BIOS Update ?

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by croy, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. croy

    croy Guest

    Mainboard: GA-M55plus-S3G

    When I boot my computer, the first screen of the BIOS
    claims: "Award v6.00PG".

    On the website for this board, I see BIOS revisions up thru
    F15B. I assume the "B" is for beta, but there is no mention
    of this on the page.

    I've been trying to update to the F14 version using @BIOS,
    but it seems to be looking for a .bin file, not a .exe or a
    ..F14.

    I made a boot floppy and put flash895.exe, autoexec.bat, and
    m55s3g10.f14 on it and rebooted. A screen came up that
    seemed to have the .f14 file pre-entered. I hit enter a
    couple of times, and it appeared that the floppy was being
    read. I exited out and rebooted the machine, but the Award
    page still reads v6.00PG.

    Can somebody point me to good instructions on how to update
    this BIOS?
     
    croy, Mar 23, 2013
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. croy

    Monty Guest

    On Sat, 23 Mar 2013 11:30:43 -0700, croy <>
    wrote:

    Hello Croy,

    When I look at the web site for your board I see there are 3 revision
    levels:

    GA-M55plus-S3G
    GA-M55plus-S3G (rev. 2.1)
    GA-M55plus-S3G (rev. 3.0)

    The labels above are from the cover page of the user's manual.

    If you don't have a user's manual handy then you can determine the
    revision level of the mainboard by looking immediately to the left of
    the HDD connector in the bottom corner.

    It will be "blank" for rev 1.0 boards, else "2.1" or "3.0".

    The reason for mentioning this is that the numbering system for the
    bios is not quite as clear as we might hope. For example:

    Rev 1.0 bios range is F1 - F14 (F15B is beta)
    Rev 2.1 bios range is FA - FH (FIB is beta)
    Rev 3.0 bios range is F1 - F7 (F9A I presume is beta).

    The F1 - F7 bioses for Rev 3.0 are not the same as the Rev 1.0 bioses.

    So firstly, we need to know the revision level of your motherboard.

    CHeers,
     
    Monty, Mar 24, 2013
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. croy

    croy Guest


    Thanks for the reply.

    This is a rev 1.0 mainboard.
     
    croy, Mar 24, 2013
    #3
  4. croy

    Monty Guest

    The following description is not comprehensive but it attempts to
    provide a guide to how a BIOS module is created.

    Think of the BIOS as a set of routines that support the variety of
    features which are installed/included on your motherboard. These
    routines are written by Phoenix and supplied to motherboard
    manufacturers. The manufacturer then selects the routines which are
    appropriate for a given motherboard and compiles these into a BIOS
    module using "Award v6.00PG".

    If one or more routines are rewritten, for whatever reason, this may
    trigger a new BIOS revision being released by the motherboard
    manufacturer. These are typically labelled ga-p35-ds4_f1.exe thru
    ga-p35-ds4_f14.exe or similar. The names used here are applicable for
    my spare PC.

    (Croy, It is getting late for me and I will continue tomorrow.)
     
    Monty, Mar 25, 2013
    #4
  5. croy

    croy Guest

    Thanks for the lessons!

    One problem has been solved--failure to keep the hard drive
    boot order after a power-off. I put a fresh CMOS battery
    in, and that seems to have fixed it. The old one measured
    about 2.6v, whereas the new one was about 3.3v. Maybe more
    due to contacts than battery strength--the spring in the
    contacts seems very light.

    But still curious about BIOS versions, and how to update. It
    seems like the methods I tried should have worked. But
    maybe the version isn't reported in the bootup screen (?).
     
    croy, Mar 25, 2013
    #5
  6. croy

    Paul Guest

    The "Award v6.00PG" is the development stream of the Award software.
    You would hope, that all the BIOS created for a particular motherboard,
    are developed using the same tool flow. Changing BIOS tools mid-stream
    is not a good idea, as it can introduce more bugs.

    Award is a BIOS company. They provide core code, to make motherboards
    work. The motherboard manufacturer writes less of the code as a result.

    In fact, a large number of companies contribute code. So it's not
    like a single developer sits in the basement at Gigabyte, and cranks
    out custom code from nothing. To a large extent, it's like conducting
    a symphony - the BIOS developer is a "conductor", assembling the parts,
    and tuning stuff.

