PC Upgrade - Looking for advice


Oh dear, I just realized that Acer monitor isn’t available direct from Amazon. Do I need to watch out for seller return policies if I want to play the backlighting lottery?

Maybe I should just get the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q for $88 more?


I suddenly got nervous about my day 1 Z390 board reading the above, but then I remembered you can flash the BIOS via USB without being able to boot up. Phew.

Since I learned not to order CPUs from B&H…


Is this something specific to the Z390? Because I thought I could do this with the original motherboard I had on my wishlist, but when I spoke with an ASRock tech they told me the only way to upgrade the BIOS was to boot it with an 8th gen CPU and have the updated BIOS on a USB stick, THEN I could put the 9th gen CPU in place. That’s why I looked into ordering a Z390, though now I am concerned reading the above, myself.

However, by the time I put the order in this will probably all have shaken out, as I keep adding stuff I want which extends out when I can order it. Looks like those i9’s are hard to get just now anyway.


it’s a motherboard-specific feature. A lot of high-end gaming motherboards have it.

This is the description on my Asus:

USB BIOS Flashback

Simple plug and press hardware-based BIOS flashing

Hardware-level USB BIOS Flashback allows users to update to new UEFI BIOS versions even without a CPU or DRAM installed. Just plug in a USB flash drive containing the BIOS file and press the BIOS Flashback button for 3 seconds with the power supply connected. Hassle-free updating for ultimate convenience!


@barstein - I’ve been working in the bios exclusively today and there is nothing wrong with its setup at all. I’m honestly not sure what all the complaining is about. The problem I do have is with their actual windows software that interfaces with the BIOS. It’s too simplistic. If you use their auto-overclock feature it works well, but if you run Prime95 with avx at full spec it shoots temps sky high. Lame of them to throw so much vCore in an auto overclock.

The one problem I have right now is my memory is no longer hitting XMP 4000 at full speed. I found an issue with their BIOS I reported where the tRAS rate isn’t going as high as it should. So I’m at 3700 MHz until they fix that (unless my memory is failing which it could be). I’m about to do some manual step overclocking to see what kind of hard speeds I can get out of this combo.

On the positive side except for the very high memory speeds I want that I’m not hitting yet, the board is quiet with no electrical squeals at all. This is also something the Asus boards had that annoyed me. It boots ridiculously fast. My last computer was a “turn it on and walk away” boot process.

Will report back with happiness or irritation depending on what kind of stable OC I can get out of this.


Yeah, this was a feature on the ASRock motherboard I was originally going to buy, but tech assured me it wouldn’t work. I am taking his word on it and changed up my wishlisted board to a Z390, and just going to cross my fingers it all works out by the time I order it. Hopefully you don’t run into any problems, to me it seems crazy to have a feature like that and then tell a potential customer it won’t work with the 9th gen Intel BIOS update. Not sure why, I’d love to know if he was full of beans or not.


Meh, I went with the Asus monitor. I’d rather have backing from Amazon if I need to make a return.

Everything will be put together Saturday.


I had the exact same experience with an ASRock tech on the phone, yesterday.

You’re placing orders starting around the xmas holidays, right? All Z390 BIOS 9th gen issues should be fine by then, I’m betting, as stock gets refreshed. Just try to make sure, when you place your order, that it’s from recent stock and when you receive it, immediately check the BIOS revision # via a little sticker on the MB, before installing.

My understanding is that the Gigabyte BIOS UI is perfectly functional and usable, but doesn’t follow UI design wisdom & best practices, and feels weird until you get used to it. Since I’ll be using the BIOS as little as possible – mainly just to ensure that the basics are all set the way I want, no overclocking or tweaking – I really doubt it’ll be an issue for me.


Am I dumb for no longer wanting this Cooler Master keyboard because it has a company logo on the Windows key?

Doesn’t anyone make a simple Cherry MX Red keyboard?


You could probably just replace those keys.


Nope its ok to not like the logo there, I also dislike it. :)


I got you, homeslice. How’s $40 from a name brand sound?


I have a very stable low temp 5.1 GHz overclock on all cores. I can ramp it up to 5.5 GHz if I run just a few cores at high speed, and the rest at more reasonable clock speeds (4.6 GHz) for games that don’t bother to multi-thread and are cpu constrained.

I think I’m happy with that except for the fact I can only run my memory at 3.7 GHz instead of 4 GHz. But then again running memory at 4000 is still challenging apparently.

I’m finally going to do my real install and see how my benchmarks look. I tested and logged late game Rinworld, Warhammer 2, and Planet Coaster before I tore my computer apart, so we’ll see if this was worth the money cause in reality - this upgrade/fix was out of our budget. But its been rough fall with my CF, and winter is not gong to be much better with surgery looming so having a fast stable computer is very important for my sanity.


New motherboard arrived today. First boot was a success! Decided to try simply booting into my existing Windows installation, and so far the only issue was getting the new network drivers installed. Haven’t even bothered looking at the BIOS yet, but I’ll update this after doing so and seeing what happens after I invoke Windows Update.

Edit: Rebooted, peeked at the BIOS but left it as is, booted into Windows again, ran some more updates, rebooted, zero issues. Windows doesn’t appear to care about the new motherboard and CPU.


Very glad to hear it’s working.

I decided to do a fresh install and I’m heaving s bear of a time getting my previous windows license to work on this. Spent 6 stinking hours on its finally called Microsoft after my 4th reinstall, only to find out activation servers are down. I still think I’m going to have trouble, but this is irritating. I don’t see a way to merge my old hardware with the new hardware. It shows as 2 different hardware profiles in my Microsoft account.


It’s 2018 and I just had my first experience with 120 Hz gaming.

I always figured it would help with ghosting but I’m much more impressed than I expected.

Now I have to find a decent game that supports 165 Hz, heh. DMC4 maxes out at 120 fps.


I do have some backlight bleed at the corners on this Asus PG279Q monitor, which it’s known for. I don’t necessarily mind playing the panel lottery to try for a little better. But I don’t really notice it either during normal use, so maybe I shouldn’t bother.


Question: does my 970 Evo NVMe need to be installed in a certain M2 slot? I have M2A and M2M. Currently in M2M. Nothing in the manual, Google seems inconclusive.

I thought I’d ask before I keep guessing.


I’m getting a boot LED so something’s screwed. I’m suspicious of the Gigabyte heatsink as well messing up how it seats in the slot.



Make sure it is in Slot M2A. It is closest to your processor. That slot, for a PCIe M.2 device, shares no bandwidth. But when you put it in the M2M slot it is forced to share bandwidth with your SATA 4 and 5 slots.

I very carefully took the sticker off my Samsung 970 so the heatsink would be flush. Make sure you take the plastic seal thingie off the M2 heatsink.

The boot LED. What do you mean by that?


I got impatient after 90 seconds and screwed around in the BIOS. I had to switch Windows 10 to “Other OS”and it finally showed up.