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Author Topic: Theory: Upgrade 128Mbit (non-MAX sku) board to 256Mbit (MAX sku) board  (Read 1387 times)

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evilkittyTopic starter

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I have a X470 Gaming Plus board, this board has a  Winbond 25Q128FWSQ (note page 7 [labeled page 6]) BIOS chip
I was reading the How can I recover the BIOS to MSI motherboard with Raspberry Pi for the purpose of upgrading the BIOS for ryzen 3000 since there is no flashback feature on this board, then I found out the header uses 2mm spacing not 2.5mm so I would need to buy some new wires
While looking into stuff I found the pinout of a older JSPI1 header on flashrom.org  the current header has more 2 pins, this page mentions the #HOLD pin that is used to run a secondary bios, since the original board and the MAX board are the same thing with a bigger BIOS chip and a new paint job we should be able to plug a new chip into the board
After using a multimeter to check what header pins go where i manged to come up with this:

The biggest issue i have testing this is i do not know the part number of the BIOS chip on the max boards, it can't be the bigger version of the old one as it does not come in the correct package type

I think all we would need to do is rig the new chip after flashing it to the board to the header and jump pin 9 to ground
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buddyw53

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Just playing devil's advocate here...

Where would you get the appropriate BIOS for that board? I have to think MSI won't write you one, and I also don't think you could just force-burn it with a MAX-sku BIOS for the same board and not expect problems.  Are you planning on modding or writing it yourself?

It seems a lot of bother to me just to get some dragon-red screens.
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evilkittyTopic starter

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They have to release BIOS updates for the MAX sku eventually
Assuming the only difference is the BIOS chip (paint jobs aside) and not the voltage the chip uses (it is unlikely they would change this)
My thought was buying a blank rom chip of the same model from mouser/digikey/ebay where ever it can be found and writing the max sku's BIOS to it then just plug it into the header, this way you do not have to solder to the board to swap the BIOS to effectively get dual bios functionality

From what i have read the cut down bios does not have any profile management and the fan control may be nerfed
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darkhawk

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What board is it? I mean, you provide no real info other than 'MAX' and 'non-MAX' about the differences.....

What board?
I can at least take a look to see if there is a difference or not. Which is pretty easy once I know which boards it is....
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buddyw53

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They have to release BIOS updates for the MAX sku eventually
Assuming the only difference is the BIOS chip (paint jobs aside) and not the voltage the chip uses (it is unlikely they would change this)
My thought was buying a blank rom chip of the same model from mouser/digikey/ebay where ever it can be found and writing the max sku's BIOS to it then just plug it into the header, this way you do not have to solder to the board to swap the BIOS to effectively get dual bios functionality

From what i have read the cut down bios does not have any profile management and the fan control may be nerfed
It will be curious to see if it works and so long as the mod can be reverted if it doesn't it sounds like a fun project with not much risked. But I'll stick with what I've got.

I am currently using the GSE-Lite BIOS on my B450M Mortar with 3700X and I actually quite like it.  It's very well laid out and ever so much easier to navigate with a lot fewer key-strokes.  It does support mouse, but I prefer keyboard.   The fan controls are just as good except tabular input instead of the laggy graphical curve thingy they used before.  It's about 10 times faster to get loaded with the fan curve data after a CMOS reset.  

Which is very good because I do miss that there's no way to save profiles, a sore loss since the system has very inelegant crash behaviours. If Windows crashes in a failed OC attempt it's quite likely to not boot and require a CMOS reset.  No profiles means settings have to be loaded again, but at least the easy to navigate BIOS screens makes it fairly quick.  I just have to keep notes again LOL.

