Aopen i945GTm-VHL? Comes with HSF? Compatible with Merom?

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replay0
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Aopen i945GTm-VHL? Comes with HSF? Compatible with Merom?

Post by replay0 » Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:09 pm

I'm considering going with an Aopen i945GTm-VHL motherboard along with either a Yonah or Merom CPU. Is a Merom (mobile Core 2 Duo) compatible with the Aopen out of the package? Also, does a retail package Yonah/Merom come with a HSF? Does the Aopen motherboard come with a HSF? Will a Scythe Ninja fit these "socket 479" motherboard/cpus? Or am I stuck with the included stuff?

Then again... would going with an easier setup like a Conroe E6300/Scythe Ninja/Antec P150 do pretty much the same for noise levels, even though it's rated at 65W TDP versus the 35W~ TDP for a Merom? Thanks.

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Post by hmsrolst » Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:14 am

I have one of these boards and have set it up just to make sure it boots--hoping to set up a system this weekend if I have time.

1. It does support Merom, but it looks like you need BIOS 1.04

http://download.aopen.com.tw/Default.aspx

2. It does come with an HSF, but you won't want to use it.

3. I set it up with a Zalman 7000, and it looks like any S478 will fit. One of the main reasons I picked it was because of this; many S479 boards won't.

Mike C pointed out to me that it's the mobo used in this review:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article624-page1.html

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.

Post by replay0 » Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:58 pm

Thanks for the info. What CPU will you be using?
I saw that link for the Puget system, here's a better one that you can configure:
http://www.pugetsystems.com/preconfigur ... &sys_id=42

I got the price down to about $1100 with most items removed or set to the lowest quality item. Tempting, but I think I'm just going to go with a E6600 w/ Ninja+120mm fan inside a Antec P150 case. At least this way, if one of the parts go bad, I can more easily swap it out with common parts.

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Post by hmsrolst » Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:27 pm

I have a T2500ES which, by a stroke of good fortune, I picked up on ebay for a pittance--the seller thought it was a T2300.

I have multiple systems running Pentium M's and am sold on them. Both my wife's and my main machines use the AOPEN 855 boards and they have run silently and flawlessly for about a year and a half, so I figured the 945 board would be okay too.

GL.

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shipping bios?

Post by Scrooge » Fri Nov 10, 2006 5:26 am

hmsrolst, can you tell me whcih BIOS came on the board you were shipped? I'd love to know if I have to flash it before using Merom.

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Post by jaganath » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:22 am

I have a T2500ES which, by a stroke of good fortune, I picked up on ebay for a pittance--the seller thought it was a T2300.
Some guys get all the luck :roll: :lol:

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Re: shipping bios?

Post by hmsrolst » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:36 am

Scrooge wrote:hmsrolst, can you tell me whcih BIOS came on the board you were shipped? I'd love to know if I have to flash it before using Merom.
The BIOS version is not entirely obvious, but it's dated 3/25/06. Version 1.04, which appears to add Merom support is dated 8/5/06, so it looks like mine didn't come with a Merom-capable BIOS.

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Re: Aopen i945GTm-VHL? Comes wi HSF? Compatible with Merom?

Post by b3nbranch » Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:38 am

I'm planning on a Merom/i945GTm system build soon. But I have no
experience with BIOS flashing, so some questions come to mind:

What happens when you boot for the first time with the Merom but
the BIOS that "doesn't support" Merom? The computer has to come
up far enough to do the flash ! :shock:

AOpen seems to support flashing only from Windows or DOS. Others
support flashing from the BIOS, e.g. Asus or Gigabyte EZ-Flash. Since
I plan on installing Linux, will I have to scrounge up a DOS boot floppy
to get a flash done??

Ben

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Post by hmsrolst » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:05 pm

Ben, in all my experience with other boards, you don't got anywhere at all if the CPU is not compatible with the BIOS. You either have to buy a board with a late enough BIOS or buy/borrow a Yonah chip for the flash. You can actually find some cheap single core Yonahs that have been pulled from Mac Minis for upgrade, and probably re-sell it for close to what you paid for it. But your best bet is to check before you buy. BTW, I bought my board two months ago.

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Re: Aopen i945GTm-VHL? Comes wi HSF? Compatible with Merom?

