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XFX 790i Ultra - Don't use the Nvidia Control Panel BIOS Flash!

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April 28, 2008 2:47:09 PM

Just wanted to give the board a heads up...I thought that for convenience I would do the flash from within the Nvidia Control Panel, since the option was available, and guess what?

Black screen, no Beeps, no method of resetting CMOS or anything will bring it back to life.

Had a Checksum error and a "Flash Failed" Message, then after my next reboot...black screen of lifelessness.

So heads up, stay away from Flashing using Nvidia Control Panel.

Now im off to see if im totally FUBAR and buying a new board, or if my warranty will cover it.

:( 
May 2, 2008 12:21:07 PM

Sorry you found out the hard way but you should NEVER flash from within Windows. No matter what flash utility you are using.
May 2, 2008 6:10:03 PM

Yea, that is the rule i have been going by for several years...and the one time I decide to break it it bites me in the behind.

Oh well =/
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May 2, 2008 7:04:59 PM

I have the EVGA version of this board, and I flashed the BIOS via nForce. I checked the box that said "Clear BIOS" and it didn't, but I didn't realize it at the time. It caused all kinds of corruption problems with Vista and I had to reload it, and that failed. Then I cleared the BIOS manually via the jumper, and everything's back to normal after a clean install. This is the first time I've flashed from within windows too. I was nervous to do it, but I had read about some others having success at it. Of course I didn't see your post until after I had already done it.

Sorry your flash failed. I would hope XFX would help you out with the board.
May 2, 2008 7:17:46 PM

I was able to get a new board next day from the computer store I bought it from :)  They were very nice in helping me with my little mess up.

Note though, if you update the BIOS, you must must must have the latest Nvidia System Tools installed or else things will go really bad...the 04 BIOS and the original board drivers don't get along so well.

I reinstalled vista using the old system drivers from the MB CD and ended up corrupting my RAID and getting TONS of blue screens.

Also avoid Ntune...its rather unstable at the moment.
May 2, 2008 9:34:35 PM

Awesome glad to see you got a replacement.
May 6, 2008 4:29:46 PM

Ok, I just went trough this, the XFX board would not recognize my Q9600 at 2.5GHz only 2.33GHz (multiplier at 7x instead of 7.5x) and ram at 1066mhz instead of 1333mhz. So I decided to do a bios update... it bricked the board and I had to RMA it, now with the second one I called support to make sure I was doing it completely right, and it worked... The difference is, there are two bios updates on their websites, a Nvidia one and a XFX one (they depend on the splash screen on your system when it boots) I apparently had an XFX board and used nvidia bios, so it killed the board (I didnt really pay attention you know nvidia makes the chipset and everything I guess I must have figured it would be the nvidia bios). Anyway, I have the new P04 bios and it is still underclocking my processor and my ram, pretty mad but I guess with bleeding edge products it comes with the territory.
May 17, 2008 4:18:06 AM

Yeah I also have the XFX 790i Ultra motherboard and made the same mistake as you did when I first got it. And since I live in Japan it took a month to replace the motherboard :( .

Yesterday I received my replacement board and once again RAM under clocked. I am using 1333Mhz Corsair TWINX DDR3 RAM. First it said 534Mhz on the RAM in CPU Z and the NVidia tool, I went to Corsair website (which has great support I might add) and looked up my product. I then went into the BIOS and manually changed the voltages and settings. When I rebooted the RAM showed 667 MHZ some progress I guess. Then I updated to the 03 Bios for the motherboard. NVidia now shows the RAM at 1066 but CPU Z says 534 again This is a strange motherboard. I have been in contact with XFX but their support has been lacking at best.
May 21, 2008 1:56:44 AM

Wish I read this 5 hours earlier! Did the same thing, and boom! ...dead!
Think I'll get a replacement from the store. Did you explain to them at the store that you tried updating the BIOS or did you just give them a fake explanation like "It was like that when I got it"?
Just wondering if it might break the warranty?
May 21, 2008 8:18:55 PM

I gave them the real explanation that I screwed up and used the windows based tool. They gave me a replacement out of the good of their heart though as BIOS updates are not a warrantied issue.
May 21, 2008 9:23:50 PM

Hi guys, I've been reading up on BIOS updates for the 790i and believed I had enough info to go ahead and update. I've read on many forums that the windows based update simply doesn't work, and since I don't have a floppy drive connected, I thought I'd go the CD route.

From what I gathered, all I had to do was burn the new BIOS .bin file to a CD, restart my PC and press Alt+F2 at the post screen to automatically flash the bios to the new version. Well, I did this and the Award Bios flashing screen came up, the light on my CD drive was flashing as if to indicate it was being accessed and my hard drive light was on continuously, but nothing seemed to happen. After 30 mins I suspected something was wrong. Surely it wouldn't take this long to do something. Nothing I did could provoke a response from the screen, so I attempted to remove the CD. As the tray came out, the first sign of activity on the screen appeared, flashing text saying "Please wait..." (or something to that effect, it was a few hours ago now so I can't quite remember). I put the CD in again. Another 20 minutes of nothing, so I gave upand restarted my PC. Luckily, everything is still working and my BIOS hasn't been erased or anything, but I'm wondering what exactly went wrong?

