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Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SOC - corrupted BIOS

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cprobertson1

Registered
Joined
Apr 17, 2017
Hey guys, got a doozie of a problem here!

Had a problem with the BIOS on my brother's PC

CPU: I7-4790K
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SOC (V1.0)
RAM: Corsair 16GB (2x 8GB) PC2400 CL11 Vengeance Pro (DDR3)
GPU: NVidia GTX-970
PSU: XTR-650 (650W modular)

-Functioning for >1 year without problems
-Had a "Boot Failure Detected" issue (apparently fairly common with this mobo)
-Issue would ONLY crop up if the computer was shut down - if it was restarted it was fine.
-As a result - when it was shut down at night - this crash would occur in the morning - it would go to the OS - crash (restart) > display boot failure detected - and then boot to OS quite happily (since it was restarted)

So I (the big bro) was called in to try and look at it: it was suggested that this error is fairly common with this mobo, so I took their advice and upped the frequency and voltage on the RAM slightly (to match the specs of the RAM provided)

This didn't seem to fix it - so we tried to update the bios - and that is where all hell broke loose.

We downloaded the new bios, imaged it and... splat: no luck - switched over to the backup BIOS - booted - it shut down and - splat... it's corrupt too.


So - now when we start the PC we get nothing - black screens / no input - and I suspect no BIOS!

I've had a good google - but not came across nothing too useful! The pinned thread on this forum suggested using a floppy - but this PC doesn't have a floppy drive - (and would I be correct in saying that without BIOS the USB won't work anyway?)

Any suggestions? The poor bro is suffering! So much so he's considering getting a cheap MOBO until he can afford a good one :O (he does all his studying and university work on his PC - as well as 99% of his recreation! It's a hard-worked PC!)

Many thanks folks!
 
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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Is there a pin block on the bios for resetting the CMOS? If so, I would try that. Make sure all power is removed from the motherboard when you do this (disconnect PSU from the wall and push the front panel power button to drain the caps).

I tried to look at the owner's manual online for how to do this but the gigabyte webpage won't load right now.

If the bios chip is removable you could order a replacement chip from Gigabyte.


"We downloaded the new bios, imaged it and... splat: no luck - switched over to the backup BIOS - booted - it shut down and - splat... it's corrupt too."

Imaged what? The new bios version file? Something doesn't communicate there. What method did you use in attempting the bios update? A windows utility or from a flash drive?

And concerning the changes made to the RAM frequency and voltage, did you try the XMP setting for the RAM before you did that?
 
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wingman99

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Does it boot into Bios fine? might be a hard drive problem. Try shorting out the Bios clear CMOS pins.
 

R_Pierce

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Location
Marion, IA
I have a similar issue with a gigabyte board. Flashed the newest bios, PC rebooted and now just boot loops with no post or bios access. I have yet to be able to fix it. Pretty sure it's bricked.

 
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cprobertson1

Registered
Joined
Apr 17, 2017
Does it boot into Bios fine? might be a hard drive problem. Try shorting out the Bios clear CMOS pins.

Afraid there's no bios at all - it's looping before making it onto POST with no mobo splash screen - just a black screen / no input (the motherboard cycles through some pre-boot states)


trents said:
Is there a pin block on the bios for resetting the CMOS? If so, I would try that. Make sure all power is removed from the motherboard when you do this (disconnect PSU from the wall and push the front panel power button to drain the caps).

I tried to look at the owner's manual online for how to do this but the gigabyte webpage won't load right now.

If the bios chip is removable you could order a replacement chip from Gigabyte.
Aye I had that problem on their website as well - have to right-click on their link and tell it to download for some reason! Link's here if you want it (gigabyte website)

CMOS was reset with the onboard button, and then we later resorted to removing the battery (same procedure as above)

BIOS ICs are soldered on - but they have quite large SMD pin spacing - easy enough to desolder if I can get a replacement. As a matter of fact, I may even be able to flash the data onto them with an programmer unit (though I'd need to read up on it first)


trents said:
"We downloaded the new bios, imaged it and... splat: no luck - switched over to the backup BIOS - booted - it shut down and - splat... it's corrupt too."

Imaged what? The new bios version file? Something doesn't communicate there. What method did you use in attempting the bios update? A windows utility or from a flash drive?

Ooops! Sorry, I meant to say "flashed" - that was using the q-flash utility on the BIOS screen from a USB flash drive (which I wouldn't normally do - usually I'd use gigabytes @BIOS utility (even though it's not the best software in the world) - I can't remember the reasoning behind using q-flash I'm afraid =/)

trents said:
And concerning the changes made to the RAM frequency and voltage, did you try the XMP setting for the RAM before you did that?
aye - no luck there I'm afraid - after it didn't work I disabled XMP (as per the suggestion of another post) and manually adjusted them.


I'll update the OP with this data shortly (I need to get to work - will be about 1000 before I can get to update them!)


