MSI PRO Z690-A WIFI DDR5 on Corsair Vengeance i7400

Hi All,

I have purchased (2nd hand) a Corsair Vengeance I7400 which has an MSI Z690 PRO A WIFI (DDR5) board in it. However, the board absolutely refuses to take MSI BIOS upgrades/updates.

It WILL however take a BIOS I found on Corsairs site - CORSAIR Downloads | CORSAIR iCUE Software (Search i7400, scroll and show more results) I would link it directly but Corsair’s site is built to make that more difficult.

Bios: A.CB 10/25/22 - OEM ID: CRSRCO - Bios TAG: 1AXFE01

My supposition is that Corsair has flashed a propriatary bios that is signed somehow. And that is what is preventing MSI OEM Bios’s from flashing.

After speaking with Corsair support I was told (indirectly) that boards that ship with 32GB installed are effectively locked to only supporting 32GB total. I have 4x16GB 5600MT’s memory ready to go, but the board refuses to POST with 4x16’s in it. I have gotten into the bios after resetting cmos, and it sees 4x16, but will not post. It WILL however post with 2x 16’s in it.

What (ideally) I’m looking for is the following:

A way to remove the Corsair BIOS, and instead flash

Returning the board to OEM spec.

I have been exploring ways to flash the OEM bios, and thus far have tried:

  1. MFlash - Fails.100% of the time. I get an error related to secure mode. This state is confirmed by Corsair not to work.
  2. Flash Button on back - Yes I’ve used a USB2.0 / FAT or FAT32, and renamed bios to MSI.ROM everytime I’ve tried it it flashes for several seconds then stays constant RED. I assume the BIOS is being stopped from flashing because of the Corsair BIOS present.

Yet to try:

EFI Flash - I believe this is the way forward, and suspect that there is a way to force flash a bios regardless of checks and security. But this is where my knowledge runs out. Perhaps some helpful person can help?

I suspect that another way to achieve what I’m trying to do is to “Sign” the OEM bios with the Corsair key - but again this is beyond my skillset thus far.

Please, I need some help here. I’m hoping that some smart, enterprising and skilled person here can help me.

Thanks so much for reading, and maybe even helping.

First of all that “indirect” contact is not a reliable source… the statement of limiting that Z690 with only 32Gb is also very doubtful in such modern chipset and DDR5…
It’s just my opinion and hard to believe this…but possible.

There’s a few users with similar situation like yours, with different brands and system models that have successfully cross flashed OEM with RETAIL bios, this usually requires an SPI programmer (99%), a few can be done with the Intel FPT tool from the ME FW 16 tools package (That you can try it…).
Regular tools for flashing, like the ones you tried and the ones you may will always fails due to several ids on bios code and implemented security measures in modern bios AMI Aptio V based and UEFI specs.

The Intel FPT tool needs access to all regions of the SPI bios content for reading write operations (MSI usually is unlocked) and this tool ignores ALL and writes whatever the data we told too, so right or wrong it always user fault when incorrect data is provided to the tool.

ME 16 reference guidance

You can wait for other user pov.
Good luck.

Backup dumps can be made with AFUWIN or the Intel FPT tool.

No one is going to lose their time in such operation, as theres too much data to change in bios spread across various modules (AMITSE, FsRecovery, DsdtAsl, AcpiAtd…etc…)

The term cross flash here used is force to program the IC/SPI with another bios.

And i’m sorry, but by the contents of your post, you don’t have enough knowledge to advance in this area, not going to advance further details. we don’t like to see users with death systems, especially when it’s their main system and not a spare.
I’m sure you’ll understand this, besides being your own choice.

Final note: You can use the official MSI ME Firmware ver: ME_16.1.30.2330 update file on your system, this will not interfere with the Corsair OEM bios.

I have hear before that MSI boards used for OEM systems that comes with Windows preinstalled have custom BIOSes because the OEM Windows license goes into an ACPI Table, which is of course in the Firmware itself. Tools are designed with that in mind so that you don’t crossflash the standard BIOS because it would cause Windows issues.

I have experience with that board because Coreboot. You COULD try with flashrom in Linux to force MSI standard BIOS. The problem is that I have no idea how FlashBIOS would work in that scenario, in case it bricks and you need recovery. By default, the vendor tools does not write to a specific area (Which we call MSI ROMHole) where unique board info like UUID and Serial Number are stored, so it means that you need proper parameters to not blow everything up.

Thanks! How would I go about getting those parameters? Do I need to do a ROM Dump somehow?

Is there value in trying to find a way to save the current BIOS and post it so someone can cross check or make some sort of custom flash?

Frankly I’d be happy to pay someone to do this - I can do many many things, but we’re right on the edge of my technical expertise here.

Another idea is - SPI programmer - do I need special hardware for that? Would it be madness to get a new BIOS Chip and desolder/replace the chip on board? Or have bios chips been 86’d in favor of some sort of NVRAM chip?

As far as FlashBIOS - If the standard flash doesnt write to MSI ROMhole - wouldnt that make the information safe?

You need:
Secure Boot disabled
An USB Flash Drive with Ubuntu LiveCD (Maybe Arch Linux could work and is smaller/faster, but didn’t tested), and Flashrom 1.3
Somewhere that you can write to cause you usually can’t write to same Flash Drive that you booted from

To dump:
flashrom -p internal -r dump.rom
(Most likely sudo flashrom because you need root privileges)

To flash:
flashrom -p internal -w whatevername.rom --ifd -i bios

All the intermediate steps of how to do things… you will have to figure on your own. And I don’t promise results.

You can use a CH341A reprogrammer. You don’t need to desolder or replace the chip. The TPM Header has all the pins you need to connect individual cables to it: Recovery - Dasharo Universe

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Thanks for the information. I wonder - when flashing the BIOS - should Secure Boot be disabled? (Specifically when trying to use the flash button, or MFlash? Could this be an issue?)

I’m having a hard time parsing out why a board would refuse to flash a genuine BIOS. Does my theory of a custom bios preventing updates except ones signed with a specific key hold any water?

Also - the SPI programmer - It’s an idea and probably something I could handle. I read the link you sent from top to bottom. In it it suggests taking a backup os SMIBIOS and the information contained within, but then goes on to say that that information could be somehow rolled into a BIOS flash file using custom BIOS tools. Assuming this is true, and assuming I could find someone technically apt enough - could one request a specific bios be “made/modified” for this board?

Got any advice regarding my idea of using EFI shell to flash the bios? Can one not use AMIefix64.efi to flash an OEM bios?

Thanks so much for your reply. You are correct, I dont have enough knowledge. That’s why I’m trying to learn and understand what it is that I need to get this done.

It sounds like getting an SP programmer is whats required.

The ME firmware - How does one go about applying that? Does it provide things like additional memory compatibility?

Mainly Intel security as this released by them for the OEMs, additional modifications/improvements its only OEMs labs internal info… this usually is not public or they just shared on what its supposed to be simple info for the end user.
Its reported to fix/compatibility/oc/etc in some mb models, nothing to lose on updating, but as always this it user choice.

Guidance regarding ME, was already linked in previous post. But the MSI file is ready for end user.

Thats it, nothing more to add, all the best and good luck.