HP zv6000 (Compaq r4000) BIOS update released… will your pc boot afterwards?

October 30, 2006

HP has recently released a BIOS update for the zv6000/r4000 series of notebook pcs. This update, called F1.C, supposedly resolves an issue where users may get a Blue Screen (BSOD) error when using the USB ports and Cardbus (Express54) slot. I, for one, have never experienced this issue therefore I cannot comment on whether or not the issue is improved upon or resolved.

A side note-

I have recieved more than one email stating that after installing this BIOS update your system may no longer boot into Windows. I have not personally seen this issue. However, I have had difficulty in the past when attempting to update the BIOS using the Winflash utility — to the extent that my system was effectively ‘bricked’ and had to be sent to HP for warranty repair.

Typically, a BIOS flash can cause a PC not to boot into Windows if one of the following settings is reverted to default after being changed… or simply changes: APIC mode, ACPI settings, Power Management (S1/S3/s1&s3), and Cool & Quiet. If you are one of the ones affected by this update check these settings first.

My experience with laptops has been the following. As a general rule, **do not** update your BIOS unless your system is specifically affected by the issue that the new BIOS addresses, *especially* if your notebook is no longer under warranty. I have found through my own experiences that flashing the BIOS on a laptop is much more troublesome (and problematic) than doing so on a desktop. There are several more “technical” reasons for this, but the one I will hammer home here is this one: Most laptops do not have a stand-alone OS disk that does anything less than a complete re-format and fresh install of Windows (plus associated “bloatware”) and will not do a repair install.

I have said my piece and you’ve been warned. Now here’s the link:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?softwareitem=ob-43144-1&lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&product=453185&os=228&lang=en

Happy Flashing 😉


Blame it on the X300, Part One

October 14, 2006

I have recieved several messages confirming that this problem also occurs on the Xpress 1100m IGPs as well as the 200m IGPs.

A couple of recent comments have specifically referenced the Acer 5102WLMI laptop which employs the newer (and supposedly FIXED) ATI Radeon Xpress 1100m. The 1100m is, for the most part, a rebranded 200m with higher clock frequencies. They are fundamentally the same, both based on the horribly flawed (aka sorry excuse for a GPU) Radeon X300SE. I have my reasons for feeling this way, simply read on.

I recently acquired a Radeon X300SE pciE video card to evaluate so I could get a good baseline as to what to reasonably expect performance-wise out of the 200m/1100m chips. Logically, a Xpress 200m/1100m is a X300 core with half the pipes, reduced clock frequencies (both memory and core) and a reduced memory bandwidth (64bit instead of 128bit, although some X300SE models only come with 64bit) On paper alone, the 200m/1100m should be somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of what the X300 is in terms of performance. 

Through my testing unfortunately, the picture has not turned out to be very pretty at all. The X300 all in all, is a horrible GPU. Where it appears to be most flawed is in OpenGL operations. In many benchmarks frame rates drop to as low as 3 frames per second where in comparable DirectX benches the frame rates are at or around 20.

One thing comes to mind here. Is it any real wonder why the X300 card was the only card of its generation to NOT be ported to a FireGL variant?

I am sorry that this has taken so long. When my research is completed I will post real numbers for all to see and evaluate for yourselves.