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Old May 17th, 2005, 10:32 AM   #1
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Dual Question: New Motherboard/Dual CPU Purchase Suggestions and BIOS Problem

I think Hot Dog Vender Rick Bravo put a Cuban curse on me. Something happened to my computer BIOS and now my $4,350.00 computer won't boot. Period. Kaput. Nada. The thing won't boot.

Can I replace the BIOS chip?

If not, can my fine comrades on DV INFO suggest new powerful Motherboard/Dual CPU specs that will at least future proof me into the next year or so?
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Old May 17th, 2005, 10:39 AM   #2
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okies firstlym, what kinda board is it?? make, model, etc..
how do u know its the bios?? (does ur mainboard fire up???
How do u know its not a ram issue?? (what kinda ram r u using? )
or a cpu issue?? (what kinda heat dispersion are u using? )

The unit wont boot up at al?? or u get power but no cigar??

need more info mate...

have u tried booting up with no pci/firewire/usb devices installed?

will need much more info

FYI.. u cant replace a bios chip, but u can reflash it to the original or updated bios OS

it prolly really isnt a problem if we can determine what THIS issue is..
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Old May 17th, 2005, 01:03 PM   #3
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You can replace the BIOS chip, but that would only help if you hosed your BIOS while trying to flash it.

2- Where in the boot sequence does your computer stop booting?

You hit the power button.
LEDs light up.
The fans spin up.
You see something on your monitor. (Or the computer starts beeping.)
You hear the hard drives spin up. It may make seek noises (those clicking noises that happen while Windows loads).
The fans and hard drive should still be spinning.

One thing you can try is to open up the side panel to your computer and figure out where it stops booting. Is the LED lit? Does the CPU fan spin up?

Don't touch stuff inside because you may damage it with static. You can touch exposed metal on the back of the power supply if you want to ground yourself and get rid of any static on you.

3- What happened before your computer didn't boot? Did you do any major changes to it? (i.e. BIOS flash, hardware upgrades)
Was there a storm? (Maybe your computer got fried by a lightning strike.)

Was it running and you came back to it in the morning and it was 'dead'?
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Old May 17th, 2005, 01:28 PM   #4
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Okay, This is the deal:

I have a Pentium 4, 3.0 gHz 800 mHz FSB Northwood Motherboard. Last night, I visited the Gateway software updates website and attempted to update my BIOS driver. I made sure this driver was for my BIOS because I checked it against the serial number during BIOS setup. When I loaded the update, it asked me to reboot, then

BAM!

The motors whirrr, the fans turn, the floppy boot drive lights, the CD ROM and DVD Drive lights but then it gets stuck in that repeating cycle. The computer beeps (never did that before) and the floppy disk drive moves and that's it. Over and over. No BIOS screen, no nothing. I even tried putting in the Windows XP installation disk and the computer doesn't even read it.

So then, what the hell? If I cannot fix the BIOS do I have to buy another motherboard?
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Old May 17th, 2005, 02:01 PM   #5
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1- Was it a BIOS flash/update or a driver update?

If it was a BIOS flash and it went wrong, you may be in trouble. Some BIOSes have like two BIOSes in them and will let you flash a working BIOS in. Otherwise, you need to replace the entire motherboard or get a replacement BIOS chip. You may need to contact Gateway support for that.

2- Another possibility is that something else is hosed? (i.e. your computer won't boot because you rebooted and there was an unrelated, underlying fault)

If your machine gives you beeps on startup, that corresponds to a particular beep code. These correspond to specific error messages, which can really help.

google will typically find these, but you need to match the beep codes to the particular BIOS your motherboard uses (i.e. AMI, or one of the other BIOS companies, or some proprietary flavor of those companies' BIOSes).

3- New motherboard: Some OEMs use proprietary designs that don't work with normal stuff. For motherboards, check that the standoff holes are in the right places and whether the board follows the mATX or ATX standard (mATX is smaller). You may also need to check whether or not the power supply connector is a standard ATX one.

