Thursday, March 13, 2008

RAM and BIOS Upgrade

I've been contemplating buying new RAMs for months and been looking for the proper brand, price, capacity & speed.

My machine, code name: Adrenalin, has 2x 1GB of Kingston RAM; they're beautiful, fast & do the job, but they're just not quite enough for my kind of [ab]usage.

I tried buying from and, and as newegg was clear that they won't accept VISA, AFTER registering & reaching the payment page, failed at it, and not only that, my questions via email went unanswered for days and when got a response, it was totally irrelevant to my questions!!! The only quick response I got from them, is when I emailed them to cancel my order, in which they did within 2 hours!

Luckily, I found the same piece I was looking for on Amazon, at the same price of TigerDirect; In fact, Amazon gets the item from TigerDirect themselves!

I was after Corsair XMS2 DHX 2x 2GB kit RAM, and though the CAS latency is higher than the Kingston that I had, it wouldn't make much of a difference to me.
This piece of RAM is absolutely amazing: Not only do you get high-grade RAMs, you also get an amazing heat-sink design and a life-time warranty!

I ordered 2 kits, totalling in 8GB of RAM to fill all my 4 DIMMs, and have been waiting for them to arrive for 2 weeks, and today I got them, went back home and started the upgrade ritual.

0) Open a shell and write down the uptime: "up 42 days, 10:52"
1) Download memtest+ ISO file & burnt it
2) Shutdown machine & keep power cord connected
3) Clean dust & wash fan filter
4) Open case and touch internal metal body to discharge static electricity
5) Remove old RAMs & grab a pocket-knife & start cutting the cover of new RAMs before checking if it can be opened by hand
6) Open RAM cover by hand
7) Enjoy the beauty & smell the fresh scent of the hardware pieces
8) Anxiously & carefully install new RAMs
9) Power up & enter BIOS to make sure correct values for RAM are detected
A) insert memtest+ media to thoroughly test all RAMs -- passed

After that, I booted into Windows (XP 64-bit) to check for BIOS updates, which I found, and downloaded manually after the ASUSupdate program failed to download the needed file.
It was straight forward: Open AsusUpdate & choose "Update From File" then select the BIOS .BIN file and click away. Almost.

There was an option to reset the BIOS settings to the factory default after flashing the new BIOS version, and since I didn't want to go through the whole configuration process, I unselected it and flashed the new BIOS. After rebooting, the machine wouldn't start. PANIC ATTACK!
I thought the BIOS is being flashed after a reboot, which is not what used to happen before, and waited for 2 minutes, yet nothing happened, so I shutdown & powered up again, and nothing happened.

I run to my sister's room to find that she's not there, but her laptop is; PERFECT! I snag it and surf away to Asus's website and grab the manual, then I find that I'm downloading the Chinese manual, so I cancel & hunt for the English manual.
After the manual downloaded & unpacked, the BIOS has a recovery mode for cases where flashing the BIOS goes wrong (EXCELLENT!) -- the problem is that the screenshots assume that the machine would boot and I'd be able to see text on the monitor, which I didn't. Failure.

I go back to my room, calculating the cost of sending the motherboard to Asus and the time I'd have to spend without my baby -- then I remembered the option which I unselected.
I remove the BIOS battery & unplug the power for a minute, then put the battery back & hook the power. Power up. IT'S ALIVE!
Seems like the nwe BIOS wasn't fond of the old BIOS's settings! Anyway, I configure my stuff again and all goes smooth.

Lessons learned: None.

-> Pictures.

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