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Is there no way to reset the BIOS on the Alienware 18?

Discussion in 'Alienware 18 and M18x' started by kh90123, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. kh90123

    kh90123 Notebook Deity

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    As the title says, is there no way to reset the BIOS on the Alienware 18? I had a mobo replacement and it fixed the no POST situation, but when I tried to enable OC LVL 2 in the BIOS, and I have another no POST.

    For the record, the BIOS is set to UEFI and I am running Win 8.
     
  2. Hybrys

    Hybrys That Damn Cactuar!

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    The AW 18 has a coin-cell battery, just like any other AW. If you want to do it yourself, you can remove the battery pack, unplug it, and remove the coin-cell battery, then hit the power button a few times and wait, say, 5 minutes. Put the coin-cell battery back, close it up, and see if it worked. It's pretty easy and accessible on the 18.

    You can refer to your Owner's Manual on how to do that. Page 36. (A digital version is available here)
     
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  3. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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  4. kh90123

    kh90123 Notebook Deity

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    I did remove the coin cell, and held down on the power button. I even held down the SW1 and SW2 power buttons, which are two tiny power switches below the SODIMM bank, one switch on each side of the mainboard. That's the first thing I did after no-POST last week.

    I concur with Mr. Fox, this is a removal of a feature as compared to the M18x R2, and because of this, and due to lackluster CPU and GPU performance, the AW 18 is beginning to like a bit of a downgrade to me, and not worthy to be called the successor of the M18x.
     
  5. ratchet916

    ratchet916 Notebook Consultant

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    Yaaaaah, Dell/Alienware sure have dropped the ball with the new AW 18, or so it would seem. The locked down approach is pretty lame, to say the least. I would be willing to bet that a LARGE percentage of the folks who buy a decked out SLI 18 beast do so with the intent to push it further than it's standard plain vanilla form, I'm sure the folks at Alienware know that too. I hate to say it, but I also would be willing to guess that one of the reasons for the new restrictions is them not wanting to let customers overclock without paying them to do it. Isn't that typically an upgrade option on their configurators, another $100 or so to have them overclock the processor for you? Smells fishy...
     
  6. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    That factory overclock for extra money has been an option for years. I think it is one of a couple things, neither of which involves conspiracy or ill intent on the part of Dell/Alienware. Heck, even the factory overclock does not work. I do not believe for a moment that Alienware has any kind of sinister scheme going on to keep us from enjoying these beasts or overclocking them. That would also be suicide on their part because almost their entire customer following would vaporize. We would all take our money somewhere else and buy something better. They certainly don't want that to happen.

    I believe the most likely reason for things being as they are is simple human mistakes. Haswell, in its own rights, is a messed up piece of technology. It is complicated and has more ridiculous settings than you can shake a stick at. It's just stupid... all you should need is unlocked multipliers, voltage (flex) and amps/watts (pri plane) to make it work correctly. The rest is nonsense geared toward ultraportable trash that emphasizes battery life over performance. Intel should have skipped all that and just released the 4930MX as a rebranded 3940XM with a new Haswell socket and no architectural changes for the enthusiast to have to fart around with. That would have spared us a lot of heartache and drama.

    Second, we have all the foolishness around the advancing UEFI path to destruction, Secure Boot, and Secure Flash. I don't know how things work at the OEM relationship level with Micro$oft, but this tech feces is required my Micro$oft. I believe there may be some serious financial disadvantages for the OEMs that don't follow Micro$oft's edicts and march to a different drum. So, they could leave out every bit of this filth and give us far better machines, but in the process maybe end up losing millions of dollars in the process. The BIOS is totally unlockable the same as M18xR1/R2... identical in concept, same brand in fact (Insyde BIOS). The problem is, one you finish exposing the menus with a hex editor there is no way to apply it due to Secure Flash. It is no longer a "signed" firmware and it is blocked. This disease-ridden pile of excrement called Secure Flash needs to go bye-bye. It has place in a product designed by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts.

    So, yeah... I expect them to fix this problem with the BIOS and fan tables. They have an obligation to fix it. But, I think a great deal of blame for the way the new AW18 behaves needs to rest on Micro$oft for being stupid and Intel for an engineering abortion called Haswell.
     
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  7. ratchet916

    ratchet916 Notebook Consultant

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    Oh, duh! I forgot that the factory advertised overclock (4.3ghz?) is also not working. Well, scratch that theory. I just hope they make this right soon, I'm itching to snag one for the girlie so I don't have to fight for time on my m18x. I have faith that they'll eventually get this right, but it's been such a long time that this problem has been going on, I really don't want to pull the trigger until I'm sure they've got it fixed.
     
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  8. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    Fixing it shouldn't take that long. It's possibly already fixed. I envision a corporate tug-of-war and complications getting permission to ignore the mandates of the Microsoft Nazis as being a driver of delays. Also, don't forget how long it took for the people in our community to make a big stink about it. The owners of the lesser machines howled bitterly about their GPUs throttling, but the new Alienware 18 owners waited for a long, long time to let Alienware know how poorly their machines are working. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and the wheel just started squeaking loudly a few weeks ago, LOL. Before that it was an occasional chirp... now it's appropriately obnoxious and needs to be dealt with.

