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AM2+ (AM3) Support on MSI K9N/K9A Platinum Request
#1
Hey,

I recently wanted to check whether the CPU any of my AM2 mainboards can be upgraded. At the moment, I'm running K8 Dual-Core CPUs which are already a bit dated. Before moving to a completely new system I wanted to check whether an upgrade is possible, but the mainboard support site says no.

K9N Platinum: http://www.msi.com/product/mb/K9N-SLI-Platinum.html
K9A Platinum: http://www.msi.com/product/mb/K9A-Platinum.html

The semi-official explanation from MSI for not adding support is, that the BIOS Flash ROM is too small. The Boards only have 4Mb ROM chips. The successor boards come with 8Mb chips (and with different chipsets too...).

I don't accept that to be the bottom line just yet. Some research brought me to this site, where I found promising information about BIOS mods for other manufacturers. Oddly MSI boards were never requested here. So I'd like to have some advice on whether its possible and if so how to accomplish it or help you in doing so.

For the record, I have one K9N Platinum (nForce 570 SLI) and one K9A Platinum (Crossfire Xpress 3200 aka RD580) mainboard. At the moment I don't have a AM2+ or AM3 CPU, but I might be able to get one for testing purposes. I also don't have a backup ROM at the moment.

I assume the BIOS modding is not as easy as described here: http://www.overclock.net/amd-motherboard...g-add.html

I already played a bit with AMIbcp and MMTool to look at the BIOS file of my boards and the successor boards. However, the "successor" boards don't qualify as donor boards, as they have different chipsets, so I have to look up boards from other vendors which might qualify. If you have any pointers how to proceed, I'd appreciate it.
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#2
Sorry for bumping, but I'd really want a reply on whether this is even remotely possible.
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#3
For the nForce 570 SLI the best donor-boards would be the ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe or the the Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-DS4 and -S4, the only three boards with the exact same chipset supporting Phenom I know of.
For the RD580 it is a more difficult, since only MSI, DFI, ECS and Sapphire made AM2-boardw ith this chipset and apart from ASUS they didn't bother to update their boards. Unfortunately unlike most other ASUS AM2-boards the M2R32-MVP only supports 65nm Phenom.

But simply flashing one of these boards BIOSes won't work, you'll have to mod them for your board.
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#4
So using donor-board BIOSes is easy than modding the BIOS of the board to add support for the CPUs?

Also I see a few problems on the way:
Both the ASUS and the Gigabyte boards use a ITE SuperIO chip, while MSI uses a Winbond one.
MSI uses ALC883, Gigabyte S4 uses the same, DS4 uses ALC888 and ASUS some ADI chip. Not that important since I have a Audigy2 card in the system, but generally it would be nice if it worked as well.
ASUS and Gigabyte use a TI Firewire chip, while MSI uses VIA. Though I could live without FireWire.
I don't know whether the LAN Phys actually matter. The gigabyte boards have only one Marvell Phy, the ASUS one dual Marvell Phys. MSI uses 2 Vitesse Phys. As far as I understand a Phy is just a auxilary chip for the LAN interface inside the chipset.
Both Gigabyte and ASUS boards use AWARD BIOS, while MSI uses AMI.

From the looks of it, S4 might be the most promising one, provided the LAN feature won't be crippled then. The ASUS one would be way more recent in terms of AGESA though. If it could really run a six-core CPU I would be able to prolong this system for quite some time.

I will download cbrom and other tools to actually play a little bit with those BIOS files. Any further suggestions as to how I might proceed are appreciated.

Edit: I just read in another thread that using 125W might be out of the question anyway. I'd like to try it still though. If anything a X4 should work at least.
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#5
Was it one of my post where you read about 125W?

It was TheWiz who told me regarding my request for my ABit KN9 Ultra, which has the same status in support as the MSIs, that modding another boards BIOS to fit my board would be the best solution, as it would be to difficult to mod my board's BIOS to even support quadcore CPUs. You can read that on the earlier pages of that thread and lat or what results I got after testing a modded ASUS M2N-SLI Delux BIOS.
However, recently he seems to have changed his mind, after I asked the very same questions you asked about component-incompatiblity. Especially the Winbond SuperIO-Chip would be responsible for many of the problems I described. I just hope it wasn't the Winbond-chip preventing Abit and MSI from updating the boards for Phenom alltogether.
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#6
(03-21-2011, 07:43 PM)Tigerfox Wrote: Was it one of my post where you read about 125W?
Yes. Well I double-checked, apparently the ASUS BIOS doesn't support the X6 anyway, I must have mixed it up. Or maybe they boot but are not properly recognized.

(03-21-2011, 07:43 PM)Tigerfox Wrote: I just hope it wasn't the Winbond-chip preventing Abit and MSI from updating the boards for Phenom alltogether.
So you are waiting for modding advice too? Also I don't think it's the Winbond chip. The Winbond chip is just another chip to handle keyboard and some other stuff. There are various companies offering such chips and each tries to score deals with mobo manufacturers, thats about it.

If you ask me, It's just lazyness on their part paired with greed to sell new boards. The simply didn't want to remove stuff from the BIOS to make the larger AGESA fit in, at least that is my take.

The problem is that what I understand, in AMI BIOSes the code which is needed to properly support K10 CPUs is mixed with other essential stuff. The structure of the AWARD BIOS looks more like it would lend itself for an easy mod. To make it properly work both the CPU initialization and the AGESA need to properly support Phenoms.
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#7
I've done some more research regarding this. I found the tools to split the 1B module into its components. There already has been some success doing this here: http://www.bios-mods.com/forum/Thread-M3...-X6?page=2

However, I see a problem. The board doesn't have an AGESA segment in the 1B module. The AGESA code (afaik old K8 AGESA was supplied in ASM from AMD, only with K10 AMD supplied the AGESA in C, hence there are some differences) appears to be included in the POST segment. Does anyone know how it would be possible to add a newer AGESA in this case? The successor boards (with different chipsets) indeed contain the AGESA segment in the 1B.
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#8
Could anyone with more knowledge/experience on the matter please comment on the situation? Is a modded BIOS feasible?
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#9
Hello guys.

I have a K9N Platinum SLI motherboard (ms-7250 ver. 1.0), and decided to add AM2+ CPU support.
I found a donor bios and extracted a patch from it.
Here is a picture of the extracted patch.
[Image: am2.png]

I extracted patch to my bios and flashed it.
Bios update was successful, but cpu is still not supported.
When i install am2+ cpu, i get a blank screen and system is stucked.
I don't know what else to do.

Donor motherboard: http://www.asrock.com/mb/NVIDIA/ALiveN570SLI-eSATA2/
My motherboard: http://www.msi.com/product/mb/K9N_SLI_Pl...o-overview

I hope somebody gives me a hint. Sad
Thanks.
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#10
Any help?
I use an AMD Athlon x2 7750 for my tests, and when booting i only get a blank screen.
AM2 CPUs operate normally.
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