I'm not familiar enough with Gateway to recall this stuff off the top of my head. You could try the Gateway support pages, although sometimes they tell you to buy their overpriced replacement part.

As well, be sure the newer motherboard has the same chipset or Windows may have trouble booting (i.e. it won't) and your old parts may be incompatible. If you aren't replacing with the same motherboard then things get tricky. Your computer may still be in warranty so you may be able to get a replacement motherboard.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 02:12 PM   #6
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This is what I tried to update:


9527858.exe - Wasp P13 BIOS Update, Version BZ87510A.15A.0114.P13
Supports: All Operating Systems
Note: This is the P13 BIOS update for the Intel BZ87510A (Wasp) motherboard. This update supersedes all previous versions.

AND this motherboard update:


9522863.exe - Universal Serial Bus Version 2.0 driver, version: 5.1.2600.0 Driver File Version: 5.00.2195.5652
Supports: Windows 2000
5/9/2003
136 KB
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Old May 17th, 2005, 02:23 PM   #7
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This is the site that deciphers the BIOS beep codes. Would you believe I stumbled on this by sheer accident? (Or is it synchronicity?)

http://pcsupport.about.com/cs/mother.../beepcodes.htm
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Old May 17th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #8
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So what's the beep code?

2- Your computer may not necessarily follow those beep codes (although it probably does), and I don't think that list is comprehensive.

3- Is your computer still under warranty? I would try contacting Gateway support because chances are you will need to replace something.

Support is sometimes sketchy because they may not understand your accent (i.e. half of Gateway's support is India-based I believe) or they may not know much about computers. In those cases, it's good to get your problem escalated to a higher level of tech support. If you do what they say (most of which you probably can't, because your computer won't fully boot), then you should get your problem esclated to someone who can figure out your problem and get a replacement for you.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 04:13 PM   #9
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Beep Codes

I returned home and booted the computer. It beeps twice--pause--then five more beeps.

Then it just changed itself to five beeps.

AMI BIOS BEEP CODES: (5 beeps) PROCESSOR ERROR - The system CPU has failed.

(7 beeps) Virtual mode processor exception failure - The CPU has generated an exception error because of a fault in the CPU or motherboard circuitry.

What the f**k does this all mean? Am I screwed, or what?
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Old May 17th, 2005, 06:39 PM   #10
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If you have another motherboard with the same socket (478 I believe; not socket T or LGA 775 or the AMD sockets), you could try swapping the processors around. Read the CPU instructions carefully to avoid CPU damage!!

That would definitely let you know if the CPU is bad. I really don't think your CPU is bad though. They'd only fail if they were overheating or something. Considering your system was running, that's unlikely (unless the fan just failed, but even then the CPU still takes some time to overheat and then automatically shut down).

It's more likely that the BIOS is hosed. In that case, you'd need to contact Gateway about a replacement motherboard or BIOS chip. At this point, I would contact Gateway support because you likely have to contact them anyways to get hardware replaced under warranty. (You're under warranty right?)

Some more information on beep codes:
http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/sys/beep/award.htm
Quote:
If you have recently flashed the system BIOS on this machine and corrupted the BIOS, and the system supports the boot block feature, the beeps may be codes communicating the status of the system as it tries to recover from the failed flash procedure. This is especially likely if the floppy drive is accessed very early in the boot process.
Your system may be looking at the floppy drive so it can try flashing off the floppy to recover itself.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 11:31 PM   #11
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usually with the amount of work required to replace a bios, ud jsut switch baords to save the headache..

"If you have another motherboard with the same socket (478 I believe; not socket T or LGA 775 or the AMD sockets), you could try swapping the processors around. Read the CPU instructions carefully to avoid CPU damage!! "

Totally agree, but just be aware that some boards do not support Prescott CPUs. U mention northwood, so u should be ok
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Old May 18th, 2005, 07:53 AM   #12
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Called Gateway, and, true to the "60 Minutes" segment on ABC, I spoke with a female in India trying hard to affect an American accent. I played the game:

1) I described the symptoms and told her my problem and waited while she perused her checklist of what to do next when the customer says XYZ...

