WARNING - Dual Bios & GIGAraid ITE Problems 8KNXP

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by Mark Taylor, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. Mark Taylor

    Mark Taylor Guest

    Hello to all

    Thought I might share my very unpleasant experience with thso looking at this board as it might help you to avoid the many long hours of frustration I had with this mobo. My main reasons for buying this board was to use the onboard ITE IDE RAID and the dual bios function. Both do not work properly so I will probably scrap thsi baord and buy something else, possibly the Aopen A4C Max.

    I have just spent a week setting up this board with an existing Promise RAID 0+1 from my old system onto this board. Lets say along the way trying to get the system to work I managed to screw up the first board and I am now onto the second board. This was mainly to try and get the blue screen stop errors on the ntfs.sys to stop occurring. The onboard ITE IDE RAID controller in my opinion is a dud. I mainly bought this board as I had 4 WD 80GB 8MB 7200 drives for my previous RAID which are IDE and wanted to keep using them. This was one of the few boards that had a RAID 0+1 IDE controller. I now regret buying this board and I am seriously thinking of changing to something else. I am now using it with my original Promise PCI Fasttrak TX2 RAID controller with version 33 bios and 34 driver under Windows XP Pro which so far is quite stable. I have many years experience with PC's and must say I think this board needs some serious BIOS work and driver upgrades if it is going to be useful. The Dual Bios managed to fail, again one of the main reasons for buying this board. The old version had a jumper on the board so you could force it to use the backup BIOS but this one uses software after the pre-BIOS boot. The BIOS EPROM's are also surface mounted so cannot be removed for easy reflashing via an external provider so the board became unbootable after I flashed to version f6e which was mentioned here and thought might fix some of the instability problems. The BIOS failed at the prepost so I could not get into the BIOS to use the software to boot from the good backup or take the chips out and swap them so basically the board was screwed. Whoever thought that idea up certainly did not take all the possibilites into account. I noticed the Aopen A4C Max has two socketed BIOS chips with a jumper on the board to force the system to boot from the backup.

    Regards
    Mark
     
    Mark Taylor, Jul 21, 2003
    #1
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  2. Mark Taylor

    Ken Guest

    Ive used the backup bios feature. Have had no prob booting off either main or backup bios. Main bios is f5 backup bios is f6e.I used in bios flashing utility to flash main bios to f6e. Ive got 2x seagate 160 gig sata drives in raid 0. Been great here. Havnt tried ide raid. Stable board here.

    Ken

    Ken


    Hello to all

    Thought I might share my very unpleasant experience with thso looking at this board as it might help you to avoid the many long hours of frustration I had with this mobo. My main reasons for buying this board was to use the onboard ITE IDE RAID and the dual bios function. Both do not work properly so I will probably scrap thsi baord and buy something else, possibly the Aopen A4C Max.

    I have just spent a week setting up this board with an existing Promise RAID 0+1 from my old system onto this board. Lets say along the way trying to get the system to work I managed to screw up the first board and I am now onto the second board. This was mainly to try and get the blue screen stop errors on the ntfs.sys to stop occurring. The onboard ITE IDE RAID controller in my opinion is a dud. I mainly bought this board as I had 4 WD 80GB 8MB 7200 drives for my previous RAID which are IDE and wanted to keep using them. This was one of the few boards that had a RAID 0+1 IDE controller. I now regret buying this board and I am seriously thinking of changing to something else. I am now using it with my original Promise PCI Fasttrak TX2 RAID controller with version 33 bios and 34 driver under Windows XP Pro which so far is quite stable. I have many years experience with PC's and must say I think this board needs some serious BIOS work and driver upgrades if it is going to be useful. The Dual Bios managed to fail, again one of the main reasons for buying this board. The old version had a jumper on the board so you could force it to use the backup BIOS but this one uses software after the pre-BIOS boot. The BIOS EPROM's are also surface mounted so cannot be removed for easy reflashing via an external provider so the board became unbootable after I flashed to version f6e which was mentioned here and thought might fix some of the instability problems. The BIOS failed at the prepost so I could not get into the BIOS to use the software to boot from the good backup or take the chips out and swap them so basically the board was screwed. Whoever thought that idea up certainly did not take all the possibilites into account. I noticed the Aopen A4C Max has two socketed BIOS chips with a jumper on the board to force the system to boot from the backup.

    Regards
    Mark
     
    Ken, Jul 21, 2003
    #2
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  3. Mark Taylor

    Muttley Guest

    Hi Mark,

    I may be wrong, but........

    Am I right in guessing that you transferred an existing array from a Promise
    RAID controller to the ITE RAID controller on this new motherboard?

    Did you wipe the drives and re-create a NEW array from scratch? - AFAIK,
    There's no guarantee that an existing array will still work after moving it
    to a different controller chipset. I have also heard that in some cases,
    even a simple upgrade of a RAID controller's BIOS can sometimes render any
    existing arrays unusable.
    Did you do a clean install of Windows XP? - Again, usually a very good idea
    when changing the motherboard, especially when changing hard drive
    controllers. An existing install of XP will usually refuse to boot if the
    hard drive controller setup has been changed.
    Another thing, even on motherboards that use an onboard Promise RAID
    controller, the driver for the onboard Promise RAID is different to the one
    used for a PCI card Promise RAID controller. The PCI card RAID driver will
    not work for the onboard RAID chip, and vice-versa.