Post by b3nbranch » Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:37 pm

Thank you for the information :) . I'll certainly do my best to identify
a Merom-compatible BIOS when I'm shopping, although if I end up
buying on-line, getting the retailer's attention may be difficult. However,
the tip about cheap single-core Yonah processors gives me a good
strategy even if I end up with a pre-1.04 BIOS board.

A quick Google, by the way, showed links on how to create a bootable
DOS floppy or CD for purposes of BIOS upgrade, even without
a Microsoft machine in the house, such as here.

Best Regards!

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Post by b3nbranch » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:48 pm

Two items: http://store.myaopen.com offers motherboard bundles (motherboard,
cpu, and memory) in which they do any BIOS updates and burn-in the combo.
However, what reviews of the outfit I can find on the web are mixed. OTOH,
most of the reviews are 2-5 years old. Not sure what to think here -- does
anybody else have any experience with them??

Also found that newegg.com sells "Celeron M 410 Yonah 1.46GHz", a
very basic chip but presumably one that would run on this motherboard
for purposes of a BIOS flash, for $53 plus shipping.

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Post by hmsrolst » Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:21 pm

Although not recently, I've bought from myaopen several times (not a bundle), and they were very reliable.

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Post by Scrooge » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:36 am

I was researching this board some more and found this post on AOpen's forums:

http://club.aopen.com.tw/forum/viewmess ... geID=86800

This seems to indicate a possible problem with the 1.04 BIOS. Does anyone have any more insight into this? Maybe I should stick to a Yonah...

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Post by b3nbranch » Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:48 am

Given that the 1.04 BIOS has been out since early August, if this was
a widespread or common problem, I'd think there would be more
out there about it, such as with the Asus N4L-VM problems (see this post).
However, it's also a point in favor of letting somebody else do the upgrade ...

Ben

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Post by Hyphe » Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:19 am

b3nbranch, did you order the board? If you did, what bios did it come with? Did the C2D work?

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Post by b3nbranch » Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:24 am

Hi,

I ordered the motherboard bundle (mobo, CPU, memory) from
myaopen, and it arrived yesterday. However, I won't have the
time to begin assembly until another 3 or 4 days. I will make a
report.

myaopen was supposed to do a BIOS update and burn-in as part
of the bundle, and although I cannot see the C2D under the stock
heatsink (which I will replace with an XP-90), they included the T7400
retail box for the chip they installed, as well as the mobo retail box,
manuals, and CDs.

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Post by nici » Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:35 am

Check this out :) I found it a few weeks ago, worked really well when my floppy refused to work, its a lot easier, faster and quieter to use a USB stick instead of floppies.. Im not sure if this is common knowlegde or not, but i just learned this a few weeks ago :lol:

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Post by Scrooge » Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:36 am

That's cool! Are you planning on using an external graphics card? I've seen references to this chipset having issues when using 2x1GB sticks and a PCIe x16 card (this was in the N4L-VM DH thread) and I would love to know if it affects this board as well. Good luck with the build!

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Post by b3nbranch » Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:40 pm

Yup ... gigabyte 7600GS passive. That's the same video card as the puget sound system
reviewed this summer. That system used this mobo, 2x1G sticks, and the PCIe card, so it is to
be hoped that there won't be any problems.

There are similarities between my planned build and the puget system; I
think the similarity is driven by the limited number of microATX mobile
motherboards without proprietary heatsink attachments, reported problems,
availability in the US, etc.

The major differences in my planned build will be:
  • two 7200 rpm Hitachi SATA notebook drives in RAID 1
    Merom Core 2 Duo instead of Yonah Core Duo
    XP-90 heatsink with 92mm fan
    both intake and exhaust case fan
Wishes for good luck are always welcome :)

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Post by Scrooge » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:40 pm

It's been four days... any updates? :D Inquiring minds want to know! Also, can you tell me how long it took for MyAopen to get you the mobo/cpu/ram after you ordered? For my girlfriend it is this or MSI K9AGM-FID, and I'm nervous about that since no one seems to have any experience with it...

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Progress, or the inevitability thereof

Post by b3nbranch » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:00 pm

Hi,

Sorry, but with a spouse and all the Christmas preparations, I
haven't started just yet :(, but hope to start measuring tomorrow :).
I want to see if I might be able to put the 2.5" hard drives
in front of the intake fan and remove the cage for the 3.5" bay.
It will require making a little wooden microcage. Clearance
with the video card heatsinks is my only worry on that bit. I'll
want to do a quick power-on test and see if the mobo posts too.

myAopen was pretty quick, assuming they really did a burn-in.
I ordered online on a Sunday afternoon and the bundle arrived late
Friday. Shipping was helped by the fact that they are in Atlanta and
hence much closer to Ohio than California or Vancouver outfits.
I got an order confirmation email and a tracking-number email when
they shipped.