    The "Award v6.00PG" then, isn't a revision.

    You will see a BIOS string printed on the screen

    05/19/2004-VT8623-8235-CLE26I01C-00

    and the date there might be indicative of the release.

    Since the BIOS image is a small file system, you can
    also take the BIOS all apart, into its constituent parts,
    uncompress it, then view the results as a series of
    plaintext strings. And figure out stuff from that.
    With older Award BIOS, the internal compression method
    is LHA. This package can help with the disassembly, and if
    you look for posts discussing this package, you'll find worked examples
    of how to do the disassembly of it.

    ftp://ftp.heise.de/pub/ct/ctsi/ctmc10.zip

    If you use your BIOS flashing tools, to make a "backup copy" of
    the current BIOS contents, you can analyse that and decide what is
    resident inside the machine right now. Or, take a photo of the
    first BIOS screen, and figure it out using the "BIOS string" printed
    on the screen.

    A "legal" BIOS, should have a unique BIOS string value, so
    no two motherboards should use the same BIOS string. There were cases
    in the past, where counterfeit motherboards just copied the BIOS
    file from another machine. If you see reference on a motherboard
    manufacturer site to "legal" BIOS, they're trying to claim they
    didn't steal the code they're providing :)

    Paul
     
    Paul, Mar 25, 2013
    #6
  7. croy

    croy Guest


    Thanks Paul.

    From the first screen of the BIOS, I see:

    09/04/2006-C51-MCP51-6A61HG0LC-00

    That's at the very bottom line on the screen.

    Is that the "BIOS string" you were referring to?
     
    croy, Mar 26, 2013
    #7
  8. croy

    Paul Guest

    Yes, that's the BIOS string.

    If I Google that, I can sometimes find a reference to it.

    http://www.wimsbios.com/biosupdates/gigabyte.jsp

    Gigabyte GA-M55PLUS-S3G Athlon 1100 rev 0 FIB GA-M55PLUS-S3GV2 09/04/2006-C51-MCP51-6A61HG0LC-00

    So even without looking up the date of the BIOS, on the Gigabyte web site,
    I can guess at what release it might be (F1B).

    One reason for using BIOS strings, is for tracing down
    motherboards which have no labels on the motherboard
    surface. Some of the PCChips branded motherboards, they
    have no label on the motherboard. For those motherboards,
    you use the BIOS string to try to figure out the
    motherboard information. Every little bit of information
    helps.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Mar 26, 2013
    #8
  9. croy

    Monty Guest

    Croy, firstly an apology for a typo; When I told you where to find the
    motherboard revision number, I said next to the HDD connector. I meant
    to type FDD connector.

    I have uploaded a drawing of the motherboard (from the user manual)
    and highlighted the location of the revision number. You can see this
    drawing at http://preview.tinyurl.com/d7qn4vf

    I have also uploaded a photo of the first page of my Gigabyte BIOS
    which shows the BIOS revision - F14. On Sunday, I upgraded my BIOS
    from F12 - using Q-Flash. This photo may be viewed at
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/cl7gy7n

    If you want to view the BIOS revision on your PC as it flashes past,
    just note where the F14 is on the screen on the photo mentioned above
    and try to watch that spot on your monitor. Failing that, you can
    always install Belarc Advisor, which will tell you the BIOS revision
    level.

    At the moment, I don't think you can update your BIOS to a later
    level. If my guess is correct, it is already at the latest level for
    your motherboard which current evidence (the BIOS rev FIB mentioned by
    Paul) suggests that your motherboard is rev 2.1.

    I still haven't spelt out the steps that I used to upgrade my bios
    level from F12 to F14. It basically involves using Q-Flash, a flash
    drive to hold at least 2MB (1MB for a backup file, 1MB for the update
    file) and about 5-10 minutes of your time. This writeup will not
    happen for a couple of days.


    Cheers for now,
     
    Monty, Mar 26, 2013
    #9
  10. croy

    croy Guest


    That wasn't a problem until I read your correction. I
    hadn't actually looked for the revision because I "knew" it
    was a rev 1.0 board. But your note, above, prompted me to
    get down and look, just to verify, and what do I see? 1.2!
    I have always thought this was a 1.0 board--but now I can't
    remember why I thought that. This poses a new problem, as
    the Gigabyte pages don't even mention a rev 1.2. Only 1.0,
    2.1, and 3.0.

