I bought a new motherboard, processor, and memory online and put it in a case. I was installing my original copy of Windows XP Pro and before the installation completed my motherboard just locked up. My power supply fan stayed on, and my hard drive LED stayed lit, but my power light was off and nothing would happen.
I exchanged the board for a duplicate.
I installed Windows XP Pro and it ran for almost a whole day, but then the same thing happened. I called the store and talked to tech support and was told that I must have a limited copy of XP Pro that will only work with components that were out around the time the OS disc was made, and because I tried to use it with more modern hardware, Windows put a BIOS lock on my mobo. I’d never heard of such a thing, and the only thing I can find online regarding “BIOS lock” is how to set up a password in the BIOS. Is this technician feeding me a line of bull?
Solid state drives continue to go through growing pains, and not even Intel can avoid having to beat back bugs in this relatively new market. After some customers reported slowdowns following extended use with the first generation of X25-M SSDs, Intel pushed out a firmware update to fix the problem. Now it appears the company's new 34nm X25-M G2 SSDs are also in need of a firmware update, but for a different problem.
According to OEM system builder Puget Systems, a defect exists in the new drives which causes data corruption if a password is set on the drive in the system BIOS and then is changed or disabled later.
"There was a lot of confusion, but it was clear that something was wrong with these first units - enough so that Newegg and other online vendors had also pulled them entirely from their sites," Puget wrote in a blog. "We too stopped listing them, and began contacting our customers who were expecting us to ship them out this afternoon."
Puget says Intel was able to work out a firmware fix for the problem rather than rework the drives, however the updated firmware won't be available for another two weeks. In the meantime, Intel has stopped shipping the new drives until the fix is fully implemented.
Good news for Gigabyte fans who like to tweak their systems but fear one bad move (or BIOS flash) could ruin the whole experience. The motherboard maker has begun offering its DualBIOS technology on its entire lineup of motherboards and not just the high-end boards.
Gigabyte refers to its DualBIOS as a "hot spare" for your system, and that's essentially what is. DualBIOS boards contain two BIOS chips. Should the primary chip fail for any reason -- say a power outage during a BIOS update, or a particularly nasty virus infection -- the secondary BIOS automatically kicks in the next time you boot your system.
Gigabyte initially only offered its DualBIOS technology on premium boards, but look to see it on both entry- and mid-level mobos going forward as the company tries to increase its market share.
Power users routinely punch into the BIOS in order to fine tune their system, but it can be an intimidating place to go exploring if you've never before burrowed beneath the surface. And just like in real life, poking around in unknown places can be a dangerous affair if you don't know what you're doing or where you're going. On the other hand, once you understand the inner workings of your PC's control center, a whole world of overclocking and troubleshooting suddenly opens up. But what exactly is the BIOS?
Every modern motherboard comes with an embedded Flash EEPROM module, otherwise known as the BIOS chip. Short for Basic Input Out System, this is the first bit of code executed when you boot your PC. The BIOS stores all kinds of essential information about your system, such as your CPU's clockspeed, the size and type of RAM you're running, the boot order of your media, what onboard devices are present, and much, much more. An improperly configured BIOS can prevent Windows (or Linux) from loading, while a finely tuned BIOS has the potential to significantly improve performance over that of a similarly spec'd machine.
Whatever your goal is, this is your go-to guide for everything you've ever wanted to know about the BIOS. We cover every setting -- even the obscure ones -- so you'll never feel lost or out of your element, no matter what motherboard you're rocking under the hood.
If you're brand new to the DIY PC building scene, you may think Intel chipset-based motherboard owners have always been able to run multiple Nvidia videocards in SLI. You'd also be wrong. It was less than six months ago that Nvidia officially announced it was licensing its SLI technology to several top-tier motherboard makers for Intel's X58 chipset, in exchange for a fee. So we can't imagine anyone over at Nvidia doing cartwheels when end-users find a way to enable SLI on non-SLI certified boards with a relatively simple BIOS hack.
Citing an article in Taiwanese magazine PC Home Advance, TweakTown reports that not only is it possible, but it's been demonstrated on Gigabyte's EX58-UD4 motherboard. The magazine downloaded the latest F6 BIOS for a slightly different model, the EX58-UD4P, which comes with official SLI support, and slapped it on the less expensive non-SLI board.
Because the model numbers are different, the magazine noted the unsupported BIOS can't be installed using the built-in QFlash utility, and instead requires using the DOS-based SPIFLASH utility. Still a relatively easy hack considering no physical modifications to the board itself needs to be done.
