K8N Neo 2.0 - Interesting Corrupt BIOS Problem

Discussion in 'MSI' started by SP Goodman, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. SP Goodman

    SP Goodman Guest

    Hi Folks,

    I thought I'd help out an electrician whose machine was totally pranged by
    an ex-friend of his who didn't even know how to put a machine together -
    bent pins and an unfixed CPU fan amongst other atrocities! - and so he
    brought the poor box to me to see what I could do.

    The 1GB of memory was fine, but I ended up having to replace the power
    supply, CPU/fan and motherboard. I chose an MSI K8N Neo series 2.0 as a
    cost-efficient replacement and slight upgrade, but when the MB arrived and
    it was installed there was nothing past the POST bootup "beep". Fan ran, no
    error beeps unless I removed the RAM or graphics card - as it should be -
    but one never got a hint of cursor.

    Having a few spare components round here (having recently built a pair of
    replacement machines) I swapped out the few components installed including
    the power supply but still no cursor. Hoping that I'd not pranged my spare
    video card - ATI Radeon 9550 AGP - I rummaged round until I found an old XFX
    AGP 1.0 card and plugged THAT in. Behold, I not only got cursor but the
    floppy initialized - not the hard drive, which does indeed have a bootable
    XP Pro partition on it - and I was shown the dreaded message "BIOS ROM
    checksum error". Subsequent attempts to use a bootable floppy to try to
    flash the BIOS back to health have failed, because the system doesn't even
    boot enough of itself to be able to read a floppy disk, just request it.

    Obviously this puppy is being sent back RMA-wise, and a replacement will be
    forthcoming - after all, the poor guy has a laptop, and has not had the use
    of the big machine EVER, so it's not THAT time-sensitive - but my memory of
    BIOS stuff was stimulated by the nature of this failure.

    I remembered when the transition to on-chip BIOS settings was made from the
    old dipswitch block method, and what a pain THAT was when a Phoenix BIOS on
    occasion would error out, as it couldn't recognize the floppy disk it was
    supposed to get initialization from. We all breathed a sigh of relief in
    the PC-building biz when on-chip setups became the standard, frankly - but
    this error on the new motherboard was a real throwback of sorts. It gave
    the impression that BIOS initialization has two levels of handling a
    graphics card, one being an older method that handles PCI and early AGP
    cards, and a later-introduced level accommodating newer AGP (and probably
    PCI-E) cards. The BIOS-in-question was so corrupted that it only recognized
    and initialized an early AGP card, which was able to show me the BIOS ROM
    checksum error message.

    A bit like sweeping the area in one's garden to find bones from ages ago
    beginning to appear through the topsoil, frankly! Thoughts on this?

    Stephen Goodman
    * Cartoons about DVDs and Stuff
    * http://www.earthlight.net/HiddenTrack
    * The Loop Of The Week since 1996!
    * http://www.earthlight.net/Studios
    SP Goodman, Aug 21, 2006
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