Help wanted to downgrade/re-program ME firmware (v8.0 - 8.1) on Intel Series 7 Chipset

Hello everyone,

I am having some trouble with an Intel Z77 chipset motherboard, a used Asus P8Z77-WS which I purchased recently and intended to use as a replacement for my other board an Asus P8Z77-V Premium which has an i7-3770K CPU. For the P8Z77-WS board I purchased a cheap i5-3330S CPU which is 2.7GHz default with a 3.2GHz Turbo. This is partly where the problem is because it will not now? enter Turbo mode when running intensive stress tests like prime95 or IntelBurnTest. Unfortunately I did not verify whether it was working after I set the PC up because I was eager to update the Bios and ME firmware to the latest. It was using quite an old Asus Bios which I updated to 3505 and then updated the old ME firmware first to the Asus v8.1 (8.1.0.1248) firmware and then to v8.1.70.1590 which I also use on the P8Z77-V Premium. The Turbo works fine on the P8Z77-v Premium with the unlocked i7-3770K. The online recommendations not involving anything with the ME firmware to get Turbo working (temporarily) have not worked.

There are also a few more problems which I believe could be related to the ME. The case fans always run at full speed no matter how they are set in the Bios ie silent makes no difference nor does any manual setting that I set. The speed never alters except for a very minor amount. The CPU fan does however run at a reduced speed, the CPU temperature is very low.

Lastly and something that I have a big issue with is the power usage of the system. Using a power meter showing the power from the wall, the P8Z77-WS uses 72 to 75 when idling whereas the P8Z77-V Premium uses only around 52/53 Watts when the EPU is set to max power saving. The P8Z77-WS was using around ~85-90 Watts with a GTX1660 fitted (idling) which I want to use on the motherboard.

I have attempted to downgrade the system Bios to a much earlier version which contains a very early v8.0 ME in DOS without success. Bios Flashback certainly does not alter the ME firmware. because I have reflashed via Bios Flashback the 3505 bios.

Reading online suggests that Intel implemented a firmware downgrade prevention which cannot be worked around but I think that this might only be on newer chipsets than the series 7 and newer ME firmware versions. Is that correct?

I would appreciate some help to get it fully working, the Turbo mode, case fans and the system power usage especially. I assume that there is a problem with the ME firmware, maybe some corruption although MEManufWin64.exe (shown below) does not seem to show any problem.

I have just attempted to re-do the 8.1 ME firmware update from the Asus website. It is a much older ME firmware but I thought it was worth a try seeing as the info below suggests? that the ME firmware lock does not look like it is active. Anyway the update is not proceeding, it has locked up saying not to shutdown or restart. It is taking far too long so it looks like something is not functioning. What should I do now?

Does the following line mean that the ME lock is off?
Host ME Region Flash Protection Override (HMRFPO) Status: Disabled

https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z77_WS/HelpDesk_BIOS/

P8Z77-WS:

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ME Current Working State:                                                       Normal
Manufacturing Mode: Active
ME Current Operation Mode: Normal
 
Intel Manageability Engine Features
Intel ME Version: 8.1, Build 1590, Hot Fix 70
Intel ME Recovery Image Version: 8.1, Build 1590, Hot Fix 70
Intel ME FITC Version: 8.0, Build 1410, Hot Fix 2
 
ME Firmware Capabilities
Full Network Manageability: Not Capable
Standard Network Manageability: Not Capable
Manageability (AMT): Not Capable
Small Business Advantage: Not Capable
Manageability Upgrade: Not Capable
Intel Anti-Theft: Not Capable
Capability Licensing Service: Capable
Virtualization Engine: Not Capable
Power Sharing Technology (MPC): Capable
ICC Over Clocking: Capable
Protected Audio Video Path (PAVP): Capable
Identity Protection Technology (IPT): Not Capable
Remote PC Assist (RPAT): Not Capable
IPV6: Not Capable
KVM Remote Control: Not Capable
Outbreak Containment Heuristic (OCH): Not Capable
Virtual LAN (VLAN): Capable
Cipher Transport Layer (TLS): Not Capable
Wireless LAN (WLAN): Not Capable
Platform Trust Technology (PTT): Not Capable
Near Field Communication (NFC): Not Capable
 
