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Thread: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?




  1. #11
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    The main point of our opinions (yes, opinions) of one BIOS flashing method over another is that the Instant Flash method has proven to be the most reliable for us. Reliable means consistent success, with the least amount of glitches, failures, or any issues.

    Our philosophy about this is given the potentially dangerous nature of a BIOS flash, the most simple, straightforward method to accomplish it is the best one to use. We feel that the more "layers" between the BIOS flashing program and the CMOS chip itself, the more chances for failure exist. Running a BIOS update program from Windows is the farthest removed from the CMOS firmware level that normally exists in a PC, short of running it from a virtualized environment. A DOS based BIOS update is perhaps one step closer, but only due to the somewhat simpler nature of the DOS OS. Flashing from an OS simply adds more things that can fail, and cause the BIOS flash to fail.

    Yes, flashing from DOS gives you more options, which is an advantage. Flashing from an OS is more convenient for some people too. When we are asked about which method to use, our choice is compromised towards a successful BIOS flash above all else. We cannot gauge a persons experience level with PCs from a few posts, so when in doubt, we choose what we believe is the method that provides the best chance for success. Given your last few posts, we can now see that your experience level is much higher than average, but if someone is requesting our advice, we will still always suggest what we feel is the safest method to accomplish whatever the task may be. You obviously understand this, given your "... the usual 'use at your own risk' disclaimer applies." statement in your last post.

    We've also found in our experience dealing with our own and others BIOS updates, that in some cases, the only method provided by ASR for a specific BIOS update is Instant Flash. We've also had to deal with the dreaded Sandy Bridge board to Ivy Bridge CPU compatibility BIOS update, which users have done incorrectly many times.

    So if we argue that one method is "better" than another, that is only because we chose to err on the side of safety above all else. Our choice can be debated of course, but in our experience we suggest what has the best chance for a positive outcome.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Very nice debate. I can't choose a winner.
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  3. #13
    simplymike is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Flashing from an OS simply adds more things that can fail, and cause the BIOS flash to fail
    Exactly. But do we have an option? I mean can we avoid using an OS?
    A computer contains many parts - chipset and RAM on the MB, storage devices, output devices (video), input devices (keyboard/mouse), ports, etc.
    In order to use all this hardware, an application program has to know how to interact with all that stuff. The devices all talk different "languages" because they were made by different manufacturers. Our application program has to speak languages used by all devices on a particular machine. Which means: either it has to know languages of all existing devices, and in this case it can be used on all machines. Or, it will only run on the machine it was written for.

    Yet another option was to invent something that would act as an intermediary party between hardware (devices) and application programs. Operating system does just that - it provides common services for all application programs. In other words, it lets programs use the common hardware. Every electronic device that has keypad/keyboard and display, from ATMs to supercomputers, has an OS.

    BIOS is just that - an operating system (Basic Input/Output Operating System).

    Now back to our flashing BIOS questions.

    It is evident that we can not flash our BIOS chip without using other devices. We need keyboard/mouse to send commands and make choices, we need video to display the results, and we need some storage device (HDD or USB stick) as the source of the new BIOS. That means that we need the OS as well, because without OS these devices can not function.

    And a few words about BIOS/DOS flashing comparison. Our BIOS chip contains a set of commands/routines/parameters. Instant Flash is written there as well. Instant Flash does, in a nutshell, one simple thing - read from an external device (eg. USB) and write to the chip. Byte by byte, cell by cell. Obviously, it can not overwrite itself (ie. memory cells where it resides), otherwise the process will hang. In order to reprogram the whole chip, the flashing program must reside on a device external to the BIOS chip and be executed from that device.
    We have such a device - it is system memory (RAM). Instant Flash is loaded from BIOS chip into RAM and is executed in system memory.
    The same story with the DOS flasher. AFUDOS is loaded from USB stick into RAM and started from there. It works in system memory as well.

    That is why ASRock (and other manufacturers) warn us NOT to switch the PC off during flashing. Also, that is why it is so important to use good RAM sticks. If not sure, run a memory diagnostic tool (MEMTEST86 or similar) before BIOS upgrade.

    Now we want that the flashing process goes without interruption. That depends more on the author of the flashing program than on everything else, given we are not in multitasking environment. On single-tasking systems (DOS, BIOS) where only one program is running at a time, CPU time and other resources belong to that program only, I/O devices like keyboard can be made inexistent by disabling interrupts.

    A DOS based BIOS update is perhaps one step closer, but only due to the somewhat simpler nature of the DOS OS.
    It is not the simplicity that makes the difference, both BIOS and DOS when compared to Windows has one thing in common - they are single-tasking. So BIOS and DOS are equally simple when compared to Windows.

