Question BIOS upgrade failure MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon

Aug 5, 2019
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Hopefully someone can help me. I've literally tried 3 different motherboard vendors and in some cases 2-3X replacement motherboards and nobody can figure out whats wrong.

Literally I havent been able to update my Windows 10 desktop for some time with failures, and the root cause of that is I cant patch to the updated BIOS that is required for it to install. Seems like an easy fix: Update the BIOS.

Insert motherboard drama.

  1. Bricked my first mobo (GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 9) while attempting to flash the BIOS and lost power to the house.
  2. Replaced it with an ASUS TUF X299 Mark 1 . Attempted to update to newest BIOS and the BIOS would flash but the machine would be dead on reboot. No error codes/beeps, just boot into black screen with fans running on high. Keyboard unresponsive.. Tried ASUS support for over a month back and forth trying different attempts, replaced the motherboard 3 times through amazon (Brand new motherboards, FYI) and each of them demonstrated the same failure.
  3. Just purchased a MSI X299 Gaming PRO Carbon. Updating the BIOS I can only get as far as .7A95v18 in the BIOS releases, 7A95v19 , 7A95v1A and 7A95v1B BIOS all FAIL. 7A95v19 version gives me a three beep error code. 1A and 1B are the black screen unresponsive keyboard failures.
This leads me to believe I have some sort of hardware compatibility issue. NONE of the motherboard vendors will work with me to determine, they just want me to RMA the board. I've tried pulling all devices I can to simplify just to get the system to BIOS flash and boot but havent been successful.

My Build details.
Graphics: 2 x MSI Sea Hawk 1080TI in SLI mode
Memory: Have tried: A) Corsair Vengence RGB 2x8 (CMR16GX4M2C3000C15W ) [6 sticks] and then swapped to B) 4x Corsair Dominator Platinum 2x8GB (CMD16GX4M2B3000C16).
Processor: Intel Intel Core i9-7960X Processors BX80673I97960X
M.2 SSD: 2 x Samsung 960 PRO Series - 2TB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V6P2T0BW)
PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower DPS G RGB 1250W Digital 80+
Fan Controller: Corsair Fan Controller Commander Pro
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 All-in-One 280mm CPU Liquid Cooling System

Troubleshooting:
1)I have tried simplifying GPU down to a single GPU (then rotated which GPU to see if one had some sort of failure)
  1. Have tried removing all M.2 drives and flashing bios with no drives attached
  2. I have rotated memory to minimum number of DIMMs (2x8), various patterns. Did this with both different types of memory I have tried to determine if there was compatibility issues.
  3. pulled all external USB connections from board except for CPU cooler which gave me an error when it wasnt connected.
  4. have performed any device based firmware upgrades
  5. tried pulling both GPU's after flashing
  6. I have run memtest.org tests on all my memory with no errors found
  7. I have run the Intel processor test utility on my processor, no errors found.
What am I missing? Totally at my whits end. The compute works just FINE on older versions of Windows 10 pre 1809. Microsoft wont support me until I upgrade motherboard BIOS. Motherboard vendors wont troubleshoot. Should I just keep buying different x299 motherboards until I get lucky and one works?

I'll buy any mobo that will be compatible. I have already tried 3 hell whats a few more. Or if I can ID which device is causing my issue. The only thing I havent swapped at this point is my Processor, PSU, and Processor cooler.

Appreciate ANY help or ideas. Thanks in advance for any brave souls volunteering ideas!
 
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Aug 5, 2019
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What error getting when trying to update Windows?
I can pull the details later this afternoon when I get home and can look at my notes. I engaged a Microsoft ticket for the error codes and was told by Microsoft Support I needed to upgrade my Motherboard BIOS to the newest Revision, so I put that aside to troubleshoot the BIOS upgrade problems I have.

Also I just looked at the intel site for my processor and looked at which motherboards had been qualified for that processor. Looking at the ASRock motherboard site and there is a reference to memory compatibility for BIOS levels greater then 1.80 due to Intel microcode issues with RDIMM.

