Acer Predator (Vega 56+Ryzen 2) Helios 500

Discussion in 'Acer' started by ThatOldGuy, Jun 3, 2018.

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  1. xdyphx

    xdyphx Notebook Guru

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    8 october for ryzen, 28 october for navi.
     
  2. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    I know that, but what does it have to do with waiting with microcode?
     
  3. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    I think hes trying to say its better to wait for the next release before going down that route with ryzen 3xxx since it wouldnt be much of a wait at this point.
     
  4. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    You mean wait for the latest AGESA in that case.
     
  5. Reciever

    Reciever D! For Dragon!

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    Yeah I think that was what was trying to be communicated, just my take though.
     
  6. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    I figured.
    It might be better to wait for Zen 3 AGESA in that case and see if we can integrate that microcode into existing BIOS.
     
  7. xdyphx

    xdyphx Notebook Guru

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    This! :)

    Btw i think Kingston releases new ram modules 2 days ago with 32gb per stick which are SINGLE RANK modules which can run in dual channel. Is this even possible with 32gb? If is this true, they are the best rams on the market for laptops right now xD

    Edit: i found info, they are dual rank. To bad :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  8. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    Indeed, I think waiting for AGESA that has Zen 3 would be our best bet.
    Would there be a way to test it out though without... you know installing it on a live PH517-61?
    I have the BIOS chip reader I got off e-bay, though in all honesty, I'm a bit scared in actually USING it :D.
    On the other end, If I knew for a fact I could restore the BIOS in case something goes wrong, I'd probably do it... but the performance increases that will come with Zen 3 and (very likely) from being actually ABLE to run the RAM at maxed out frequencies are too good of a possibility to pass up.

    Odd thing is, when I am looking (on Amazon UK) for RAM sticks to upgrade my PH517-61 to above 64GB... the 32GB (single stick) 2933MhZ RAM is cheapest of the lot.
    Obviously, going with 4x16GB sticks of same speed would be cheaper still (about £90 cheaper than getting 2x32GB), but the odd thing is that Amazon charges higher rates for 32GB (single stick) rated at 2400MhZ and 2666MhZ.

    I may just wait a bit more to see if prices drop further (as it was announced earlier - though I'm finding 32GB to work fine right now). I may end up getting 2x32GB in that case and just tear out the original 2x8GB Acer installed (really now... AT LEAST they could have given us easier time to access those sticks instead of having to disassemble the whole thing - OEM's should really make it simple to open up both sides of the laptop if necessary for simple maintenance and replacement of RAM if they design it by placing it directly below the kb).
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  9. Megol

    Megol Notebook Evangelist

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    Don't make me dream...
    I guess you could test the programmer on a loose ROM to gain confidence? Most laptops have pre-burned ROMs available on ebay so it should be possible to find the exact same chip to verify the voltages and pin mapping is correct. Other than that remove batteries even the CMOS (this is from experience working on a Sony Vaio) while grounded and then verify that the clip is correctly orientated and seated before doing something. It'll be fine.

    Hope that the BIOS isn't so bad it'll downclock it to 2100 or something, seen that happen in some other computers sadly. Should be possible to change timings on the SPD ROM in that case anyway.

    That would make it more expensive and larger. Sadly portable workstations are the only machines that'll be made to actually support upgrades and they come with a price.
    --
    I think the best bet is to find a small place capable of making a custom BIOS if any still exist. Acer don't care, AMD don't care. Reverse engineering the mobo is hard without schematics but this machine is almost a standard desktop with a few exceptions so not impossible. Anyway nothing is going to happen without some money and... Well, are there enough people willing to invest any in such a project?
    Really Acer have almost nothing to gain in making an upgrade for free just some publicity. They'd stand to lose money from warranty problems by extending the lifespan and would absolutely lose some to clueless noobs trying to upgrade a processor. Realistically even Acer would need to be compensated and require everyone interested to sign a contract voiding any remaining warranty _or_ doing the upgrade at their repair centers for even more money.

    I absolutely love my machine and while hoping for the impossible the next upgrade is more likely a paintjob. Oh well...
     
  10. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    Make you dream?
    Picture Zen 3, 8c/16th at 65W with performance matching 3900x in multi-core and about 25% faster in single core (compared to Zen+ in PH517-61, you're looking at about 37% increase in IPC alone, nevermind the higher clocks).
    That and being able to run the RAM at native clocks per their JEDEC ratings at least would be a tremendous boost across the board.

