Question I need help updating BIOS

Victel

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Oct 31, 2016
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I have the MSI Z490 UNIFY motherboard:

https://www.amazon.com/MSI-Gaming-Motherboard-Socket-Triple/dp/B0876GSMZB/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=msi+unify+z490&qid=1623303045&sr=8-3

and I'm looking to update the BIOS so I can gain pcie 4.0 support. The problem is I don't have a CPU of the previous generation so I'm looking to flash the latest BIOS update 7C71vA8 which I think is the correct one for my motherboard? The flash drive I plan on using is a WSD USB 3.0:

https://www.amazon.com/Wansenda-Flash-Type-C-Android-Devices/dp/B07FVQQ6RS/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=wsd+flash+drive&qid=1623302994&sr=8-3

The CPU I'm getting is the:

Intel Core i9-11900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.3 GHz Unlocked LGA1200 (Intel 500 Series & Select 400 Series Chipset) 125W


which some guides I've seen suggest a USB 2.0 Does this matter?

My other question is about renaming the update file. In some guides people suggest renaming the file to 'MSI ROM' not every guide says you have to do this.

There's a red USB port called 'flash BIOS' do I put my flash drive in this port?

Do I need to clear CMOS after I do this?

Thanks for the help.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
what does it show in the BIOS manual?

https://download.msi.com/archive/mnu_exe/mb/E7C71v2.1.pdf
I would use that more than guides as it is for motherboard
See page 60

According to manual, you only rename the file if you use the usb method

Updating BIOS with Flash BIOS Button
  1. Please download the latest BIOS file that matches your motherboard model from the MSI® website.
  2. Rename the BIOS file to MSI.ROM, and save it to the root of your USB flash drive.
  3. Connect the power supply to CPU_PWR1 and ATX_PWR1. (No need to install CPU and memory.)
  4. Plug the USB flash drive that contains the MSI.ROM file into the Flash BIOS Port on the rear I/O panel.
  5. Press the Flash BIOS Button to flash BIOS, and the LED starts flashing.
  6. The LED will be turned off when the process is completed.
they also have

that bios number you quoted looks right - https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/support/MEG-Z490-UNIFY#down-bios
 
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Victel

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what does it show in the BIOS manual?

https://download.msi.com/archive/mnu_exe/mb/E7C71v2.1.pdf
I would use that more than guides as it is for motherboard
See page 60

According to manual, you only rename the file if you use the usb method

Updating BIOS with Flash BIOS Button
  1. Please download the latest BIOS file that matches your motherboard model from the MSI® website.
  2. Rename the BIOS file to MSI.ROM, and save it to the root of your USB flash drive.
  3. Connect the power supply to CPU_PWR1 and ATX_PWR1. (No need to install CPU and memory.)
  4. Plug the USB flash drive that contains the MSI.ROM file into the Flash BIOS Port on the rear I/O panel.
  5. Press the Flash BIOS Button to flash BIOS, and the LED starts flashing.
  6. The LED will be turned off when the process is completed.
they also have

that bios number you quoted looks right - https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/support/MEG-Z490-UNIFY#down-bios
Thanks for the help and research. What about the flash drive. Should I get a USB 2.0 or will the one I have work? Do I need to clear CMOS?
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
if you use the slot, I think the manual would tell you if it needed to be USB 2. I have my doubts.

Most boards now have more USB 3 than 2.

you would soon find out if bios can't see the update file.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
No. That is done as part of the update, all you do is follow the steps in the manual.
you may need to go into bios after and set up xmp and any other things you have changed. As a bios updates resets all the settings.
 

Victel

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No. That is done as part of the update, all you do is follow the steps in the manual.
you may need to go into bios after and set up xmp and any other things you have changed. As a bios updates resets all the settings.
I'm going from PCIE 3 to 4 do I need to change anything in the BIOS with this?
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
I wouldn't think so, you could look on the advanced settings (see page 66 of manual) as it mentions
PCIe/PCI Sub-system Settings sub-menu
Sets PCI, PCI express interface protocol and latency timer.

but it might all be set according to CPU in PC. I don't think you need to change anything in the bios.
 

Victel

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I wouldn't think so, you could look on the advanced settings (see page 66 of manual) as it mentions
PCIe/PCI Sub-system Settings sub-menu
Sets PCI, PCI express interface protocol and latency timer.

but it might all be set according to CPU in PC. I don't think you need to change anything in the bios.
Okay thanks a lot for the information. I'll report back here once the process is done.
 