It's unclear whether there were any undesirable side effects from using another board model's BIOS in place of the correct one. It's also unclear whether Nvidia will take measures to prevent this and future BIOS hacks from working with future driver releases.
Looks like your system is on the fritz again -- it refuses to boot your operating system. What do you do now? You can take it a tech shop and have "experts" investigate the problem, but that a costly option. Even if your computer can’t load Windows, there is still a way to fix boot problems without reformatting. With the right boot CD, you can perform your own troubleshooting dianosis the cure whatever ails your PC. Our guide will show you how to make a powerful boot disk that'll let you do more than just access a DOS prompt. You'll be able to run processor stress tests, memory scans, edit partitions, and even extract hard drive data.
Power users have long dreamed of the day when hitting their PC's power button would result in an instantaneous boot. Technologies like SplashTop's Instant-On Linux-based OS have brought this concept closer to reality, but unlike the Instant-On OS, which works on a flash chip embedded on select motherboards giving users quick access to basic online tasks, Asrock's new Instant Boot feature promises super speedy boot times into Windows to the tune of just 3-4 seconds and has posted a video to prove it.
Impossible? Well, yes, but Asrock's creative approach puts a unique spin on shutting down and turning on your system. After installing the Instant Boot application on a compatible Asrock motherboard, shutting down your PC triggers a shutdown and reboot process that ultimately puts your system in a Hibernate or Standby state. The next time you hit the power button, you'll be up and running in as little as 3 seconds.
The obvious question is why not just put your system in Standby or Hibernate in the first place, and according to Asrock, Instant Boot's advantages include a less cluttered OS from a clean boot with no "accumulated garbage data," nor will you lose any data during a power outage. Whether or not Instant Boot becomes an instant hit is yet to be determined, but kudos to Asrock for thinking outside of the box.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think of this new technology.
AMD last week launched its HD 4830 graphics card, a sub-$150 GPU with support for DirectX 10.1 instructions. With a budget price tag and impressive spec sheet, the HD 4830 has been positioned to compete with Nvidia's 9800 GT videocard, but some buyers may find that their HIS-branded HD 4830 isn't living up to expectations.
"AMD has identified that, in addition to reference samples of the ATI Radeon HD 4830 boards sent to media with a pre-production BIOS potentially impacting the card's performance, a very limited number of ATI Radeon HD 4830 boards were released to market with the same pre-production BIOS," AMD said in a statement. "This is no way hardware related, and an updated BIOS fully resolves the performance limitation."
Updating the BIOS doesn't perform any voodoo shenanigans on affected cards, and instead enables all 640 stream processors that the HD4830 is supposed to have. For whatever reason, a "small number of HIS-branded" cards sporting the pre-production BIOS only showed 560 stream processors as being enabled, resulting in an undue performance hit.
If you think you might own one of the gimped cards or simply want to verify that your videocard's running at full speed, download and run the GPU-Z utility.
Notebook manufacturers might be finding it difficult to separate themselves from the competition in what has become an extremely crowded netbook market. It's gotten to the point where we can recite a netbook press release without having ever read it - Atom processor, solid-state drive (SSD) or hard drive, 1GB of RAM, Windows XP or Linux, and so forth. So how do you stand out from the crowd?
If you're MSI, you release a new BIOS that offers overclocking controls. With the v1.09 BIOS released this week, Wind owners can push their Wind netbook's Atom N270 processor in increments of 8 percent, 15 percent, and 24 percent over the stock speed. As is always the case with overclocking, you'll have to analyze the risk-to-reward ratio, and according to ElectricVagabond.com, the reward of a 24 percent overclock can equate to as much as a 30 percent increase in performance.
Anyone Wind owners plan on playing with the new BIOS? Hit the jump and give us your impression.
When man first booted the PC, he saw the BIOS screen: a jumble of monochromatic numbers that made about as much sense as the binary language of load lifters. Sadly, not much about the BIOS has changed since the DeLorean and skinny ties were cool. Decades later, in our modern, visual-based world, we’re still greeted with a screen full of text from machines 1,000 times faster than those that were around when the ol’ BIOS was born.
Most PC lightweights simply ignore the BIOS and wait for their OSes to take over. Power users, however, know that the BIOS can be a friendly and rewarding place to go spelunking.
And by spelunking, we mean caving. And by go, we mean hit the jump.