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MSI BIOS Updates Address Cryptocurrency Mining Performance Issues

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By now, most of you are probably aware of the graphics card shortage caused by the current cryptocurrency mining craze. High demand has led to high prices, and things just seem to be getting worse. Now the mining craze has led MSI to release BIOS updates for Intel’s 100-series motherboards to increase their performance by allowing them to support more graphics cards.

Traditionally, cryptocurrency miners use the most economic motherboard available, which until recently were those using the Intel H81 and B85 chipsets. Because most manufacturers no longer produce motherboards based on those chipsets, miners started to switch to Intel's 100-series motherboard offerings.

According to MSI, the problem with that switch is that even though the motherboard would recognize all of the GPUs connected to it, existing 100-series motherboard firmwares do not support mining with more than three or four cards. This meant that even though you had six graphics cards physically connected to your mining rig, less than half would actually work properly.

MSI said in the press release:

Users found a new way out along with the release of the 100-series chipset, yet many of them found that when they attached 6 AMD graphics cards on the 100-series motherboard, even though the board successfully recognized 6 graphics cards, there were always exclamation marks on 3 or 4 graphics cards within device manager in the OS. And, of course, the cards with exclamation marks would not function properly during mining. MSI consistently heard such inquiries from customers.

MSI has resolved this issue by adding a new "above 4G decoding" BIOS option that allows you to utilize up to six graphics cards on a 100-series motherboard. The company has released updated BIOS files that address PCI-E device recognition on several of its motherboards, including the Z170-A Pro, Z170 Krait Gaming , Z170A SLI Plus, Z170A Krait Gaming, Z170A Krait Gaming 3X, Z270-A Pro, and the H270-A Pro.

Once the BIOS is updated, you can then navigate to the Settings\Advanced\PCI Subsystem Setting tab and set the “Above 4G memory / Crypto Currency mining” option to “enabled.”

Given that this issue can be rectified with a BIOS update, we expect other manufacturers to follow MSI’s lead with updates of their own.

  • Khaydin1
    I doubt anyone will be following MSI, it's more likely that MSI is late to the game. Above 4G Decoding has been an option in 2 of my Asus motherboards (z-170 and x370) for several months now.
    Reply
  • Kuo Ping
    Asus has this for several month already
    Reply
  • Chrysanthemum
    ???cryptocurrency????????????????????????????????
    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????...
    Reply
  • Chrysanthemum
    ?????????????????????????????cryptocurrency???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????AMD??????????????????????????????????????????????...
    Reply
  • iguanac64
    Really? I have two Asus Z170 boards right now that only support 4 GPUs and I'm talking to Asus support in part because of this issue. Their tech support just stopped that part of my issue with "This board only supports 4 GPUs" and won't give me any word whether they have any plans to update their BIOSs to support it.

    This announcement sounds like MSI will be issuing BIOS updates to ALL their boards to support more than 4 GPUs. Sounds more customer focused than Asus at the moment. Right now mining is pushing ridiculous amounts of sales to certain companies. The BIOS tweak is likely very minor. What manufacturer shouldn't be catering to their customers?
    Reply
  • iguanac64
    ...and ummm...ok, Chrysanthemum. That was an interesting rant. Cryptocurrency = Islamic terrorism. Or, foreigners deserve terrorist attacks because people buy computer for purposes you don't approve of? I also can't tell if you're trying to incite terrorist attacks on people who buy video cards not intending to use them for gaming? Grow up.
    Reply
  • mac_angel
    4G has been available on all motherboards for a long time, but that does not automatically let them support 6 graphics cards. This is an added option WITH the 4G options already in the BIOS
    Reply
  • photonboy
    and this mining phase will crash just like the others... seriously, where does the money come from? For someone to make money someone must LOSE money.
    Reply
  • iguanac64
    mac_angel, that doesn't sound like what this article is saying at all. My current Asus Z170's exhibit the behavior in the article. Cards come up, but they have yellow exclamation marks. This particular 4G option is new and most definitely *NOT* available on all motherboards. I've put together dozens of computers over the years and I don't remember ever seeing any "4G" options until recently. What advantage does this option have other than allowing more than 4 GPUs to have enough resources to work that would have made it's inclusion necessary?

    Photonboy, look at how many financial institutions are getting involved in cryptocurrency. I've recently read articles about JP Morgan using ZCash blockchain technology and Fidelity Investments getting into mining/trading. There are financial traders that love getting involved with buying high/selling low that inject money to get their stake going. I could go on an on, but a lot of people are injecting real money (depending on how real you feel government backed fiat money is) into these systems.
    Reply
  • ammaross
    AMD-based miners have gotten around this issue by combining two specific Radeon driver packages and using a patcher to enable the 5th and 6th card. Works on non-BTC-specific mobos. It won't save you if the motherboard is mechanically designed to shut off PCIe slots depending on configuration though (as some are).
    Reply