2) I followed her directions by climbing under my desk and removing this, removing that and once again waiting while she perused her checklist to see what to ask next after the customer removes this and removes that.

When all was said and done, she told me my problem was excatly what I told her the minute she answered the phone! She switched me to a supervisor who kept asking me "What?" "What?" and told me that since my computer is out of warranty, I would need to call the help line at $2.95 per minute. Gateway is of no help.

So, do I buy a new motherboard?
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Old May 18th, 2005, 09:14 AM   #13
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Need Advice:

I'm a staunch Vegas 6 user so can somebody explain the differences between the P4 600 series and P4 Extreme Edition series? Also, how do these differ from the Xeon and are dual Xeons better/worse or same as the upcoming dual core processors?
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Old May 18th, 2005, 09:48 AM   #14
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Hugh,
If you want to put in a new motherboard you might want to check out the following thread/article:
Swapping your board without so much as a reinstall
While you can't prep your system outlined in that article, you might want to read it to figure out how to avoid re-installing windows. Getting the same chipset motherboard might do it... or a repair install with winXP may also do it (do you have winXP install CDs?)

Quote:
I'm a staunch Vegas 6 user so can somebody explain the differences between the P4 600 series and P4 Extreme Edition series? Also, how do these differ from the Xeon and are dual Xeons better/worse or same as the upcoming dual core processors?
The Extreme Editions usually (but not always?) have more cache thrown on, which makes a few to several percent difference depending heavily on the application. There are some rendertest.veg results comparing EE to non-EE. My memory is fuzzy here, but I think EE was 6% faster.
Anyways, the EE editions are always way too overpriced to bother looking at.
In the case of Vegas, it does take advantage of dual processors so look at that route instead of EE.

As far as I know:
The 600 series Pentiums have 64-bit instructions, 2MB cache instead of 1MB, speedstep (less heat when idle), and the Execute Disable Bit (like AMD's no execute bit; stops certain types of buffer overflow security exploits; the 500J series also has this).

The newer processors may run on chipset/motherboards that only take DDR2 RAM and pciE graphics cards, so that may be something to watch out for if you want to use your old stuff. And if you want to avoid re-installing Windows, a same chipset motherboard might let you avoid that.

2- You could try to see if there is some way to revive your BIOS. Some systems have a feature that would let you put the BIOS ROM onto a floppy to rescue your system in case the flash goes wrong.

Before doing that I would verify the beep code (whether it's a BIOS problem, or the CPU [although the CPU failing like that is highly unlikely, so you could just assume it's the BIOS]).

You might also want to look into a possible fault on Gateway's part. It's not right that their BIOS update killed your computer. Sometimes they absolve themselves of responsibility by putting a disclaimer.
The BIOS update was also probably totally unnecessary, although that may not really be relevant here. If Gateway were pushing the BIOS update onto you, then that could be relevant because they shouldn't be doing that.

3- You might be able to source a replacement BIOS chip or motherboard on Gateway's site, or through Google or something. Replacement BIOSes are hard to find though, and will take some time to arrive.

4- If you can fix your computer, I would go that route as a new computer won't really be all that much faster. To guestimate the speed increase, divide the clock speeds. 3.6ghz is 20% faster than 3.0ghz processor. A 3.6ghz processor would have hyperthreading but in this case many people report turning the number of threads Vegas uses to render down to 1 increases performance.

Last edited by Glenn Chan; May 18th, 2005 at 10:04 AM.
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Old May 18th, 2005, 12:14 PM   #15
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Some of the new boards have a BIOS recovery. ASUS and others have a jumper that when set, will load a factory copy of the BIOS code into the chip from storage on the motherboard. A dogpile search with BIOS and your motherboard serial number might hit someone talking about doing that on the internet.
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