I believe OC Profile saves are a feature they'll try to re-instate in future releases.  I think they're mostly focused on fixing the Tomahawk and Gaming Pro Carbon debacles right now but I'll look for improvement as AMD also makes AGESA fixes available.
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evilkittyTopic starter

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The concept is you plug a new bios chip into the header and use it, by removing it you are on the stock bios
this mod would not alter the board, just makes use MSI internal use header as a feature, should just be a matter of getting a rom chip and programing it and wiring it up to the header
i can probably use a raspberry pi to program it if i use a voltage divider on the spi pins to bring the voltage down by 55% for the digital logic

there is no good reason to not have a usb based profile management system, if the bios has m-flash that mean you can read a usb already and i assume you can screenshot the bios to that is writing to usb
it should be as simple as adding a few lines of code, I'd gladly give up some RGB unicorn barf options for usb profiles if that is what it takes
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Chike

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there is no good reason to not have a usb based profile management system, if the bios has m-flash that mean you can read a usb already and i assume you can screenshot the bios to that is writing to usb
you mean like this?

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evilkittyTopic starter

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No, I meant OC profiles, like you save your bios settings to file on the USB then you can restore them from file, the BIOS on my Z97 board has this feature, that bios only lets you save 3 profiles without a USB stick, but with one you can shove as many as you like on there, I fully understand not having space to keep multiple profiles on the BIOS chip, but we should be able to save profiles to USB instead of the BIOS chip
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Chike

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No, I meant OC profiles, like you save your bios settings to file on the USB then you can restore them from file, the BIOS on my Z97 board has this feature, that bios only lets you save 3 profiles without a USB stick, but with one you can shove as many as you like on there, I fully understand not having space to keep multiple profiles on the BIOS chip, but we should be able to save profiles to USB instead of the BIOS chip
I didn't understand how this related to the OP topic.

And how do you plan to disable the chip that is on board while the mod is connected to JSP?
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evilkittyTopic starter

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That is done using pin 9 on the header, you simply jump pin 9 to ground and it is supposed to use the alt BIOS, I'm not entirely sure how that works [(source)], but i guess it is similar to how you can use multiple D18B20 thermal sensors in parallel on the same circuit, i mentioned this in the second paragraph on the 1st post
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Chike

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You mean the #HOLD, pin 12 according to the OP,  of 12 pin JSPI1.
Quote
Specifically, it appears to be used to connect an alternate ROM with a working image. Pull the #HOLD line low to deselect the onboard SPI ROM, allowing another SPI ROM to take its place on the bus.
Might work if this is true.

t can't be the bigger version of the old one as it does not come in the correct package type
Why are you concerned about the package type?
But more likely W25Q256JW.

Can't find a clear image but the X570 BIOS does look different
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buddyw53

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B450 Mortars, at least, have new released BIOS (v190) today on the support page.

You can now save settings profiles to a USB stick for later retrieval so I'm happy with the BIOS.... for now :)  It's been very stable so far and I can do everything I could in the old BIOS for the 1700 processor...just stay stable is all i ask!  I can totally do without the bold red dragon screens to assault the senses... very nice.
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xay0r

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I've been wondering about this aswell.

The 128Mbit chip on the B450M Mortar (non-MAX) is a Macronix MX25U12873F.
I had a look at Macronix's 256Mbit chips and noted that the bus is wider on the 256Mbit parts, but if the boards truly are the same and if the MAX board is using a Macronix 256Mbit chip then I guess it's a non-issue.
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evilkittyTopic starter

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Why are you concerned about the package type?
I'm not, but if the correct package type does not exist, that can't be the chip they are using on the MAX board, probally a bad idea to use a different model rom chip for the rom, different package sure
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Chike

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evilkittyTopic starter

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I think that counts as proof of concept, now if we just knew what ROM chips the max boards are using, hopefully one you can buy in a DIP package
Looks like the newest bios for my board supports OC profiles and memory support updates
I also sent a message to user8012 (person who made/sold the old version mentioned above) to see if they are interested in making this
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Chike

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It does not matter what chips the max are using it needs to be a 32MB chip that is compatible with the board it will be used with.

