Question An ASUS Chipset Driver and Firmware Upgrade Requirement SOMEONE Here Might Know About . . .

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,356
1,229
126
OK. The story has been posted before. I had a tip-top system, now running great again, requiring mobo replacement because I was careless with a vaping pen charged in a USB port. Static charge, yada yada yada. In panic for resurrecting what I KNEW was working perfectly before the accident, I picked up a spare ASUS Z170 WS workstation motherboard. Seems like top-of-the-line hardware, and is proving to be as I get it set up. The original system -- I"m using it right here -- is fixed and tip-top. I thought to build another from the spare parts. Same case, same PSU, same chipset, same processor (more or less, toc or tic). It is a "diversion" which may prove useful for a few years. Later, I can pick which system I prefer to drop in a current-gen board, CPU and RAM.

So far, I've installed Win 10 Pro, despite an activation glitch that was fixed by the software vender (on a weekend, no less!). So I started attempting to install the Win 10 64-bit drivers, and we all know -- you always start with the chipset drivers. In this case, it is called the "Intel Management Engine", and there is an update utility which also updates the motherboard firmware. Apparently, or so I have gleaned, the firmware needs to be updated so that the ME can be updated. Here, I encountered an obstacle, message screens suggesting BIOS update, or "will not run on this platform", or "installation failed" etc.

From the ASUS ROG community and other sources (particularly ROG, though), I've learned that this is not an uncommon problem that goes back to the Z97 chipset, and arises with later models that include my Z170, possibly later models -- most certainly as well, the Z390.

An "expert" at ROG posted an updater for the firmware. The web-site where it's posted is often used by ROG members, and I never discovered any "infections" coming from it, nor was ever warned by my software that it was unsafe. I've downloaded the zip file the poster made available. People were roundly thanking him profusely.

If there are any such Anandtech members here who've encountered this problem, I'd like to hear from them and how they resolved it. As I said, it spans several ASUS chipsets and board generations. I'd really like to gain more insight before I proceed with the ROG fix.

I tried to contact ASUS and register my board. The board seemed new, with a BIOS dated 2015. It came in a bundle with (what appeared to be ) a new Skylake 6700 processor and 8GB of RAM. I'd bought it off EBay. Perhaps it had been used, but not much with a BIOS that old. I was able to update the BIOS to the latest 2019 version (3609 ?), and the update was successful. But I couldn't register the board at ASUS. I got the serial number from HWInfo64; ASUS' registration page then shows the proper board model once the serial number has been entered, but it tells me "wrong serial number". Therefore, I can't even post a ticket to ask ASUS a question. Of course, the board is likely out of warranty for its age. But you'd think they could just answer a couple questions toward getting the firmware and chipset driver updated. Otherwise -- here I am -- I have at least one good "lead" from ROG, and I'm depending on the skinny I get from tech-communities like Anandtech.

So any and all takers encouraged to post responses to this.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,802
8,033
126
There's the "chipset driver", and then there's the "Intel ME (firmware) driver". I never bother with the ME driver in Windows. The chipset driver is normally not a bad idea, but at this point, I would expect that with a chipset that old, with regards to the age of the OS, that all of the chipset functionality should be supported out-of-box with Win10. So, I wouldn't bother with those drivers either.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,356
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There's the "chipset driver", and then there's the "Intel ME (firmware) driver". I never bother with the ME driver in Windows. The chipset driver is normally not a bad idea, but at this point, I would expect that with a chipset that old, with regards to the age of the OS, that all of the chipset functionality should be supported out-of-box with Win10. So, I wouldn't bother with those drivers either.
Thanks, Larry, and you're right -- the ASUS support pages have a "show more" feature that seems obscure to my old eyes. I went back there to just "check for more stuff" and discovered the distinction between the ME and the chipset drivers.

I just installed the chipset drivers, and Device Manager shows no hardware with any issues. I'm only suspecting at this point that the ME and firmware required the chipset drivers to be installed in the first place, but I'll find out.

But -- yeah -- my mind has grown a bit stale over this stuff, having done very little of it for a four-year stretch. I should've reminded myself of the distinction right away -- I should have just known.

The "System devices" shows the "Intel Management Engine Interface" installed and working, so I suppose I don't care if the downloadable MEI program fails. I DID take the plunge and ran the firmware updater posted at ROG, but nothing seems to be "wrong" from the device manager after installing the chipset driver.

I have too many computers, and keep thinking to pull the string on Win-11-compatible CPU/board/RAM combo. But I have a lot of fish to fry now. The workstation project gets the clutter out of our rooms here, and the original sig Skylake (now Kaby) is fixed tip-top.

If I want to do anything soon or even later, I need to get all those other fish fried.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,356
1,229
126
WELL -- THE UPDATE
Yes -- it's dated hardware, but it was "new". How else do you explain a BIOS dated 2015? It was a tense moment -- as always -- to update the BIOS with EZ-Flash to the 2019 and last revision. Super.

So it's "all perfect". All the drivers installed. Connected to the server in a "WORKGROUP" -- no domain. Backed up successfully the first time. Next I'll add two hot-swap disks and two more NVME drives. I'll just pop them in, and initialize them, give them drive labels and names, etc. Maybe, after all that, couple LED light bars -- the power connection all ready to go.

Now I just have to find room under my desk again for three computers. I've done it before . . . I suppose . . . And three years to decide what to do next . . .

I KNOW that mainstreamers and even colleagues here have simpler lives. I'll feel better when all the computer parts in the parts-lockers are put away and out of sight . . .
 
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Meghan54

Lifer
Oct 18, 2009
10,748
3,887
136
WELL -- THE UPDATE
Yes -- it's dated hardware, but it was "new". How else do you explain a BIOS dated 2015? It was a tense moment -- as always -- to update the BIOS with EZ-Flash to the 2019 and last revision. Super.

So it's "all perfect". All the drivers installed. Connected to the server in a "WORKGROUP" -- no domain. Backed up successfully the first time. Next I'll add two hot-swap disks and two more NVME drives. I'll just pop them in, and initialize them, give them drive labels and names, etc. Maybe, after all that, couple LED light bars -- the power connection all ready to go.

Now I just have to find room under my desk again for three computers. I've done it before . . . I suppose . . . And three years to decide what to do next . . .

I KNOW that mainstreamers and even colleagues here have simpler lives. I'll feel better when all the computer parts in the parts-lockers are put away and out of sight . . .
How do you explain a 2015 BIOS? Pretty easily…machine put into use, works without issue and never has its BIOS updated because it was unnecessary in its particular environment. Not unusual at all in corp settings.
 

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