edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

Here's preliminary result of my Adata XPG SX8200 Pro NVME drive installed on my Aurora R4 (using modded BIOS) with a fresh Windows 10 install.

BIOS setting:

  • Boot Mode : UEFI
  • Secure Boot Control : Disabled
  • Load Legacy ROM : Disable

crystalmark3930k.PNG

edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

I changed my CPU to Xeon E5-2670 to see if there's improvement in PCI bandwidth... So far, it appears to be none.

WXYlqAn

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edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

Video booting off an NVMe drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mce3SOT25bo

I modded my Aurora R4 BIOS to allow it to boot natively from a fast NVMe drive. Mod instructions are posted here - https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/624040-alienware-aurora-r4-z97-samsung-950-pro-w-lycom-dt-120-m2-to-pcie
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edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

While I am at it, I've updated the IntelME drivers using Intel's tool since Dell has not published any fix for Aurora R4 boards.

Pre-update

 

Updating

 

Updated

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edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

Using UEFI BIOS Updater, I was also able to address the thing that Dell got lazy to address via BIOS update

- Fix Spectre bug

- Fix Intel ME bug

- Update NIC controller

 

The good guys here has a tool to fix it and it did!

Update of NIC controller BIOS

Update of CPU Microcodes fixing Spectre bug

Updating Intel ME bug via Intel's own tools

A11 stock Intel ME details

PvQsMAL.png

 

Updating Intel ME

vByuXQs.png

 

Updated Intel ME

Qje25cw.png

Confirmed on the BIOS

60339795_2133708800253603_8213567668708442112_n.jpg?_nc_cat=110&_nc_ht=scontent.fmnl4-3.fna&oh=79816db6f8a9b15a9699fb94724ac676&oe=5D6B8ED1

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edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

I also updated the storage controller to allow it to do TRIM in RAID

image.png.851f30d553e62bbce57dcd77c69984ec.png

Link for the A11 modded firmware - http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=02614479157579325788

Run the above update in pure DOS mode (create USB flashdrive in Rufus)

 

Link for the Intel ME FW update - http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=35198791302204820694

This update can be run under Windows (x64) command prompt with Administrative Privileges

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edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

Creating a DOS-bootable USB flashdrive using Rufus

  1. Create Bootable drive using Rufus
    1. Download Rufus (here)
    2. Launch Rufus. From there, do the following
    3. Select the Flash drive letter - under Device
    4. Select FreeDOS - under Boot selection
    5. Select Download - under the pulldown menu at the right-side of check mark
    6. a11intelme-h.PNG
    7. Click START ; Click OK on the popup - It will ask to confirm to start the reformatting the USB flash drive (warning - this will delete any files on the USB drive!)
    8. Close Rufus once done - meaning progress bar has completed and says READY
  2. Using Winrar (latest please), open the archive containing the modded A11 RAR file. It contains two files
    1. AFUDOS.EXE - flasher file
    2. mod_a11modspectrefix.bin - this is the modified A11 firmware file
    3. a11intelme-i.PNG
    4. Highlight the two files and press Ctrl+C
  3. In Explorer, browse to open the USB flash drive
    1. a11intelme-j.PNG
    2. In that Window, press Ctrl+V to paste the copied files
    3. a11intelme-k.PNG
  4. Now you can use this USB flash drive to BOOT into DOS.
  5. To boot into DOS mode using this flash drive, ensure that the Boot Mode is in Legacy.
    1. To Change Boot Mode Setting from UEFI to Legacy, press F12 at the Alienware logo. Otherwise, if the Boot Mode is already in Legacy, skip to 5.4
    2. 20190513_225325.jpg.581061b6e162ed0e2b22fe1101ca0942
    3. Changing Boot Mode will need a reboot. Press F12 again at the Alienware logo.
    4. You should see the drive-letter representing the USB flash drive.
    5. If done correctly, you should be booting into pure DOS (text-only) mode.
    6. In there, type this as it is
    7. AFUDOS MOD_A1~1.BIN /GAN
    8. Wait for it to complete Verification. (It is SUPER IMPORTANT to never interrupt this process. This can brick your board!) Once it's done, it should go back at the command prompt
    9. a11intelme-l.PNG
    10. Once done, remove the flash drive from your computer and press Ctrl+Alt+Del
    11. If done correctly, your computer should reboot normally.
    12. You may change the Boot Mode back to UEFI if that was the previous setting.
    13. You now have an updated BIOS.

To update Intel ME - this can be done under Windows (make sure you're on 64-bit Windows)

  1. Download this file
  2. Open the RAR file using WinRAR and highlight both files from inside
  3. a11intelme-ml.PNG
  4. Press Alt+E, it should open a popup Window that you can specify where to Extract both files, just point it to Extract under Downloads folder (as seen in this image)
  5. a11intelme-n.PNG
  6. Click OK.
  7. Run CMD as Adminstrator. Go to the downloads folder and execute the firmware update by following these commands
  8. cd %userprofile%\downloads
    FWUpdLcl64.exe -f 8.1.70.1590_1.5MB_PRD_RGN.bin
  9. It will start the update of the Intel ME firmware. It is important to NOT INTERRUPT this process.
  10. vByuXQs
  11. Once it is done, you should get back at the command prompt.
  12. Do a proper Windows Restart (Start > Power > Restart)

All is complete!

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edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

Updated my previous post...

Summary of the fixes

For A11 BIOS

  • Native NVMe PCIe boot support
  • Microcode updates - fixes Spectre, Meltdown, or similar CPU vulnerabilities
  • Intel RST updates - allows TRIM on RAID
  • NIC firmware update

For Intel ME update

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edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

Got a birthday surprise in the form of a Samsung 970 EVO 512gb drive. Here are the updated results

crystalmark2670samsung.PNGcrystalmark2670samsung-a.PNG

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edmoncu
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Re: Aurora-R4, boot from PCIe?

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