    ...if someone is requesting our advice, we will still always suggest what we feel is the safest method to accomplish whatever the task may be
    It's OK by me. I prefer that people understand what they are doing, so I would rather try to explain them how it works. Some people in forums are so unaware what they are doing that the safest advice would be "Don't touch!" :)

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    From five days ago when a rather "noob' answer was being sought ............

    Quote Originally Posted by simplymike View Post
    Hello, what is the safest way to flash BIOS? I can see three BIOSes of the same version on ASRock's site.
    They are: Instant flash, DOS and Windows.
    The Instant flash version E350M1USB3(1.80)ROM.zip contains just one file E35MU31.80 exactly 4MB in size which I think is BIOS itself.
    DOS and Windows versions contain exe-files called E35MU31.80.EXE, I guess each exe-file contains a flashing utility along with the ROM contents to flash.
    The DOS flashing utility is called AFUDOS, the Windows is called AFUWINGUI, the Windows package contains two sys-files, they are
    possibly drivers for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.
    To start flashing, the Instant Flash variant needs just booting to BIOS, the DOS variant needs a USB pen drive, the Windows variant is happy with any disk storage accessible by Windows.
    After all the investigations, I can't figure out what is the best (safest) way of flashing.
    I was sure the safest was flashing from BIOS. Why then there are two other packages (DOS and WIN)?
    What makes DOS and WIN flashers equally safe (if not safer) than the BIOS flasher?
    Are there situations when flashing from BIOS is not possible?

    To todays long winded diatribe???

    ??? Conners > CDS Foley +/> ?simplymike

    Quote Originally Posted by simplymike View Post
    Exactly. But do we have an option? I mean can we avoid using an OS?
    A computer contains many parts - chipset and RAM on the MB, storage devices, output devices (video), input devices (keyboard/mouse), ports, etc.
    In order to use all this hardware, an application program has to know how to interact with all that stuff. The devices all talk different "languages" because they were made by different manufacturers. Our application program has to speak languages used by all devices on a particular machine. Which means: either it has to know languages of all existing devices, and in this case it can be used on all machines. Or, it will only run on the machine it was written for.

    Yet another option was to invent something that would act as an intermediary party between hardware (devices) and application programs. Operating system does just that - it provides common services for all application programs. In other words, it lets programs use the common hardware. Every electronic device that has keypad/keyboard and display, from ATMs to supercomputers, has an OS.

    BIOS is just that - an operating system (Basic Input/Output Operating System).

    Now back to our flashing BIOS questions.

    It is evident that we can not flash our BIOS chip without using other devices. We need keyboard/mouse to send commands and make choices, we need video to display the results, and we need some storage device (HDD or USB stick) as the source of the new BIOS. That means that we need the OS as well, because without OS these devices can not function.

    And a few words about BIOS/DOS flashing comparison. Our BIOS chip contains a set of commands/routines/parameters. Instant Flash is written there as well. Instant Flash does, in a nutshell, one simple thing - read from an external device (eg. USB) and write to the chip. Byte by byte, cell by cell. Obviously, it can not overwrite itself (ie. memory cells where it resides), otherwise the process will hang. In order to reprogram the whole chip, the flashing program must reside on a device external to the BIOS chip and be executed from that device.
    We have such a device - it is system memory (RAM). Instant Flash is loaded from BIOS chip into RAM and is executed in system memory.
    The same story with the DOS flasher. AFUDOS is loaded from USB stick into RAM and started from there. It works in system memory as well.

    That is why ASRock (and other manufacturers) warn us NOT to switch the PC off during flashing. Also, that is why it is so important to use good RAM sticks. If not sure, run a memory diagnostic tool (MEMTEST86 or similar) before BIOS upgrade.

    Now we want that the flashing process goes without interruption. That depends more on the author of the flashing program than on everything else, given we are not in multitasking environment. On single-tasking systems (DOS, BIOS) where only one program is running at a time, CPU time and other resources belong to that program only, I/O devices like keyboard can be made inexistent by disabling interrupts.


    It is not the simplicity that makes the difference, both BIOS and DOS when compared to Windows has one thing in common - they are single-tasking. So BIOS and DOS are equally simple when compared to Windows.


    It's OK by me. I prefer that people understand what they are doing, so I would rather try to explain them how it works. Some people in forums are so unaware what they are doing that the safest advice would be "Don't touch!" :)
    You've at least got the below correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by simplymike View Post
    It's OK by me. I prefer that people understand what they are doing, so I would rather try to explain them how it works. Some people in forums are so unaware what they are doing that the safest advice would be "Don't touch!" :)
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  5. #15
    simplymike is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Quote Originally Posted by - wardog - View Post
    From five days ago when a rather "noob' answer was being sought ............

    To todays long winded diatribe???
    From noob to no-noob in 5 days! You made my day bro :)
    Seriously, I've learnt a lot. Thank you all who answered.

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