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BIOS Update

Posted on 2004-04-25
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Last Modified: 2012-06-22
I have a new Dell machine with P4 EE processor and chipset 875P.  I want to ensure that I am getting the maximum efficiency from the machine.

My current BIOS is the A05 verion supplied by Dell, or in more detail:

"Phoenix ROM BIOS PLUS Version 1.10 A05"

However, on Intel's website the latest (I think) BIOS update is:

"BZ87510A.86A.0093.P22.EB.EXE" - found at:

http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scripts-df/Detail_Desc.asp?agr=N&Inst=Yes&ProductID=951&DwnldID=7129 

Are these BIOS versions the same?
Is the Dell A05 basicly the Intel BIOS, but just re-branded by Dell?
Should I upgrade with the Intel bios update?

Also, for some reason in System Properties, the processor is identified as P4, not P4 EE (does this mean I have incorrect settings somewhere?
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Question by:semmes
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by:tmj883
tmj883 earned 20 total points
ID: 10913055
No, it is not the same. Use only BIOS updates from Dell. Do NOT use updates from intel. T
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by:tmj883
ID: 10913331
Post your Dell Model number and we will look fot the most up to date BIOS, but unless you are experiencing a problem, BIOS updates are not recommended or at best risky. A bad BIOS flash caused by trying to load the wrong file, or a brief power fault, etc. can render the mainboard useless and unrecoverable by simple means. Dell uses a proprietary BIOS and configuration.
T
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Author Comment

by:semmes
ID: 10914303
Although I have not done the BIOS update I did install the:

INF Update Utility [INFINST.EXE]

http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scripts-df/Detail_Desc.asp?agr=N&ProductID=1043&DwnldID=6934

Is this ok? - Do you know how can I check it has installed?

My reason for investigating all this is because I found that when I was setting the Power Options, my computer crashed when using "Turn Hard Disk Off" and therefore I have set this option to "Never."  Standby seems to work fine.  I started looking at the drivers and spec of my new computer, and it turns out Dell have installed a P4 EE processor on my Dimension machine, when in fact I ordered a P4.  (Not EE)  My machine is a Dimension 8300 and Dell do not advertise online (in the UK) the Dimension machine with P4 EE.  Therefore, I was concerned that Dell installed software and BIOS flash(es) for a P4, when in fact I have a P4 EE.

So, I want to make sure my machine in configured correctly for the P4 EE (Dell website is not much help, since the spec they have provided me is not on their site).

Also, regarding my initial "Turn HD Off" issue, I think this may be an unresolveable conflict that relates to my RAID 1 (Promise ASTA FastTrak TX).
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bigguy44 earned 30 total points
ID: 10916231
You got an Extreme Edition without paying for it, eh?  Lucky you!  Go to the below website and download the Intel CPU Identifer.  It will tell you exactly what processor model, speed, and L2 cache size you have.

http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scripts-df/Product_Filter.asp?ProductID=441

Regarding the "turn off Hard Disks", always select never.  Especially since you have a RAID array

Regarding the BIOS, there is no P4EE BIOS as opposed to a P4 BIOS.  The BIOS is software that controls the motherboard and newer versions simply ADD SUPPORT for newer processors like the P4EE, among other things.  As tmj said, install only BIOSes from Dell or whoever your computer manufacturer is.  If you have the newest BIOS available for your motherboard, you have the best you can get.  BIOSes are specific to their motherboards and distributed by the motherboard's manufacturers.  Installing the wrong BIOS on a motherboard is fatal.

It sounds like you may be confusing BIOS software with chipset software.  

If your computer were a person, the BIOS would be like hypothalamus - the part of the brain that controls unconscious motor skills like breathing and blinking.  It works at the lowest, most basic level.  It tells the motherboard what drive to read from first when booting up, and how to "talk" to attached devices like your RAM and processor.  The BIOS operates before Windows is loaded and running.  

The chipset, in your case the i875P, is the logical part of the brain.  It acts like a traffic cop and tells your computer how data should be transfered from one item to another.  For instance, The chipset determines what data goes from your hard drive to your video card, and what data goes from your hard drive to your modem or network card.  THE CHIPSET IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENT IN DETERMINING SPEED, PERFORMANCE, AND FUNCTIONALITY IN YOUR COMPUTER and yet most computer users don't even know what it is.  The chipset drivers are loaded as Windows loads, just like a driver for your video card or printer.  Intel's chipset driver is that INF Update Utility you installed.  Chipset software is specific to the chipset and not the processor.  There is no P4EE version as opposed to a P4 version.

You can download chipset drivers from Intel's website.  The latest chipset driver available from Intel for your chipset is dated 12-2003, so I'm sure that Dell has you up-to-date.

In short, there is no "configuration" needed in order for your computer to operate a P4EE as opposed to a P4.  The only thing you'll ever need to do is update the BIOS so it recognizes newer processors like the P4EE and it's larger L2 cache, but Dell did that for you already so don't bother.

With the newest BIOS and newest chipset driver, you should be all good.  

But since you have RAID, here's where it may get confusing.  Your RAID controller has a BIOS, too.  This is a sort of mini-BIOS that only searches for hard drives and boots to them.  This BIOS operates after the motherboard's BIOS, but still before Windows boots up.  You need to update the RAID controller BIOS as well.  You can do this at Dell's website or Promise's website listed below.

http://www.promise.com/support/download/download2_eng.asp?productId=108&category=All&os=0

Ready for this?   You also need to update your RAID driver software.  That's available at the same website listed above.

Notice the dates!!!!!  Most likely, Dell has supplied you with the most recent drivers and BIOSes.  Don't waste your time and run the risk of flashing a BIOS unless you absolutely need to.

Good luck!
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Author Comment

by:semmes
ID: 10917204
One quick question, how can I tell is I have the latest chipset driver?
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Author Comment

by:semmes
ID: 10917224
FYI - I installed that software (Intel Chip Frequency Utility) - It appears I have the P4 EE 3.02.
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Expert Comment

by:bigguy44
ID: 10919462
Go to your device manager (right-click on My Computer, select Properties, select the Hardware tab, click on Device Manager).

Double-Click on System Devices (all the way at the bottom) to expand and swho all sub-items.

Double-click on any item that says "Intel(R) .." (for example Intel(R) 82801EBSMBus Controller 24D3) and select the Driver tab.  There you will see the date and version of that driver.  The most current is version is 5.1.1.1002, dated 12-2003.

If you have the most recent version, great!   If not, go to INtel's Website below and download.

http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scripts-df/Product_Filter.asp?ProductID=1043

Install and reboot.  Easy as that!

Good Luck
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Author Comment

by:semmes
ID: 10919605
I have done the above, my drivers was a previous version.  I therefore ran the program that refers tos v 5.1.1.1002, however when I do to device manager now, it says "5.1.0.1006"

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