Share :
Rating: NA 0 Votes

How I almost bricked my system

Just the other day I was going through and checking the specs on my system to see how I could go about doing a small upgrade to it to get a little extra performance. I remembered that I had a motherboard with an AM2+ socket, and that I only had an AMD X2 4000 in the socket.

So like any tech person would do I checked what my board could support and found that with a bios update I could put in a Phenom X4 9650 (Avoid the 9600 as many still have the TLB issue).

Now I always like to avoid a Bios update for the following reasons:

  1. Each time you perform an update you weaken the EPROM. They are not intended to be written to more than a couple of times, and after that they can start to act flakey.
  2. Every time you update you run the risk of bricking your system. The power could go out, the bios may not take, the version could be wrong, additional hardware my not be compatible, etc, etc, etc. Anything could possibly go wrong.
  3. It's just a general pain in the rear to do it.
  4. It introduces the possibility of a new set of issues (Bug in the bios).

I have seen systems die because of a bad bios, or power failures during bios updates, and of course just general new incompatibilities. So my rule is, unless you have an issue you know the bios will fix, don't update it.

I was torn between getting a bit more performance, or waiting another year or two and do a full overhaul.

Obviously i am writing this because I decided to increase performance now. So being that I have an Asus board, I decided to use the Asus update utility to update my bios. The reason being that I have had better luck with it. The update utility from CD usually has trouble booting, and the one in the bios "EZ Flash" is glitchy and often says it's the wrong bios or some other generic error.

So I let it download the update and install it. Just like normal it downloads the update, asks me to confirm, and does it's thing.

Usually the final stage is erasing the EPROM, wrtting it, and verifying it. However for some reason it did this about 10 times. When I saw it do it twice I knew something was wrong, very wrong. Then it stopped it's little fit and gave me an error message that it could not verify the EPROM.

I downloaded the file manually, burned it to CD, and let it try one more time. Still got the same fit, and the same error. Knowing that when I shut my computer down it would likely not come back I double checked the rom file was on the CD and shutdown.

As I expected my system tried to come back up, all the fans spun, everything seemed to be getting juice... and then it shuts off. No bios beep, no error messages, no video, nothing. I tried it again, same result. I unplugged the system from the wall and let it sit a few minutes. Then I tried it again, and still the same result.

With no bios beep, I knew my system board was the culprit, not that the failed bios was a clear indicator...

So in the last ditch attempt I unplugged the power, and removed the CMOS battery, held the power button in for 30 seconds, and then let it sit for another 5 minutes to be sure.

What this does is it not only clears out your bios settings, but it also depleates all your capacitors of ANY charge they might have, so nothing is possibly sitting in memory on any chips. My theory at this point was one of three things. Either the EPROM was trashed, the cmos settings where screwed up, or the system was stuck in limbo from the update.

This solution would take care of the later two, if the EPROM was trashed, well I would need a new board.

I cliped the cmos battery back in, reconnected the power, and sure enough it posted and worked as it should. To be safe I reapplied the bios using the tools from CD, and it went through on the first try.

Of course I then went through and reconfigured by bios settings, and did a few power cycles just to make sure everything was in good order.

The moral of this story folks is that you should never take updating your bios lightly, never do it unless you are ready for the possibility that the system could be turned into a brick. The bios is'nt like word, or even your operating system. If you update it and the update is bad, or it does'nt take right, your system does'nt work, and you won't be able to get in and fix it. That's it, it's done, it's dead, you only get one shot, so don't mess it up.

I was lucky in how mine failed, I could be overnighting a new motherboard instead of three day shipping a newer processor.


Last Updated: 04/19/2009 03:38 PM

Tags and Related Content:

motherboard bios brick post Asus

Your Ad Here

Most Recent Documents