ME Firmware Feature State
Full Network Manageability: Disabled
Standard Network Manageability: Disabled
Manageability (AMT): Disabled
Small Business Advantage: Not Capable
Manageability Upgrade: Not Capable
Intel Anti-Theft: Disabled
Capability Licensing Service: Enabled
Virtualization Engine: Disabled
Power Sharing Technology (MPC): Enabled
ICC Over Clocking: Enabled
Protected Audio Video Path (PAVP): Enabled
Identity Protection Technology (IPT): Not Capable
Remote PC Assist (RPAT): Disabled
IPV6: Disabled
KVM Remote Control: Disabled
Outbreak Containment Heuristic (OCH): Disabled
Virtual LAN (VLAN): Capable
Cipher Transport Layer (TLS): Disabled
Wireless LAN (WLAN): Disabled
Platform Trust Technology (PTT): Disabled
Near Field Communication (NFC): Disabled
 
ME Firmware Platform Type
Platform Target Usage Type: Desktop
Platform Target Market Type: Consumer
SKU: Regular SKU
ME Firmware Image Type: 1.5MB Firmware
Platform Brand: None
 
Host ME Region Flash Protection Override (HMRFPO) Status: Disabled
 


P8Z77-V Premium:
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Intel(R) MEManuf Version: 8.1.10.1286
Copyright(C) 2005 - 2012, Intel Corporation. All rights reserved.
 

FW Status Register1: 0x1E000255
FW Status Register2: 0x60000106
 
CurrentState: Normal
ManufacturingMode: Enabled
FlashPartition: Valid
OperationalState: M0 with UMA
InitComplete: Complete
BUPLoadState: Success
ErrorCode: No Error
ModeOfOperation: Normal
ICC: Valid OEM data, ICC programmed
 
Get FWU info command...done
 
Get FWU version command...done
 
Get FWU feature state command...done
 
Get ME FWU platform type command...done
 
Get ME FWU feature capability command...done
Feature enablement is 0x1101C40
gFeatureAvailability value is 0x1
 
Request Intel(R) ME test result command...done
System is running on consumer/1.5M image, start Intel(R) ME Runtime Test
 
ME initialization state valid
ME operation mode valid
Current operation state valid
ME error state valid
Verifying FW Status Register1...done
OEM ICC data valid and programmed correctly
 
Request Intel(R) ME test result command...done
vsccommn.bin was created on 03:27:24 06/19/2012 GMT
SPI Flash ID #1 ME VSCC value is 0x2005
SPI Flash ID #1 (ID: 0x1C3117) ME VSCC value checked
SPI Flash ID #1 BIOS VSCC value is 0x2005
SPI Flash ID #1 (ID: 0x1C3117) BIOS VSCC value checked
FPBA value is 0x0
No Intel vPro Wireless device was found
 
Request Intel(R) ME Runtime BIST test command...done
 
Get Intel(R) ME test data command...done
Total of 12 Intel(R) ME test result retrieved
 
MicroKernel - Internal Hardware Tests: Internal Hardware Tests - Passed
 
Policy Kernel - Power Package: Package 1 supported - Passed
Policy Kernel - Power Package: Default package supported - Passed
 
MicroKernel - Blob Manager: Set - Passed
MicroKernel - Blob Manager: Get - Passed
MicroKernel - Blob Manager: Remove - Passed
 
Policy Kernel - ME Configuration: Wlan Power Well - Passed
Policy Kernel - ME Configuration: PROC_MISSING - Passed
Policy Kernel - ME Configuration: M3 Power Rails Available - Passed
Policy Kernel - ME Recovery: ME Recovery mode check - Passed
Policy Kernel - Embedded Controller: Power source type - Passed
Policy Kernel - SMBus: Read byte - Failed
Error 9331: SMBus hardware is not ready
 
Clear Intel(R) ME test data command...done
Get EPID Group ID command...done
 
EPID Group ID: 846
 
EPID GID Check passed
 
Error 9296: MEManuf Test Failed
 

Use MEInfo to check if you have Host Read/Write access to ME. If you don’t have read/write access, read [Guide] Unlock Intel Flash Descriptor Read/Write Access Permissions for SPI Servicing. Otherwise, download the latest BIOS from ASUS, remove the AMI Capsule via UEFITool (Extract as is… the “Intel image” > spi.bin) and run Flash Programming Tool via “fptw64 -f spi.bin” followed by “fptw64 -greset”. After the reboot, the board should have a stock/healthy firmware.

