Friday, December 13, 2013

[Rant] Got a BSOD in months!!!

A few months back, BSODs were a normal thing with my new rig. That was because I was trying to overclock my Haswell Core i7 4770K CPU. I spent a whole month trying to get it to 4.4GHz and finally I gave up and moved on. Now I'm a happily sailing away with a Clock speed of 4.3GHz.

A few days ago I noticed that there was a new BIOS (1002) for the motherboard (Asus Maximus VI Hero) and last night I wanted to try it out. Actually, I skipped the previous one as well. I wasn't going to see if it would overclock better than it used to. I just wanted to update for the sake of updating it.

First of all, I took screenshots of all the BIOS pages because updating would erase all of that. That's a dumb move on Asus's end, right? You can save it to a USB drive as a profile but sometimes when they version the BIOS up, the profiles won't be recognized anymore. Again, quite a dumb thing.

Anyways, just to be safe, I took photos of the bios pages. I could have saved them on to USB drive as screenshots using the shortcut key but that would mean I would have to use the tablet to view all those images. I didn't feel like using the tablet at that time so I just took photos from the phone.

Then it was the time to update the bios. I copied the bios file to the USB flash drive and went into the BIOS. I used the EZ Flash utility inside the BIOS to open the bios file and it took over the rest of it.

Asus Easy Flash 2 Utility

After flashing the new bios, it rebooted the PC. Before successfully rebooting, it had to go through 5 POSTs. The PC powers up, the after a couple do seconds it powers down - and this went on for 5 cycles. Man, I hate when that happens. You don't know if something went wrong or not. Anyways, it finally managed to POST and then another screen showed up saying that it is updating iROG... whatever nonsense that means. It took about a minute to complete.

After that it rebooted automatically and I went into the bios straight away and changed the settings back to where they were before. Everything seemed fine so I rebooted to Windows. Except, it didn't work as I expected. It gave me a BSOD just before trying to log into the desktop. Weird, I thought.

I tried again and same thing happened. I told my wife, "hey, look who's back". She laughed. When I was getting 10 dozens of BSODs back in the day, she was asking me if the PC is broken and if so, why don't you buy a new one. It WAS a new one!!! Man, you cannot explain about overclocking to women. I told her that in changing some setting to see which setting gives me the best performance and I still haven't found which settings are the best. If she knew what I was really doing, she would have told me not to break it.

I digress.

I went into the bios and noticed that the CPU Vcore was at 1V instead of 1.275V which I had set manually. I tried changing it but it never got set. It seemed as if it cannot be changed anymore. So I set the CPU multiplier to 35X (default) and went into Windows. No issues anymore. I tried to change the Vcore from AI Suite and it worked. I could confirm it from other tools as well (HWInfo64 for example). I didn't understand why it didn't work in bios.

I went back to the bios and checked if I had set anything incorrectly. I couldn't fine anything as such. Then just out of nowhere, I wanted to disable the EPU power saving feature. I rebooted and voila, the manual Vcore was set. Then I set the multiplier to 43x and I could go into Windows and I didn't get any issues after that. Don't ask me why I thought I should disable EPU power savings and see. Just a hunch but it had nothing to do with a previous experience. JUST A HUNCH.

Anyways, I wonder why I had to disable EPU power saving to get it to work. Prior to updating the bios, it was set as "Enabled". Maybe now that the Vcore is set, I can change that setting back to where it was and it won't reset the Vcore to defaults. Who knows. These motherboards are too complex.

Anyways, I might try if the new BIOS would allow me to hit 4.4GHz with a Vcore less than 1.3V. Maybe it won't because Haswell overclocking issues are 99% CPU and 1% everything else.

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