Gigabyte Firmware / BIOS update for MergePoint Embedded Management Software and Motherboard

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You’d think by now manufactures would have a solid and concise process around updating their products. They are quick to warn users to not update their BIOS unless there is a problem and quick to state if there is a problem they usually won’t support it. This total cycle of disservice is a constant for low-end manufacturers, heck even some high server platforms have the same issues. I have these same concerns when I started to look into updating my current MX31-BS0 Motherboard (mobo).

What can soften this blow a bit? How about the ability to update your BIOS remotely? This is a great feature of the MX-31BS0 and in this blog post, I’ll show you how I updated the BIOS and the remote MergePoint EMS (MP-EMS) firmware too.

Initial Steps –

  • My system is powered off and the power supply can supply power to the mobo.
  • I have setup remote access to the MP-EMS site with an IP address and have access to it via a browser. Additionally, I have validated the vKVM function works without issue
  • I downloaded the correct Mobo BIOS and BMC or MP-EMS Firmware and have extracted these files
  • Steps below were completed on a Gigabyte MX31-BS0 from BIOS F01 > F10 and MP-EMS 8.01 > 8.41, your system may vary

1 – Access the MergePoint EMS site

Start out by going to the IP address for MP-EMS site. From the initial display screen, we can see the MP-EMS Firmware versions but not the Platform (or Mobo) BIOS Version. Why not you may ask? Well, the MP-EMS will only display Mobo information when the Mobo is powered on. Before you power on your Mobo I would recommend opening the vKVM session so that you can see the boot screen. When you power on your mobo (MP-EMS > Power > Control > Power On ) use the vKVM screen to halt at the ‘boot menu’ or even go into setup and disable all the boot devices.

In this PIC, we can see my Firmware for the MP-EMS is 8.01 and the BIOS is blank as the Mobo is not powered on.

2- Selecting the Mobo BIOS Update

I choose the following to update the Mobo BIOS. Start out by uploading the file: Update > ‘BIOS & ME’ > Choose File > Image.RBU > Upload

Once the upload is complete, click on ‘Update’ to proceed. NOTE: a warning dialog box appeared for me stating the system would be powered off to update the BIOS. Good thing I’m in the Boot Menu as the system will just directly power off with no regard of the system state

3 – Installing the Mobo BIOS Update: Be Patient for the BIOS install to complete

Once I saw the message the ‘BIOS firmware image has been updated successfully’ I then exited the browser session and vKVM .  Note: I’d recommend closing the browser out entirely and then reopening a new session.


Once I restarted my vKVM and MP-EMS sessions and then powered on my Mobo. This allowed the BIOS update to continue.

Here is the patience part – My system was going from BIOS F01 > F10 and it rebooted 2 times to complete the update. Be patient it will complete.

Here is the behavior I noted:

  • First Reboot – The system posted normally, it cleared the screen, and then white text stated a warning message about the BIOS booted to default settings. Very shortly after it rebooted again.
  • On the 2nd reboot, it posted normally and I pressed F10 to get back to the Boot menu. I did this because next, we’ll need to update the MP-EMS firmware.

Once the system had rebooted I then refreshed my MP-EMS screen and viola there it was BIOS Version F10.

** Note – Not every time but sometimes, I would notice the MP-EMS Screen would show the old BIOS Version #.  However, in BIOS the updated BIOS Version # would be present.  A cold boot didn’t always fix this, but eventually the MP-EMS would update and would reflect the correct BIOS #**

4 – Selecting the MP-EMS Firmware

While the Mobo is booted and I’m in the boot menu, I went into the MP-EMS session and choose the following Update > BMC > Choose File > 841.img > upload


5 – Installing the MP-EMS firmware update

Once the file was uploaded I could see the Current and New versions. I then choose Update button which promptly disconnected my vKVM session and Status changed from None to a % Completed.

Again, be patient and allow the system to update. For my systems the % Complete seemed to hang a few times but the total process, for me, took about


At 100% complete my system did an auto-reboot. When I heard my system beep I then closed my MP-EMS session and started anew.


Shortly after the system booted I went into the MP-EMS and validated the firmware was now 8.41.


Wrapping this up…

Ever heard the saying “It really is a simple process we just make it complicated”? Recent BIOS updates and overall system management sometimes feel this way when trying to do simple processes. Not trying to date myself but BIOS/Firmware updates have been around for decades now. I’ve done countless updates where it was simply extracting an update to simple media and then it completes the update on its own. Now one could argue that systems are more complicated and local boot devices don’t scale well for large environments and I’d say both are very true but that doesn’t mean the process can’t be made more simple.

My recommendation to firmware / bios manufactures — invest in simplicity or make it a requirement for your suppliers. You’ll have happier customers, less service calls, and more $$ in your pocket but then again if you do, what would I have to blog about?

Am I happy with the way I have to update this Mobo? Yes, I am happy with it. For the price I paid it’s really nice to have a headless environment that I can remotely update. I won’t have to do it very often so I’m glad I wrote down my steps in this blog.

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

7 thoughts on “Gigabyte Firmware / BIOS update for MergePoint Embedded Management Software and Motherboard

    Shane said:
    May 16, 2018 at 4:32 am

    I have this exact motherboard and it is now updated to the latest bios R08 and firmware 8.73 but i cannot connect to the vkvm viewer no matter what i try, i reinstalled java (which was a hassle) but i keep getting connection failed when trying to use the vkvm viewer. Any insight into this would be helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

      Matt Mancini responded:
      May 17, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Could it be something simple like a network configuration issue? Try ping and double check those IP settings for the vKVM, even if they look right retype them. If that fails I’d call Gigabyte, they did help me with one sticky firmware issue on a similar but different board. Let us know how it comes out.

      Like

        Shane said:
        May 18, 2018 at 4:09 am

        It used to work, unsure which bios/firmware update caused it to misbehave but if you have the same board are you updated tp the same as mine with access.

        Like

        Matt Mancini responded:
        May 18, 2018 at 11:46 am

        I just updated one of my three boards from BIOS R03 with MP-EMS Firmware 8.58 to R08/8.73 and I do not have any issues accessing it.

        Like

        Shane Scott said:
        May 18, 2018 at 6:42 pm

        Thanks, I’ll check network settings. I did get a new router supplied from my new isp so maybe it’s blocking vkvm. What I dont understand is I can access the ems firmware page, I can download the jnlp file, I get the java prompts but I just get a connection failed. I’ll try mount a iso on the virtual drive and see if that works.

        Like

      Tobias Günther said:
      June 21, 2018 at 6:33 pm

      I experience the same Issue !

      MX31-BS0
      R03
      8.73

      Like

      John said:
      July 15, 2018 at 2:01 am

      See https://stackoverflow.com/a/49942304. Newer versions of Java 8 disable 3DES_EDE_CBC which is required for the current (8.73) MergePoint firmware. This may only be the case with non-self signed certs – “Note: The algorithm restrictions do not apply to trust anchors or self-signed certificates.”
      In any event, hopefully Gigabyte issues an update soon!

      Like

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