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xRobert Richmond

nVIDIA Reference BIOSs

What exactly are they good for?

July 2000

Read the disclaimer before proceeding

Part 6: Can I Now Flash My Card?

Not really, as you'll need to build a recovery disk. Commonly, if everything works with VGABIOS, you can support the BIOS after flashing. Most cards use nVidia's Reference board design, so you won't have any problems. Some vendors have chosen to use rather odd board layouts and chips, and might not work correctly with the flash utilities. These problem boards include most Elsa cards, and a few Diamond v770 TNT2 Ultras. Don't panic too much if the flash fails, as you can usually recover you card with a simple custom boot disk. The first program you need is DUMPBIOS.


Before flashing your card, make sure to build yourself a BIOS recovery disk. Using DUMPBIOS (use in safe mode DOS), you can extract the factory BIOS file currently on your video card. Now you will need a fresh boot disk:

Insert floppy disk into drive A:

Now use a text editor to create an autoexec.bat file on the boot disk. Copy your factory BIOS file to the boot disk. You will also need to copy the proper flash utility and a copy of DOS4GW:

Reference Style: NVFLASH 3.03

Diamond v770 Series: DFLASH

LeadTek Brand: LFLASH


Now edit your boot disk's autoexec.bat to automatically flash your card with the factory BIOS at boot. Here's some sample entries:

For NVFLASH (-h to reboot system after flash):
nvflash -fa:\biosname.bin -h

dflash /disable_sdp
dflash /force_flash a:\biosname.bin

Now you have a recovery disk, just in case something happens. Hopefully nothing bad does happen, but this recovery disk has saved a great number of individuals from having dead hardware.

Part 7: I've Built the Disk, Can I Now Flash My Card?

Yes, you can now proceed with flashing your card's BIOS.

Make sure to flash from a safe mode command prompt. The flash command follows exactly the same format as you used in the autoexec.bat on your recovery disk. NVFLASH also has several other options, so you might want to check them out. Run the flash program, and hopefully everything will work. If you get a message about having an unsupported EEPROM, then you will have to try another flash utility. If the flash proceeds, make sure to wait for a few seconds, as a flash can take up to one minute to complete. Hopefully, the next time you boot, you will have a brand new Reference BIOS installed on your card. If you only get a blank screen, break out that recovery disk (be glad you made one).

Part 8: What are the Dangers / Disclaimers?

As when changing any hardware-level firmware, you risk damaging not only the device, but the whole system as well.

The methods described above are accurate, but may not work for all people. These modifications are completely unsupported. Neither myself, Romulus 2, nVidia, nor your video card vendor is responsible for any damages or problems that may result from the above modifications, or similar techniques. Do not contact nVidia or your video card vendor if something goes wrong, as they will not help. Also, no-one will give you a refund or replacement for a video card that has been subjected to the techniques described here. If you don't understand any of the steps, do not attempt to apply this guide.


Part 9: Final Thoughts

If applied correctly, the Reference BIOS could prove to be very beneficial for you. You may gain improved stability and performance. Hopefully this guide has proved to be useful, and I wish you the best.

Robert Richmond


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