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Bios updates

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July 29, 2011 10:40:35 AM

I'm a novice looking for peripherals for my first custom built computer. I've recently noticed that when purchasing some new motherboards, you must download the latest bios updates before using it. Having looked on places like YouTube, from a novice's point of view it looks extremely complicated to do. I've seen tutorials where you have to download it online onto a USB stick, then go into your bios and upgrade from there. As much as I'm looking forward to building all the new components together, I'm frightened that I won't be able to get the motherboard to work properly because of the way you ensure update your bios has the latest. Is there not an easier way? I also heard that the drivers on the disk which comes included in the box isn't always the latest version and that the preferred method is not to use the CD but to download it from the manufacturer's website instead. Is that right?

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July 29, 2011 12:32:50 PM

While it's recommended that you update to the latest BIOS it's usually not critical that you do so. Same for the drivers but with the drivers as you install and update windows, you *do* update windows don't you?, you are likely to get updated drivers from MS. As you will learn, you will prefer to have drivers from the manufacturer for best performance of your custom built system. Speaking of once windows is loaded, once in windows a BIOS upgrade is a no brainer but still not a make or break thing.
a b V Motherboard
July 29, 2011 12:49:17 PM

(1) Bios update is normally only required if you are having a problem. If Not having a problem it is not recommended to upgrade the bios.
If you buy a MB that has been on the market for at least 3 to 4 monthes, it will probable have a stable Bios. Say the bios revision is only one later than what is on the MB, then read what it improves on, if it does not apply - don't update. Primarily a bios update is needed if you upgrade to a newer CPU and or memory that was not orginally supported. Should not be a problem with a new Sandbridge Build.

(2) Updating the Bios is not really difficualt. Usally there are 3 methods (A) From within the Bios itself (Safest and the recommended way). (B) By booting the Computer to Dos and (C) from within windows. The Only caution is to NOT power off the computer while the update is in progress. You down load the new bios, stick it on the USB stick (May need to format the thumbdrive as ntsf). Boot the computer and select the key to enter the bios update screen, then tell it to upgrade - usally well stated in the MB manual (Just a matter of following the prompts).

(3) As to newer drivers. Again you only HAVE to do this if experiencing a problem. But again it is not that difficault. You can generally find what a new driver updated and see if you need. Unless I have read that a newer driver than what is on the disk IS NEEDED, then I just use the driver disk supplied. NOTE: This applies to a "Store Bought" computer the same as a "Home Built" system.

Added:
While I was typing I see that MISRy poped in. Only thing is I do NOT recommend doing the Bios update from within windows. This method has cause problems in the past, altho it has improved - it does carry more risk than doing it from the Bios itself.
It also made me think of a Caution. Never update the Bios untill you are sure the "newly" built system is stable. But this should be donebefore installing the Windows operating system even if you do NOT update the Bios .
From a bootable CD run memtest86 for a Min of four hours to verify that the system is stable.
Link: http://www.memtest86.com/download.html
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July 29, 2011 12:55:07 PM

You absolutely DON'T NEED TO FLASH THE BIOS!!! You do that only when you have an hardware compatibility issue, or an even worst issue.

You do that at your own risks and if you screw up, you are screwed! Flashing the BIOS voids the motherboard warranty right away so you won't be able to get a replacement for it if you fail.
July 29, 2011 1:20:35 PM

Thank you for the heads up. Much appreciated & duly noted.
a b V Motherboard
July 29, 2011 2:14:05 PM

@ MrBig55 - WOW, don't go out in the rain, you might melt.

I've been doing bios Updates since 1990 and NEVER had a problem.
As to updating, yes I recommend not doing it unless you can see a benifit (This may be do to compatability problems, but NOT always). Quite often the List of "Fixes" on the manuf web page is NOT complete. They do some "performance improvements, Fix minor BUGs that they DO NOT want to advertize.

Generally, more people have a problem in the initial build than thoes having a problem with a bios flash.
!