Ps - it's amazing to see how truly dead a PC is when there's no BIOS ;) - there's a series of error codes flashing up on the MOBO - will get them transcribed tonight when I visit him - I believe it's just some POST stuff before the bios starts booting though
 
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cprobertson1

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Apr 17, 2017

Had a go at that yesterday - will try again today - though I suspect the backup BIOS is busted as well =/

It's a dual-BIOS mobo (aren't they all like that nowadays?) - this one has an LED indicating if it's on the main bios or the backup bios - and you can switch between them with a switch (you can also switch between dual and single bios if that takes your fancy)

Aye, it was a nice mobo while it was working ;)

Anyhoo - switching between the bios didn't seem to do much after the initial fault - will try forcing it again tonight, just in case, but I'm doubtful it will work =/

--EDIT-- a quick google has revealed that (literally) reflashing the bios with an eeprom programmer will be moderately simple - I'll keep that as my ace in the hole in case the other methods fail - it wasn't a cheap motherboard - he (my brother) has ordered a £50 replacement mobo (Asus H81M-PLUS) to tide him along - but it makes me cringe just thinking about it! I'm sure it's not a bad motherboard and I'm just being snobby because I'm used to motherboards in the £150-200 region ;)


ANYWAY - action plan: I'll recover his university documents and give him a laptop to work with in the meantime - hopefully that will tide him over until;

a) I manage to fix the mobo using non-programming methods

b) I manage to fix the mobo with an eeprom programmer

c) I declare the mobo dead and replace it with the cheap motherboard he purchased - which will eventually be replaced with a newer, fancier, model (except I really don't like taking out CPUs and reseating them - and I'm not actually sure how many new motherboards have LGA 1150 sockets these days)


PS - I know I've said this before... but it is amazing how dead that PC is with no BIOS - usually when I break a PC it's with one of the higher-level things (OS and above) so I usually at least have signs of life on the monitors: post logs and whatnot; having no output is a shocking lack of...anything!

PPS - thanks for all the help so far folks! Much appreciated :)
 
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cprobertson1

Registered
Joined
Apr 17, 2017
--UPDATE--
No luck last night - I'm absolutely scunnered with it (good Scottish word, that ;)) - tried every method I could think of short of removing the motherboard!

CD Drive == signs of life but refuses to boot from it (I assume because there's no BIOS to tell it how)
USB Bus* == no signs of life (I assume because there's no BIOS to tell it there's a USB bus!)
Motherboard == stuck in pre-boot-loop (attempts to load BIOS , fails, tries again ad nauseum - I assume it's because there's no.... you get the picture!)

I've dug out my trusty EEPROM programmer and ordered a fancy clasp so I don't need to desolder it from the board - will try reflashing the BIOS tonight: fingers crossed!

If not, as I mentioned, my brother has purchased a new motherboard I can install. It turns out he forked out an extra £25 for a better one (Gigabyte Z97P-D3) - which I'm a bit happier with! - hopefully it won't come to that and he can send it back though; replacing the motherboard is a lot of work =/

Will let you know how I get on!"

*A note on "USB Bus" - why yes, I'm aware the "B" in "USB" stands for "Bus" but calling it a US-Bus sounds dumb ;)
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
--UPDATE--
No luck last night - I'm absolutely scunnered with it (good Scottish word, that ;)) - tried every method I could think of short of removing the motherboard!

CD Drive == signs of life but refuses to boot from it (I assume because there's no BIOS to tell it how)
USB Bus* == no signs of life (I assume because there's no BIOS to tell it there's a USB bus!)
Motherboard == stuck in pre-boot-loop (attempts to load BIOS , fails, tries again ad nauseum - I assume it's because there's no.... you get the picture!)

I've dug out my trusty EEPROM programmer and ordered a fancy clasp so I don't need to desolder it from the board - will try reflashing the BIOS tonight: fingers crossed!

If not, as I mentioned, my brother has purchased a new motherboard I can install. It turns out he forked out an extra £25 for a better one (Gigabyte Z97P-D3) - which I'm a bit happier with! - hopefully it won't come to that and he can send it back though; replacing the motherboard is a lot of work =/

Will let you know how I get on!"

*A note on "USB Bus" - why yes, I'm aware the "B" in "USB" stands for "Bus" but calling it a US-Bus sounds dumb ;)


Could you link this fancy clasp thing? I'd be interested in that.
 
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cprobertson1

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Apr 17, 2017
Could you link this fancy clasp thing? I'd be interested in that.

Lol, I say "fancy" - just a SOIC8/SOP8 test clip: you can get them on amazon and ebay as well. Usually in the range of £2-10 but you can pay a fortune for them if you want antistatic features with long service lives (which you might want to fork out for if you run a business)

Ebay is obviously the cheapest but has the worst quality - the 3M clasps are the higher quality but cost the most ;) I have a few for other IC sizes - didn't have any for the SOIC8 on that particular mobo though!
 
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cprobertson1

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Apr 17, 2017
I can't wait to see if you get the Bios working again. I hope you have good luck.:)

SUCCESS! Muahahahahahahahahaha! Another victory for Mad Sciencetm

Took a few tries to get the right software to interface with it (and then setting the right baud rates for the I2C bus) but once I got the ball rolling it was pretty much smooth sailing!


