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BIOS Misreports CPU Speed

Posted on 2004-04-25
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I'm refurbishing some MSI motherboard-based computers for donation to a school (one of the company owners is a high school PE teacher and he wants to help his poorer students get access to computers for their homework).

It's always bothered me that during the boot on on about half of the computers, the BIOS misidentifies the CPU. Below the BIOS info is the listing that it is a "Pentium III - 600EB", when it is a "Pentium III - 800EB". (Yes, I've looked under the heatsinks...)

Since they didn't have much memory and had a slow hard drive, I was never sure if the misreporting was actually true or not. And speed was never much of a consideration while they were in use in the office, as they were only used for 16-bit app and websurfing.

But I'd like to make them as fast as possible for the school.

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Question by:TerrellITC
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11 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Snowguy
ID: 10914630
Are they all running the same bios ver.?
Are the cpu's set by a soft menu in the bios or by jumper?
What is the model number(s) of the boards?
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LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 150 total points
ID: 10914649
You can use cpu-z to identify the processor and display what speed it is running at: http://www.cpuid.com/
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LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 150 total points
ID: 10914651
A misidentified cpu may be caused by an old BIOS.  Check the manufacturer's website for a more up-to-date version.
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Author Comment

by:TerrellITC
ID: 10915442
Showguy,

Some of the motherboards has a label that says "MS7308E", which leads me to believe its a Matsonic. (I brain farted when I wrote MSI.) I downloaded the latest BIOS from the Matsonic's website and tried it. The flash utility reported an incompatibliity, but I went ahead and tried it anyhow. The first time I've wiped out a BIOS... (I've got spares from the dead computers.)

As to the CPU settings, it's in the BIOS setup. And this time when I configured the multiplier and the FSB, the correct settings were posted on the bootup...

But more to follow...

Callander,

Thanks for the tip.  CPU-Z is a really cool utility. It correctly identifed the CPU.

And it said that the motherboard was a PCChips. Unfortunately, the PCChips FTP server was down... So much for the quality motherboard.

So I'll try the BIOS update route another time...
0
 
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:Snowguy
Snowguy earned 75 total points
ID: 10917867
Sorry to here about your BIOS its good you have spares. You could learn (practice) to do a HOT flash and restore it.

It may not be a bad idea to replace the CMOS batterys this could be why the CPU settings have changed.
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LVL 3

Accepted Solution

by:
Noordeloos earned 300 total points
ID: 10918063
TerrellITC,

You could try and check to set most jumper settings to manual instead of automatic, i.e. like the bus frequency, set it to intel proc's etc, that way the bios doesn't have to find out all of those things out of itself, MSI board where notorious for that in the 1Ghz erra, futhermore trie and update to the latest bios as said above,

MSI had problems with getting their boards stable at boot time, this is due to troubles with some capacitors on the mainboard being to "light" or something.
0
 
LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:eccs19
eccs19 earned 225 total points
ID: 10921457
If you are having trouble with the PCChips website, try their otherone.  (don't know what one you tried, but here are the 2 I usually use...

www.pcchipsusa.com

www.pcchips.com.tw

One of them should have what you need.  Just a note, I have in the past found that the .com.tw site give me trouble.

Best Regards
0
 

Author Comment

by:TerrellITC
ID: 10925057
Last night both gave me trouble. Today the USA one worked. Except my motherboard is not listed. And the couple of similar ones did not pass the BIOS checksum test.
0
 
LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:eccs19
eccs19 earned 225 total points
ID: 10927580
When you first power the computer on, I know the PCChip motherboards will usually have a model # down at the bottom of the screen.  The model # you listed didn't sound like a PCChips board, but one never knows for sure.

Power it on, and I think it's usually when it's doing it's memory test, it should list a model #.  Perhaps that will make more sense when you go to the PCChips site.

Best Regards
0
 

Author Comment

by:TerrellITC
ID: 11340151
Thanks for the help. It turned out that the interface in the BIOS was not identifying the CPU speed. It was just prompting for a manual setting.

But this ended up being a big waste of time. Each computer had some component that wasn't working right: DVD, NIC, modem, video, floppy. I tried swapping parts around and putting in spares but half the time that didn't work. I ended up sending the whole lot to the computer recycling center!!
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:eccs19
ID: 11340216
Sorry to hear that your computers didn't work out.  Well at least you can say it was a good learning experience.

Best Regards
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