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[REQUEST] Unlocking Vaio PhoenixBIOS R0174J3
#51
Hey folks,

Recently, a Sony VAIO VGN-FE21B laptop fell into my, uhmm, lap from an old family friend and I'm trying to make the most of it as a backup (to a backup) machine. While it originally had 2x 512MB RAM at 533MHz in it, I found a 2GB SO-DIMM DDR2 stick @800MHz in my spare hardware stash, which allowed me to install a Win7 32-bit OS; north bridge is Intel 945PM Express and the FSB clock goes up to 667MHz so it runs at that speed now. Trouble is, the laptop still has its BIOS R0130J3 version on and that makes things pretty constrictive in terms of any kind of general computing for anyone in the family I might give it to: no way to boot from a USB device to test out tools and such, very limited memory for multi-tab browsing, no way to overclock the CPU to something slightly faster than its default 1.66GHz clock, etc. Sad.

After a bit of searching, I found out about this brilliant site and the R0174J3 Phoenix BIOS mod by Sml6397 discussed in this thread in particular to be a potential solution to those problems. What seems most promising about it is the reference to unlocking a "hidden Intel menu" (according to this post) in the mod, which might be able to let me escape those limitations. Although I did grab a copy of it, and the WinPhlash tool as well, I'm still a bit unsure if I should move forward and flash the BIOS with it, however, given that this thread's feedback isn't very clear on my specific combo of laptop model and concerns. So I was wondering whether anyone could provide some extra insight into any of the following specific questions to help me determine whether applying this mod would help with those issues:

- Does this hidden Intel menu (seen it referred elsewhere here as containing lots of submenus) allow enabling of booting from USB device as an option?
- Does the extra Intel menu allow more RAM beyond the 2GB limit to be seen if added? If so, given that the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 discrete onboard GFX card has its own 256MB chunk of memory, likely on a shared scheme with the rest, what would the realistic maximum seen by the OS be? 3.75GB or less? (Asking for the purpose of deciding how much more old DDR2 RAM there might be a point in trying to find.)
- Does this mod, via the added Intel menu, allow for any kind of CPU overclocking, say, via 166MHz increments?
- Others have talked about the enabling of AHCI via BIOS mods like this for models like my own in various related threads. Does this mod enable AHCI for this model, too?
- If it's not too much of a bother to anyone who's applied this mod already, could you please post some pictures of the added BIOS menus/features or, if such a gallery already exists in some other thread here, kindly link to it?


Thanks in advance for any relevant information you can provide, and for all the help to the older hardware users community via mods like this as well!

Regards,
GB
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