Video Card BIOS Upgrade

Video card BIOS update, like the motherboard BIOS update, is gradually welcomed by DIY group. Fix the bugs in the card and tap its potential, Flashing your video card BIOS allows you to have your system as stable as possible.

Nevertheless, graphics BIOS flash has latent risks. How can we minimize these dangers?

NVIDIA and ATI cards are two common graphics adapters in use. Before BIOS flash, the following preparation is necessary.

First, find the video card model.

Graphic card BIOS are distinct due to different brands and different models, generally they can not be applied universally. Do pay attention to the specific model, for example, the memory is SGRAM or SDRAM, it is 8MB or 16MB, PCI version or AGP version, is there any TV output…Otherwise, running an improper BIOS file may make the card going badly wrong or even scrapped.

Second, find the version of the original BIOS; search the manufacturers’ website for BIOS details, download a compatible and newer BIOS file for the video adapter.

Third, check if any driver required.

Fourth, a copy of the NVFLASH utility (used in NVIDIA BIOS flash, you can download it from websites and use it to restore the current graphics BIOS), or a copy of the FLASHROM utility (used in ATI BIOS flash).

Fifth, make a boot disk. All video card BIOS flash is carried out more reliably in DOS, so we need to make a DOS boot disk. And then copy the downloaded BIOS file and the NVFLASH.exe file (for NVIDIA BIOS flash)/FLASHROM.exe file (for ATI BIOS flash) onto the disk.

Since preparations are ready, then go to the next step-flashing graphics card BIOS.

In order to let the operation go smoothly, try to keep the power supply working in gear in the whole procedure.

NVIDIA graphic adapter BIOS update

1. Make a backup of the current NVIDIA graphic card BIOS Utilize the BIOS flash disk to boot the computer and enter DOS, at the “A:” prompt, type “nvflash.exe -b backup.rom” and press Enter. The NVFLASH utility will restore the current NVIDIA graphics BIOS onto the flash disk (called backup.rom).

2. BIOS update From the “A:” prompt, type “nvflash -p -u -f (name of the new BIOS file including the file extension)” and press Enter. NVFLASH will overwrite your old BIOS information with the new values. If you see any error messages or odd results, do not restart the system. Consult the troubleshooting below for further instructions.

If everything seemed to work properly, restart the system.

Depending on the BIOS version you used and the video card, you may need to install new drivers.

ATI graphic adapter BIOS update

Conventional method

3. Make a backup of the current ATI graphic card BIOS Boot the computer with the flash disk, at the “A:” prompt, type “flashrom.exe -s 0 backup.rom” press Enter. Now the FLASHROM utility will restore the current video’s BIOS onto the disk (called backup.rom).

1. BIOS update At the “A:” prompt input “Flashrom -p 0 ***.rom” (*** means created name for the BIOS update file) hit Enter then the new BIOS will be written into the current BIOS chip. Wait for a few seconds, if there is no error massage popping up then restart the computer. Updating succeeds.

Special situation, add flashing command parameter

Add parameter “-f”

Some graphic cards would encounter ID error during the operation, try to add a mandatory updating parameter “-f”to force the BIOS flash; When the new BIOS file is confirmed supporting the video adapter ID, input “atiflash -p -f 0 ***.rom”, and finally press Enter.

Add parameter “-atmel” or “-sst”

For some video adapters with the mBGA packaging its memory, and adding parameter “-f” is unable to update BIOS. If the BIOS chip is from ATM Company, then input “Flashrom -p -f atmel 0 ***.rom”; if from SST Company, then input “Flashrom -p -f -sst 0 ***.rom”.

Depending on the BIOS version you used and the video card, you may need to install new drivers too.

In respect that reprogramming BIOS is not an easy job for all PC users, before flashing your video card with the new BIOS version, keep in mind to restore the current BIOS in case you run into trouble later on.

What should we do when BIOS upgrading fails?

Well, then, if screen dazzling and instability occurs after reprogram, is there any remediation?

We can figure out this issue by upgrading the backup BIOS file over again into the video card just like updating the new BIOS, only to change the command line “newbios.rom” to “backup.rom”.

If flash fails, we have several fixes as below:

1. If Windows is accessible, but can not recognize the graphics card, use the DOS boot disk to start up the system, and rewrite the exact BIOS into EPROM. BIOS features can be resumed after start-up.

2. Screen is black. Unplug the AGP video card firstly, and boot up the computer after plugging in a PCI card, after that enter the BIOS setting program in the motherboard, choose “Integrated Peripherals” option, change the option “Init Display First” value to “PCI Slot”, save this setting and shut down.

Then reinsert the AGP card at the same time keep the PCI card still connected with monitor, and restart.

Finally, upgrade the correct BIOS as we update the new BIOS.

3. If there is no PCI card, we can try to “operate blindly”. First, find another computer, create an AUTOEXEC.BAT file in the DOS boot disk, and in this text file write “nvflash” (a filename of the backup BIOS in NVIDIA graphics card) or “Flashrom -p 0 Backup.rom ( in ATI graphics card).

After the batch file finishes editing, boot up the former computer with the disk, when reading is over, wait for more than 10 seconds, and restart the computer. Then everything returns to be normal.

If there is an EEPROM programmer, we can use it to rewrite the proper EPROM into BIOS.

The author, Molly Smith, is an expert of device driver problems repair and PC optimization. Do visit http://www.pcdriverhelper.com/ for more free and useful information.

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