    I bought this board myself, and have the manual. The manual
    is rev. 1001, which I vaguely remember being told is not the
    same as the board rev.


    That link didn't work for me. When I click on the "proceed
    to this site", I get a message stating, "Invalid or Deleted
    File". I'm assuming that in that file, you were indicating
    the very corner of the board, very close to a mounting or
    tooling hole.


    That page came up fine, but I in the photo I took of that
    screen on my machine the other day, it shows:

    "GA-M55plus-S3G FA"


    I looked at that page that Paul referenced, and just get
    more confused. The first GA-M55plus-S3G listed, carries no
    revision, and has a Athlon 1100 chipset, and has the same
    date referenced in the BIOS string, but what's that "V2" on
    the end of the BIOS Id?

    My board has the nVidia GE-Foce 6100 chipset, which matches
    the "rev. 1.x" version, 3 lines down, but the BIOS date
    doesn't match.

    It appears that it might be time to send a query to
    Gigabyte. But I now see they only list phone numbers on
    their page--no email address. Something to think about when
    I'm on the hunt for another MB!


    I've watched a you-tube video that shows what looks like the
    process, and it looked pretty straight-forward.

    Last night I actually used Q-Flash to make a backup, and
    saved it to a floppy. I copied it over to a HDD after that,
    and used CTMC to tear it apart and examine all the pieces,
    but couldn't find anything the looked like a BIOS rev. Maybe
    the current rev actually is "FA", but I don't see that on
    the list for rev. 1.0 boards.

    Fortunately, this box is now running well enough that I can
    take my time with updating the BIOS.

    Thanks for the help and the time you've put in on this.
     
    croy, Mar 27, 2013
    #10
  11. croy

    croy Guest

    Confusing. Everything on that line looks right, except for
    the BIOS revision and the chipset. My board has the nVidia
    GeForce 6100 chipset. And if what I see near the top of the
    first BIOS screen is indicitive, the current BIOS revision
    is "FA". Maybe the list on that site is just not
    correct--but there is other confusion as well:

    On the corner of the board, I see "Rev. 1.2"

    But on the Gigabyte pages for BIOS updates, I see updates
    for boards of Revision 1.0, 2.1, and 3.0. No 1.2.


    not "FIB"?

    I have the manual! It is definitely a Gigabyte
    GA-M55plus-S3G. What rev? The board says 1.2, but the
    Gigabyte page doesn't seem to know of a 1.2.

    Thank for your replies and suggestions.
     
    croy, Mar 27, 2013
    #11
  12. croy

    Paul Guest

    A possible explanation for the revision 1.2 is that,
    when a motherboard is designed, there is a prototype (1.0),
    a revision after that (1.1) and a final revision (1.2). The
    final revision is the one that goes into production. (That
    is apparently what Asus does. The other companies might
    do something similar.) The final revision must be cosmetically
    perfect, and no cuts and straps are allowed. That means, that
    any electrical changes, have to be perfected on the 1.1 board.
    They only make a few 1.0 and 1.1 boards, for usage in the
    laboratory. (Where I used to work, our minimum quantity
    was five boards of each. Even if we didn't use them all, we
    still made five of them.) For the 1.2, they might make 100,000
    of those.

    Referring to the board as 1.0, is for marketing reasons. If the
    first board in a series was documented as 1.2, it would confuse
    the customers.

    When they make a revision 2 stream or revision 3 stream, the
    board may not go through as much development work. In some cases,
    all that has changed, is the silicon revision of the chipset
    might be different.

    The information on the wimsbios page would be volunteered by
    owners of the motherboard. Anything is possible with regard to
    the authenticity of the information.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Mar 27, 2013
    #12
  13. croy

    Monty Guest

    Looks like I can forget about writing up a procedure for updating
    bios. You probably noticed that the upgrade step is almost identical
    to the backup process.
    Maybe this is a suitable occasion to speculate !!!

    Let us say that there was a typo made when typing "REV.2.1" to add to
    the nomenclature for the motherboard and someone typed "REV.1.2".

