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Technical Advisory Required


Diogo Ribeiro

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It seems that my gaming PC is back on track, after a series of gruelling months. I'm not too keen on claiming everything is perfect, however, since I've never had any luck with computers and their technical issues. But yesterday at 3 AM I managed to get this working again and installed Vista. With that in mind, I was wondering if anyone could guide me through something I wanted to try out.

 

Which is to flash my BIOS.

 

I've been told that most of the time it's not really necessary, and is something better left to enthusiasts. However, here's the reason. I'm using an aged Asrock 775Dual-Vsta motherboard with a 667/400Mhz Dual Channel memory. This means it can run two parallel RAM sticks as long as they're of the same memory and speed. Problem is, I was counting it could use 4 GBs but the mobo can only use a maximum of 2 Gbs. I'm stupid like that.

 

But then I spotted this. Someone claims there's a modified BIOS version (3.10A) that allows the mobo to use 4 GBs, and there's even a thread at AnandTech that says as much. This would mean that two 2x 1GB of RAM @ 667Mhz could go into the slots without a hitch, or very little problems (one user reports that his OS registered 3,5 GBs instead of 4).

 

Problem #1 - I've never flashed a BIOS before and have no idea what to do.

Problem #2 - I had to install Vista because my floppy drive seems to have gone mental. The install program could not recognize any other device (including USBs). Vista managed to recognize my USB device with SATA drivers into it, which made installation a breeze.

Problem #3 - It seems a floppy drive is mandatory to flash a BIOS.

Problem #4 - I don't have two 2x 1GB of RAM @ 667Mhz yet, only two 1GB of RAM @ 400Mhz, which means that even if I don't screw the pooch I still can't properly test if it worked or not. And I don't fancy spending money on RAM which would be partially useless to me.

 

So, that's pretty much what I'm looking for. Anyone care to enlighten me on how to go about this? Thanks in advance.

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You should find an instruction on the Asrock website how to flash your motherboard.

 

Traditionally, I only use Asus, so the process was always the same. Downloading the flasher (exe file), the BIOS file, put them both on a boot floppy disk, boot with the floppy, and then just type (in case of Asus boards)

 

a:\aflash.exe biosfilenaem.suffix -o <Enter>

 

Thingy does flashing, then restarting computer (or turning off?) and it's done. I think there's also an option for making a backup on the floppy disk.

 

Asrock might have a slightly different procedure. Oh and only use the Bios files from the official website.

 

Edit: Ah here I found it: http://www.asrock.com/support/download.asp...TA&OS=Vista

 

1. Create a bootable system floppy disk.

2. Download an updated ASRock BIOS file (WinZip format with .zip file extension) from the web site, unzip the BIOS file and save both ASRFLASH.EXE utility and BIOS file to the disk you created in step 1.

3. Boot from the disk you created in step 2.

4. At the "A:\" prompt, type ASRFLASH, hit space bar once, and type BIOS file name then press <Enter>. For example: A:\ASRFLASH K7S41GX2.00 <Enter> then you will see a message "Please wait for BIOS loading ROM".

5. After 30 seconds, you will see the message "Flash ROM Update Completed - Pass", then you have finished upgrading the BIOS.

6. After finishing upgrading the BIOS, please remove the floppy disk. Restart your system and press <F2> to enter the BIOS setup utility during boot up.

7. In Exit menu, please select "Load Default Settings" and press <Enter> to continue.

8. Select "Exit Saving Changes" and press <Enter> to exit the BIOS setup utility.

9. Now, system is booting up with new BIOS.

 

Edit 2: It seems there's also a Win patcher, but I'm not sure these are really reliable.

 

Edit 3: Not sure if that's even the right motherboard.

Edited by Morgoth
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(one user reports that his OS registered 3,5 GBs instead of 4).

there's an oddity with winders XP that refuses to recognize all 4 GB, but i believe this does not exist with vista. perhaps this user had XP?

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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there's an oddity with winders XP that refuses to recognize all 4 GB, but i believe this does not exist with vista.

 

 

It is fixed in Vista. :sorcerer:

 

No, it's fixed in 64 bit operating systems. A 32 bit operating system may still tell you that you have 4GB, but it still won't use it all.

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Deraldin is correct afaik, which is why I went for 3GB. You hardly ever need 4 at the moment, though I suppose it's good for the long-term to get it over with now.

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From what I gather a 32-bit system still uses 4 GB, it just reserves 0.5 of them for system resources etc. So 4GB in a 32-bit system is not a waste, but more certainly is.

 

Not quite. A 32-bit OS can address a maximum of 4GB of memory. Where the problem comes in is that the OS isn't just counting system RAM when it looks for memory. It's also counting the memory in your hard drives, the memory on your graphics card and so on. Your system RAM is basically bumped to the bottom of the priority list when the OS addresses all the memory so it gets to use whatever address space is left over. The amount of "wasted" RAM can vary widely depending on the other components in the system. If you have a 512MB graphics card it'll only lose around .5GB of it. Stick a 1GB card in there and it'll lose around 1GB of system RAM. There's more to it that I'm probably forgetting, but that's the basics of it.

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@Morgoth: Thanks for the instructions, but there's a problem there. As I said, I have no floppy drive. It fizzled out and no longer works.

 

Also, it seems my mobo is no longer supported in terms of BIOS updates (it's the 775 but not the 4Core Dual-Vsta for QuadCores; it's the regular Dual-Vsta for Core Duo).

 

I may as well just stick to the 2GBs and save me some hassle, I guess :/

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Youcan get a new 775 mobo for less than 50

"My hovercraft is full of eels!" - Hungarian tourist
I am Dan Quayle of the Romans.
I want to tattoo a map of the Netherlands on my nether lands.
Heja Sverige!!
Everyone should cuffawkle more.
The wrench is your friend. :bat:

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Youcan get a new 775 mobo for less than 50

"My hovercraft is full of eels!" - Hungarian tourist
I am Dan Quayle of the Romans.
I want to tattoo a map of the Netherlands on my nether lands.
Heja Sverige!!
Everyone should cuffawkle more.
The wrench is your friend. :bat:

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Deraldin is correct afaik, which is why I went for 3GB. You hardly ever need 4 at the moment, though I suppose it's good for the long-term to get it over with now.

3 GB means you have one that's 2 GB and one that's 1 GB (most likely) which may not be good from a performance standpoint. typically the recommendation is that you use matching sticks, 2 at 1 GB each or 2 at 2 GB each (which is obvious for the dual-channel memory configuration). in other words, even though you don't get the whole 4 GB, your system might see an improvement due to speed over 3 GB.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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Kuantokusta.pt generally works pretty well for research. It's kind of the Portuguese Newegg.

"My hovercraft is full of eels!" - Hungarian tourist
I am Dan Quayle of the Romans.
I want to tattoo a map of the Netherlands on my nether lands.
Heja Sverige!!
Everyone should cuffawkle more.
The wrench is your friend. :bat:

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3 GB means you have one that's 2 GB and one that's 1 GB (most likely) which may not be good from a performance standpoint. typically the recommendation is that you use matching sticks, 2 at 1 GB each or 2 at 2 GB each (which is obvious for the dual-channel memory configuration). in other words, even though you don't get the whole 4 GB, your system might see an improvement due to speed over 3 GB.

 

That's true taks, but buying laptops in NZ doesn't give you a whole lot of choice, unfortunately. Possibly due an upgrade later.

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