Am I supposed to leave it longer? Did I miss a step? Do I have to
change the boot priority of my CD/DVD drive? Is there anything else I should have done, but didn't?

I downloaded 790i_P04_SYS_UPDATE.zip from the XFX website and burned the 811N3P04.BIN file to a CD by itself. I didn't install the nForce software that was in the zip as it seems to be an earlier version than I have already. If there is any more info that I should provide, let me know as I'm eager to get this issue sorted out.
May 31, 2008 2:03:24 PM

I have been back and forth with XFX support for a month including CPU Z screen captures. They have yet to give me an explanation. I was able to clock my ram up properly by manually setting the voltages in the BIOS but I am still running the 03 BIOS for fear of losing another board. I setup another PC with the 780i board and it seems to be a much more stable platform to run on. I will let you know what XFX has to say if and when they respond.
June 12, 2008 6:41:08 PM

Aw! I guess I'm a bit late to warn everyone off too. Bricked an XFX790i Ultra a few months ago. Anyway, just so everyone knows I've successfully flashed to P05 BIOS using the 6.01 system tools.

I've got 2 9800 GX2s running with a quad core but I just recently installed 4 sticks of Crucial Ballistix PC3-16000 CL9 EPP. I keep getting a safe mode message in the BIOS bootup. Anybody run into this yet?

June 16, 2008 2:15:08 AM

hoping for some help here. i'll be putting together a total new build as soon as someone will sell me a gtx 280 for $700 or less and i'm planning to use the evga 790i ultra right now.

i'm not too worried about getting updates for all of the software once it's installed but this sounds pretty scary (only my second build and the first was five years ago). can you put this warning into slightly more newb friendly terminology?

i'm not quite following flashing (versus some other way) or nvidia panels etc., etc.

thanks for any help preventing me from blowing up my new build next week/this coming weekend.
June 16, 2008 6:57:39 PM

axlrose,

Only using the drivers/software that came with your parts is ok. Most of the time the parts sit on shelves for awhile before being bought. In that time manufacturers may update software to increase performance or to fix conflicts that arise. If everything is running fine post-build and you are happy, there is no reason to use the updated drivers/software.

As for updating your bios the warning here is to never flash from within windows. The problem being if you are using a windows utility, even one the manuf. has provided, your PC could crash/quit responding/power goes out/fill in any reason your PC would quit. If anything like that happens and your flash was not finished you have pretty much rendered your MOBO useless. it is best to use an ISO or a .bin file from your MOBO's website burned to a CD and flashing that way.

Hope that clears a few things up.
June 16, 2008 9:21:30 PM

maybe what i need to understand is, what is updating the bios? i guess i read this post originally thinking of updating drivers in my head and it appears it was about something else instead.

thanks for helping the newb.
June 18, 2008 9:21:39 AM

I've just done the same thing on my xfx 790i. I'm not allowed to return it as well, so I'm well and truly up the proverbial creek sans paddle. I'm looking into having the BIOS chip replaced.

It truly sucks that they've put this piece of software in with the package that actually destroys your motherboard, and there's absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.

Btw, I didn't know you could just use a CD to flash. I thought you had to use a floppy disk.
August 13, 2008 8:22:20 PM

Unfortunately I'm obliged to add my name to the list of people having destroyed their XFX 790i using the BIOS update from nVidia Control Panel under Windows Vista (in my case trying to install the P06 version form the D06).
My question: is there a way to recover the original fabric BIOS by using a certain jumper settings? I've seen one on this forum saying that he succeds in doing this with the EVGA 790i motherboard. On the XFX manual I've found a jumper settings to clear the CMOS but I've doubts this could solve the problem.
Any technical suggestion or the only solution is to ask my reseller for a complete new motherboard?
By the way, the support service at XFX is one of the worst never found in my experience: initially they've said that probably was a PSU problem (????) and then I have never received an answer to my numerous replies
February 10, 2009 11:44:43 PM

I'm afraid I've made the same mistake. However in looking over this board it seems that the bios is in a socket. Can the bios be removed from the socket and replaced easier than the entire motherboard or am I looking at the wrong thing here?
September 24, 2009 4:41:13 AM

I did the same thing. XFXForce 790i Flashed BIOS from the control panel as the users manual tells you to. ended up with blank screen on next reboot.
XFX support was not very helpful. They suggested I buy an Eprom programmer and reprogram the chip.
Best solution for me was to purchase a new programmed chip with latest BIOS installed from badflash.com us$29.95 (including postage to New Zealand) only took a week to get here.
Installed new chip and computer booted up okay.
Great service from badflash.com
Also plenty of advice about updating BIOS
!