Thank you for helping me with this.

I don’t know whether you missed this in my “giant” text. lol

"I have just attempted to re-do the 8.1 ME firmware update from the Asus website. It is a much older ME firmware but I thought it was worth a try seeing as the info below suggests? that the ME firmware lock does not look like it is active. Anyway the update is not proceeding, it has locked up saying not to shutdown or restart. It is taking far too long so it looks like something is not functioning. What should I do now?"

That was last night and the Asus update software is still running now but cannot be getting anywhere. There are some dots which are updating so the software does not seem to have hung but it does not take 21 hours to update the ME firmware.

I have run MEInfo on the PC and it shows:

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Intel(R) MEInfo Version: 8.1.56.1541
Copyright(C) 2005 - 2014, Intel Corporation. All rights reserved.
 

Error 9458: Communication error between application and Intel(R) ME module (FW Update client)
 
Error 9459: Internal error (Could not determine FW features information)
 


Therefore it looks like it has erased the ME firmware but is not updating/replacing it. I have not killed the process because I did not know what to do next. Will the PC still boot and operate without the ME firmware v8. How should I now proceed?

The steps I’ve provided will repair the ME firmware, which seems to be corrupt in your motherboard. Since MEInfo is not an option when the ME is corrupt, check if you have read access manually by running “fptw64 -d spi.bin”. If it completes successfully, you probably have write access as well so proceed as explained at Help wanted to downgrade/re-program ME firmware (v8.0 - 8.1) on Intel Series 7 Chipset (Download BIOS etc…).

Thank you for your advice.

It has reflashed the Bios with a lower Bios version with a lower ME version. Strangely, the FiTC?, if I remember that correctly is now identical to the ME version whereas it was not previously because the FiTC? was a lower version number than the ME version.

Unfortunately it has not fixed any of the problems. The power usage is still around 73-75 watts, the fans are running at 100% and the Turbo is none functional. Therefore everything is exactly as it was before except the Bios version and ME version are both lower.

While the Bios was being reflashed, it did say that the Gbe (region) was missing and so was the PCH I think it might of been. The Gbe gigabit ethernet I did read something about it which might explain what it showed. The mouse is also none functional in the Bios in either the USB 2 or USB 3 ports on the front of my case whereas it was previously. The mouse does work in windows in the same ports and another mouse worked in them in the bios. Very weird behaviour.

Could the Bios eeprom be faulty and could it be causing corruption? If I can determine if there is some fault in the Bios chip then I might replace it and reprogram it with a programmer, they are fairly inexpensive.

If I use the last command you gave (fptw64 -d spi.bin) to read the bios to a file and then compare the file/file hash with the original bios image that I programmed do you think that might work to test for corruption? Is there anything else which might cause these problems that you can think of?

I seem to remember that the flash program did verify the data therefore I doubt that there could be any corruption. There must be a reason for why things are not functioning as expected.

Are there any other tests or procedures that will be of benefit to diagnose where the problem(s) lie?

Post a screenshot of ThrottleStop with running TS Bench.


Throttlestop looks useful.

I have fixed the problem with Turbo. There are still a couple of issues to fix one of which I am fairly sure has something to do with the Intel Management Engine.

I noticed that the CPU driver in windows showed a fault error 32 in Device Manager. Searches picked up a thread on the acronis website which helped me fix it. Updating the driver would not work but manually selecting the Intel CPU did correct the problem. That was different to the directions give which was to select the other CPU type, not specifically Intel. I don’t think a CPU driver can affect the Turbo mode which is a hardware feature but settings can affect it. That Throttlestop program can disable Turbo which was not disabled. Therefore I think it was the reporting of CPU frequency to monitoring programs which was at fault.

