They Do Not Know How To Flash A BIOS?

More DDR follies.

Ace’s Hardware points out that they were using a beta BIOS for the MSI Via DDR board, and Anandtech and Tom’s Hardware didn’t. The beta BIOS is now available at a number of places.
The beta BIOS appears to boost memory scores about 15%. That along with other BIOS improvements look like it brings the Via board up to rough equivalence with the AMD 760 boards.

Via Hardware posted an email purportedly from an MSI tech:

Hi, I’m MSI BIOS engineer. We have had performance BIOS for magazine using long time ago. But some of they don’t use performance BIOS (the tuned BIOS). some of they used like aceshardware and chip-online. (they don’t how to flash BIOS?!)”

Update 4/16/01:

Have an email from (a different?) MSI BIOS engineer on this subject:

“This is because they don’t have the new flash utility to support VIA KT266 chipset.
It seems “AMI BIOS” is so not popular, and web site can’t always have newer
flash utility.”

Well, the version of 1.09 I have does have a number of .exe files, and one place reported that as soon as their article went
up, MSI contacted them with the new BIOS.

In the case of Anandtech, the motherboard was procured from a reseller rather than MSI itself, so there’s at least a plausible reason why they might not have been aware of it. To quote Mr. Anand in his forum:

This was using the release revision 1.0 of the MSI BIOS (A6380MS V1.0 031501 released 03/15/2001) however MSI just sent me a new BIOS that they want me to try. I don’t doubt that over time KT266 solutions will perform better however I seriously doubt they will be able to offer better performance than the AMD 760, they may come close though.

Also keep in mind that the ASUS solutions we compared the board against are among the fastest, if not the fastest, KT133A / AMD 760 boards out there. It looks like Dr. Pabst actually came up with similar results to ours, so I’d check those out too if you want a more complete picture of the KT266’s performance.

Although it would be nice to have a lower cost chipset like the KT266 offer greater performance than the AMD 760, it’s simply very unlikely because of the amount of engineering time and knowledge AMD has regarding chipsets for their own processors. I wouldn’t be too surprised if a lot of the reason the AMD 760 is performing so well comes down to internal chipset optimizations such as SuperBypass.

While it’s probably true Via boards won’t blow the doors off the AMD760 board with current silicon, seeing rough equivalence soon is very likely (if indeed we don’t already have it).

I don’t see how outdated benchmarks get any better when you cite other outdated benchmarks as an authority.

Such faith in the long-term superiority of the AMD 760 chipset seems quite unfounded if one recalls the history of the AMD 750 chipset. Via has a few tricks up its sleeve, too. It might also be pointed out that since AMD expects Via to carry the mobo load for it, they might not too stingy about sharing those secrets.

As per the other member of the Dynamic Duo, you have to sort of wonder why MSI didn’t move heaven and earth to bring it to his august attention.

At least as of four days ago, he didn’t think Via stood a chance, either:

“As a conclusion, I could maybe say the typical words always used in early reviews “let’s hope VIA will finally improve KT266″. However, I have my doubts if this will happen any time soon.” (Actually, that’s perversely accurately, looks like it happened BEFORE the statement. 🙂

What puzzles me greatly is how both parties could have been so blind-sided by this. After all, these folks have tested umpteen zillion motherboards. Surely experience should have taught some caution along the way, especially for a product coming right out of the shoot. At the very least, you’d think they might have noticed that BIOS upgrades sometimes increase performance, especially the early ones, and occasionally, the improvement is fairly substantial. They should have learned that motherboards, at least in the early stages, are works-in-progress rather than finished deals.

Most importantly, they should have cast an eye around, saw that at least one place came up with different results well before they published, and wondered to themselves, “What are they doing that we’re not?” Maybe even ask those folks about it. To not do so, or not even think of doing so, to live in your own little world, is unfortunately a pretty general attitude, and that attitude is a disservice to all.

“Not Invented Here” Is Insane On the Internet

To exist on the Internet like you live in some cloistered monastery redefines absurdity. No man is an island. No man can do all that needs doing; no man can think every thought; no one invented everything. This is why we invented civilization. Man can do more when he knows and can build upon the work of other men. The Internet extends this collaborative principle; that is one of its great strengths. To ignore that strength is a great weakness.

Collaboration can be competitive; that’s how science works. You take what is out there, and add to it, and others check it. Pretending that it’s all yours is just that: pretending. It does not portray the wealth of your thought but rather betrays the poverty of your spirit, your personal insecurities.

Your ego doesn’t matter. Your work does. Do enough good work often enough, and your reputation will take care of itself. Don’t, and nothing else can save it.

There are no popes here, no infallible authority, no mental monopolies. This incident alone proves it. Those folks blew this one. Now that’s OK, we’re all human, even them. That’s doesn’t make them bad, just less than perfect, just less than omniscent. I’m sure this is no news to those reading those places; this is meant (to varying degrees) to those writing them.

Only God should have to worry about omniscence.

We’re all just a bunch of folks with tools and brains. If these guys want to think they have better tools and brains than most, they’re probably right. That doesn’t make anyone perfect, or make it unnecessary for them to look out from oneself and learn from others. All capable of at least some new insights, and all are capable of getting to something first, like this time.

This is good. To think or pretend that something doesn’t happen until you do it is just silly and insecure.

We will learn more, and learn it faster when we all embrace this competitive world with open arms rather than insecurely poke our head in a hole.

If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant for you.

Email Ed

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