    This could then let us believe that we really do have a Rev 2.1 board
    and we could then use the 2.1 bioses. After all, the "1.2" board is
    using a 2.1 bios. In your case, this is bios Rev FA. I would guess
    that when you did a backup of your bios, the filename is M55PS3G.FA

    Well, that was the file that I got when I ran the Rev FA download
    executable "motherboard_bios_ga-m55plus-s3g_2.x_fa.exe".

    If you are a gambler you could download and install Rev FH bios.

    If you are not a gambler then you might leave the bios alone !

    Your opening sentence began: "When I boot my computer, the first
    screen of the BIOS claims: "Award v6.00PG"."

    I Googled "Award v6.00PG" and all the pages that I viewed wanted to
    upgrade their bios from that level.

    I know that my initial response was not technically correct; I only
    attempted to give a conceptual description of how a bios revision
    level is not a name like "Award v6.00PG".
    Cheers,
     
    Monty, Mar 27, 2013
    #13
  14. croy

    croy Guest


    Well.... I had to go back and run Q-Flash again to be sure,
    because I had renamed the saved file. When I re-ran it, the
    filename field was blank--I was required to type something
    in :(


    I'm not really a gambler, but I am an idiot--does that
    count? ;-)


    Yeah, I didn't realise that somewhere a little further down
    it was telling me that the BIOS revision was "FA". I had
    only looked at the available updates for a REV: 1.0 board,
    and nothing like "FA" was listed. Now I see "FA" listed for
    the REV: 2.1 boards, and the initial BIOS was Revision "FA".


    I led you astray. That idiot thing again.


    If the box continues running ok, I'm just gonna leave it.
    The descriptions of the BIOS updates on the Gigabyte pages
    are so terse that I have little idea of what may work
    better--or not.

    If the box gets too wonky, and I suspect it might have
    something to do with the BIOS, I'll just start looking for
    another board, and only play with flashing this one after
    the new board is in hand.

    Thanks again for your time.
     
    croy, Mar 28, 2013
    #14
  15. croy

    croy Guest


    What a treat to get a message from someone who is/was
    actually in the thick of it.

    After having worked in that arena, do you have a brand of
    boards that you prefer?


    Understood.


    I ran Q-Flash, just to back up the current BIOS, hoping that
    it would suggest a filename that would include the revision,
    but it only offered me a place to type in a filename. When
    I un-lha'd it, the name was "m55ps3g.BIN" :(

    So now, I'm stuck with a questionable board revision,
    apparently running a "FA" BIOS revision.

    But the board is working again, so I think I'll just crawl
    back under my rock, and wait to come out until it *isn't*
    working. Then, when I get a new board in hand, I'll play
    around with this one until I either get a fresh BIOS rev on
    it, or have it smoking and curling on the edges!

    Thanks for your insights!
     
    croy, Mar 28, 2013
    #15
  16. croy

    Paul Guest

    croy wrote:

    This information, comes from a few interviews the enthusiast
    sites have done with the major motherboard makers. In one
    case, they gave a breakdown on the development process.
    In another, there was a short video, showing how a motherboard
    is tested at the factory. It's quite illuminating. It must
    take hundreds and hundreds of employees to test millions of
    motherboards per month. The testing is by hand, which is the
    amazing part (test person inserted stuff in motherboard, and the
    test lasts around 2 minutes).

    I'm a digital designer, but I've designed communications
    equipment. The difference is, the products I worked on,
    cost $100,000 each, and we sell very few of them. But I
    go through the same development process, as a motherboard
    does. My final "spin" has to be cut and strap free too. My
    initial prototype quantities vary from five to about thirty.
    (Those are for testing in the lab.) But it's the same
    style of development as with motherboards. And about
    the same level of complexity.

    How motherboard design differs from what I've done, is
    a motherboard designer first and foremost, has to be
    a "historian". You have to be aware of design decisions
    made twenty years ago. And preserve compatibility. Whereas
    for the things I've designed, they're largely constraint-free.
    If you use awdsplit, lha, and strings.exe, you can dump a lot
    of stuff in the BIOS into a text file for examination. You
    should be able to see the BIOS string that way. For AMI BIOS,
    you have to find a copy of mmtool for those. Award, you use
    awdsplit.

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt/msg/340b0373d49b1e4c?dmode=source

    Paul
     
    Paul, Mar 28, 2013
    #16
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.