MSI’s Latest Z690 & B660 Motherboard BIOS Improves Intel Alder Lake Non-K Memory Compatibility

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MSI has released a new BETA BIOS for its Z690 and B660 motherboards which improve memory compatibility for Intel's Alder Lake Non-K CPUs.

MSI BETA BIOS For Z690 & B660 Motherboards Strengthens Memory Compatibility For Intel's Non-K Alder Lake CPUs

One of the main selling points of the B660 platform is that it supports XMP 3.0 technology while being more affordable than the Z690 motherboard options. Technically speaking, XMP 3.0 isn't memory overclocking but allows users to run their memory modules at the rated specs by DIMM manufacturers rather than the JEDEC specs. This allows faster performance than the non-XMP platforms such as H610 which will be running at JEDEC specs of DDR4-3200 or DDR5-4800. Intel's Non-K Alder Lake CPUs also don't feature fully-unlocked memory overclocking due to a locked VCCSA (CPU SA Voltage). This means that most users won't be able to run DDR4-3600 at Gear 1 mode.

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To circumvent this issue, MSI has released a new BIOS that not only improves memory support but also applies Gear 2 mode on certain motherboards when running modules rated at DDR4-3600 or higher

Non-K Alder Lake (Intel 12th Gen CPU) RAM Overclocking Limitation with Locked VCCSAAs you may know, there's RAM overclocking limitation with Intel Non-K Alder Lake (12th Gen) processors. It's because Non-K Alder Lake CPU has locked VCCSA (CPU SA Voltage) and users cannot increase CPU SA voltage of non-K Alder Laker. It may impact RAM overclocking and you may not be able to run DDR4-3600 stable with Gear 1 Mode.

If your system is unstable when DDR4 RAM runs at 3600Mhz, it's suggested to:

Update to the latest BIOS as listed below (which applies Gear 2 mode automatically when memory is at 3600Mhz and higher).

Or manually apply Gear 2 mode for now and wait for future BIOS update.

From MSI internal test, so far the result is as below,
*All result is done by MP CPU, QS CPU might have inconsistent result as MP CPU*

  • Non-K + B chipset = cannot increase VCCSA (it sits around 0.91x to 0.92xV depending on IMC quality)
  • Non-K + Z chipset = cannot increase VCCSA (it sits around 0.91x to 0.92xV depending on IMC quality)
  • K + B chipset = can increase VCCSA (This scenario was not confirmed by Intel, but so far it worked)
  • K + Z chipset = can increase VCCSA

My system is unstable when DDR4 memory runs at 3600Mhz. What can I do?
Manually apply Gear 2 mode for now and wait for future BIOS update (which will apply Gear 2 mode automatically when memory is at 3600Mhz)
Is it a hardware limitation or is it possible to change it with BIOS update in the future?
Intel had confirmed VCCSA lock on non-K CPU is according to the Intel specification. Until further notice from Intel, BIOS update cannot unlock the limitation.

via MSI

MSI Z690 BETA BIOS For Intel Alder Lake Non-K Desktop CPUs

Motherboard Beta BIOS Version Download Link Improve non-K CPU RAM compatibility (DDR4 only)
MEG Z690 GODLIKE E7D26IMS.111 DDR5
PRO Z690-A / (WIFI) E7D25IMS.A22 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D25vA22.zip DDR5
PRO Z690-P DDR4 E7D36IMS.A15 Not yet (Manually apply Gear 2 Mode if DDR freq = 3600Mhz)
MEG Z690I UNIFY E7D29IMS.124 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D29v124.zip DDR5
MAG Z690 TORPEDO E7D32IMS.A22 DDR5
MPG Z690 EDGE WIFI E7D31IMS.H21 DDR5
MEG Z690 ACE E7D27IMS.123 DDR5
MPG Z690 FORCE WIFI E7D30IMS.A22 DDR5
MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI / (EK X) E7D30IMS.123 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D30v123.zip DDR5
MPG Z690 EDGE WIFI DDR4 E7D31IMS.122 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D31v122.zip YES
MPG Z690 EDGE TI WIFI DDR4 E7D31IMS.A22 https://download-cn.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D31vA22.zip YES
MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI E7D32IMS.H22 DDR5
MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 E7D32IMS.123 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D32v123.zip YES
PRO Z690-A DDR4 / (WIFI) E7D25IMS.126 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D25v126.zip YES
MEG Z690 UNIFY E7D28IMS.121 DDR5
MEG Z690 UNIFY-X E7D28IMS.A22 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D28vA22.zip DDR5

MSI B660 BETA BIOS For Intel Alder Lake Non-K Desktop CPUs

Motherboard Beta BIOS Version Download Link Improve non-K CPU RAM compatibility (DDR4 only)
MAG B660M BAZOOKA DDR4 E7D43IMS.H11 Not yet (Manually apply Gear 2 Mode if DDR freq = 3600Mhz)
PRO B660M-A / (WIFI) DDR4 E7D43IMS.112 Not yet (Manually apply Gear 2 Mode if DDR freq = 3600Mhz)
MAG B66M MORTAR / (WIFI) E7D42IMS.A12 DDR5
MAG B660M MORTAR DDR4 / (WIFI) E7D42IMS.124 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D42v124.zip YES
MAG B660 TOMAHAWK WIFI DDR4 E7D41IMS.222 https://download.msi.com/bos_exe/mb/7D41v222.zip YES
PRO B660M-G/-B DDR4 E7D45IMS.111 Not yet (Manually apply Gear 2 Mode if DDR freq = 3600Mhz)
PRO B660M BOMBER DDR4 E7D46IMS.211 Not yet (Manually apply Gear 2 Mode if DDR freq = 3600Mhz)
PRO B660M-E DDR4 E7D46IMS.211 Not yet (Manually apply Gear 2 Mode if DDR freq = 3600Mhz)
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