Victel

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I wouldn't think so, you could look on the advanced settings (see page 66 of manual) as it mentions
PCIe/PCI Sub-system Settings sub-menu
Sets PCI, PCI express interface protocol and latency timer.

but it might all be set according to CPU in PC. I don't think you need to change anything in the bios.
Do I need to install every update on the list or just the latest one? The latest one listed is only for audio stuff and it's the one before it that grants the rocket lake cpu compatibility.
 

avg9956

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Apr 7, 2019
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Not sure if you have successfully updated your BIOS since 8 days have past since your last post, anyhow I will provide some info:

Should I get a USB 2.0 or will the one I have work? Do I need to clear CMOS?
Strictly use USB 2.0 and make sure to format the drive in FAT32 file system when flashing the BIOS. You can use the rufus software to help you format your USB to FAT32.
This goes for any other motherboard of any other brand.

I've flashed the BIOS of MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) & MSI X570 MAG Tomahawk Wifi.
I've bricked one of the BIOS before of MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) but managed to get the BIOS back, however it was through sheer luck that I found from a forum post on how to recover it (long story).

If you haven't flashed your BIOS yet:
You can follow Colif's method which is the Traditional BIOS M-Flash or do the BIOS Flashback procedure below:

The newer boards have what is called "Bios Flashback" Feature which allow you to flash the BIOS without the need for a CPU or RAM installed.
Your Z490 motherboard has a BIOS Flashback slot and a BIOS Flash Button at the I/O Port area.


https://www.anandtech.com/show/15723/the-intel-z490-motherboard-overview/42

I have flashed the BIOS of my X570 Motherboard without a CPU and RAM installed (took it off) and it worked.

Here are some guides on how its done:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsA14iHVkYw


This is the guide that I followed exactly to the letter. Presumably, this is the procedure on how the modern MSI motherboards that support BIOS flashback. I highly recommend to watch the entire video from start to finish, because you need to see how its exactly done.

BIOS flashback is a newer method than the Traditional BIOS flashing through the BIOS like M-Flash, but it actually provides a failsafe way to flash the bios. Since you don't need a CPU and a RAM installed to flash the BIOS, you can actually keep trying to flash the BIOS till you get it right. Gone are the old days of "You only have one life" to flash your motherboard's BIOS :) and I personally vouch for this method.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aBiTr6tpcs


There are many other guides on how to do "BIOS Flashback" which you can look even further, but the concept is the same. The term BIOS Flashback encapsulates the flashing of the BIOS without a CPU or RAM installed.

and do I need to clear CMOS?
You do not need to clear CMOS, you can if you want. Clearing cmos just resets the motherboard to default factory settings. It is absolutely fine to run at default factory settings.
If you believe your motherboard was tampered with before you bought it (i.e. someone left overclock settings, etc.), then clearing CMOS can help.

I'm going from PCIE 3 to 4 do I need to change anything in the BIOS with this?
I have never heard of any BIOS update that can provide PCI-E 4.0.

PCIE version depends if your motherboard and CPU can support it. The PCI-E Slot of your motherboard will have a PCI-E version to it.
You cannot change anything in the BIOS in order "to upgrade" from PCI-E 3.0 to PCI-E 4.0. It all depends if your hardware supports it namely: your CPU and motherboard.

Your CPU: Intel Core i9-11900k: https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/212325/intel-core-i9-11900k-processor-16m-cache-up-to-5-30-ghz.html
It supports PCI Express Revision 4.0 (Yes)

However your motherboard - The Z490 Unify
https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/MEG-Z490-UNIFY/Specification
Only supports up to PCI-E 3.0

Sadly, you'll need to find a motherboard that supports PCI-E 4.0. AMD motherboards are leading ahead of Intel with regards to PCI-E 4.0 support (one of the reasons why I jumped ship from Intel).

Do I need to install every update on the list or just the latest one? The latest one listed is only for audio stuff and it's the one before it that grants the rocket lake cpu compatibility.
Not sure what you are referring to, maybe you're referring to higher BIOS versions?
https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/support/MEG-Z490-UNIFY

If so, you can only install/flash only one BIOS version.

My other question is about renaming the update file. In some guides people suggest renaming the file to 'MSI ROM' not every guide says you have to do this.
This is because the procedure on how to update your BIOS changes over time. Back then, you had to flash BIOS using floppy drives (make a bootable floppy drive, etc.). Right now, its MSI.ROM (You have to name it EXACTLY as specified - any mistakes or typos and you brick your board).

There's a red USB port called 'flash BIOS' do I put my flash drive in this port?
See the BIOS flashback video I've linked. That port basically specifies which USB port you plug into in order to flash your BIOS.

Back then, there wasn't any indicated or coloured port to flash BIOS, you can plug it into any port (for some motherboards, they're even picky as to which port you plug it in). Plugging it into the right port is to ensure that the BIOS file from your flash drive is being read by your computer.
 
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