Why it matters: Earlier this month, sources on Twitter identified a potential issue linked to Asrock’s new AM5 BIOS and boot times. Asrock’s recently released x670 Steel Legend motherboard carries a table outlining several RAM configurations and their associated boot times. Fans and tech enthusiasts were astonished by along those times, that could range between 100 to 400 seconds. Thankfully, a fresh BIOS and firmware update fixes the issue.
Twitter by user HXL initially described the issue on September 1st. The post highlights a table mounted on Asrock’s x670 Steel Legend that described boot times in line with the user’s chosen DDR5 RAM configuration and capacity. The boot times ranged from 100 seconds in a 2x16GB configuration to up to 400 seconds with a 4x32GB configuration.
Fortunately, a September 8th news release claims the motherboard manufacturer has fixed the RAM-related issues and significantly decreased the mandatory boot times.
The problem were linked to the AM5 platform’s RAM training sequence, which runs at the board’s first boot cycle and any moment a user clears the board’s CMOS to reset the board’s factory defaults. Whenever a new (or recently reset) system boots, the installed RAM undergoes a short power-up and initialization sequence.
Update: The brand new BIOS has been fixed https://t.co/AWYJllwUwM
— HXL (@9550pro) September 1, 2022
Once complete, the machine continues to a calibration phase referred to as read/write training. In this process, the machine runs algorithms to align the DRAM clock and data strobe, determine appropriate read and write delays, plan ongoing data reads, and report any errors encountered through the sequence.
Working out is crucial to proper DRAM operation, since it enables the machine to pay for differences in the physical distance of every dual inline memory module (DIMM) from the processor. While small, the length from each module to the CPU can significantly impact the clocks and data transferred from each DIMM location during both write and read operations. The difference in transmission time because of these small distances, or even corrected, can lead to anything from degraded performance to perform system instability.
The problem will not appear widespread across all AM5 implementations and seems limited by Asrock’s AM5 BIOS build. The AM5 from Asrock and boards from other vendors hit the shelves on or about Ryzen 7000’s September 27th launch date.