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Corrupted Management Engine > Overclocking Gone?

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akumajou View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 Jun 2016 at 2:11pm
Recently, I upgraded from 8GB (2x4GB) 1866MHz RAM to 16GB (2x8GB) 2133MHz. At some point during the process of testing different memory timings and voltages on this new RAM, memory speeds above 1333, CPU ratios above 37, XMP, and a few other less important settings disappeared from the BIOS/UEFI. In the case of CPU Ratio, the Per Core setting (not that I ever used it) is gone, and setting All Core to anything over 37 reverts to 37 (I had been using 45 for years, so I know this wasn't previously a problem). XMP is gone and the only available DRAM Frequencies are 1066 and 1333 (previously, I was using 2133).

I've read elsewhere from people with similar issues that this is supposedly caused by the Intel Management Engine that's embedded (or whatever) in the BIOS/UEFI becoming corrupted, but don't know if this is the case.

I've tried flashing all previous BIOS versions for my motherboard back to 1.30 (starting at L2.31A, which is what I had been using all along), and replacing the old RAM. None of which changed anything.

What can I do to fix this? I've already ordered a new BIOS chip, but I'd like to know what caused the problem to begin with and/or how to fix it so that this doesn't happen again.

Motherboard: ASRock Extreme3 Gen3
CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K
RAM: G.Skill 8GB (2x4GB) 1866MHz/G.Skill 16GB (2x8GB) 2133MHz
Video Card: Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290
Sound Card: Creative X-Fi Titanium
HD: Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD
OS: Microsoft Windows 10 x64


Edited by akumajou - 21 Jun 2016 at 2:44pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2016 at 3:06pm
It seems that the older BIOS versions (pre Ivy support) have been pulled down to prevent people bricking their BIOS, that or your board (gen 3) supported Ivy out of the box.

IME works in conjunction with the Microcode. When Ivy support was added through a BIOS update it had a Microcode update that installed along side the UEFI update. Now I don't know that your information is correct or not (I will assume it is) but if anything to do with the IME is corrupt at the BIOS level it would be the Microcode, in which case the new BIOS chip should fix your issue. The reason flashing to different BIOS revisions did not correct it is because BIOS updates do not effect the microcode unless there is an included microcode update. 

The Microcode update is a separate operation and is one of the reasons that many people trying to update to the latest BIOS on socket 1155 systems ended up bricking their BIOS as they made the mistake of turning off their system after the BIOS update which then prevented the Microcode update operation from starting. The BIOS update was contingent on the microcode update and so after a power down the system would fail to post. To the best of my knowledge the process has since been refined to prevent this kind of mishap. 

For some reason your board does not have a BIOS update that includes the microcode update available so there is no way for you to fix your current BIOS chip. The only thing I can suggest is a full CMOS clear, that should clear the RTC and any additional low level BIOS/UEFI settings that a regular jumper clear does not effect. If it is simply a value corruption this should resolve the issue.

Failing that you could ask tech support to provide you with a BIOS update that includes a microcode update, they are usually pretty good with providing BIOS level fixes. That should likewise resolve the issue.

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akumajou View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akumajou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2016 at 3:57pm
Can you provide me with a BIOS update that includes a microcode update? Contacting ASRock using their Support Request Form takes a very long time to get a response, and their replies are just simpleton checklist troubleshooting. I really need to get this system fully functional ASAP.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2016 at 4:11pm
I am afraid not, I don't have access to things like that, I am only a moderator. We are not paid for our work on the forums, nor are we Tech Support, we simply do our best to help out where we can.

I wish I could help more but I can only offer advice based on my own experiences. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akumajou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jun 2016 at 7:51pm
Do you know anyone who works for ASRock that could help me with a firmware solution?

Now I'm worried that the BIOS chip that I ordered is going to exhibit the same problems since it's supposed to be flashed with the latest BIOS.



By the way, I'm not sure what you meant by, "For some reason your board does not have a BIOS update that includes the microcode update available so there is no way for you to fix your current BIOS chip."

To clarify, when I originally bought this motherboard new, I believe it came with BIOS version 1.30 or so. I incrementally updated the BIOS as they became available. I do remember the point at which there was a BIOS update that required leaving the USB drive inserted after restarting. I did not remove the drive, and as far as I know, the update, and for that matter, all updates completed successfully. This problem I'm having now only now manifested after upgrading the RAM a week ago or so. I had been trying to lower the memory timings, but wasn't able to get it stabilized even after adding additional voltage. I believe the last setting I changed was MRC Fast Boot to Disabled in the DRAM Configuration section of UEFI. Prior to getting this new memory, I had never changed that MRC Fast Boot option (I had read disabling it can help with "memory training" if there is such a thing) or the VCCSA setting (I read increasing this could help with stabilizing a memory overclock). I don't know if that specifically had anything to do with it...


Edited by akumajou - 21 Jun 2016 at 2:46pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hubert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2016 at 1:07am
I have extactly the same problem. I changed from 2x4 GB patriot black mamba 2400er ram to 2x8GB G.skill trident x 2666er ram. After 2 weeks with stable settings (memtest without errors) bios is changed:

-Multiplier locked to 38
-xmp-ram-profile is gone

I tried:
-different bios
-different bios update methods (windows/bios/dos)
-clear cmos
-new battery
-the older ram (patriot)

My PC:
-windows10 64bit
-i5 3570k
-asrock xtreme4 z77

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akumajou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jun 2016 at 5:09am
I still haven't found a solution. Hopefully, the BIOS chip replacement I ordered will fix it.

I've done all that stuff too, as well as:
-Using UEFI BIOS Updater to modify Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge microcodes in official ASRock BIOS files to various versions/combinations and then flashing them

So you weren't tweaking BIOS settings when the problem started? Which Memtest were you using, Memtest86 (www.memtest86.com), Memtest86+ (www.memtest.org), or MemTest (www.hcidesign.com), and how long had you run it to determine stability? Also, which BIOS version were you running when the problem started? What makes this whole situation all the more disappointing and frustrating is that no one knows for certain what exactly caused the problem, so we have no way to know that it's not going to happen again.

If you need to get a BIOS chip replacement, try searching eBay for your motherboard's model. I bought mine from an eBay store called BIOS Depot.


Edited by akumajou - 21 Jun 2016 at 2:47pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hubert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2016 at 12:34am
Good news: the bios chip arrived today and all my settings are back :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2016 at 12:55am
Good to hear, I was sure it would do the trick. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akumajou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2016 at 2:19pm
So after replacing my BIOS chip and having my system running fine for a week or two, I'm back to where this thread started...

The only differences were:

-Started with BIOS version 2.30 as the chip was pre-programmed with that
-Never changed the memory when this new chip was used (had the same ASRock supported list memory in it that I've used for years)

I did update the BIOS to version L2.31A, but the system ran fine with it for said week or two.
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