Asus Motherboard warranty Issue UpDate

I have been a proponent of Asus products 13 years. In 1998 I won an Asus notebook at an Intel Channel Conference as a door prize. It still works today. After building systems for 13 years using Asus motherboards, I have had 2 motherboards that were defective.

The first defective Asus motherboard was replaced in four business days by Asus.

Three months ago I created an RMA for the 2nd defective motherboard. A week after the RMA was created I was sent the necessary forms to obtain a replacement part. Then I filled out the forms and sent those back to Asus. Four weeks ago I received a replacement motherboard.

The replacement unit was Dead on Arrival. It took 3 weeks of contacting Asus to get a shipping label from Asus to ship the defective repaired motherboard back to Asus. When Asus received the defective replacement motherboard from me, they CLOSED the original RMA. Apparently they believe in the one part per RMA process. That would be wonderful if they never shipped a defective part. For that matter if they never shipped a defective part, I would never have to create an RMA.

Today I had to have a new RMA created for the defective motherboard, AGAIN. Now I will need to fill out all of the Asus forms again and wait for a repaired replacement motherboard, again.

That will be the last time an Asus part goes into a system I build. I can not afford to wait for weeks or months for an RMA order to be fulfilled for my clients. Intel motherboards are not as feature complete as Asus motherboards. Intel ships RMA replacements over night. The cost difference is not a factor.  I will miss the features that Asus incorporates into their motherboards.  I will not miss the new RMA process.

ASUS Motherboard Support SWAMPED!

I have been calling ASUS Motherboard support. All support representatives have been busy for over three hours today.   Something is not going well for them.   They make some of the best Motherboards money can buy.  Unfortunate they are unable to manage their support group more effectively.   This is not the first time I have had issues.   Two weeks ago they were having the same problem.

ASUS P7H55M-Pro BIOS update

ASUS recently released a new BIOS update (1303) for the P7H55M-Pro motherboard. The new BIOS addresses memory errors with the 0802 BIOS.
Memory tests revealed no issues but on rare occasions I was experiencing a couple of memory related errors. IRQ_NOT_Less_THAN_OR_EQUAL and PFN List corrupt errors indicate your BIOS and memory are not communicating correctly. This version of the BIOS may resolve those errors for you. These errors were exhibited under Microsoft Windows 7 Pro 64 bit edition and did not exhibit under Fedora 13 (KDE) or Kubuntu 10.04. Some have solved this issue by increasing RAM voltage to 1.7v for this as well. This BIOS update is a more appropriate solution.

ASUS P7H55M-Pro Downloads

Howto: Intel HD Video for Fedora 12

There is a way to install Fedora 12 on a computer that uses an Intel High Definition Video card.   This applies to most i5 and i7 processors using the integrated Intel HD video.   If you have a PCI express video card or an AMD processor, this does not apply.

Book mark this page in case you need to reverse the procedure.

You will need the full install Fedora 12 DVD.  I use the x64 version, the 32bit version works as well.  LiveCD or LiveDVD or LiveUSB will not work.

1.  Boot the system using the Fedora 12 installation DVD.

2.  When prompted select the “install system with basic video driver” installation method.

3.  Proceed and install as usual.

4. Reboot.

5. Update all packages with yum.   Be sure that the xorg-x11-drv-intel package is installed or install it.

6. Reboot again.

7. Open xorg.conf with your favorite editor   /etc/X11/xorg.conf and modify the line that indicates “vesa” to “intel”.

8.. Save xorg.conf.

9. Open menu.lst with your favorite editor  /boot/grub/menu.lst   Create a new stanza based on the top stanza without the “nomodeset” option.  The nomodeset is typically set on the same line as the kernel information.

10. Save menu.lst

11. Reboot.

You should now have the full benefit of the Intel HD Video driver for your Fedora 12 system.  You may want to add compiz and mesa libraries as an enhancement.

If this workaround does not work, add  “vesa”  back to xorg.conf and use the “nomodeset” switch in the menu.lst file.

Nvidia “Fake” RAID0 identical in speed to Fedora 12 Soft RAID.

