Question ASRock AB350 - worth upgrading the BIOS?

thomasst

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Hello,

my PC, built in 2017, features an ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4 motherboard. Since I've been considering upgrading the system (a NVMe boot disk, more RAM, possibly overclocking the CPU...), the issue of BIOS/UEFI has come up.

Namely, the BIOS version on my motherboard appears to be quite dated - version P 1.40 - which was apparently outdated even when I bought the board. Versions here.
One reason why I've thought of this is that my RAM is running at 2133 MHz even though my modules are capable of 3000 MHz (Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 2x4GB).
I remember that trying to increase the clock speed over BIOS led to huge problems when I tried it back in 2017. And I had read somewhere that RAM speed might be limited by the BIOS version.

So, would it be a good idea to upgrade the BIOS? If yes, which version? My CPU is a Ryzen 1400, so that's Summit Ridge, if I'm not mistaken.

Thanks for the inputs!
 
V1.40 is so old they don't even offer it for update :) . Early BIOS' on B350 were absolute trash so yes, that's probably why they don't show it as they hope and pray nobody ever does anything so silly as try to use it again.

I'm going to suggest updating it is probably for the best, but no promises how much you'd get out of that memory and processor. I'd start off updating only to V 3.20, which is AGESA 1.0.0.6b, and see how that works out. For a Ryzen 1400 that's probably all that's needed anyway. I'd also not try for 3000 memory speed as they're only rated for 2666.

After updating BIOS be sure to reset CMOS.

The smart way to do it is manually set the DIMM voltage (probably 1.35V) then set XMP but set a manual DRAM clock to 2666 (or 1333Mhz). Try that to see if it works first. Only if it works and passes some memory tests then try to set clocks to 3000 (1500Mhz)...and don't be surprised if it fails.

If you decide to go beyond V 3.20 be sure to update to the BRIDGE bios (V 3.30) first. You're getting into BIOS' for 2000 and then 3000 processors though, so probably not going to help your 1000 series all that much if at all.
 
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Zerk2012

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Hello,

my PC, built in 2017, features an ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4 motherboard. Since I've been considering upgrading the system (a NVMe boot disk, more RAM, possibly overclocking the CPU...), the issue of BIOS/UEFI has come up.

Namely, the BIOS version on my motherboard appears to be quite dated - version P 1.40 - which was apparently outdated even when I bought the board. Versions here.
One reason why I've thought of this is that my RAM is running at 2133 MHz even though my modules are capable of 3000 MHz (Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 2x4GB).
I remember that trying to increase the clock speed over BIOS led to huge problems when I tried it back in 2017. And I had read somewhere that RAM speed might be limited by the BIOS version.

So, would it be a good idea to upgrade the BIOS? If yes, which version? My CPU is a Ryzen 1400, so that's Summit Ridge, if I'm not mistaken.

Thanks for the inputs!
How did you try to increase ram speed?
Should be just enable XMP then if it says 3000 change that to 2933.

If that will fix the memory speed problem then I would not update the BIOS unless you have other issues.

I'm a big fan of if it's not broke don't fix it.
 

thomasst

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The smart way to do it is manually set the DIMM voltage (probably 1.35V) then set XMP but set a manual DRAM clock to 2666 (or 1333Mhz). Try that to see if it works first. Only if it works and passes some memory tests then try to set clocks to 3000 (1500Mhz)...and don't be surprised if it fails.
How would a new pair of RAM modules affect this? I have recently bought another pair (2x4GB), these are rated at 2400 MHz, because I wanted to increase RAM to 16GB overall. I haven't yet installed them.

According to my motherboard manual, two pairs of dual channel modules could reach a maximum of 2133 MHz, or 2400 MHz if in single rank.

Would this then make a BIOS upgrade moot, or is it worth it anyway? Other than this, I'm planning to install a NVMe SSD as boot disk...

How did you try to increase ram speed?
Should be just enable XMP then if it says 3000 change that to 2933.
I'm not sure if I enabled XMP. It was a long ago... I only remember that the PC went wild, started turning on and off... I barely managed to get back to BIOS and restore the old speed.
 
