151 Gigabyte motherboard then you should stop at this post over at the Guru of 3D some time in the near future and grab an updated BIOS. They were kind enough to provide links for the updates of 47 different motherboards ranging from Z170's down to H110's. Q-Flash means you can update from within the BIOS with USB drive and with Q-Flash Plus you don't even need memory or a CPU installed; we've come a long way from the customized 3.5" boot disks involved in flashing. On the other hand that special thrill of terror has gone away.
"Following MSI and ASUS, Gigabyte now as well offers Kaby Lake compatible BIOS updates for their Z170, H170, B150 and H110 series motherboards. "
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung's free-falling financial flameout @ The Register
- Samsung teases Galaxy S8 with 'slick' new design and AI smarts @ The Inquirer
- Chapeau Is Exactly What the Linux Desktop Needs @ Linux.com
- Divide the internet into compartments to save us from the IoT fail whale @ The Register
- AMD will sell server CPUs at Happy Meal prices so you can supersize servers @ The Register
- Google's AI machines are sending encrypted messages to each other and it's creepy @ The Inquirer
Subject: Processors | February 5, 2016 - 11:44 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Intel, Skylake, overclocking, cpu, Non-K, BCLK, bios, SKY OC, asrock, Z170
ASRock's latest batch of motherboard BIOS updates remove the SKY OS function, which permitted overclocking of non-K Intel processors via BCLK (baseclock).
The news comes amid speculation that Intel had pressured motherboard vendors to remove such functionality. Intel's unlocked K parts (i5-6600K, i7-6700K) will once again be the only options for Skylake overclocking on Z170 on ASRock boards (assuming prior BIOS versions are no longer available), and with no Pentium G3258 this generation Intel is no longer a budget friendly option for enthusiasts looking to push their CPU past factory specs.
(Image credit: Hexus.net)
It sounds like now would be a good time to archive that SKY OS enabled BIOS update file if you've downloaded it - or simply refrain from this BIOS update. What remains to be seen of course is whether other vendors will follow suit and disable BCLK overclocking of non-K processors. This had become a popular feature on a number of Z170 motherboards on the market, but ASRock may have been in too weak a position to battle Intel on this issue.
Subject: Motherboards | January 14, 2016 - 08:04 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: unlocked, overclocking, oc, LGA 1151, Intel K series, Intel, evga, bios, BCLK
An upcoming BIOS update for EVGA Z170 motherboards to allow BCLK overclocking on non-K Intel processors.
The news came from EVGA Product Manager Jacob Freeman via Twitter this afternoon:
New Z170 BIOS for BCLK OC'ing on non K CPU's coming right up
— Jacob Freeman (@EVGA_JacobF) January 15, 2016
Update: The new BIOS 1.07 enabling non-K BLCK OC is now available from EVGA.
We have been following the story of BCLK overclocking of locked Skylake CPUs since early last month, when Techspot published benchmarks from an Intel Core i3-6100 clocked at 4.70 GHz - thanks to a pre-release ASRock BIOS. The BIOS has since been released, and other vendors are updating their Z170 motherboards to support these locked processors as well, the latest being EVGA.
It remains to be seen if Intel will have anything to say about their cheaper "locked" processors becoming more attractive to potential overclockers, as the unlocked K parts have provided a nice profit margin for the company. So far, board partners are moving forward seemingly unimpeded with the updates to remove the overclocking limitations, and that's great news for enthusiasts.
Subject: Processors | December 11, 2015 - 02:08 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, overclocking, Intel, Core i3-6100, bios, BCLK, asrock
The days of Intel overclocking being limited to their more expensive unlocked parts appear to be over, as TechSpot has posted benchmarks from an overclocked Intel Core i3-6100 using a new (pre-release) BIOS update from ASRock.
Image credit: TechSpot
"In overclocking circles it was recently noted that BCLK (base clock) overclocking might become a possibility in Skylake processors. Last night Asrock contacted us with an updated BIOS that enabled this. We jumped at the opportunity and have already tested and benched a Core i3-6100 Skylake CPU with a 1GHz overclock (4.7GHz) on air cooling."
The 1.0 GHz overclock was achieved with a 127 MHz base clock on the i3 processor, with a vcore of ~1.36v. Apparently the ASRock motherboard requires the processor's graphics portion to be disabled for overclocking with this method, and TechSpot used an NVIDIA GTX 960 for test system. The results were impressive, as you might imagine.
The following is a small sampling of the benchmark results available from the sourced TechSpot article:
Image credit: TechSpot
Image credit: TechSpot
The overclocked i3-6100 was able to come very close to the multi-threaded performance of the stock AMD FX-8320E (8-core) processor in Cinebench, with double the per-thread performance. Results from their Handbrake encode test were even better, with the overclocked i3-6100 essentially matching the performance of the Core i5-4430 processor tested.
Gaming was underwhelming, with very similar performance from the GTX 960 from all CPUs at the settings tested.
Image credit: TechSpot
So what did the article say about this new overclocking-friendly BIOS availability? "We are told this updated BIOS for their Z170 motherboards will be available to owners very soon." It will be interesting to see if other vendors offer the same, as there are results out there using a SuperMicro board as well.
Subject: Motherboards | April 30, 2015 - 10:32 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel, Broadwell, h97, z97, bios, cpu, processor
GIGABYTE has announced support for the upcoming LGA 1150 variants of Intel's 5th-generation Core (Broadwell) processors for all existing 9-series motherboards via BIOS update.
The full press release appears below:
City of Industry, California, April 30th, 2015 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce their entire line-up of Z97 and H97 motherboards now support the soon-to-launch 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors.
GIGABYTE engineers have tested and validated all GIGABYTE 9 series motherboards including Z97 and H97 chipset-based motherboards to ensure optimal performance for 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors. Users wanting to take advantage of all the features of 5th Gen Intel® Core™ processors have to offer at launch, simply need to download the latest UEFI BIOS from the GIGABYTE website.
To get the latest UEFI BIOS for your motherboard, please visit the GIGABYTE website: http://www.gigabyte.us
Subject: Processors | March 10, 2015 - 10:20 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: uefi, motherboards, lga 1150, Intel, Broadwell, bios, asus
ASUS has announced that all current Intel 9 Series motherboards will support the upcoming 5th-Generation Intel Broadwell LGA 1150 CPUs with an UEFI update.
We reported last week that Intel’s 5th-generation Broadwell CPU had been demonstrated at GDC using Intel’s Iris Pro graphics, though official details about the new LGA versions of Broadwell are not yet public. The desktop variants will no doubt use the same 14nm process technology of the current BGA parts, and it has been rumored that the new CPUs will initially launch in both Core i5 and i7 versions, with the potential for Core i3 and Pentium branded parts to follow (though any potential product information is mere speculation at this point).
It will be interesting to see if the upcoming LGA 5th-Generation CPUs will be able offer any higher perfomance for desktop users compared to existing Haswell parts (such as the i7-4790K), or if there will even be unlocked processors. Considering Broadwell is a mobile-focused part designed for efficency and lower power consumption the chips could offer a compelling solution for small form-factor computers such as HTPCs, as they will presumably provide lower heat and higher IPC than existing parts.
The UEFI updates will go live later today (some updates have already been released) and include all ASUS motherboard models with Z97 and H97 chipsets.