    Pre-burned ROM's?
    Oh I think I found those ROM chips with latest ROM's for PH517-61 online on ebay.
    So, how would one test it out? you mean by directly flashing the modified BIOS onto that pre-burned ROM chip? If that's the case, it should be possible... but how'd we know the modified BIOS works? Is there a way to test out the BIOS without putting the ROM chip into a unit?

    Actually, Acer's BIOS is pretty bad.
    By using stock RAM with identical latencies and speed, and upgrading from 16GB to 32GB... my RAM speed dropped to 2133MHz (but timings went from CL17 to CL15) with all 4 slots populated.
    There is a way to bring that up to 2400MhZ... using Ryzen Master... but problem with that is if you make a mistake with a setting that isn't compatible, the machine might refuse to boot (because Ryzen Master apparently writes these settings into the BIOS), and you cannot nudge the RAM speed above 2400MhZ (for some reason, Acer's BIOS implementation was stupidly short-sighted in this regard - I don't think the mobo itself is the limiting factor seeing how 2 RAM sticks working in concert can operate at speeds of 2666MhZ at least - as this was apparently tested in this machine - but with 4 sticks, it drops to 2400MhZ or to 2133 Mhz).

    The 'easiest' way would be to set the timings to stock ones reported by Ryzen Master when 2x16GB ran at 2400MhZ and CL17... and while its probably possible to set it to run at CL15 and 2400MhZ, there isn't a sure-fire way of knowing whether this setting would actually work (as each and every unit tends to differ slightly).
    So for now, I've left it at 2133MhZ and CL15 so I can do my college work.

    But if I have a sure-fire way to restore the BIOS with the ROM chip reader I have, then I might experiment with the machine.

    Why would easier access to the RAM below the kb make it more expensive and larger?
    I think the whole design should be thought over and instead of using screws, both sides of the laptop casing (along with majority of components) should just 'clip' into place until they are unclipped for maintenance or upgrades.
    Its not that complicated, and it would actually reduce the amount of resources used (no screws).

    I love my machine too... its still quite a beast, but it would be nice if Acer bothered to optimize the BIOS at least and allowing us to max out the RAM speeds to improve general performance.
    We're losing about 10% (possibly more) right now in some games. I mean its far from 'huge', but its not exactly excusable behavior for a desktop replacement of this caliber.

    Did you mean, find a place that maintains/repairs computers and that would be willing to do a custom BIOS?
    Not sure if those places exist (or if they ever did).
    :D
    I think this may be something we need to do ourselves, but out of general curiosity, I could make a call to a computer shop and inquire if they could do this.

    As for Acer... don't underestimate the power of free publicity - it would show that Acer (unlike most other OEM's) provide BIOS updates and support for longer periods of time - that would likely bring more people to them.
    The only thing Acer might need to do is compile latest drivers in that case and release them too... but this isn't strictly necessary as we can do this ourselves with full blown functionality
    (oh and, PRO drivers seem to have identical performance as latest Adrenaline drivers, but they are geared a lot more towards stability and Enterprise users... I might just end up switching permanently to those given the fact I'm using 3d Studio Max and content creation these days for my college course).

    Also...
    OEM's provide BIOS updates years after the original mobos were sold and well after the warranties expired for free (PC-wise).
    Not sure what the difference here would be or why would we be obligated to compensate Acer to provide continuous support for hw they themselves made and are technically obligated to support for time to come?

    Also, Acer usually provides only 1 year warranty for their laptops... well, 2 years (depending on where you buy it), so people should be made aware that updating the BIOS outside the warranty would cost money (obviously).
    But Acer should in that case make sure to release a tool (software or hw based) that would allow for BIOS recovery in case of a bad BIOS flash (a user shouldn't have to return the unit on this account... tools should be made available to the general public so people can retrieve a corrupt BIOS), or design a mobo with a redundancy that would restore last functional version of a BIOS in case the new one doesn't take for whatever reason.

    We still don't know if Acer encrypted the BIOS in this machine (AMD version)... which could make extracting the BIOS simple, but if we try to delete it and overwrite it with a new one (with slipstreamed latest AGESA), how do we know the encryption (if its there) wouldn't just muck everything up?

    Furthermore, BIOS updates have become a necessity these days what with all the security patches that have been released and integrated into newer BIOS versions alone (having extra hw support for new CPU's is just icing on the cake).

    A desktop replacement machine like ours is actually EXPECTED to have longer term support and the ability to upgrade the CPU with newer ones (especially because we also have a removable desktop grade CPU).
    The fact Acer decided they didn't care (well, Zen 3 is still not out so its possible they are waiting for the new AGESA before surprising us :D - if only) shows that not even desktop replacement machines are exempt from being forgotten.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2020
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