Acer Predator (Vega 56+Ryzen 2) Helios 500

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

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  1. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    Word of advice guys:

    AVOID installing latest GPU drivers. Once I've put the machine to sleep and tried to wake it up, the screen was all in static. Took a hard shut-down and start up for the display to behave as it should.

    I was worried the GPU might have started failing, but then just tried rolling back to 19.5.2 drivers and now, going to sleep and waking the laptop seems to work fine (no static issue on the screen, just a regular/stable image).
     
  2. User32

    User32 Notebook Deity

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    Latest AMD drivers are bit borked anyways, stay away from them for now.
     
  3. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    I contacted Acer yesterday and talked to them about the repair. I guess they offer an onsite upgrade for their Predator laptops in the US so I bought the upgrade and will setup a time for someone to do an onsite repair. It is kind of odd because up until now I had assumed the only brand that did onsite repairs for gaming laptops was Dell / Alienware.

    I am really disappointed that I can't get it going again on my own. I have a feeling that the EC is probably ok because the keyboard does its usual sectional light up routine which would be done by the EC (it has a combo EC / keyboard controller made by ITE) Also key combos like Fn+Esc work on boot to put it into bios recovery mode. The symptoms my machine has are exactly the same as some other users that had a failed bios update that was pushed through Windows Update.
     
  4. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    So, you bought an upgrade?
    What kind of upgrade and why?
    Wouldn't it be easier to just have them repair it for you on site without having to buy the upgrade?
     
  5. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    The included warranty for US models is a 2 year mail-in. The upgrade is for onsite service so they send someone to you to repair it. The strange thing is today I called in to setup the repair and the rep said I was too far away from the repair center in Texas so I would have to mail it in anyways. So this onsite service seems to not be like Dell / HP / Lenovo onsite service where they contract someone from a local repair company. The rep did however send me a shipping label to send it to Texas, which is nice because the standard warranty they only pay for shipping one way.
     
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  6. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    At least you have that.
    Have you told Acer that you tried dumping the BIOS?
    Because if you hadn't... I'd rather you didn't.
    Just tell them the laptop stopped booting up - describe what's happening (or not happening) and do NOT mention anything about you opening it and dumping the BIOS (which would certainly have them charge you for repairs).
    And of course make sure the laptop is back up to par with factory specs.

    You could also call them again and ask one of their technicians if they plan on updating the BIOS with Zen 2 considering the EEPROM chip is more than big enough (128MB is really large for a 16MB BIOS - they could probably slap a 64MB BIOS in there that's fully unlocked and integrate Zen 2 support).
     
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  7. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    I didn't mention opening it up. The only thing I should really do is replace the pieces of Kapton tape as it obviously looks like its been peeled up and reused.

    Keep in mind that the tech support is outsourced and simply getting the point across that it won't boot up is complicated enough. Not even their $9000 Predator 21X had an unlocked bios or even configurable ram timings. It's a sad state of affairs but the only retail manufacturer that kind of supports this is MSI and even that is hidden to general users.
     
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  8. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    In that case, keep it simple and tell them the laptop won't boot up.
    Do whatever you can to restore the thing to factory specs internally (even though technically you mentioned that Acer DOES allow us access to the laptop innards - they don't need to know you actually opened it, let alone disassembled it entirely).

    Ask them about integrating Zen 2 support as you read online that someone else checked out the EEPROM and noticed that the chip is 128MB... which means that integrating microcode for Zen 2 would be more than doable if Acer decided on doing that (which would automatically mean support for high frequency RAM - and ergo, we COULD disassemble the laptop and replace the factory supplied RAM with better specced one such as 3600MhZ when it comes out for laptops - laptop RAM has atrocious timings though and not high frequencies apparently - at leas the available RAM on the market here in UK is lacking that).

    An unlocked BIOS might be too much to ask admittedly... in which case, we'd have to find a way to do it ourselves (safely), but I suspect that regular methods of dumping and unlocking the BIOS won't work because they are meant for Intel mobos (not AMD).
    Meaning, we might need specialized hw to dump the BIOS, if not potentially do it via Windows?
    And its also possible Acer used some kind of encryption for Helios 500 which makes any kind of tampering with the BIOS (even dumping it) at risk of ending up broken (though I doubt they'd go to these lengths - unless we have evidence of OEM's doing this before?).
     
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  9. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    All that I really need to do is put new pieces of kapton tape in to the machine - they currently obviously look like they have been peeled pack and retaped.

    An unlocked bios should be possible using a SPI flash programmer. The bios updates are already encrypted, as they have been for the past five years. Whatever happened to my machine causing it to not boot has also happened to other users who randomly had a bios update fail.
     
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  10. Judge Dredd 3D

    Judge Dredd 3D Notebook Enthusiast

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    So Tech YES City tested the Ryzen 5 3600 on the cheapest A320 board he could find, it ran flawlessly after the Bios update, so the whole Bios and Chipset BS does not matter at all, and in the case of the Bios size, MSI is re-releasing their B450 and X470 Motherboards with a bigger bios, yet their current B450/X470 boards received Zen2 compatibility bios update, all they did is a reduction on the GUI quality to make them fit, they still have all the functionality...
    VRM wise the B450 on the Helios 500 should bemore than enough to handle the 3600 or even the 3700x, being that the A320 with the pitiful VRM setup could run the 3600 at 4Ghz without going over 72 deg. And the Bios of the Helios 500 is big enough to fit the Zen2 compatibility, as it is the bios is ultra bare bones so a GUI wouldn't be needed.

    All we need is Acer to do the right thing...

    Video:
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
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