How would a new pair of RAM modules affect this? I have recently bought another pair (2x4GB), these are rated at 2400 MHz, because I wanted to increase RAM to 16GB overall. I haven't yet installed them.

According to my motherboard manual, two pairs of dual channel modules could reach a maximum of 2133 MHz, or 2400 MHz if in single rank.

Would this then make a BIOS upgrade moot, or is it worth it anyway? Other than this, I'm planning to install a NVMe SSD as boot disk...



I'm not sure if I enabled XMP. It was a long ago... I only remember that the PC went wild, started turning on and off... I barely managed to get back to BIOS and restore the old speed.
Well, I can say that "upgrading" 2133 to only 2400 isn't worth the effort. It won't be noticeable in anything except memory specific synthetic benchmarks.

What you experienced is typical with B350 in the early days...and on early BIOS' like you are still on. When my B350 got in that re-train loop I had to shut down, disconnect power and remove the BIOS battery then leave it overnight. I'm not sure all motherboards were like that, but mine sure was.

You're more likely to get your 3000 memory to operate at 2666, which is reasonable considering. It's possible to get a first gen to 3200 but usually only with Samsung B-die RAM and often a lot of tweaking. But never on AGESA's before 1.0.0.6B. In general: that AGESA had the best memory compatibility of them all for 1st gen CPU's. That's why it's a good idea to get on it if you can.
 
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logainofhades

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V1.40 is so old they don't even offer it for update :) . Early BIOS' on B350 were absolute trash so yes, that's probably why they don't show it as they hope and pray nobody ever does anything so silly as try to use it again.

I'm going to suggest updating it is probably for the best, but no promises how much you'd get out of that memory and processor. I'd start off updating only to V 3.20, which is AGESA 1.0.0.6b, and see how that works out. For a Ryzen 1400 that's probably all that's needed anyway. I'd also not try for 3000 memory speed as they're only rated for 2666.

After updating BIOS be sure to reset CMOS.

The smart way to do it is manually set the DIMM voltage (probably 1.35V) then set XMP but set a manual DRAM clock to 2666 (or 1333Mhz). Try that to see if it works first. Only if it works and passes some memory tests then try to set clocks to 3000 (1500Mhz)...and don't be surprised if it fails.

If you decide to go beyond V 3.20 be sure to update to the BRIDGE bios (V 3.30) first. You're getting into BIOS' for 2000 and then 3000 processors though, so probably not going to help your 1000 series all that much if at all.
Gen 1 ryzen could run with faster ram. I have setup multiple R5 1600 rigs, with 3200 gskill, XMP on. Granted they were on B450 boards, but B350 boards improved with bios updates.
 
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Gen 1 ryzen could run with faster ram. I have setup multiple R5 1600 rigs, with 3200 gskill, XMP on. Granted they were on B450 boards, but B350 boards improved with bios updates.
hmmm...lots of others had success but I could never get my 1700 to 3200 on my gskill b-die, definitely not by simply setting XMP. Neither on my B350 (which is in the closet) but not even on my B450 board (my son's now). I had to tweak unmercifully to get it to 3000 reliably with the 1700. But with the 3700X it went right to 3600 so it was good memory.

Maybe I had a junk 1700 even though it was an RMA replacement (segfault defect).
 

thomasst

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You're more likely to get your 3000 memory to operate at 2666, which is reasonable considering. It's possible to get a first gen to 3200 but usually only with Samsung B-die RAM and often a lot of tweaking. But never on AGESA's before 1.0.0.6B. In general: that AGESA had the best memory compatibility of them all for 1st gen CPU's. That's why it's a good idea to get on it if you can.
Gen 1 ryzen could run with faster ram. I have setup multiple R5 1600 rigs, with 3200 gskill, XMP on. Granted they were on B450 boards, but B350 boards improved with bios updates.
Interesting, so updating BIOS would be a good start in any case. I see that B450 boards are not expensive - my nearest vendor sells some at mere 60-70 EUR. But I assume in that case I'd have to think about a more recent CPU, and before I know it, I'd end up with a new PC altogether... :LOL:
 
Interesting, so updating BIOS would be a good start in any case. I see that B450 boards are not expensive - my nearest vendor sells some at mere 60-70 EUR. But I assume in that case I'd have to think about a more recent CPU, and before I know it, I'd end up with a new PC altogether... :LOL:
Oh no...if it's an option consider going to the B450 route. So long as the board isn't a trash board, of course.

