BIOS updates

  BILL ODDIE 20:05 25 Jul 04

Many thanks to you all who have help me with my qestions so far on this Forum. You all have given me your 'best advise'.
Now following on, I have decided to go ahead and buy a Mesh computer (sory about the mention of a company name). The model will be the Mesh Matrix 64 3800+ ultra. Read a test result on this model by PC PRO carried out this August. One concern I have is and I quote '.... as we often see a slightly slower performance in benchmarks when a new processor has just been launched; after a BIOS update, we normally find the chip gains a hefty percentage in speed'.
I was always under the thinking that the BIOS was 'wrote' on a permanent chip placed on the mother board and therefor could not be updated, changed, is this correct?
How long does it normally take for a BIOS to be upgraded and then fitted as standerd on the mother board on the production line? And how can you tell that the system you have bought has the latest BIOS update?
Will not be buying the computer until the begining of Sept. (off bird watching), would this be long enough (4 weeks) for the upgrade or does it take the bofins more like 6 months?
Many thanks to all
Kind Regards Bill.

  Q-Bie 20:56 25 Jul 04

Bios chips these days use Flash ROMs, which mean they can normally be updated by a small program you download from the manufacturers website.

The bios flash program overwrites the old version on the Flash ROM chip (I know.. it's a ROM chip but it can be re-written..), and this process normally takes just a few seconds.

Many motherboard manufacturers issue BIOS updates for their boards to add new features or usually ro fix bugs. They can be downloaded freely from their sites.

  €dstowe 06:55 26 Jul 04

Updating your BIOS is potentially a dangerous procedure and if it goes wrong it can easily destroy the BIOS chip.

If your computer is working satisfactorily, leave all BIOS fiddling well alone.

  Forum Editor 07:08 26 Jul 04

Unless you have a specific problem with your BIOS I suggest that you leave well alone. I have seen more grief caused by people gratuitously downloading and installing BIOS upgrades than almost anything else.

The BIOS can be 'flashed' with a new version - that is, the ROM can be overwritten by using a floppy disk that you create with the download. The problems start when people aren't aware of the correct upgrade to apply, or when they apppy the process incorrectly. If you overwrite your BIOS with the wrong version, or if you corrupt it in some way you'll end up with a dead computer.

You are very unlikely to notice any "hefty increase in speed" as the result of flashing your BIOS - that sort of thing can usually only be detected with benchmarking software, and isn't an issue in the real world.

  Stuartli 08:29 26 Jul 04

The same applies to those who dive in for some reason best known to themselves to update firmware for rewriters - if it all goes pearshaped then you may well have a drive only fit for the dustbin.

  BILL ODDIE 08:30 26 Jul 04

Thanks for your advice. I will NOT be upgrading the BIOS once the machine arrives, it sounds like opening a can of worms to do so' Any thoughts about wether the BIOS might already be upgraded in the 4 week period prior to buying the system? Is your advise just to forget about the BIOS and just'enjoy' the system when it arrives.

  Stuartli 08:53 26 Jul 04

As it is a brand new system there will be absolutely no need to update the Bios - it will be appropriate for its purpose.

If, in the next couple of years or so, you might wish to acquire a much faster processor or some other good reason, then by all means look into seeing if updating the Bios would be necessary.

But to just do it for no other reason than the fact that you could do would be foolish, to say the least.

My mobo is five years old, is on its second processor, a Pentium III rather than a Celeron, and the Bios has never been updated nor needed to be.

  MESH Support 09:32 26 Jul 04

I hope you don't mind my posting here but as you mentioned that it is possible you will purchase one of our machines I felt it wise to put a systems builder's perspective across.

In a lot of cases building a system can be a little more complicated than a lot of people are willing to admit. Common problems are incompatibilities between components. Often, fixes for these are updates to the BIOS.

The BIOS updates are rarely intended to speed a system up, if they do it is simply a by product. Given the risks mentioned in previous posts, and given my rather heavy interest in games, I also wouldn't consider updating my BIOS unless I really had to, and then it wouldn't be for speed reasons.

Finally, if you are looking to purchase in September, this is quite a long time away in the IT industry. In that time we may be using a newer revision of the motherboard which almost certainly would have a newer BIOS installed, perhaps even newer than that available now. The other thing that will change will be the price, which can only be in your favour as prices are always falling.

Hope this is helpful


Mesh Support

  Charence 20:42 26 Jul 04

One of my computer's mobo will not support anything greater than 32Gb meaning that the 60Gb HDD in the PC is wasted. The manufacturer (MSI) had an online tool apparently automatically flashes an update version for me, however, it doesn't seem to have worked and the page is no longer present.

I have downloaded the new BIOS version but I am unsure whether it is a good decision to flash the BIOS. How do I flash it? Is it a simple task? Do I just make a bootable floppy and insert it when the computer boots up?

Cheers, Charence

  €dstowe 07:04 27 Jul 04

Full instructions for using the BIOS update should have been given to you on the same site as the update itself. If that is the one that has disappeared, I would suggest that there is a bigger risk than nomal in carrying out the update.

May be a little late for you (if you want to retain your current O/S) but can you partition your drive into two 30GB drives? Your machine should recognise them then.

  €dstowe 10:50 27 Jul 04

Hope this doesn't seem patronising - that's not my intention but it's nice to see a positive and unsolicited contribution from Mesh in this thread.

All to often we only see manufacturers responding to threads as a result of a complaint but I feel that it would do them and us, the users, a lot of good if there were more responses like this.

Good one, Mesh!


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