A Cautionary Tale: The BIOS Flash Gone Wrong
As a point of interest, our first attempts to overclock the e4300 weren't done on the Asus P5B; we had originally planned to base the budget overclocking system on a Biostar T-force 965PT board we have. The board has some great overclocking features, like a version of memtest in the bios for stability testing, and a test that will reboot to the last working settings if there is a failure on post (so you don't have to keep messing with a CMOS jumper on a failed post). These are really convenient overclocker features that the Asus P5B doesn't offer.
Unfortunately, while the 965PT's manual memory timing settings in the BIOS let us modify almost everything, it didn't allow for control of the command rate. The command rate would always set at the tight 1T setting, which we suspected was limiting our overclocking efforts. We went looking for a BIOS update that would give us more control over the setting.
The newest BIOS we could find on Biostar's Website for the 965PT was P96ca514, but this BIOS didn't offer us the command rate setting we were looking for. Hunting around the net, we found a site called Rebel's Haven that offered both official and modded BIOS' for the 965PT at www.lejabeach.com/Biostar/965pt. The odd thing was that they seemed to have a newer official BIOS for the 965PT than the Biostar site had - version P96ca601! I can't read Chinese, but the writing beside the BIOS indicated something about 1T/2T... was this the tweak we needed?
The site also offered an assortment of modified BIOS' that offered tweaks and increased control for the enthusiast. Feeling adventurous we downloaded a modified version of the P96ca601 and flashed it. Excited about the prospect of controlling the command rate setting, we fired up the board - and it hung on post.
The 965PT's BIOS was now corrupt, and we couldn't get a replacement BIOS chip from Biostar fast enough to use it for the review, so we had to resort to the Asus P5B. And I want to make it clear that we're certainly not blaming the hard working modders at Rebel's Haven for our troubles - guys like these work hard for the overclocking community and we knew the risk we were taking. The corrupted flash was a little disappointing though; I haven't seen a bad BIOS flash in at least 10 years.
Would the official P96ca601 BIOS offered on the Rebel's Haven site have worked, and given us control over the command rate? We're also curious why this official BIOS wasn't on the Biostar site - perhaps Rebels Haven got a newer official version from the Chinese version of the site? Not knowing the answers, we plodded on with our trusty Asus P5B.