Epox 8KHA+ Fix

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As you may have heard, quite a few people who purchased the new EPoX 8KHA+
recently, ran into rebooting issue; we have encountered the same here at
PCNut.

This topic has been widely discussed in various message boards.

The symptoms of the problem are:

System will fail to POST (no video signal) with soft reboot, and it will not POST again,
until either you shut off the power source on your power supply & wait for
few seconds, or press down the reset buttons for good 30+ seconds.

To make sure this is not an isolated incident, caused by other components,
or due to the operating system, I tested 4 boards from 2 different
shipments using various combinations of components & OSes. After testing, I concluded
that this was due to the motherboard.

I contacted the sales representative from EPoX immediately. He promptly spoke to their engineers, and assured
me that they would shortly have a solution. He wasn’t kidding. Within one business day, he came back and said
they had found the cause of the problem along with the fix.

The fix involves extracting and replacing the little BIOS
chip on each board. We have had no problem doing so, and they overnighted us
whole bunch chips as well as an extraction tools. What a refreshing change
from lackluster (zero) support we’ve gotten from some other companies!

The package from EPoX arrived on Friday as promised, and I got right to work.
I have swapped 14 BIOS chips from motherboards and tested each to ensure
they are in proper working order. Each one with a production date of 10/18/01
(first part of serial number -011018) worked perfectly with BIOS chip swap:
the rebooting problem is gone!

However, we had two boards that were produced on 10/15/01. Putting the new BIOS
chips into them actually made matters worse. The system with those new BIOS chips
either lock up solid (even just within CMOS), or if it gets past POST, screen will go blank when
Windows starts.

A real bummer, but I don’t give up that easily! I decided to
extract the BIOS chips from 2 DOA 8KHA+ boards from the initial shipment
from EPoX (weird, production date were 10/17/01, later than our second
shipment), and install them onto the 10/15 boards. Voila! Reboot issues
are gone with these boards.

I believe that most folks who have encountered rebooting issue
with their 8KHA+ motherboard may have bad or incompatible BIOS chips.
All of the ones I pulled have letter “K” on them, while the
replacements do not have any label on them, but are a different brand of
chips. The ones I pulled from 10/17 boards had letter “L” on the BIOS
chips.

I hope this information is helpful to some of your readers who owns 8KHA+
motherboards, or planning on buying one. These are great boards with top
notch performance, and EPoX has proven to me that their tech support not
only exist, it’s top notch!

We are going through and replacing BIOS chips
for all 8KHA+ we have in stock, not sure if other resellers will do the
same.

Ed. Note: I think it highly unlikely that a lot of places, especially the warehouse folks, are going to do that.

If you want a “fixed” 8KHA+, I
suggest you go here and buy one. We are.

Update 11/6/01: Just got this note from Humphrey–

Hello Ed:

At this URL
Please find an BIOS update file for EPoX 8KHA+, BIOS date 11/02/01. The
.bin file itself was sent to me from EPoX UK about an hour ago.

I modified the previous 8KHA+ self-extract update files at the URL above to include this new BIOS.
According to Epox UK, although not posted on any of their sites around the
world, it is an official release; and we can release them to the public.
(Ed.note: This BIOS has been floating around the last couple days, this at least confirms it’s official.)

Instead of making BIOS chip swap as described in my previous note/article,
this BIOS update may fix some people’s reboot issue. (Ed. note: Some Epox owners
apparently can’t get as far as flashing the BIOS, so a chip swap would still be needed.)

I tested on one board
only so far (it’s late), and it seems to work okay. As usual, flash the
BIOS at your own risk; we are not responsible if anyone toasts their board
updating their BIOS. 🙂

See the email from Epox UK below for a description of fixes that came with this update.
I have also included this in the readme.txt file within the self-extracting file.

Best Regards,
Humphrey Chen aka Da HeadNut
PCNUT Computers, http://www.pcnut.com

From: EPoX UK Technical Support [mailto:technical@epox-uk.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 1:43 AM
To: pcnut@pcnut.com
Subject: FW: New BIOS Chip?

The basis of the fix was reported at overclockers.com by Humphrey Chen
of PCNut computers in the USA. The link is
http://www.overclockers.com/tips710/ . However, after a subsequent
e-mail exchange with him it has become clear that the chips reffered to
in these problems were differing in his case to our case; i.e. he had
found Hynix chips to give boot issues, whereas we had found Hyundai
chips to be used in the same circumstances. As such we cannot attribute
this problem to be borne to one particular kind of eeprom chip at
present.

We would however advise the flashing of the attached BIOS dated 02/11/01
to the chip that is supplied within your mainboard.

The listed fix criteria for this BIOS is as follows :

FILENAME: 8KHI1B02.BIN (Checksum 1E00):
Model: EP-8KHA+
Fix:
(1) System hang up when booting from Windows 98 floppy diskette if the
PROMISE IDE RAID plugged and have define array.
(2) Fixed Promise IDE RAID card and used DOS6.22 disk boot, install
EMM386 fail, show : WARNING: Unable to set page frame base address–EMS
unavailable.
(3) For some VGA (Matrox G450) card can’t run QuakeIII with Athlon 4 or
XP new SSED instruction under Windows NT 4.0. So we add a new item for
option disable Athlon 4/XP SSED instruction.
(4) Patch some flash rom (W49F002U(2M),HYUNDAI HY29F002) will cause the
Flash ROM can’t update DMI DATA.
(5) Show L1/L2 cache size for AMD recommand.
(6) Solved the last version BIOS can’t set DDR SDRAM to 1T command

Email PCNut

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