Old motherboard BIOS update

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Old motherboard BIOS update

Postby Alb1 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:04 am

Hello,
I'm still using my daughter's old PC (Pentium III 500 MHz 256 MB RAM Win 98 SE and Linux Ubuntu 9.04). Its motherboard is Soyo 6BA+ III, chipset Intel 440BX/DX/ZX, BIOS model: Award modular BIOS v4.51PG 09/01/2000
I'm now thinking of a BIOS update and tried, in vain, to contact Soyo, as it was impossible to me to connect to their site.
So, I'll be grateful to you if you let me know if an update of that BIOS is useful and, if the answer is yes, where I can download the suitable file with installation instructions, too.
Best Regards
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Postby evasive » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:05 am

Before I dive into the archives, what do you need the bios upgrade for? Found any bugs, want to install new hardware or something?
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Postby Alb1 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:40 am

I don't know the content of such an update but I would be happy if it permitted me to use USB 2 ports instead of the USB 1.1 ones that I'm using now. In addition maybe I could install bigger hard disks as it seems to me I can't, at present, install a hard disk bigger than 20 MB (but I'm not sure).
However I'm not sure it is worthwhile to do such an update as maybe I had better to upgrade the hardware (a Pentium dual core duo, e.g.), but on the other side I'm happy to use old hardware along light software (like Ubuntu 9.04 + LXDE which is not so slow).
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Postby AmEv » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:22 am

Well, you could probably get a PCI 2.0 card; those are wired 1.1, impossible to get a 2.0 setup.

As for the HDD limit, I believe you can safely have up to ~120GB. No quoting though.
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Postby evasive » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:58 am

Award 4.5 core bioses go up to 128GB max, you got that right. Even if the last version from Soyo does not, the guys at wimsbios.com can patch it usually.

The USB 2.0 is indeed a hardware thing, not something a bios upgrade will fix.
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Postby Alb1 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:25 pm

To think that, very long ago, I wanted to install a second 40 GB HD and the technician only installed a 20 GB one saying that the BIOS didn't permit to install a bigger one! (So I have now two hard disks: 13 GB the first one and 20 GB the second).
Greetings
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Postby Karlsweldt » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:43 pm

No way could an older model like that support USB 2.0 natively. Only an add-on card would work. I maintain an older Creative Blaster system that uses the 440BX chipset. I updated the BIOS to 02/2001, and it can easily work with a 40 GB hard drive with two partitions or more. It did accept an 80 GB drive which was pre-partitioned and formatted, but could not do it on its own. As long as the primary partition size is within the BIOS limits, then much larger hard drive capacities can be used.
I maintain this older system mainly for my older favored games that don't work well with newer OS types.
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Postby Alb1 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:10 pm

I'm only using that old PC for e-mail, to take a look at the Web and in order to use old multimedia CDs made for Windows 98 SE.
I have, also, an Apple Mac mini G4 PPC OS X Tiger 10.4 80 GB HD which I'm using along the old PC by means of a KVM Switch.
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Postby fussnfeathers » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:49 pm

It'd have to be a BIOS from 2002 or later, and he'd have to find the patch for 98SE to address LBA48. Otherwise, he's stuck at 128GB. With those two things, it's a 2TB limit, the most FAT32 can handle. That would get hideously messy, though.
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Postby evasive » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:29 am

It's an Award 4.5x core bios, they do not get beyond 128GB anyway, for bigger disks you need a 3rd party (non-free) bios.

So, the 40GB not working is a bit odd since the 32GB disk limit was fixed end of 1999 in 99% of all bioses. I'm going to check what I have here. Is your bios ID string i440BX-ITE867-2A69KS2IC-00 by any chance? If not, what is different?
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