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GigaByte GA-7VTXH+ BIOS update (f5)

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August 5, 2002 9:09:15 AM

I just downloaded the latest BIOS version for the GA-7VTXH+.

I flashed the BIOS, everything seemed OK. However, when I restarted the PC, it almost seemed as if it was the incorrect BIOS for this motherboard was installed. (Everything was acting like a PC built by Packard Bell, or other such companies.)

All kinds of crazy things happened, including a small blue window that asked me which to boot from first. After that it proceeded normally.

To make sure everything was really OK, I restarted again, this time however, crazier things happened, and the DualBIOS utility kicked in.

I've reverted back to the previous version (f4), and everything seems back to normal. However, I do like to have everything up to date on my PC, so I would like to re-flash the BIOS with the latest version.

I was just hoping someone could give a run-down of the changes made with this version (in a little more detail than at GigaByte's website, if possible. I get the impression too that the GigaByte Face-Wizard included on the driver CD might actually be useful with this motherboard now, is this true?)

Thanks in Advance.
August 5, 2002 4:32:30 PM

Rule number 1: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 99% of the time, flashing a BIOS is a procedure that should only be done when needed ... not just because a newer version happens to be available. It's not like upgrading the video card or sound card drivers, for example.

How did you flash the BIOS ... from DOS, or with the Wizard in the BIOS?

The best (and the easiest) way is to use the Wizard.

The utility included on the driver CD for upgrading the BIOS from within Windows is the surest way to corrupt the Primary BIOS, IMHO. It has a nasty tendancy to lockup mid-way through the flash, and you'll have to use the backup BIOS to boot the system. My recommendation: Throw away the disk as to avoid temptation.

After flashing a BIOS, the system should be shut down, and the jumpers on the mainboard should be set to clear the CMOS. Then set the jumpers back to the normal position, boot back into the BIOS, set the BIOS for the optimal defaults, and save the settings.

Once the Primary BIOS has been shown to be functional, you can copy the new version to the backup, either from a floppy, or from the Primary.

Note 1: Always extract the BIOS file onto a freshly formatted floppy that has also been scanned with CHKDKS. The file system on the floppy should be FAT, instead of RAW, for the best results.

Note 2: For now, I'd stick with F4. There have been reports of checksum errors with the newest F5 version after a flash. One user reported to me than this version actually erased the Primary BIOS! If your system is running well with F4; i.e. all your hardware is correctly identified, including the processor, then this may be the only BIOS version you'll need for the life of the board.

With a Duron processor, even the older F2 version is more than sufficient. You'll only need a newer BIOS if using an Athlon processor, or a Microsoft USB keyboard and WinME.

Can't tell you anything about the Face-Wizard, not having used it before. I don't usually play around with the boot-up logo. I'm not even sure this model supports the program at this time.

<A HREF="http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/home/facewizard.htm" target="_new">Face-Wizard</A>.

Toejam31

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
__________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Some push the envelope. Some just lick it. And some can't find the flap."</font color=purple>
August 5, 2002 4:35:04 PM

With these models of Gigabyte boards you're better off running with the BIOS that came with it and works. BIOS updates aren't neccessary unless you're adding hardware that wasn't originally supported, etc and the BIOS adds that support. So don't worry about having it up to date like you would virus defs or windows update. I would saty clear of trying to flash it again unless you wan't to risk messing things up, as I had one of these boards and while it was a good board you're better off not messing with anything once it's stable!

"Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one"
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August 5, 2002 11:26:49 PM

I am using an Athlon processor, and the fact that with each BIOS update support for newer processors is implemented is the main reason why I like to flash my BIOS from time to time.

I've never had any problems with the Flash program for windows, in fact, it's how I've always flashed my BIOS, it's never failed me/crashed half way thru. I just think that the download on GigaByte's website is somehow been corrupt. So I think i'll stick with F4 until F6 or newer is released.

And about the face wizard, i'm pretty sure this Motherboard has support for it with F5, one of the messages I got on startup when I flashed to F5 was about "No Boot Logo Detected".
August 6, 2002 12:40:35 AM

I'm telling ya, giga boards in your series do not like flashing very much. Mine sure didn't, only mobo I've ever encountered trouble flashing.

"Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one"
August 6, 2002 3:20:18 AM

I can understand why it is necessary to flash the BIOS in order to implement support for newer processors, but I cannot agree with updating the BIOS, just because an update happens to be available.

You might find out the hard way that sometimes a newer version of a BIOS will show up on a manufacturer's web site, and then will be suddenly yanked due to problems that didn't appear during standardized testing.

Not all of these BIOS versions will be marked as beta, either.

It's best to wait until a BIOS has been available on the site for several weeks, see if it <i>remains</i> posted, and then check with other users for possible problems before installing it on your system.

Believe me, the last thing you want to experience are odd problems with your computer like voltage drops and hard lockups because you became a beta tester without your knowledge. This happens far more often than any top-tier company would ever be willing to admit to the public. The faulty BIOS will just be pulled, with no ceremony and/or notifications posted on the site.

<font color=green>"I've never had any problems with the Flash program for windows, in fact, it's how I've always flashed my BIOS, it's never failed me/crashed half way thru. I just think that the download on GigaByte's website is somehow been corrupt. So I think i'll stick with F4 until F6 or newer is released."</font color=green>

This is what I call stoking the fire with a stick of dynamite. Relying on a buggy utility to not only correctly down and install the flash for a ROM chip, but to do it from within Windows, with many other processes running at the same time ... that's just not the smartest approach.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course ... but I do this for a living, 12-16 hours a day, six days a week ... and IMHO, flashing the BIOS from within Windows is a very bad idea. You may have gotten away with it in the past, but you may also end up being sorry in the future because you refused to listen to the voice of experience. I truly hope this won't happen to you, but you should be aware of the danger. If it screws up, you can't say that you weren't forewarned.

I had to repair a system just a few weeks ago that locked up during a BIOS flash with this utility. It wiped the Primary BIOS. If this particular mainboard <i>hadn't</i> been equipped with a backup BIOS, I'd have been forced to pull the chip and replace it. Or RMA the board for the customer. Are you comfortable with the idea of using a soldering iron and replacing a chip? I sincerely hope that is the case, in your situation.

I think it's highly doubtful that I am going to get another late night phone call from this same user after trying another stunt like that. It cost him $110.00. Housecalls aren't cheap, even for about thirty minutes of work.

The fact is, if your processor is correctly identified, and your current BIOS is functional, you have absolutely no valid reason to update the BIOS beyond the fact that you just feel like it. Which is kinda silly, IMO.

*********************************************************************

Again, I'm not sure about the Face-Wizard, but you might take note that Giga-Byte doesn't mention that this board supports using the utility. Perhaps the latest BIOS supports using the utility, but personally, I wouldn't chance it until Giga-Byte lists the board as being compatible. After all, it's not as if this is an important or necessary procedure for the system to run correctly. It's eye candy: nothing more.

That's my two cents ... take it or leave it. Good luck in the future.

Toejam31

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
__________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Some push the envelope. Some just lick it. And some can't find the flap."</font color=purple>
!