I dont think i have RDIMM memory but not sure how to validate that. Is that possibly the problem is I keep buying RDIMM modules?
 
No idea, really. I haven't met similar issues. It could be related to memory, since similar issue present on different board models, but... I'm not 100% sure. As I'm not sure about Windows update depending on BIOS update.
 
Aug 5, 2019
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So from a minimal restart (all services non-windows disabled) I attempted to patch to "Feature Update to Windows 10, version 1809"
The process goes through fine and the computer finally reboots.
The computer loads to a black screen unresponsive keyboard. I have to hard boot the system. When I am back into Windows it just says the Windows patch failed to install.
Here is the log file: WindowsUpdate.log

I have cleared out the windows updates again, stopped and restarted services and am trying it again to get a fresh capture of the logfile

Any help appreciated.

FYI I have also tried a fresh download using Windows Media Creation tool for the updated Windows 10 build and installed it. My computer goes into the black screen unresponsive state I mentioned before.
 
Aug 5, 2019
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There is a newer one, 1903. Have you tried it?
https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=windows 10 cumulative update

I have just installed it on my pc (a much older one) and it loaded just fine. Try downloading the x64 version, not the ARM64 one.
Yes I tried loading it initially thinking to just go to the most updated version directly and had the same effect. It installed seemingly fine, but after the package installs and requires a reboot of the PC, the computer comes up with black screen and unresponsive computer (keyboard not lit, etc.)

When I called Microsoft they kept pointing me back to ensuring my BIOS is updated to the most recent revision which keeps taking me back to that.

its strange that both the BIOS update and the Windows 10 1903 update both give me unresponsive PC black screen.
 
Aug 5, 2019
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Interesting. Are you able to access the BIOS after installing the Windows update?
Yes I believe so. Most times I just went back to reinstalling a lower version of windows. at the time I was focused on windows and not BIOS until Microsoft support pointed me in that direction
 
Really no idea what could be wrong,, since same issue with different boards and no other similar posts so far. CPU, RAM? Hard to say, cause I can't see a direct connection. An option would be leaving the system not updated. Another option would be RMA-ing the CPU, just to rule it out.
 
Aug 5, 2019
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Yeah thanks for trying, its driving me bonkers. I have downloaded Intel's processor testing tool and run it through a bank of tests and they all pass.

Looking at "Peripherals" the only other thing plugged in is the NZXT CPU cooler

I have ordered a "4th" X299 motherboard: ASRock X-Series X299 Taichi. This motherboard explicitly was listed on Intel's processor compatibility list for the Intel Core i9-7960X. I will also return and buy specific memory listed as compatible with the motherboard. Even though the other 2 types of memory seem to work fine, maybe there is some compatibility issue at newer versions of windows? (Again I am grabbing at straws here). I am also going to strip down my system to bare minimums (pull out m.2 drives, leave only 1 GPU, and only "basic" usb for mouse and keyboard. I will even strip out the fan controller for the time being. I will only put a basic SSD in place for the windows 10 1903 install.

If that works I will start working from there putting in components one at a time to see if I can isolate.

Bleh, I have never had this kind of problem before and I've been building my own gaming systems for over 20 years!

Thanks for your help on this. if anyone else has ideas I am "all ears"
 
Aug 5, 2019
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So some progress this weekend.

Despite the Intel Processor Diagnostic tool returning an all clean report through troubleshooting I took a step to disable as much functionality in the BIOS as I could before attemting to install Windows 10 1903 from the media creation tool. The biggest factor that changed the success of the install was disabling ALL but 1 of my cores (I have a 16 core i9-7960x).

This allowed me to fully install Windows to my system.

Then after that was successful I walked through re-enabling each feature one at a time to determine which one was causing the issue. Turns out core #7 of the chip caused the system to hang on reboot.

Still not sure why Core #7 hangs windows 1903 version but not versions before 1809.

So I have put through a case to Intel to request an RMA on it and see where we go from there.

Still pretty odd I think.
 

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