The reporting of the CPU frequency did reduce to 1.6GHz at idle. It is now reporting as increasing to 3.2GHz.

However that still leaves the other, bigger problems! The case fans are still running at 100% and the system power is still no lower than 72/73 watts, 20 watts higher than the other system which has a i7-3770K CPU and more features ie a 92xx Marvel controller ie 4x6Gbit SATA compared with Marvel 91xx 2xSATA 6Gbit. There is also Thunderbolt on the other system.

Something of note is that the specifications say that there is an 3 colour LED which is meant to show the system state, whether it is overclocked, standard or power saving. Red is meant to mean overclocked. The manual gives no clues where this LED is located but the only one that it could be is in the centre of the motherboard and it blinks red! I have never seen it any other colour. The LED is on when the system is powered and goes out when in S3 standby. I have searched for clues to confirm that it is the Correct LED but cannot find anything. A number of Asus mobos have this feature, on their WS mobos of different generations. I do not understand why the LED would show overclocking when my system is not overclocked, it is a none K CPU which has very limited overclocking capability.

The PSU in the P8Z77-WS system is quite old a Corsair 520 HX and not efficient so I will swap it for the Seasonic 550 Platinum PSU from the P8Z77-V Premium system which should lower the power usage from the wall a little, but I very much doubt it will get close to 20 watts difference, probably no more than 5 to 10 watts. While I am at it I might just swap the CPU & heatsink into my main case as well and find out how much power it uses. I would be much more satisfied if it uses 55 watts like my current system, plus 9-10 watts for the GTX 1660. The PCI-e x16 slots are all dead in my P8Z77-V Premium therefore I cannot use the GTX 1660. I would of liked to get it fixed but I cannot find anyone who is able to fix it.

First all, the cpu system driver with errors, gives a clue of hardware miscommunication or corrupted OS, get a fresh OS install on a spare disk for troubleshooting steps, doing so also put a side the i5-3330S and get the K on it.
Use the Seasonic and a low level GPU if possible with no additional power requirements from PCIe, even a non UEFI card (Boot CSM Legacy)
Is the pins on the socket all OK, all well align?
At least use bios 3302 and stay on stock ME FW for now, i will not point BIOS chip failure for now…as all instructions given to u before were successful.
Ive seen several stable and normal operation motherboards with different ME in use, ME recovery and FICT, no point here also by now. ME analyser is a nice tool or use Intel tools to verify status.
Quoting a review on this P8Z77 WS "…Unfortunately, we found that as soon as you activate the XMP profiles, the turbo of the processor jumps to "all-core" and the CPU is overclocked at full load".
How is the TPU and EPU switch setting on the board? Default r disable and both leds will stay off.
Status codes given by the Q-Code indicator from start to finished boot sequence?
The 4 onboard Leds DRAM/CPU/VGA/HDD will be off after correct HW initialisation, last one to go off should be hdd/boot device. So in total u have 6 HW leds to check and Q-Code info.
In full run the total power can go as high as 380w and last core to 130 to last-idle 250-60, as idle itself at 62.5 to 73.8, quoting same review source that used a 3770k (77w TDP as we know it).
The scary part here is the fan response…and if all hell fails its HW issue that should be traced at circuit level.

Thank you for your advice. It has been very helpful and insightful.



Windows was only installed after I put this together in the last few weeks so it should be fine. It has hardly been used. It does not look like I am going to get the power usage much lower than 72 watts idle with the 520HX PSU, although I have no idea whether the 2 hard drives are powered down, 1 won’t be because it has the OS on it but the other is unused. [edit] it’s 69 watts with one HDD unplugged BTW there are 2 HDD and 1 SSD on my P8Z77-V Premium. [Following further work] Only 67 Watts in the Bios with that 1 HDD and a claimed 27x CPU multiplier and 63/64 in Windows with the same config. Therefore it is getting fairly close so there is some hope that it might get close to that 55 watts with a more efficient PSU.