B450 has the best compatibility of all the boards: 1000 through 5000 series processors can all work on them. You might have to be careful about BIOS updates, that's the only issue since some boards you can update to a rev that could lock you out of your 1st gen CPU. Just read the update notes and you should be made aware of any pitfalls.
 
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Kona45primo

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Updating the bios should allow for that ram to hit proper XMP profiles. You should certainly consider updating the Bios & Chipset software to the latest versions.

I've got a Asus Prime B350 Plus & have upgraded to a M.2, faster 3200 mhz Cl14 ram & 3700x (from 1600x)

Loving it!
 

thomasst

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Oh no...if it's an option consider going to the B450 route. So long as the board isn't a trash board, of course.

B450 has the best compatibility of all the boards: 1000 through 5000 series processors can all work on them. You might have to be careful about BIOS updates, that's the only issue since some boards you can update to a rev that could lock you out of your 1st gen CPU. Just read the update notes and you should be made aware of any pitfalls.
Thanks. I'll try upgrading BIOS first and see if I'm satisfied with the results. If not, I'll consider a B450 board.

I wonder if it would make sense to try and overclock the Ryzen 1400? :unsure:


Updating the bios should allow for that ram to hit proper XMP profiles. You should certainly consider updating the Bios & Chipset software to the latest versions.

I've got a Asus Prime B350 Plus & have upgraded to a M.2, faster 3200 mhz Cl14 ram & 3700x (from 1600x)

Loving it!
An amateur question - what role does XMP play, or in other words, what does it mean to enable it in the BIOS?
 
Thanks. I'll try upgrading BIOS first and see if I'm satisfied with the results. If not, I'll consider a B450 board.

I wonder if it would make sense to try and overclock the Ryzen 1400? :unsure:




An amateur question - what role does XMP play, or in other words, what does it mean to enable it in the BIOS?
Yes...overclock the 1400. Lots of how-tos on the process, it's simple old fashioned increase the clocks and voltage, stress test while monitoring temperature. Max voltage guidelines for a 1st gen is 1.42V (absolute max operating voltage) if temps are under 70C or so, but 1.37 for temps up to 90C (absolute max operating temp) or so. IMO it's too devalued at this point not to risk it for more performance so push for stability limits.

NOTE: fixed the overclocking temp/voltage guidelines

XMP is a profile created by the DIMM manufacturer and stored in a programmable memory on the DIMM that's used for setting timings for a higher than DDR4 standard clock frequency (2133). It should also set voltages that may be needed, but often doesn't so that's why it's best to just set them manually.
 
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logainofhades

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Thanks. I'll try upgrading BIOS first and see if I'm satisfied with the results. If not, I'll consider a B450 board.

I wonder if it would make sense to try and overclock the Ryzen 1400? :unsure:




An amateur question - what role does XMP play, or in other words, what does it mean to enable it in the BIOS?
Enabling XMP allows you to run the rated speed, and timings, for your ram.
 
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thomasst

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Yes...overclock the 1400. Lots of how-tos on the process, it's simple old fashioned increase the clocks and voltage and monitor temperature. Max voltage for a 1st gen is 1.42V if temps are under 75C or so, but 1.37 for temps up to 85C or so. It's too cheap now not to risk it for more performance, so push it to stability limits.
I see... Would the stock cooler be enough for doing this or should it require a stronger one?

XMP is a profile created by the DIMM manufacturer and stored in a programmable memory on the DIMM that's used for setting timings for a higher than DDR4 standard clock frequency (2133). It should also set voltages that may be needed, but often doesn't so that's why it's best to just set them manually.
Enabling XMP allows you to run the rated speed, and timings, for your ram.
Thanks for clearing that up! (y)
 
I see... Would the stock cooler be enough for doing this or should it require a stronger one?
...
The stronger the cooler you get...the less likely it will hit the 90C absolute max operating temp limit and the quieter the fans will be. You will hit it on the stock cooler, and the fan will be screaming loud well before that.