I ordered 2 of those Noctua 120mm fans after reading the roundup
article, from ncix.com in Canada, and those took 9 days to get here.
I thought I'd give them a try (a bit of a splurge) and I'll see if they
push enough air to keep things cool or not.

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bundle didn't update BIOS?

Post by b3nbranch » Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:49 pm

Well, I've done a basic power-on test. The case is open and there
are cables everywhere, but the optical drive and, sometimes,
one hard drive are connected as well as keyboard, mouse, and
monitor. I have for testing purposes a live-CD in the optical drive.

It looks like myaopen.com did *not* update the BIOS (which makes
me think they couldn't have done the burn-in either). Here's the story,
if anybody has an insight, suggestion, or confirmation let me know!

The situation:

BIOS posts just fine. The first messages are:

Code: Select all

Phoenix Award BIOS v6.00PG

i945GTm-VHL R1.01 Apr.10.2006 Aopen Inc.

Main Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 CPU T7400 @2.15GHz (166x13)
the BIOS goes through the normal discovery process and then
stops (flashing cursor on the monitor) after the PCI device listing.
It's stuck there forever.

The 'R1.01 Apr.10.2006' sounds like a smoking gun, doesn't it? Odd
that it can identify the T7400, but R1.01 sure sounds like the BIOS
version and not the motherboard version ... they have a newest version
of R1.05 updated 12/5/2006 on the aopen download website.

I'm going to email myaopen, but my best option at this point may
be to buy the least expensive Yonah chip and try to flash that BIOS.
Ugh! :evil:

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Post by hmsrolst » Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:03 pm

I think you have another issue. My boot info gives a March date, and I'm very sure I have BIOS 1.03. Your board would not boot at all or show the correct CPU if that were the problem.

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Post by b3nbranch » Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:30 pm

How do you determine which version of the BIOS it is?
I must be missing something ...

I'll keep checking ...

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Post by hmsrolst » Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:46 pm

Short of getting into Windows and checking the date with CPU-Z, I'm not sure. It doesn't show up in the POST the way that most boards do.

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Post by b3nbranch » Sat Dec 16, 2006 5:32 pm

Just checked the assembly guide again, and it indicates that
the R1.01 that I see *is* the BIOS version. Note: I had to
disable the 'full screen LOGO show' under Advanced BIOS
features in order to get the text I mentioned earlier to show up.

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Post by Hyphe » Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:06 pm

Getting anywhere? I ordered the same mobo, i945GTm-VHL, and a T7200. The retailer could not verify the BIOS, and since they did not have it in stock, their support assumed it was the latest. Their supplier seemed to have sold out the motherboard, so hopefully I willl get a later BIOS...when it arrives. I ordered it 10 days ago and still no confirmation from the supplier. Might be a good sign...or not. :roll:
Last edited by Hyphe on Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by b3nbranch » Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:11 pm

Not getting anywhere, although the images in the assembly guide
that came with the mobo clearly show where the BIOS rev is in
the post, and I show R1.01, so I wouldn't expect to get too far.

I'm in the process of getting a T1300 Core Solo, which I will swap
for the T7400, and then we'll see how far it gets. I hope that this
is the only problem and upgrading the BIOS will allow me to put
the T7400 back in.

Edit: I chose the T1300 instead of the less expensive Celeron M
because the AOpen BIOS download web page lists 'Celeron M support'
as one of the features for R1.05 ...

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Post by Hyphe » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:34 pm

Have you tried updating the bios? Is there no way to flash the BIOS without getting into Windows? Wouldn't a DOS floppy work?

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Post by b3nbranch » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:46 pm

If it's an unsupported CPU, as I understand it, the BIOS won't
hand off control to the CPU to start the bootstrap from the boot
device. This is what hmsrolst said earlier in this thread,
and it makes some sense to me (this is the first time I've had this
kind of a problem). Certainly, I have a bootable CD that the system
is ignoring. (I wasn't planning on putting a floppy in it anyway.)

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