MSI Pro Z960-A

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This article discusses early findings of the MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4 mainboard with the Dasharo boot firmware.


Information about Dasharo

Dasharo is open-source firmware distribution focusing on clean and simple code, long-term maintenance, transparent validation, privacy-respecting implementation, liberty for the owners, and trustworthiness for all.

Dasharo consists of productized services, open-core, and SaaS products which help to provide scalable, modular, easy to combine open-source BIOS, UEFI, and firmware solutions. It offers the components that are needed to develop and maintain a high quality, and modular firmware, for the stability and security of your platform.

Dasharo Issue Tracker "msi_ms7d25"

Be aware that Dasharos issue-tracker labels the MSI PRO Z690-A as msi_ms7d25 instead (an internal number used by MSI & coreboot for development to include other but similar versions of this mainboard).


Flashing Dasharo

hrafna@tryggva:~/ROMs$ sudo flashrom -p internal -r vendor.rom
flashrom v1.2-567-gf4eb405 on Linux 5.17.0-1-amd64 (x86_64)
flashrom is free software, get the source code at https://flashrom.org

Using clock_gettime for delay loops (clk_id: 1, resolution: 1ns).
No DMI table found.
Found chipset "Intel Z690".
This chipset is marked as untested. If you are using an up-to-date version
of flashrom *and* were (not) able to successfully update your firmware with it,
then please email a report to flashrom@flashrom.org including a verbose (-V) log.
Thank you!
Enabling flash write... SPI Configuration is locked down.
Enabling hardware sequencing because some important opcode is locked.
OK.
Found Programmer flash chip "Opaque flash chip" (32768 kB, Programmer-specific) mapped at physical address 0x0000000000000000.
Reading flash... done.


sensors / lm_sensors

It works with lm_sensors, but you need to install a driver. Please follow the instructions on README: https://github.com/Fred78290/nct6687d

As for the fans' high speeds, we (Dasharo) do not touch any fan settings, they run on the default policy programmed into Embedded Controller. There are no datasheets and specifications for the chip and its firmware, so implementing fan curve customization would be a significant effort. The noise also depends on the selected fan part I believe. We can run some benchmarks too and see if the fans are really that noisy. But for sure when the machine is idling fans are not even audible at all in our setups.


Non-Wifi / Wifi Versions of the MSI PRO Z690-A DDR4

Q: Does the "MSI Pro Z690-A DDR4" (SKU 7D25-002R) also work, or does it have to be the Wifi (SKU 7D25-012R) version?

A: Yes, it should. The only difference here is the lack of integrated WiFi. Although the SMBIOS will still populate strings of WiFi SKU (we have to add a patch to automatically detect if the WiFi is present or not and populate SMBIOS strings accordingly).


UEFI

Q: I'm required to manually boot Debian from the UEFI shell (FS0:\EFI\GRUB\grubx64.efi); neither boot drive seems to be recognized and booted automatically (tried an USB stick with the Debian Testing or Ubuntu 20.04 installer as well as our NVMe with Debian Testing installed).

A: That's a known problem of the UEFI specification/Linux distros. The specification defines that there must be \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI or \EFI\BOOT\BOOTIA32.EFI file present on the ESP partition. Otherwise the media is not detected as bootable by EDK2 UEFIPayload. Ubuntu on the other hand leaves a BOOTX64.EFI file so the driver is always detected and when the file is executed, a new boot menu entry is automatically added for Ubuntu. This is how they solved the problem. Shame that Debian didn't pick it up yet. BIOS from IBVs typically scans the drives to look for files like grubx64.efi or shimx64.efi and may add the entry manually I think. This is something we can do too and I will add it to the feature request list.

Benchmarks

ongoing...


Vikings Test System Components

External Links