ADDED: that doesn't mean it has to be an NH-D15 or anything so extreme. I think something like a BeQuiet Shadow Rock 3 might work just fine for it, or even a CM Hyper212
 
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thomasst

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The stronger the cooler you get...the less likely it will hit the 90C absolute max operating temp limit and the quieter the fans will be. You will hit it on the stock cooler, and the fan will be screaming loud well before that.

ADDED: that doesn't mean it has to be an NH-D15 or anything so extreme. I think something like a BeQuiet Shadow Rock 3 might work just fine for it, or even a CM Hyper212
Thanks for the recommendations. And to everyone for answering. It's going to be an interesting project, upgrading my 4,5-year-old PC, I'm sure I'll be able to get a few more useful years out of it. :giggle:
 

thomasst

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Enabling XMP allows you to run the rated speed, and timings, for your ram.
I've just done the BIOS update this morning, up to the 4.90 version (in three increments), and it went without problems.

Apparently in this version XMP is automatically enabled, and having installed an additional pair of RAM modules, they are all now running at 2133 MHz. I assume this is the maximum my board can handle, as the manual states:

SR SR SR SR / 2133-2400 MHz
DR DR DR DR / 1866-2133 MHz

Anyway, I don't see the option of setting RAM speed, only loading an XMP profile...

Just don't expect wonders. It would be interesting, though, to know what sort of overclock you can get. 3.9-4.0Ghz isn't uncommon on 1700's.
So what do you think, how would an overclocked 1400 fare against a comparable 3rd generation Ryzen? Would the difference be huge or not that noticeable?

According to UserBenchmark, for instance, an overclocked 1400 is comparable to a stock 3100. Meanwhile, the 3600 has a cca. 30% overall advantage compared to a stock 1400, but then again, we're talking about a 6-core chip here... :unsure:
 
I've just done the BIOS update this morning, up to the 4.90 version (in three increments), and it went without problems.
....
Anyway, I don't see the option of setting RAM speed, only loading an XMP profile...

So what do you think, how would an overclocked 1400 fare against a comparable 3rd generation Ryzen? Would the difference be huge or not that noticeable?
...:unsure:
I think you'll notice a definite improvement over stock. But I don't think it will fare all that well against 3rd gen in gaming. Even 3rd gen made major improvements aimed at reducing on-chip latencies specifically for gaming and improving IPC considerably over 2nd gen, which itself was an improvement over 1st gen.

Even with a typical overclock...3.9 Ghz if you can get it...you're still operating at a 100-200 Mhz deficit to what a 3rd gen CPU should be able to operate in a worst-case thermally constrained maximum all-core workload. But when gaming that 3rd gen CPU might be boosting single cores as high as 4.4 Ghz, in addition to it's IPC enhancements.

I probably wouldn't have tried going all the way to 4.9...only because Asrock BIOS' require so many intermediate updates. Too many ways to get it wrong and brick the board forever LOL. But you got there and that's great.

EDIT: now that you've figured out how it's done you might take all the way to latest BIOS and put a 3600 or 3600X in there. It would be like a brand new computer and very little doubt of getting full rated DIMM speed (3000) just by setting XMP. Just do not update until you have the 3600/3600X in hand since it may not work with the 1st gen CPU after that (I'm not sure).

I'm not familiar with Asrock BIOS screens...I know they can be confusing. But there has to be a way to manually load DRAM clocks. Look for something different: it might be labled multiplier and in increments multiplied times 100 (the busclock freq) or maybe in the actual clock frequency, not the DDR multiple transaction frequency.
 
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thomasst

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I probably wouldn't have tried going all the way to 4.9...only because Asrock BIOS' require so many intermediate updates. Too many ways to get it wrong and brick the board forever LOL. But you got there and that's great.
Well, I saw that 4.x versions allegedly improve M.2 SSD compatibility, which I thought to be important, since I'm planning to buy a NVMe SSD to use as the primary disk on my PC.