    I'm guessing that if you re-created the array from scratch and did a clean
    re-install of Windows using the ITE RAID drivers, that you probably wouldn't
    have had any problems.

    My apologies if I'm barking up the wrong tree with the above.....

    Regarding the Dual-Bios problem, I myself have been wondering about the
    effectiveness of the Gigabyte software based Dual-BIOS function.
    How is the Bios software going to determine that it is corrupt, if the Bios
    itself is so totally screwed up that the board can't boot at all.
    The Dual-Bios routines must be part of the Boot-Block BIOS that is normally
    not overwritten during a flash upgrade. I'm guessing that your upgrade flash
    must have somehow overwritten and corrupted the Boot-block portion of the
    Bios as well.
    I would have thought that a non-flashable fail-safe copy of the original
    shipping BIOS that is selected by a jumper might be better.
    That said, I have been exclusively using Dual-Bios Gigabyte boards for a few
    years now and haven't had a problem with it.
    On the few occasions that it has been needed, it has so far always managed
    to load the backup BIOS and rescue the board.

    John S.

    Hello to all
    Thought I might share my very unpleasant experience with thso looking at
    this board as it might help you to avoid the many long hours of frustration
    I had with this mobo. My main reasons for buying this board was to use the
    onboard ITE IDE RAID and the dual bios function. Both do not work properly
    so I will probably scrap thsi baord and buy something else, possibly the
    Aopen A4C Max.
    I have just spent a week setting up this board with an existing Promise RAID
    0+1 from my old system onto this board. Lets say along the way trying to get
    the system to work I managed to screw up the first board and I am now onto
    the second board. This was mainly to try and get the blue screen stop errors
    on the ntfs.sys to stop occurring. The onboard ITE IDE RAID controller in my
    opinion is a dud. I mainly bought this board as I had 4 WD 80GB 8MB 7200
    drives for my previous RAID which are IDE and wanted to keep using them.
    This was one of the few boards that had a RAID 0+1 IDE controller. I now
    regret buying this board and I am seriously thinking of changing to
    something else. I am now using it with my original Promise PCI Fasttrak TX2
    RAID controller with version 33 bios and 34 driver under Windows XP Pro
    which so far is quite stable. I have many years experience with PC's and
    must say I think this board needs some serious BIOS work and driver upgrades
    if it is going to be useful. The Dual Bios managed to fail, again one of the
    main reasons for buying this board. The old version had a jumper on the
    board so you could force it to use the backup BIOS but this one uses
    software after the pre-BIOS boot. The BIOS EPROM's are also surface mounted
    so cannot be removed for easy reflashing via an external provider so the
    board became unbootable after I flashed to version f6e which was mentioned
    here and thought might fix some of the instability problems. The BIOS failed
    at the prepost so I could not get into the BIOS to use the software to boot
    from the good backup or take the chips out and swap them so basically the
    board was screwed. Whoever thought that idea up certainly did not take all
    the possibilites into account. I noticed the Aopen A4C Max has two socketed
    BIOS chips with a jumper on the board to force the system to boot from the
    backup.
    Regards
    Mark
     
    Muttley, Jul 21, 2003
    #3
  4. Mark Taylor

    Tim Guest

    If what Muttley says is at least in part correct - that you have replaced
    the m/b on an existing Windows XP system, at the very least you should run a
    repair so that XP setup will run throught the motions of re-detecting and
    configuring all h.w. Then install all drivers + updated drivers from the CD
    that came with the m/b, then - regardless - put XP SP 1 in (if you already
    had it in) just to be safe.

    Then recreate your raid array. I have read on one hand that raid configs are
    'ubiquitous', interchangeable, bla bla bla. On the other hand I have read
    repeatedly 'this bios upgrade may break your raid configuration'. Don't
    believe either until 2010.

    Best option. fdisk the lot and start again - if you can.

    To run a repair for XP, insert the CD, run setup and follow the
    instructions - you don't want to go into the recovery console, it is the
    other option.

    Tim.
     
    Tim, Jul 22, 2003
    #4
  5. Mark Taylor

    nobody Guest

    I totally agree with you guys. When I upgraded my motherboard from an
    Asus P4B533-E to the Gigabyte GA-8KNXP, I had to recreate my RAID and
    then reinstall WindowsXP. This new motherboard didn't even see my
    Promise array, and said the hard drives were "raw" - meaning they
    didn't have anything on them. Luckily I backed up my info prior to
    the upgrade in hardware.

    When you think about it, it actually makes sense. Why would a Promise
    RAID work on a Silicon Image or Intel RAID controller? It's just like
    DVD burners at present (DVD+RW or DVD-RW) - they both do the same job,
    and do fall under a DVD standard of some kind, but they are not
    compatible with each other (not 100% anyway). AFAIK, there is no RAID
    standard in that respect (they are not interchangable with other
    manufacturers). I wish there was a standard, like IDE, but you can
    only pray that the new controller will see your existing RAID. I
    wouldn't be surprised if a standard does appear over the next few
    years, since RAID is becoming more prominent in homes now - not just
    for businesses anymore.
     
    nobody, Jul 23, 2003
    #5
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