Need to confirm that there is a resistor between pins 1/2 and 12 (VCC & /HOLD or /RESET)

I am having difficulty to find which connector s needed, perhaps one like those:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/10x-Pitch-2-0-2mm-2x6-Pin-12-Pin-Female-Double-Row-Straight-Pin-PCB-Header-Strip-/112436935305
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32781145970.html
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Motherboard: ASUS Z97-K R2.0 BIOS ver. 0903 2/26/2016
CPU: i5-4670k
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GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 950 FTW ACX 2.0
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evilkittyTopic starter

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We could diy the plug
https://www.ebay.com/itm/322978249582

There may be 10k Ohm resistor between VCC and CS, that or it is built into the rom chip
VCC to ( /HOLD or /RESET ) shows 21.2M Ohms, just seems like a odd value to use makes me think there is a capacitor messing with the reading
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Chike

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That's good for a prototype but for mass production...
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GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 950 FTW ACX 2.0
SSD: 1. Samsung PM981 512GB, 2.  Samsung 840 EVO 120GB
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evilkittyTopic starter

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for that those should be fine, but for mas production it really should be keyed to prevent plugging it in upside down
we could improvise my have the attached pcb hit the pci-e slot if you try to plug it in upside down
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Chike

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Not a problem to pull thepin out and stick some toothpick in lol
The BIOS is at different locaton on each board, it might actually be hard not to hit the pci-e slot and I don't know if its the same chip on all of them and the socket + connector + pcb may already be too high.
I ordered https://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-Pitch-2-0mm-2mm-2x6-Pin-12-Pin-Female-Double-Row-Straight-Pin-Header-Strip/253140096075 will take it probably a month to get here.
I don't know what my chips though and my programmer is 3.3v, maybe i can just connect the 3.3v to the battery +
Board (dead) is Z87-G43
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evilkittyTopic starter

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Since the onboard rom uses 1.8v for the chip you need to use a 1.8v chip for the addon board so the board can power it and a 1.8v chip will not take kindly to 3.3v, i'm sure there is a reason MSI is using 1.8v ROM chips, im sure if they could have used the same chips for both AMD and Intel they would have
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Chike

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GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 950 FTW ACX 2.0
SSD: 1. Samsung PM981 512GB, 2.  Samsung 840 EVO 120GB
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evilkittyTopic starter

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Look at the model on the BIOS chip once you google it the spec sheet will tell you the voltage
or you can use a multimeter and check the voltage going into the chip
if it uses 3.3v you can just use a raspberry pi, link to that thread in the 1st post
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Chike

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It's a 25Q64FVSIG 1305 ?
I have a CH341A thhat will have to do.
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evilkittyTopic starter

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that chips uses 3v so 3.3v is fine
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darkhawk

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Flashcat Pro : https://www.embeddedcomputers.net/products/FlashcatUSB_Pro/

Supports 1.8V-5V SPI programming of EEPROM's. 

For what it's worth, I've done A TON of testing with the CH341A's, and they generally will work with 3.3V boards just fine....but even using adapters you can't get them to work with 1.8V EEPROM's. 
I've programmed Z270, Z97, and a number of other boards with the CH341A, but with Ryzen boards most of them were 1.8V, and required something like the Flashcat Pro.

Could also use an Arduino, honestly, if you're smart enough. But....I'd stick to something pre-made to do it.

Also see : https://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=288150.0

Something I put together a bit over a year ago about doing some of what you're discussing.
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evilkittyTopic starter

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Wow that is expensive, i wonder if you can plug the chip into the board if we can use the board to flash it
there is probably a safty to be sure you are using the correct bios on the correct board, but i think flashback will probably allow it
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Chike

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Wow that is expensive, i wonder if you can plug the chip into the board if we can use the board to flash it
there is probably a safty to be sure you are using the correct bios on the correct board, but i think flashback will probably allow it
Perhaps the forum flush tool too?
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evilkittyTopic starter

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Possibly
To make sure we can flash the alt chip using the board i think we should flash a different version of a supported BIOS and make sure it wrote to the correct chip and ONLY the correct chip, cause bricking the main bios would suck unless you have a flashback board to fix it
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