I tried again using BIOS version 0045 on a CD. This time, the CD worked. Why it didn't do anything the previous jillion tries with CD or USB is still a mystery.
Once the machine finally got V0045 BIOS installed, it went to boot windows 7. Unfortunately, Windows would not boot. It claimed to be damaged, and the windows repair mechanisms all failed to restore a bootable system. So now I get to reinstall windows.
This has to be the LAMEST bios update process ever created.
One last comment: Once I got 0045 into the machine using the CD, using the BIOS's built-in F7 BIOS upgrade mechanism was easy and reliable. I upgraded from V45 --> V49 --> V53 by putting the .BIO files onto a USB stick.
I cannot recommend using the windows executable method. That was an unmitigated disaster.
Double check the compatability chart for your board and memory. iirc if you have a boot loop - then remove memory causing missing memory beeps - this means the memory is not compatable. Maybe also pare down to just a single dimm.
The RAM memory was/is fine. The point of trying to boot with the RAM removed was to make sure that the board was alive enough to give me a "missing memory" beep.