When I can find some time I will swap the CPU’s and heatsinks and install the P8Z77-WS into my newer case with the Seasonic PSU. That is the only way to judge the power usage. That has a 500GB Samsung 840 SSD. The old Corsair 520HX PSU I am currently using with the mobo was always faulty, some of them were because they had a power good signalling problem which caused intermittent problems resuming from standby. I had enormous problems with that because the problem was very random and it was extremely difficult to diagnose.


I will try it using the onboard graphics on my current win 7 install because they should be compatible as they use the same Intel drive controller and Intel graphics. I do not use the Marvel controller (92xx) on the P8Z77-V Premium which has 2 more ports than the 91xx Marvel controller on the P8Z77-WS. That will give a more accurate judgment of any power usage difference because everything will be identical except for the motherboard.


Yes they are okay. I did check them with a magnifying glass after I received the board.


I did downgrade from 3505 to 3007 after the ME firmware update failure. However that stops my mouse from working in the Bios for some reason. Another mouse does work which is even stranger. I have now updated to 3302 (ME version 8.1.0.1248) after adding a 2.1 SLIC for use with Win 7. The mouse now works when connected to the same front panel via the USB 2.0 mobo header which 3307 did not.


I have disabled the Asus Multi Core Enhancement option in the bios. The board is now showing a green light in the centre of the board indicating power saving although it is making virtually no difference ~1-2 watts. The overclocked/normal/power saving LED was where I thought it was because after I loaded the optimized defaults and disabled Asus Multi Core Enhancement option the Green light is showing rather than it being Red as before. It is the component with the Asus marking which blinks/fades an LED colour as shown in the picture taken from a P8Z77-WS review@overclockersclub.com.

The mobo is very unforgiving about Bios settings because virtually any modification causes the Green Power Saving LED to change to Red (Overclocked). I have never seen it Blue ie Normal.


I have tried both, I had not used the TPU switch on my other P8Z77-V Premium mobo. I did have the EPU switch on and the TPU is off for a time but they are now both off ATM. The TPU switch is a bit of a waste of time with a none K CPU TBH. It made minimal difference when I tried it.


The Q Codes are difficult to keep track of because of the speed that they cycle through the codes. I have captured the Codes with a camera but it is still very difficult to judge the codes due to the LED brightness and my cameras lack of responsiveness, the Q Codes tend to fade from one to another. 88 an invalid code seems to show on the camera recording and there are others which are difficult to make out. Here is a list of what I could work out:
08 10 15 19 29 28 26 (88) 55 which is concerning as it is Memory not installed 38 92 4F (88) 61 62 (6 and a reverse 6 <6d?) 78 (88) 72 9A 98 94 96 B2 98 (B4 ?) 99 A2 AE A0
They are all off and as you say, the HDD one is last to turn off.



I believe that I have worked out the Fan control problem. It was caused by an error in the Manual! There is a 3 pin jumper to set the number of pins on the fans, either 3 pin or 4 pin chassis fans. The CPU fan is usually 4 pin but my case fans are 3 pin and 2 in front of the HDD cages which have no revolution/fan speed reporting ie old SilenX fans.

I replaced the fans with a fairly new 120mm fan which I know to be working. That also ran at full speed, it’s a 2000rpm fan. Then while looking at the manual I read (quoted text from the manual):



That last line made me consider whether the manual was incorrect. Changing the jumper to pins 2-3 corrected the problem and the fans are now regulated and running at lower speed depending upon the Fan expert setting ie Standard, Silent, Turbo or Manual. That is the opposite to the manual. I did have it on pins 1/2 as it was when it arrived. Therefore that now seems to be working. Therefore the P8Z77-WS manual does seem to be incorrect which created a lot of problems with this!


Fortunately it turned out to be nothing so dramatic, merely an error in the motherboard pdf manual. I do not have a printed manual but that must of been incorrect as well, with a resulting jumper on the wrong pins therefore the solution turned out to be easy but very time consuming.