BIOS Help Please!!!

I am trying to help fix my friends computer. It refuses to boot into an OS. I can install an OS (Win2K and Win98) but when it's time to boot into the OS it locks up. I tried changing the video card, memory, installed the OS on multiple hard drives, took out unnecessary components (sound card), everything I could think of to no avail. So I think there is something wrong with the motherboard. So now I would like to upgrade the BIOS on the MB to see that will help. My motherboard info is the following on boot:
Award BIOS v4.51PG for an AMD k6-2 500 mhz
591PWIQF Via Apollo MVP3
02/16/00-MVP3-586B-ITE86-2A5LEH2BC-00
I don't know much about MB's and BIOS's, but I looked everywhere for an upgrade for this Award bios. The ONLY place I could find that offered it was at esupport.com. But I was suprised to find out that they charge for the update, approx $70 (maybe $40 with a discount). Charging for an upgrade seems kinda unfair. Is there any other place I can go to get an upgrade or is this my only shot. Also is there anything else I can try to do to fix this box.
Thanks, Rudeboy
7 answers Last reply
More about bios please
  1. Did your friend change anything recently that started the problems? For example, the newer 4x agp video cards probably won't work on that board. A bios upgrade probably won't help in that case. Motherboards.org has some tools to help identify a motherboard. I found a place on pricewatch called compu terra that sells an msi 6389 board with athlon 1.1 (built in video and sound) for only $73 shipped (must mention pricewatch). It uses pc100 or pc133 memory. I would suggest something like this instead of replacing your board if you can't get it to work.
  2. MVP3 is a really rotten chipset, mostly confined to really rotten boards. Your Shuttle Hot-591P is a perfect example. To begin with, many such boards couldn't supply enough amperage to the AGP slot to power high end cards. This problem firt appeared with the TNT2's a few years ago. It can manifest itself when the OS loads the video card drivers, such as your first boot! Or, if there's JUST enough power to run it in 2D mode with the drivers loaded, it can overload the board during 3D use. Using an ATX power supply instead of an AT power supply can help with some boards as it bypasses the onboard 5v-3.3v kickdown. Some people have actually had to go to such measures as soldering on a wire from the 3.3v ATX power header to the 3.3v AGP power connection, along the back of the board.

    But this might not be your problem either! You see, that chipset has a terrible time with IRQ sharing. You might find everything works if you simply pull any cards not needed to boot, like modems, network cards, soundcards...If that helps, you can try setting PNP OS to NO in BIOS, but you might have to configure some slot's IRQ manually, again in BIOS, or play shuffle the cards, to find out which slots they work in and which they don't.

    Anyway, you can get your BIOS upgrade, and your manual <A HREF="http://www.spacewalker.com/english/download.htm" target="_new">FREE FROM SHUTTLE BY CLICKING HERE</A>

    <font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
  3. I agree with everything that Crashman has said. I've got an FIC 503+, MVP3+ and it was a pain in the butt but I finally got it to work, even with a Geforce256 (which requires a lot of power)

    Here are the key things that finally made the thing work.

    1. ATX power supply. Generic 300 watt was fine for me. (not as smart as Crashman so I never knew the reason this worked. Thanks for the explanation, Crash).
    2. 1 DIMM only (the FIC 503+ seems to be unstable with two DIMMs)
    3. Darn thing often booted to a blank screen (instead of Windows) until Via 4-in-1 drivers, version 4.29, came out. This seemed to be the last key to making the system work and make it stable. Later versions seem to be worse for the 503+.

    I'd get a copy of the 4-in-1 drivers and load them, assumining you can boot to Safe Mode. Run it once and select the uninstall options to remove old/corrupt chipset drivers. Run it a second time for a clean install. The installer does work in Safe Mode.

    If/when you get Windows to boot the first thing you want to do is load the appropriate video drivers.

    Don't spend much more time. Tell your friend about the difficulties. Try to convince him/her it's time upgrade.

    You could be fighting with MVP3/MVP3+ forever.


    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  4. It's funny you mention the FIC 503+. I've put together several of these and never ran into a problem. I always used quality RAM and PCI vid cards. Almost 2 years ago, the computer in the office where I work died. I put together above said system and it still runs perfectly today!

    To start press any key. Where's the "any" key? --Homer Simpson.
  5. Quote:
    I've put together several of these and never ran into a problem. I always used quality RAM and PCI vid cards.

    Well, try a high power consuming video card and see how things change.

    I have a PCI video card on my FIC 503+ now and it works fine web surfing and watching television which is all I need it for.

    Put an AGP card in it and things get more interesting. Geforce256 is very troublesome. Geforce 2 was also trouble but was 4-in-1 driver issue. Radeon 8500 worked, sort of, but every third or so boot Windows (98SE) decided there was only a VGA card requiring me to reload the ATI drivers. I didn't put much effort into the 8500/503+ combination. I just wanted to see if it would work.

    I do have good quality RAM, Crucial PC133. This motherboard still does strange stuff. If I ever clear the CMOS then it won't boot with this memory. I have to install some PC66, change the timing from the conservative default settings to more agressive settings, put back the PC133 (I know it's overkill but I wanted to be able to reuse it), and then it will boot. One stick works. Two sticks unstable. (Was also true when I had PC66).

    Other issues with Geforce cards. If you update the drivers sometimes AGP stops working. Card works in PCI mode instead. I got in the habbit of doing clean installs of 4-in-1 driver, video drivers, and DirectX whenever I changed any little thing. This reduced the number of headaches and always works. It also works well for my KT133 and KT133A motherboards.

    Anyway, I did say I finally got it worked out with the Geforce cards. It was just a lot of trouble.

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  6. The 503+ coupled with a K6-2 500 or 550 was an extremely cheap solution for those out there who were upgrading from a Pentium 200 or slower. You just can't get crazy with Gforce's and Radeons.

    To start press any key. Where's the "any" key? --Homer Simpson.
  7. I only have a K6-2 350@400 Mhz. Geforce256, GF2, Radeon 8500 all perform about the same on this system but are wasted in such a system. However this all came later.

    Initially, it was the Geforce256/503+ instabilities that prompted me to upgrade to a Duron + KT133 system two years ago. I only later figured out how to make the 503+ combinations work when I didn't need it.

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
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