Upgrading Sony VAIO BIOS ?

I have a Sony VAIO PCV-RS100 from 2002 to which I am trying to add a 500GB (hard to find anything smaller!) hard drive. I hadn't expected the computer to see the whole drive, but I did think it would at least recognize it. ("Primary master drive fails" BIOS errors are apparently common with VAIO's...) Here's what I know:

The motherboard is of Asus KIRIN design (but their own motherboard identification tools don't recognize it), with an Intel 845GL northbridge and an 82801DB (ICH4) southbridge. The current BIOS is version 1002, dated 12/31/2002, and nothing newer is available from Sony. But the BIOS Agent Plus tool from Phoenix/Award says an updated BIOS is available...from them for $29.95. I can get a PATA PCI card for around $20.

I haven't been able to figure out what the chipset's hard drive limit is, and so can't decide how useful this mythical BIOS upgrade might be. Does anybody have experience with this service? I suppose it's not available free from some web site I have yet to find? Yes, the PCI card route is cheaper anyway, but I am trying to get the full story. ;) Any suggestions for a solid PATA card...or are they all fairly reliable?

Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. Answering my own question... I contacted technical support at the BiosAgentPlus site and there really is no BIOS update. They say their software was pointing to a BIOS version that is the same as what is already installed. I would have thought they'd have the bugs worked out of their system by now, and wonder how many people feel cheated after paying their $29.95?? Off to buy a bare-bones PCI ATA card. Found a Syba card for $9.99 at MWave.com with no shipping charges. :)
  2. Hi :

    A little late on the reply. Add a 500GB WD to the same computer as primary boot drive. Had same issue. Found out was due to the vaio bios trying to detect the drive prior to it fully spinning up. Only solution, I could find is F2 to enter bios F10 to save and exit and on warm restart bingo hard drive detected. A bit of a pain but works. The bios unfortunately does its detect first and there was no other way to get around the issue.
  3. Wow, I've seen that on other computers, but for some reason hadn't considered that this time around. Nice to know the BIOS was less broken than I thought. Given the age of the BIOS, I doubt it would have been able to see the whole drive anyway. It's a shame that it was necessary, but the PCI card got everything working normally.
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