Re-flashing an Acer/Foxconn F89M mobo to allow overclocking

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Re-flashing an Acer/Foxconn F89M mobo to allow overclocking

Postby sixstringedthing » Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:33 am

Hi all, new to the site/forums and in need of some advice....

I'm saving my pennies for a core i7 upgrade but it's still a fair way off, so i'm currently forced to struggle on with my single-core Prescott P4 3.0GHz. I previously had this CPU running at up to 3.4GHz on an ASUS 661FX board, but swapped it out onto the F89M to take advantage of the Dual-Channel RAM support offered by the Springdale 865G chipset. Of course, being an Acer branded mobo (though manufactured by Foxconn) it is clock-locked. My previous case mods mean that the CPU is running at only 32°C idle and 42°C under full load, and i'm itching to O/C it again.

My idea was to find a BIOS revision for a similar Foxconn 865G mobo and flash the F89M to unlock the clock-speed adjustments. The board has a model code of 865M08-G-2KS, and the nearest I have been able to find is a Foxconn 865M06-G-6EKS. This Foxconn board is identical in most respects (same northbridge, southbridge, I/O hub, LAN and audio chipsets and expansion slots) but features only two dual-channel DIMM slots instead of the four on mine (i'm only using two anyway). Also, the orientation of the 478 CPU socket is rotated 90 degrees on the F89M (the Acer machine obviously had some specific casework/ducting to suit the rather nice twin-heatpipe HSF that came with the mobo/CPU when I bought them off ebay).

So whaddya reckon? Will the Foxconn BIOS revision cause the northbridge to just ignore the two extra unpopulated DIMM slots? Will the different socket orientation cause problems? Basically, if I flash it, will the whole thing crap out and force me to go back to my single-channel ASUS board, or will it be recoverable?

The forum won't let me post links cause i'm too much of a n00b :), but there is some background info on the Acer/Foxconn duality in thread ID 61601 on these forums.

Info on the current Acer BIOS -
BIOS string: 05/14/2005-Springdale-6A79AFK8C-00
BIOS revision: R03-B2S9, May 14 2005

Sorry for the essay, any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!
:)

Cheers,
sixstringedthing
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Postby sixstringedthing » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:59 am

Additional: I have the original Acer F89M BIOS and it's the same size as the Foxconn revision (both 512KB)... I know that doesn't mean a hell of a lot, but it seems promising...

Was planning on doing the flash from a bootable USB drive, but I can always plug in a floppy for recovery purposes if need be...

Thanks in advance for your help guys.

Cheers,
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Postby evasive » Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:06 am

is the bios chip in a socket?
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Postby fussnfeathers » Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:23 pm

The only thing you'll be able to adjust on a Prescott is the FSB, and maybe the voltages if needed for stability. It's multiplier locked (unless it's an ES, of course) so if you already have the basic settings, don't bother risking bricking your board. Just make sure you can lock the PCI/AGP frequencies (those slots do not like being OC'd) and that you can raise the core voltage in tiny increments. That's about it.
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Postby sixstringedthing » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:42 am

evasive, fussnfeathers, thanks for the replies.

I got impatient and gave the re-flash a shot (figuring I could always try a boot-block reset or fall back to one of my other mobos if I bricked the Acer) and AFU reported that the BIOS chip part number didn't match the binary code of the Foxconn BIOS revision and crashed back to the command prompt. I thought I was screwed at that point, since after a reboot the BIOS reported a checksum error and would go no further, but a CMOS reset brought everything back to normal... lucky! I must say I rate the AFU software for including that level of protection against reckless fools like me, rather than just going ahead and overwriting the BIOS with incorrect code.

evasive, you were on to something with your question... no, the BIOS chip is soldered not socketed and obviously specific to the Acer board, hence AFU reporting the part number error. It seems Acer have gone to some lengths to ensure that their machines stay within factory spec. Oh well, looks like I'm stuck at 3GHz for now... PDT_Armataz_01_02

fussnfeathers, thanks for the background info but I think you missed the point of my post a bit... I can't change ANYTHING related to clock speed or voltages in the Acer BIOS, hence wanting to reflash to a BIOS that allows some adjustment. I know the Prescott CPU is multiplier-locked but I've got good quality RAM that will happily run at 220-225MHz on 2.5-7-3-3 timings, giving a useful speed boost with the stock x15 CPU multiplier. Thanks for trying to help out though! :)

Regards,
Chris
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Postby evasive » Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:03 am

So the end-result is what, which bios do you have now?
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