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I'm thinking of buying a new motherboard for my desktop. I've chosen a model and I've read some reviews on it. A couple of the reviews talk about BIOS updating/flashing and stuff like that. As a moderate hardware guy (I've built computers, but only know the basics of hardware and how they work together) running Linux, should I worry about this. I've never updated/flashed my current mobo's BIOS (maybe it needs to be -- I have no friggin clue).

So are all these reviews specific to Windows users? I've never had much driver issues in Linux (other than ATI graphics cards), nor have I had to update BIOS.

Thanks

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3 Answers 3

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you should not bother with bios update unless you really need it. for need i mean the following:-

  1. if your motherboard have not a specific feature at the launch time but you need that feature and new bios will provide that specific feature.

  2. your system is giving you a problem with current bios so you can consider upgrading your bios.

  3. if the new bios can significantly enhance the performance of your motherboard or any other pc component.

first of all many motherboard manufacturer provide easy upgrade utility for windows only and bootable cd/floppy image.(i am saying this with my experience only and please don't argue on that because your specific motherboard manufacturer provide linux upgrading also.)

second it is risky process. if you face a power cut during upgrading process(only some gigabyte motherboard provide dual bios system which can recover from this type of situation) your motherboard will not be usable anymore unless you send it for repair to the company.

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My experience has been that most of the major motherboard brands have utilities for both Windows and Linux. Even if they don't, Linux has a strong community where someone else has that same motherboard and probably has found a way to do it.

In short, I wouldn't be too concerned about it.

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Is a BIOS update essential? The board I'm looking at is the MSI 785GT-E63. Alot of people say that the BIOS doesn't have alot of options. Not being someone who overclocks, is an update really important for me? –  maxmackie Apr 11 '11 at 3:10
    
if everything is working pretty well, then a BIOS update isn't that critical...I wrote a blog post on the Super User Community Blog about flashing (updating) your BIOS and what that entails, you might want to give that a read: blog.superuser.com/2011/04/03/what-is-flashing-the-bios –  studiohack Apr 11 '11 at 3:11
    
No. When the motherboard ships, the BIOS will be compatible with it. If/When you upgrade hardware down the line, I've found that only in rare occasions does it require a BIOS update, unless you buy a "new-to-the-market" motherboard, that hasn't been out for a little while. –  Theo Apr 11 '11 at 3:12
    
Alright so one more question, where can I find the info of what version of the branded BIOS is shipped with the mobo? So I can see what it supports. Newegg doesn't seem to tell me. –  maxmackie Apr 11 '11 at 3:44
    
The manufacturer's site will tell you what version, though I wouldn't expect too much difference from version to version unless you are looking for something specific. –  Theo Apr 11 '11 at 3:55

I would suggest reading the BIOS release notes to see if there's anything worth updating ... sometimes they fix major issues, sometimes its minor issues, sometimes they make things worse.

As for Windows vs Linux update issues, you're only concern is if they release only a Windows executable version. The better brands tend to build and package their own bootable CDs so you can easily update your BIOS without needing to go into your OS. Some brands even make it as simple as putting the file on a flash drive and there's a tool in their Boot menu that lets you update from your flash drive. At worse, for brands that only have Windows only packages, I'd suggest avoiding those brands or looking up how to make a DOS bootup flash drive and using that or BartPE if you have time to research that.

Summary (TL;DR):

  • Read the release notes to see if its worth the update
  • Check what method the manufacture requires you to update your bios
    • Bootable disc - easiest, just burn disc and boot from disc
    • Easy update Bios - put bios on USB, boot into easy update tool (Asus does this)
    • Windows only updates - avoid brand; look up DOS flash boot disk
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