Right now, my favourite is Samsung 970 EVO Plus, but apparently it's not on my board's official list of supported drives (950 and 960 are though), so I'm not sure if it will work... Any experiences with this? :unsure:

EDIT: now that you've figured out how it's done you might take all the way to latest BIOS and put a 3600 or 3600X in there. It would be like a brand new computer and very little doubt of getting full rated DIMM speed (3000) just by setting XMP. Just do not update until you have the 3600/3600X in hand since it may not work with the 1st gen CPU after that (I'm not sure).
I'm sure it would be great, but I'm afraid it would cost me too much compared to the benefits I'd get... I'm not that demanding in the terms of gaming and so for now I'd rather invest in a good NVMe SSD as I need faster storage... But as I wrote above, I don't know if there are any compatibility issues between my 2017 board and the most recent NVMe SSDs... :unsure:
 
...
Right now, my favourite is Samsung 970 EVO Plus, but apparently it's not on my board's official list of supported drives (950 and 960 are though), so I'm not sure if it will work... Any experiences with this? :unsure:
...
All I can say is...if you have a decent SATA SSD then temper your expectations.

The reason is NVME helps with serial transfers and Windows just does not work that way; it works by loading small blurps of code. For that, random access is the best benefit and any decent SATA SSD will give you that.

It DOES help during boot time, I will give it that. The sequential transfer speed makes boot up very nice, fast and reliable. Reliable since it cold-boots as fast as recovering from sleep or hibernation so I disable them since they, as often as not, break and fail to work anyway. But that's about it, I don't notice any difference with games. I thought it would help with level loads or game startups and such but apparently they are fairly random as (at least the games I play) the loads from my SATA SSD (I have 1 x 250 GB system, 1 x 1TB data NVME and 1 x 1TB data SSD) and my game data NVME go pretty much the same. The same games on my sons computer with an HDD game store are, by comparison, agonizingly slow.
 
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thomasst

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All I can say is...if you have a decent SATA SSD then temper your expectations.

The reason is NVME helps with serial transfers and Windows just does not work that way; it works by loading small blurps of code. For that, random access is the best benefit and any decent SATA SSD will give you that.

It DOES help during boot time, I will give it that. The sequential transfer speed makes boot up very nice, fast and reliable. Reliable since it cold-boots as fast as recovering from sleep or hibernation so I disable them since they, as often as not, break and fail to work anyway. But that's about it, I don't notice any difference with games. I thought it would help with level loads or game startups and such but apparently they are fairly random as (at least the games I play) the loads from my SATA SSD and my game NVME go pretty much the same. The same games on my sons computer with an HDD game store are, by comparison, agonizingly slow.
Interesting take. But I've noticed that the price difference between SATA and NVMe SSDs is not very significant these days.

Anyways, I'm looking for cca. 2TB storage. In that category, only Samsung 870 QVC Basic is somewhat cheaper. Perhaps I should get a 256GB NVMe as a boot drive (and for basic programs) and a 2TB SATA for games and storage...? :unsure:

Overall this should cost me about 250 EUR...
 
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Kona45primo

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You might want to do a little more research on that ram, if it's capable of 3000mhz but only running 2133 XMP might not be enabled.

I'd definitely play around with overclocks, you'll get a little boost in performance and learn a lot.

Also keep an eye out for used amd 3 series cpu's. I'd assume you could possibly pick up a 3600 or 3600x for$100-$150 over the next few months if you watch eBay like a hawk.

Going from 1600x to a 3700x (used) was a noticeable upgrade and only cost $120 after selling the old CPU.
 
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thomasst

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You might want to do a little more research on that ram, if it's capable of 3000mhz but only running 2133 XMP might not be enabled.
But I made a mistake of sorts - recently I bought a pair of 2400 MHz modules to complement my old ones, unaware that my old ones were capable of 3000. So I'm now limited to 2400 at most, even if I manage to utilize XMP... :confused_old:

Also keep an eye out for used amd 3 series cpu's. I'd assume you could possibly pick up a 3600 or 3600x for$100-$150 over the next few months if you watch eBay like a hawk.

Going from 1600x to a 3700x (used) was a noticeable upgrade and only cost $120 after selling the old CPU.
I did a similar thing recently with graphics cards - bought a used RX 570 4GB to replace my old RX 560. The improvement in gaming was considerable, I've gained 20-30fps, and if I manage to sell my old RX 560 for a favourable price, the upgrade will have cost me cca. 120-150 EUR.
 

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