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Recently I upgraded my motherboard (to MSI Gaming Plus Max b450) with a newer chipset to have better support my previous upgraded Ryzen 3700X CPU. Obviously, when you ‘upgrade’ a motherboard, it’s rather a full new build again just with existing parts and that the only scenario you are expecting is everything turns back on and hopes it works again. Sadly this isn’t the case, and it is by far the most frustrating build I’ve done!
I hope this tip can save you endless re-tries or hours of reading and watching videos online or even making the wrong decision to RMA your motherboard when things don’t work out.
So what doesn’t work out?
Unlike what this motherboard’s name suggests, I don’t plan to use it for gaming. I need it to speed up my daily work, and my work involves running docker containers and running virtualized OS. And by default, the setting for AMD’s Ryzen virtualization technology (SVM mode) is disabled.
So let’s enable it in the BIOS. But you will soon realize if you follow most other guide out there by going to Advanced > OC > Other Settings > (looking for CPU features). The setting is missing from my motherboard. What?!
Long story short, after more digging and countless BIOS version flash, the answer lies in the above menu. The SVM mode setting has been moved under OC > Overclocking > Advanced CPU Configurations.
This is where you can change the SVM Mode from Disabled to Enabled.
I hope this solves your issue of enabling virtualization with the MSI B450 Gaming Plus Max motherboard. Unfortunately, there are more headaches for me with this motherboard that I have yet to figure out. The board would sometimes think CPU is not detected. As a result, nothing boots up.
Today, we will walk through one of my frustration when it comes to upgrading my own AMD Ryzen build from a Ryzen 3 1200 CPU (or any Ryzen 1000 series) to Ryzen 7 3700x Zen 2 (3000 series, or 3rd Gen Ryzen) CPU while keeping everything else the same. Some background sets the stage so you can reference if you have trouble upgrading the CPU when it comes with yours. I’m running:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-AB350M D3H
CPU: Ryzen 3 1200 (was) => Ryzen 7 3700x (new)
4 slots of DDR4-2400 RAM each with 8GB from Samsung (this became important information later on)
The key information here is the B350 chipset. If your motherboard is from another manufacturer (i.e. MSI), you too can follow this guide; it should be very similar, but some specific steps might be different. This chipset, according to AMD, should support up to the Zen2 series of CPUs which is the lineup named with the Ryzen 3000 series. You also want to check with your motherboard to ensure it supports the CPU you wish to upgrade. It is also worth mention that reinstalling Windows is NOT required for this upgrade to work.
Troubleshoot Why CPU Upgrade Didn’t Work
After I followed all the steps were in the previous post. I started up the desktop, and nothing loads. I get a blank screen, and around 10 seconds, the PC would power cycle and continue reboot itself. And the motherboard I have does not have onboard diagnoses LED, so you can’t tell which part of the motherboard panic and didn’t even load the BIOS screen.
What ends up helping me solve the issue is the user manual and Gigabyte Support website. I missed two key steps when it comes to preparing the upgrade. First, I had no recollection of when and how I upgraded the existing motherboard’s BIOS. All I know it’s not running the original, and it’s the second most up-to-date BIOS version, which should support the new CPU that I’m upgrading to. This post a problem as, according to the Gigabyte GA-AB350M-D3H manual, you have to upgrade the BIOS in sequential steps! While you can jump and upgrade the BIOS to the latest, it often doesn’t contain the proper function if you skipped some required version.
The other missteps I made was if you want to use all four RAM slots on the motherboard with the new CPU you need to run the “EC FW update Tool” and this also requires the chipset to be upgraded. Otherwise, you cannot run even if you upgraded the BIOS with the proper step upgrade.
Note: 1. If you are using Q-Flash Utility to update BIOS, make sure you have updated BIOS to F31 before F40. 2. Before update BIOS to F40, you have to install EC FW Update Tool (B19.0517.1 or later version) to avoid 4DIMM DDR compatibility on 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ CPU. 3. Due to BIOS ROM size limited, NO Bristol Ridge (AMD 7th Gen A-series/ Athlon™ X4 series) APU support.
As a result, the EC FW update Tool upgrade triggered the backup BIOS to load and my BIOS was completely reset to the original F version.
So this actually made the upgrade easier as the first required upgrade is F31, the next would be F40 and lastly, the latest upgrade is F51c. That is 3 BIOS upgrades if you wish to upgrade to the latest.
Once you are on the latest then try to swap the new CPU in again. This time it worked after many failed attempts.
I was about to open a return order for the new CPU and thought to give this one more try and this time it paid off. This speaks to how important to read every single instruction and have it well prepared if you want to do a heart surgery for your desktop. It worked for me hopefully it will work for you! I’m counting on this new build to last for another 10 year down the road.