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HP MediaSmart Server Bricked Motherboard Recovered

HP MediaSmart EX485

The HP MediaSmart Server is a versatile OEM Windows Home Server Version 1 product, and is well known for its low power consumption and small form factor. Several months ago, BIOS-Mods helped several other developers compile a BIOS image that would enable true dual core and quadcore CPU support for the EX485 platform to have similar if not better performance than the emerging EX495. After many successful upgrades without BIOS modification, it was established that there were several issues with sleep and shutdown with the “R0″ revision Intel CPUs.

The modding then plunged onward with flashing the EX495 BIOS to the EX485. This was very successful, except there was an incompatibility with the fan speeds and it was determined it would not be a suitable solution. After another few attempts, a bad image was produced and indeed “bricked” the MediaSmart server at BIOS-Mods. Several other owners were also affected.

For anyone who wishes to recover from a bricked BIOS on their Mediasmart after a bad flash, BIOS-Mods now has a proven method for BIOS recovery. Please note if you are testing images for RAID or CPU support, it is reccomended that you always preserve the bootblock, which the recovery method relies upon.

1. Download the original EX485 BIOS image for your server here.
2. Place the image onto an empty USB stick (FAT or FAT32), and rename the file to AMIBOOT.ROM
3. Insert the USB drive into the bottom port on the back of the server.
4. When the server is plugged in, start the server and quickly hold down the recovery button on the server for approximately 5 seconds. The recovery light will then start to flash an aqua to white color. During this time, press Ctrl + Home on your keyboard (USB keyboard, or PS2 keyboard with the adapter, try both to ensure the keystroke is sent). and hold for 3 seconds. Then, your flash drive light activity will flash for a few moments, and your server will reboot automatically with the restored EX485 BIOS.

Now that BIOS-Mods has had a successful recovery procedure developed for the MediaSmart server, stay tuned for RAID5 and CPU support enhancements.

ASUS Crosshair IV Formula: Overclocking Paradise

Turbo EVO from ASUS

Turbo EVO running in Windows.

The ASUS Crosshair IV Formula motherboard is one of ASUS’ latest motherboards for the AMD platform. A fully featured ATX motherboard using the 890FX chipset, the Crosshair IV can handle today’s latest standards. USB 3.0, Sata 6Gbps, Crossfired GPUs, and six-core Black Edtion CPUs are  all “standard” features that are supported on the 890FX chipset. Not only is it equipped with the latest hardware specifications, but its ability to Overclock and tweak on demand in the BIOS, Windows, and even remotely from another computer makes this board worthy of your Black Edition CPU.

In our test rig at BIOS-Mods, we tested the AMD Phenom II 1090T X6 BE paired with 8GB of G.SKIL DDR3 1600mhz of RAM. We were impressed by how high of an overclock could be achieved, and how simple it was to do with the BIOS and tools ASUS provided in the setup CD. By using the “AI Tweaking utility” in the BIOS, we were able to overclock from 3.2Ghz to 4.2Ghz without any knowledge of the overclock. Here’s how it’s done:

The first step was taking advantage of the Turbo Core feature of the 6 core proccessor. This new feature allows the multiplier of the CPU to adjust iteslf higher on each core when more CPU resources are needed. This quickly brings our target CPU speed to 3.6GHZ. From this point we can tweak to a stable overclock from the BIOS or Windows. In this demonstration, we used ASUS TurboV Evo software to automatically detect a safe overclock and save the overclocking profile. In addition to the auto tuning available in this program, Turbo Key also allowed us to add an extra 200mhz to the equation. By the time the auto-tuning was complete, we had reached 4.3Ghz on the stock CPU cooler that comes with the proccessor. That’s a 25% overclock, with little temperature increase and an insignificant increase in the voltage. Now it’s time to take it to the next level of “quality assurance.”

Not only does ASUS make it simple to run a stable overclock, but they make it even easier to monitor your overclocked system. Using “R.O.G. Connect,” you can monitor your computer while playing your favorite RPG or while running a Direct X benchmark right from your netbook or other PC. All that’s needed is a USB cable wired from the motherboard to the remote computer. Once connected, you can watch the boot sequence, monitor and adjust voltages and clock speeds, and read temperatures and fan speeds. Maintaining the similar llok and feel of the TurboV EVO, it’s an innovative solution for overclockers who want to take their machine to the next level of performance and stability. With the combination of a rock solid BIOS, windows setup package, and remote setup package, ASUS has given the user everything that is needed in a few simple steps. These features make the Crosshair IV Formula a top competitor with Gigabyte and other 890FX motherboards, and prepares overclockers and gamers for the next tier of exceptional performance.