Yesterday I wrote an update regarding BIOS 44 for Skylake i3 and i5 NUCs and how the recent version is supposed to unlock the NVME SSD drive performance, which has been previously limited to 1600 MB/s. This morning I installed the BIOS in my Skylake i3 NUC (NUC6i3SYH) and confirmed that it is indeed true.
I have a Samsung SM-951 NVME SSD drive and it does now reach almost 2 gigabytes per second read speeds and 650 megabytes per second write speed. Note that the 128-gigabyte version has write speed of only 650 MB/s whereas the 256-gigabyte version is much faster. In general I recommend Samsung 950 Pro instead of SM-951.
However, it is not enough to perform a normal BIOS update if you want to unlock the NVME SSD performance! You will need to perform a BIOS update through the recovery process. Here’s how to do it:
1. Take a USB memory stick. Preferably an empty one and formatted to FAT32 format.
2. Download the SY0044.BIO BIOS file from Intel and place it directly on the root of the USB stick.
3. Safely eject the USB stick.
4. Power off your NUC and disconnect the power cable.
5. Remove the bottom cover of your NUC and locate the yellow BIOS security jumper next to the memory modules. See the picture below.
6. Note the exact position of the yellow jumper on the pins before removing it. Once you have removed the jumper from the pins, close the bottom cover.
7. Insert the USB stick into one of the USB ports (I used one of the front ports, but it should not matter).
8. Start the NUC.
9. Wait patiently! You should get a notice on the screen about BIOS recovery starting in a while. You don’t need to touch anything, just wait. When the BIOS recovery is in progress, the power LED will blink. It is extremely important you do not interrupt this process, otherwise you might brick your NUC.
10. When the BIOS recovery has finished, the power LED stop blinking and it is indicated on the screen that the BIOS update is complete. Press power button now to power off.
11. Open the bottom cover, and replace it on the same two pins it was linking prior to being removed in step 6 above (see photo). Then replace the cover.
12. Power up the NUC, press F2 to enter BIOS and then restore the default settings (F9). Save and exit.
You’re done! If you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s Intel’s BIOS update instructions still.