BIOS Flash

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by seekermeister, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    If this were 15 - 20 years ago, I might agree with your logic. But not today. While flashing a BIOS is not risk free, it is very rare for an update to fail to the point you cannot recover. On the other hand, replacing components on a motherboard, for the vast majority of users - even highly experience users, poses many more and much greater risks.

    I point out to you, and everyone else reading, that the process of updating firmware via software was developed to AVOID all the risks (and costs) involved in replacing hardware components on circuit boards.

    Many motherboards have many firmware upgrades through the life of the motherboards. We are not talking about a one-time event.

    :what_smile: Whoa! I totally disagree with the first part of that statement! Risk factors must always be considered in any decision making process. As for the second part of your statement, you CAN NOT avoid and must not simply dismiss the risk factors involved working inside a computer case containing highly ESD sensitive devices! Not to mention the deadly potentials (voltages) that exist inside a PSU.

    A tried and proven software solution that guides you through an upgrade process is always much safer (and cheaper!) and easier than messing with replacing a hardware component on a motherboard. Plus, software solutions are much more timely. The logistics involved in creating, inventorying, and distributing replacements chips takes a lot of time (and money). It could easily take weeks or more to ramp up production each time a new update was developed. Then days to ship the device once ordered. But it would just take seconds to post the update to a website, and seconds to have it delivered (downloaded) to you.

    Please note I am certified master electronics technician for 40+ years. I have done much component level maintenance, replacement and repairs on PCBs. And as a computer technician, I have updated the firmware of many motherboards too. Flashing a BIOS firmware IC is MUCH safer, cheaper, and faster than replacing the firmware device.
     
  2. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    You put a totally wrong spin on my statement. I said that a decision shouldn't be based on comparing risks, not dismissing them. The fact that there are other risks that may be greater doesn't increase or decrease the amount of risks to the subject at hand.

    Neither does the fact that the degree of risk has decreased mean that one should dismiss the amount of risk remaining. That is not to say that a BIOS flash would never be advisable, it depends on the reason that the upgrade was released. But in any case, we should not compare apple to oranges, even if they are both sweet.
     
    #22 seekermeister, Jul 25, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  3. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    No spin, I am just showing how that was, and still is wrong. You must compare risks. Always. That does not mean you must always take the safer path, but you must be aware of the risks, compare the risks, then be prepared to suffer and deal with the consequences.

    Agreed. And I am saying, today, the risks are far greater replacing a BIOS firmware chip than using software to update it.

    Also, replacing the chip costs money. Updating firmware does not. A chip may be out-of-date before it leaves the factory - not a problem with software updates. There is ZERO risk of ESD destruction with a software update, and a significant risk of ESD destruction to the BIOS chip, the CPU, RAM and other sensitive devices with a hardware replacement.

    So costs, safety, reliability and timely updates all favor software updates - not hardware.
     
  4. seekermeister

    seekermeister Honorable Member

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    As for your first statement, we must agree to disagree. As for the second one, it is a moot point, because the motherboard that I currently have uses a soldered chip that I wouldn't attempt to replace, but if it were one that could just be plugged in as I was speaking of, then I see no real risk to consider, because from the source that I used, the chips were ordered according to the BIOS number, and thusly were never out of date. The cost is one that I consider acceptable, and as for some other kind of risk, such as the ESD described, that depends on the ability of the person involved as to whether it is advisable or not. Since I do that with the computer off and unplugged, there is no risk of personal shock, because it doesn't require exposing oneself to any components that might retain a charge. As for imparting a static discharge to the computer from personal contact, that depends entirely on the type of precautions a person takes.

    The bottom line is that the only objective part of your argument that has any effect on my viewpoint is the cost of the replacement chip, and as I said, I deem that insignificant and preferable to an approach to the issue that has possible risks outside of my control. Therefore I stand pat with my opinion.
     
  5. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    You don't agree that risk factors matter in decision making???? Wow! Remind me never to get in a car with you behind the wheel. ;)

    As for the rest, sorry, but you are using what ifs, and rare exceptions to set a rule - you cannot do that.

    There's are good reasons motherboard designers moved to programmable modules decades ago - and why your chip is surface mounted, and not in a socket. And a major reason is simply so "normal users" can safely, and reliably, and inexpensively update their BIOS themselves.

    That's because you have blinders on, refuse to take them off, thus are ignoring them. ESD damage to the chip itself, as well as other ESD sensitive devices is a huge potential risk. And simply unplugging the system and taking precautions does not totally eliminate those risks. And while you may understand the risk factors involved with ESD, and how to mitigate them, most users don't.

    Again, you have blinders on and refuse to look at reality. It takes time, once the code is created, tested, then released to the chip maker for the chip maker to then, program and set up his burners to burn the chips, time to actually burn the chips, label and package the chips, store until shipped, then travel time while shipping the chips - certainly days, if not several weeks. Plenty of time for yet another, if not several, updates to come out. But with a software update, a user can update his or her BIOS the same day the BIOS maker releases it.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion and I did not spend 24+ years in the military defending your Rights only to trample on them. But opinions, especially over "established" technical issues, should be based on fact. And while true, much depends on the skillset and experience of the user, the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of users don't have either the skillset or experience (or desire!) to swap out motherboard components - many struggle (or are intimidated) with RAM, or simply opening the case for inspection or cleaning.

    Again, 20 years ago, I might agree with you. But today, your idea is outdated, obsolete, archaic - not to mention, expensive, time consuming and has much greater risk factors.
     

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