07-31-2020 08:34 AM
Hello. I am trying to upgrade my HP Z400 Workstation BIOS to the latest build from 2018. After some research on this forum, though, I believe I would need to update to an newer (but not newest) version, before I finally upgrade to the latest build. I am running BIOS 786G3 v2.07, with the Boot Block Date being 11-10-09. Could I upgrade straight to the newest BIOS or would I have to take sequential steps? Thank you!
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07-31-2020 11:16 AM
latest z400 bios is 3.61 A you need to select win 7 x64 as the OS in order to see/get the bios file (sp84161.exe)
do not run the windows bios updater!! this can result in a failed/bricked system
instead, extract the files by running the "sp" and then cancelling the actual flash (this will extract the necessary files to the c: drive (or use winzip/z-zip/winrar to extract the exe)
once extracted, copy all files from the DOS folder onto a bootable fat32 usb key
(do not copy dos folder to usb key, copy files in the folder to root of usb key)
you can now either boot from the dos key and update bios, or enter bios and from within bios select update bios option, select usb key that has the bios.bin file in the root of the key
checking the posted information on said bios (3.61) no mention is made of needing a prior revision and checking previous bios releases (click on small blue triangle next to previous version text ) shows bios 3.57 and it's readme does not mention any need for a specific existing bios revision in order to apply 3.61.
last, a update from 2.x to 3.x can take a while, DO NOT INTERRUPT THE UPDATE!!!!! let it finish should take under 15min at the longest
07-31-2020 01:22 PM
i would suggest you read this post (and others) by "SDH" for info on the z400
also this link
07-31-2020 03:50 PM
There is the old documentation somewhere in the forum on how to upgrade "Way old" bios in the Z400. I have that in my archives at home.... remember? There is an old 2.x version that you need to upgrade above, and then from there you can upgrade all the way in one step to the latest version. Agree with DGroves that doing this from within BIOS is the best way to go. I'll find that again and repost. We called it the step-up approach to BIOS updating. You don't have to do each step. Just get above a certain level and then go rhe rest of the way in the last step.
07-31-2020 04:24 PM
i also thought i remembered you had to do a intermediate bios update if you were below a cretan rev (1.x i think) before going to the latest
however HP no longer lists this in the previous bios section, and only 3.57 is posted, however "avid" should still have earlier ones posted online.
try updating from your 2.x to the latest 3.61 first and if it fails download the z400 3.07 bios package from avid and install then do the 3.61
08-01-2020 08:17 AM - edited 08-01-2020 08:20 AM
I checked and my notes don't include a reference to need for a step-up BIOS version before you can upgrade to the latest version for the Z400/Z600/Z800 family.
That step-up process, however, was needed for the ZX20 workstation family and the business class 6300/8300 computers if the original BIOS version was old enough.
Of interest HP changed their ftp server addressing, and the old addresses HP provided for the 6300/8300 don't work to get you the old service paq you need. The old addresses had a specific IP address, but if you change those to read as the HP ftp server that currently works with the ZX20 family you end up with creating a set that does work:
Do not work for 6300/8300:
Do work for 6300/8300:
That same trick would work for the Z400 if you ever find a reference from HP to it needing to do a step-up BIOS update also.
08-01-2020 08:33 AM - edited 08-01-2020 10:01 PM
Regarding the highest end processor:
W3690, which has sSpec code SLBW2
X5690, which has sSpec code SLBVX
Those two are essentially the same except the W3690 has only 1 QPI link and since it would be going into a single processor workstation there is no benefit to having a second QPI link (which the X5690 has). There is an actual small measurable speed cost to having a second QPI link, and there was a real dollar cost to have that added in back when these were released.
Not so much now... They're both about $75.00 USD currently used on eBay from good US sellers. I've installed the X version on Z400s but it is not a HP-certified configuration. But, works fine.....
Pay attention to cooling.... the front case fan and the Z400 air flow guide are what I used every time. Harder to find now.
08-01-2020 08:48 AM
I actually followed instruction from DGroves, and installed the latest BIOS version from within the BIOS, and it went no problem, from v2 to v3. It only took 2 minutes as well. As far as the processor, I was going with the X5650, but the seller I got it from mailed me a X5670! For $9 shipped, it was definitely a good purchase. It even can game when I have it paired with my GTX 970 and 16 GB of RAM! Under load, the GPU and CPU don't go above 60 C, so cooling should not be too much of an issue there. Thanks for the help!