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ASUS ROG STRIX B350-F GAMING - Occasional freeze with FreeBSD

Level 7
Hi all, I am a total newbie when it comes to this forum, so please allow me a bit of ignorance and learning. 🙂

Back in 2018 I purchased a "ASUS ROG STRIX B350-F GAMING AM4 AMD B350 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard" to build a new FreeBSD based home server. I am very happy with my purchase. However occasionally I get a total OS freeze, and in this case I get no logs to explain why. So I am guessing. The FreeBSD forums have various discussion, but ultimately they seem to come back to two items: (1) AMD Ryzen cpu has freezing issues with linux and BSD, (2) ASUS bios 'bug' for lack of better words. One article I found online mentioned ASUS confirmed issues with AMD Ryzen and would be issuing code to fix that.

Firstly my motherboard (MB) is running factory stock bios code, I don't know which version, but it shipped from back in 2018. My server is headless so no video card, but I can add one in to get info if you folks require. ASUS notes say not to do an upgrade unless its needed to fix an issue. So I'd rather not, unless some of you folks can say absolutely that I need to upgrade to fix known issues with my MB running Ryzen 5 1600, and FreeBSD.

Assuming I do an upgrade what do I need to know? Can I go straight to the release of code I need? Or do I need to hop on a few intermediate releases before going to the final one? Do I need to do any other types of MB code upgrade to support certain flavours of code? Is it possible to 'brick' my MB and if so, how do I ensure I don't.

I did some searching to find previous discussion but didn't find what I thought were the right threads. So, assuming this has been discussed before, what discussion threads should I be reading to (a) better determine if I need to do an upgrade, (b) what release I should go to, and (c) how to perform the upgrade correctly.

EDIT - or maybe the 'old' bios is fine and there is a specific setting I should change?

Thanks a bunch ,
FreeBSD Lover 😄

Level 12
I would update the bios, to at least Version 5204 2019/08/07 (after this the bios add ryzen 3000 support which currently you may not / don't need - see my latter note)

The AMD chipset drivers v18.50.16 (windows) required updated bios to Version 4602 which I suspect may be the cause of your random freeze issue in your chosen OS. Your bios is going to be long before the one I recommend above. The latest bios in 2018 was Version 4207 (which I suspect your motherboard bios will predate this).

The linux bug was caused by/in RdRand function, I would assume that, AMD had a hardware bug only for it's Family 15h (Bulldozer) and Family 16h (Jaguar) processors, as under Linux, they have now decided to no longer advertise support. However for the AMD Zen family, it was microcode bios update for RdRand. However I am unsure which version of the bios included the patch and you may need to consider the latest if my suggestion above does not fix the freeze issue. There was test script for linux users, to check the patch worked (maybe google it) the function is supposed to give random numbers but was only giving one answer (this is my understanding, since it never affected me or my OS I'm relying on what I have read about the issue.)

Please be patient with me I don't use your OS but trying to help you out and this is the first place I would start and the reason why this might be cause of your random freezing issue.

Hope you find my information helpful.

Thanks a bunch RedSector73. I will read through your comments and few times and try to do more research (a) the AMD issues, and (b) how to do a bios upgrade. I'm scared to death to be truthful; don't want to brick the MB.

Last night I did make a change to a setting, based on a few discussions I read online. I changed a setting from "low current idle" (I think it was) to "Typical current idle". I understand that turns off C6 states, whatever that means. I'll monitor that for a few while so bear with me. It could be a month before you hear back from me; my occasional freezing was just that: occasional. I could go a couple weeks to a month or two between freezes.

For the benefit of the readers, this is not a "crash" (core dump) issues I am having. Many call it freezing, some call it deadlocking I believe. The box just stops and there are no logs, no core dumps, no exception errors written in those logs, etc, etc,

ROG boards are little more expensive but you cant brick them, they have bios flashback function that works even if the bios is not operational or even the cpu. A future option next time your buying a board. That said, bricking a motherboard during bios upgrade or from one is extremely rare, I think you have better chance of being hit from a lighting strike.

How to for a BIOS install, asus motherboard.