    And, I don't know what the deal is on the fan tables. That is probably more complicated. It's not really the BIOS... the EC has to communicate with the BIOS and there may be a lot of work diagnosing and fixing whatever is causing it. It will end up being fixed through a flash, but it's a separate process to fix that. My gut feeling is that a signal to control the fans is getting blocked or routed incorrectly.
     
  9. bumbo2

    bumbo2 Notebook Deity

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    The bad thing is that there is no competition.
     
  10. pauloimp

    pauloimp Notebook Consultant

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    Dear friends ever seen even my M18x r2 it happened to me.
    It does not reset the bios.
    I did everything and nothing well.
    My motherboard is new and was recently replaced.
    E-sata not reading more on this pendrive newer version of motherboard.
    It seems that everything is saved in nvram.
    Waiting for a new motherboard
    I ask everyone to be very careful.
    As I do not have a 3630qm to reset it.
     
  11. Hybrys

    Hybrys That Damn Cactuar!

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    Now, I know it does reset the BIOS on an R2.

    I was completely unaware that you couldn't reset the BIOS on a new AW 18, though. What a horrid launch for what should be an amazing product. I'm glad I'm waiting until next year to upgrade.
     
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  12. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    The new products store the BIOS settings in NVRAM and they are persistent, so that is why it does not work any more. Apparently, this is not unique to Alienware and there are other brands doing the same thing. I'm not sure if it is common to all new Haswell motherboards, just mobile, InsydeH20 BIOS, or just certain brands. Whatever the case may be, it definitely sucks not being able to clear the CMOS the way we always have in the past.

    Maybe it is due to the size of the firmware (about 10MB). The Sandy and Ivy Bridge firmware was much smaller (4MB). I notice that Haswell systems seem to take much longer to POST. From the time you press the power button until the OEM logo appears seems to take a lot longer. I don't know if it due to load more than twice the amount of information or what.
     
  13. pauloimp

    pauloimp Notebook Consultant

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    FOX friend I saw it happen this week with my M18x r2 the same with the M18.
    My M18x has not cleared the CMOS in any way.
    I believe that the new revisions of MB also bring this tragic fate.
     
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  14. joecait

    joecait Notebook Deity

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    I agree with this and think there's some internal debate about how to get around the M$ thing without breaking something they signed possibly. MS also invested a lot of money in the Dell going private thing so they don't want to kick the hand that's feeding them...I'm sure the engineers internally look at this and already have a fix probably, but can't release it since I'm assuming the engineers are decent enough to know what's how to and how to resolve it.

    I do think people who bought this and can't tap this overclock should actually try to return it and get a refund. It's certainly not working as advertised. Sadly, companies also don't typically do anything unless money is involved and sadly, a ton of returns due to this problem maybe enough for Dell to say to M$...sorry M$, but everyone is returning their machines and we need a fix...maybe it doesn't have to be 'official', but we need something to get these machines working as advertised...then leak and post an updated bios on some site and that's that...solved for now.

    Owning the M18, I don't overclock and play old games so I'm not that annoyed, but this should get fixed and it's been 6 months now.

    Not sure what the internal staff reading all these messages are thinking, but it'd be nice if someone came out and officially say what the delay/problem is. Having worked a ton in tech, a lot of times, it's not the "simple" technical solution.
     
  15. vs3074

    vs3074 Notebook Evangelist

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    There's a simple fix for Dell, just avoid all this BS and MS all together, get an engineer to upload fixed bios from star bucks or something.

    Just give a fix already for god's sake.
     
  16. wheth4400

    wheth4400 Notebook Evangelist

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    It sounds like the bios settings should be able to be cleared with a key combination much like MAC's have. I am not sure what it would be on these machine but on mac's it like commad + p+r. Holding that combo down during post resets pram and nvram I believe. Seeing how mac's have been using EFI for so long I am willing to bet since we are new to UEFI on the PC front that there is a key combo out there that will do it, we just haven't found it yet.
     
  17. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    What about a blind recovery flash? That should do the trick.
     
  18. pathfindercod

    pathfindercod Notebook Deity

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    Apple is great at that being able to reset nvram and pram by keyboard combos when you power them up. AW should implement something like this on these laptops.
     
  19. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Temporarily Unavailable Moderator

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    They may already have that and perhaps haven't disseminated the information to customers. My guess is that they do, but maybe they have not even distributed internally to everyone in tech support. I would imagine that an engineer or an authority in Level 3 Support knows the steps to take. It would be nice if they would provide that. Resetting the BIOS causes no harm... actually fixes problems rather than creating them. By customers having this information it would make life easier for customers and tech support.
     
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  20. pauloimp

    pauloimp Notebook Consultant

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    not work.
    all fans on but e-sata port not reorganize the usb stick.
     

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