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Old Jun 13, 2021, 11:05 AM   #1
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Och
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Default Should Intel MEI drivers and firmware updates be installed?

I usually always install Intel chipset drivers, they are probably not as important as they were during Windows XP/7 days, but I still seek the latest version for my motherboards just to make sure proper drivers are installed for motherboard system components.

But what about MEI? There are usually MEI firmware updates, which are separate from the BIOS updates on most Asus boards, and then there are MEI drivers. I usually also install all of these, but I read that they can slow down performance. Are they needed?
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 11:12 AM   #2
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Install them. The performance loss is not noticeable, and if you want that performance back, you can use a program called InSpectre to turn off the protection. I have it off because I couldn't care less about Spectre or Meltdown vulnerabilities. They aren't aimed at home users. I thought Intel was dumb to push it out to everyone when it really is only worrisome for servers/workstations.
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 01:12 PM   #3
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Why doesn't Asus just combine BIOS and MEI firmware updates, or do all motherboard manufacturers do this?
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 01:35 PM   #4
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It depends. Large MEI updates are usually included in new BIOS, but sometimes Intel will push out smaller ones that are done through Windows Update typically.

Most of the time, you already have the new MEI update, as it was automatically done through Windows Update.
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 01:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunz View Post
It depends. Large MEI updates are usually included in new BIOS, but sometimes Intel will push out smaller ones that are done through Windows Update typically.

Most of the time, you already have the new MEI update, as it was automatically done through Windows Update.
I think you are confusing MEI driver and MEI firmware updates. Windows Update does not push firmware updates at all.
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 02:02 PM   #6
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Windows Update does push firmware updates on many things. You just might not notice. It's sneaky like that

You're right though, I was talking about the MEI firmware; typically the ones you see in BIOS updates. I have seen Windows Update automatically download an MEI update, which was not the driver, but yeah, the driver itself is completely optional. I do not have it installed personally. I think I used to a long time ago, but couldn't notice a difference.
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 02:08 PM   #7
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For my Asus Z370 board I noticed that Asus releases either standalone MEI firmware updates or new BIOSes that contain a MEI firmware update.
I’ve never seen Windows Update push any MEI firmware updates either.

I keep all Intel stuff updated regarded of official releases and download everything chipset, storage and MEI related from the best source available. Constantly updated and has all the info needed (and more) in the forum, which is very responsive:

www.win-raid.com
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 03:44 PM   #8
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I just realized I'm talking about something else. The MEI and microcode updates are two different things. The microcode updates have been pushed through Windows Update before (and people have avoided them by delaying the update), but they were also being introduced in BIOS updates. This is why I brought up the Spectre/Meltdown stuff; I was thinking of a different acronym. MEI has nothing to do with the security vulnerabilities.

MEI.. I don't think I've ever installed the driver, nor sought out a firmware update. Interesting. I'll check it out and report back if I see any changes when I update.
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Eat this protein bar, for it is of my body. And drink this creatine shake, for it is my blood.
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunz View Post
I just realized I'm talking about something else. The MEI and microcode updates are two different things. The microcode updates have been pushed through Windows Update before (and people have avoided them by delaying the update), but they were also being introduced in BIOS updates. This is why I brought up the Spectre/Meltdown stuff; I was thinking of a different acronym. MEI has nothing to do with the security vulnerabilities.

MEI.. I don't think I've ever installed the driver, nor sought out a firmware update. Interesting. I'll check it out and report back if I see any changes when I update.
Microsoft can't just push MEI firmware updates, they are updated by writing ROM and can brick your motherboard if you update with a wrong file or interrupt the process.

Check your motherboards website for these drivers.
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Old Jun 13, 2021, 11:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunz View Post
Install them. The performance loss is not noticeable, and if you want that performance back, you can use a program called InSpectre to turn off the protection. I have it off because I couldn't care less about Spectre or Meltdown vulnerabilities. They aren't aimed at home users. I thought Intel was dumb to push it out to everyone when it really is only worrisome for servers/workstations.

This is completely false about Spectre. One of the proofs of concept was an in-browser exploit.


https://www.wired.com/story/spectre-...of-of-concept/
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Old Jun 14, 2021, 04:54 AM   #11
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Still have yet to get hit by it. Use common sense when browsing the web and you don't run into issues. Proof of concept by Google researchers also does not mean it has been found to be injected that way in real-world.
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Eat this protein bar, for it is of my body. And drink this creatine shake, for it is my blood.
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Last edited by Nunz : Jun 14, 2021 at 05:08 AM.
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Old Jun 14, 2021, 08:43 AM   #12
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Whenever I see a new MEI firmware I always create a new bios and added he firmware too it using the latest bios from Asus for whatever board I have at the time.

Then I just install the latest drivers.
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Old Jun 14, 2021, 12:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Och View Post
Microsoft can't just push MEI firmware updates, they are updated by writing ROM and can brick your motherboard if you update with a wrong file or interrupt the process.

Check your motherboards website for these drivers.
Not entirely true, I had an HP Laptop that a bios update was included in a windows update package.

To nobody's surprise it also bricked said laptop.
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Old Jun 14, 2021, 01:40 PM   #14
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I run a modded BIOS on my shitty old ASUS laptop and if I forget to delay the Windows Update, it'll flash back to the latest standard BIOS. It's annoying as hell
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Old Jun 15, 2021, 08:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunz View Post
I run a modded BIOS on my shitty old ASUS laptop and if I forget to delay the Windows Update, it'll flash back to the latest standard BIOS. It's annoying as hell
Just use DDU to permanently block it.
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Old Jun 15, 2021, 08:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Just use DDU to permanently block it.
Yeah, that’s what I ultimately did.
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Old Jun 16, 2021, 12:50 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunz View Post
Still have yet to get hit by it. Use common sense when browsing the web and you don't run into issues. Proof of concept by Google researchers also does not mean it has been found to be injected that way in real-world.
Common sense browsing will do crap all. Stuff slips through the various ad services(even googles Adsense)
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Old Jun 19, 2021, 12:31 PM   #18
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Yeah, the Internet is not a common sense place. It takes just a cursory investigation to realise how much crap happens without you knowing.
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Old Jun 20, 2021, 07:10 AM   #19
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Always install latest Intel firmware and drivers to ensure that your PC is properly exposed to new vulnerabilities.
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