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The pain of the bleeding edge


November 15, 2004 02:04 PM PST

Well most of my weekend was taken up with the Xbox party and going out etc., so I didn't get back on my new machine until Sunday night. Immediately my efforts were thwarted. The machine will not post far enough to see anything on the video card. The MB sits with a 9.0. on the LED display. After about an hour of basic troubleshooting Ė removing everything connected to the motherboard, trying a different video card. Reseating the processor, ram etc., I give up and hit the web. It look like Iím not the only one with this problem. It turns out that the newest 90nm Athlon 64ís are only supported by Abitís latest v1.5 bios. And if Iím seeing 9.0. stuck on the display then I don't have the latest.

This is all due to the fact that I wanted to pay more for the brand new 90nm 3500+ which has only been our a few weeks. The goals was a significant reduction in heat generation. So now I need a new bios for my processor to work, but I need a processor to upgrade the bios. Iím a bit stuck. It would have been nice if Newegg was paid attention to motherboards and CPUs on the same order and made sure the bios was up to date. I sent them a nastygram to this effect.

So what are my options? Actually there are many, but all have pain.
1. RMA the mother board back to Newegg, and ask for one with the correct bios. The downside, I pay to ship the board back, I have to hassle with uninstalling the board, and re-installing the new one. I take a risk that they ship me another Ďoldí board as Iím not sure if you can tell the bios version from the outside of the box.
2. RMA back to Abit. Ė Uh seriously from what I have read, most customers canít even get tech support to admit it is their problem. The easiest would be for them to ship out a new bios, but they wonít do it apparently. Plus to RMA to them would take about 3 weeks turn around time.
3. Find someone locally who will load me a 939 socket, 120nm processor so I can flash my bios.
4. Find a local shop who will flash my board for a nominal fee. Not likely.
5. Order a new bios from a 3rd party bios replacement company. Pros: only have to swap out a chip, donít have to remove the MB. Cons: yet more money spent to fix something that should have worked.
6. Take the shady way: Purchase a CPU or MB locally to get over this hurdle, then return it or the duplicate for refund. Not the best way to play, plus youíll get nailed a 15% restocking fee anyway.

Iím leaning towards 5. I found, they will send me out a new flash, but for a price. This is yet another example of throwing money at a problem. This will be the fastest route, not the cheapest, but it avoids have to spend more time working on the machine, going to the post office etc. ĖTime I donít have at the moment.

Comments (3)
J, November 16, 2004 09:23 AM:

Hmm. Quite a pickle. You could probably find someone at work who had just ordered a processor, but it'll probably be 90nm too. RMA to newegg is probably not that much hassle, but I agree you could end up with the same board again. I guess the bios company might be the way to go. Maybe if you agree to send in your chip afterwards they could give you a credit (since they just have to reflash it and sell it to the next guy).

This makes me nervous about upgrading to PCI-X and socket 939. I will probably just have to buy the exact combination of parts of someone who's got it working.

Hey, that's an option. RMA the board to newegg because it doesn't work with your processor and buy a PCI-X board when they come out this month... Of course you already have that expensive AGP card...

J, November 16, 2004 09:25 AM:

Actually, it's not completely unlikely that a local vendor wouldn't have a 120NM part for you to use to flash at the store. Even if they charged you to do it, you'd have it done in a day and ready to play HL2.

Can't you just drop the video card into an older machine and play HL2 for now anyway?

john, November 16, 2004 09:57 AM:

Yeah, things are tough. I got an email back from Newegg. They are happy to RMA it, but they have NO system in place to assure that a given bios / firmware revision will get delivered to a given person. They just ship what they have. So basically I'll probably just get another board of the same rev. Yes bummer about half life, but tried to have the bios chip shipped fast, so I'll probably just wait a couple days and see if that works before trying to play the game on my older machine. I really want my first HL2 experience to be "Holy Crap"!, not just "wow".

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