The M_BIOS IC was pretty much empty - and I'm not sure how it managed to empty itself so thoroughly (failed flash maybe?)

The B_BIOS IC was in better shape, but still badly corrupted

The EC_BIOS IC I left alone as I didn't have an image for it (this is the BIOS for the Embedded Controller: which handles various hardware stuff that the OS doesn't handle) and had no reason to suspect anything was wrong with it (the motherboard seemed fine otherwise - with the correct LEDs and error codes displaying)


I flashed the M_BIOS IC first (main bios) and tested - had a few error codes on the mobo* relating to me forgetting to plug the PSU back into the GPU (well that was dumb) - after which it booted up perfectly (with a few delays the first time as it was configuring stuff)


After that I flashed the B_BIOS IC - which was having problems confirming the data on it (apparently what I wrote to it didn't match what was read off it) - I flashed it a few more times and then gave up and tried it anyway.

Setting the switch on the mobo to use the backup BIOS caused it to hiccough a few times and then it came up with a boot failure asking if I wanted to use the optimised defaults (yes) - and after that it seemed to work fine - so hopefully the backup bios has fixed itself.

If the B_BIOS fails in future, I can get a new 25L12873F easily enough (and I suspect any eeprom with equivalent pinout would work) - in the meantime it seems to be working!

I have to admit - I feel kind a hardcore flashing a BIOS manually from an external source - bringing the PC back online within 30 seconds of flashing it was just a bonus xD

So that could have been fixed with £5 worth of hardware and a willingness to tinker (i.e having an actual necessity to flash your BIOS externally rather than just doing it for the fun of it ;)) - I used a more expensive eeprom programmer that I use in my electronics lab - but it could have been done with a £3 eeprom programmer off ebay.

Not bad for saving as £130ish motherboard! Though I'll keep the replacement Gigabyte Z97P-D3 handy for a week or two before sending it back, just in case

Thanks for all the assistance folks! :)

*(I know you've all seen this before, but having a 7-segment display on the motherboard that just tells you the error code? AMAZING - back in my day you had to write down the beeps: if you wanted a visual display then you shouldn't have broken your PC ;) - in fact, you were lucky if there were even any LEDs on the motherboard at all - if you wanted a power-on indicator you had to add it yourself! At least there was usually a header to plug your power-on indicator into ;))
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Do you have a sense of what caused the original flash up attempt to go haywire?
 
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cprobertson1

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Apr 17, 2017
Do you have a sense of what caused the original flash up attempt to go haywire?

No idea I'm afraid - opened bios and the used the qflash utility - my only guess is that something went wrong with the transfer of the bios file

Why the backup died as well is beyond me tough =/

As long as the original problem (failure to boot - use optimised defaults) doesn't return I shouldn't need to touch the bios again - PC is all overclocked (though not by much - even with a corsair h80 liquid cooler the I7 always seems to run hot if I overclock it more than a little. I think its currently tunning at 4.3GHz? Actually, Im going to look into that - I've probably got a voltage set wrongly somewhere which is causing heating issues (or the liquid cooler isn't seated on the cpu properly)

THAT is a problem for another day though!

Anyway, as to what broke the original bios - it seems flashing it broke the main one, and maybe the backup was already corrupt by that point so it all crapped out? Still doesn't t tell us why the backup was corrupted though!

Apart from flashing - what sort of things can corrupt an eeprom?

Off the top of my head:
-ESD
-faulty eeprom
-startup failure
-dodgy eeprom flash
Anything else folks can think of?
 
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cprobertson1

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Apr 17, 2017
Congratulations for restoring the Bios also saving some money, glad it is working for you.:)

Ghurp! It just died :(

Restarted during normal operation: mobo just isn't do anything now - no status codes showing - computer just powers on and off again at 3-second intervals: I think it's time to replace the mobo :(

Tried reflashing the bios eeprom but the motherboard isn't doing anything this time - guess I'm rebuilding a PC this weekend!


Just to be certain - is there any way I can confirm that this is definitely the motherboard, and not, say, the PSU? (I think, given the problems we've had that the motherboard is at fault - but I figured I should double check anyway - just in case!)
 
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cprobertson1

Registered
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Apr 17, 2017
Well, you can swap in another PSU known to be good.

Dang, I was hoping there'd be a simpler method ;)

The only spare PSU I have handy doesn't have SATA power on it xD

I'll load up the new MOBO on saturday and cross my fingers - with any luck it is only the motherboard that's goosed and not the PSU ;)

Here's hoping!
 

Nebulous

Señor Senior, Senior
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Location
The Empire State
You don't need sata power connectors to power up the board. Just use the 24pin mobo + 4/8pin mobo and see if you can boot into the bios. Only thing that will happen is there's no harddrive/OS, but the board will power up if it's not dead. Then you'll know if it's the board that is defective or the power supply.

Good luck and keep us posted!