Test Results
I have often read that Fedora Logical RAID has better performance characteristics than a “BIOS” or “FAKE” RAID. That may be true in some cases. Today I dispelled that myth in regards to Nvidia BIOS RAID0 versus Fedora Logical RAID0. The test results were identical. Results were obtained with the latest Fedora 12 updates applied, and EXT4 was the format of the file systems. Note that in all but one test of the series, the Nvidia C55 based ASUS P5N-E SLi E8400 system using a standard WDC 5000AAKS running Fedora 11 with an EXT3 partition outperformed an Evga 780i FTW QX9650 system using two WDC 5000AAKS in RAID0 AND using an Intel X25M SSD. Check the results at the link at the top of this article.

SanDisk Ultra® Backup USB Flash Drive

I  purchased a SanDisk Ultra Backup USB Flash Drive. Running Windows 7 the U3 software for this device will NOT work. You have to update the U3 software from a Windows XP system. For more information visit the hardware review of this device or the software review of the U3 software from the Review page.

This is the first application I have found that will NOT work under Windows 7, even in compatibility mode. Way to go SanDisk!

SanDisk’s Knowledge Base article

WARNING: Before uninstalling or updating the U3 Launchpad, please manually backup your data.

The latest U3 Launchpad as of December 2009 is version 1.6.3.9.  This version is compatible with Windows 7.

Things to check for before updating:

1. Password protection must be disabled.
Please DISABLE password protection, If password protection is ENABLED, see instructions on how to disable password protection, then proceed with update.

2. Device version
If the Device Version on your flash drive is 2.17, 2.18, 2.19 or 2.20, you will NEED to run the U3 LP Installer in a Windows XP environment to do an update.

First major issue is:
You can NOT check the VERSION of the Device without the U3 application. Since it is the U3 application that is not functioning, how would anyone know what version of the device they have?

If you attempted to update the U3 Launchpad under a Windows 7 environment and is now experiencing errors, see answer ID 4432.

Checking the Device Version
1. Open U3 Launchpad.
2. Mouse over Help and Support, and then click on About U3 Smart Drive.
3. Check the Device Version.

Note that there are two never ending loops in the trouble shooting procedures, if you have Windows 7, and do not have access to a Windows XP system. Step 1 to Step 2 is a never ending loop. Step 2 to Step 3 is a never ending loop also. If we could open the U3 Launchpad we would not need to update it for Windows 7 in the first place.

High Performance Computing. Part 2 of 2. Multiple Core advantages and disadvantages.

There are numerous myths even in the technical community related to the advantage of multiple cores and multi-threading.

In part 1 of this article I used my car/highway analogies for simplification.

I will use some of that same analogy in this article.

Most current applications are written for 32 bit application and only use one core. This limits them to a single threaded runtime.  The application is not symmetric multi-processing (SMP) compliant.
So for an average 32 bit Computer running Windows XP Pro envision the following:

I want to get 500 cars to the school at 8:20AM.   I have a 32 lane highway(System bus of the computer) with 32 lane on and off ramps(Memory) and ONLY one RAMP(Processor core) that allows cars to enter the parking lot of the school.  That one RAMP becomes the choke point.  It’s where the traffic jam begins.  Things get really congested about 8:10AM.  They will stay that way until 8:30AM.  This is the SINGLE CORE computer.

Next week I pay more money to get another RAMP(Processor Core #2)  with 32 lanes that can enter the school parking lot.  If I am using software that has SMP compliance, it will use both of the schools ramps ( Core 1 and Core 2)  and the traffic jam may be avoided.  Especially if I am only using one application at a time.  Most of the software available today is not SMP compliant.  That’s ok.  The Second RAMP to the school parking lot can still help some.  This is a DUAL CORE computer.

Now I am hooked on the concept that more is better and I go spend huge amounts to get TWO more ramps or Four more ramps built for the school parking lot.   The problem is that there is not enough traffic for all of those extra ramps to be  faster than 2 ramps are.  This is a QUAD CORE computer.

A major factor at this point is true SMP compliance.

Some software was tested for SMP compliance when there were only two core processors available for the PC or IBM Compatible computer architecture.  So if the software was tested and it managed to use two cores simultaneously it was considered SMP compliant.

When four cores or more became available it required changes in the method of coding the software to effectively use four or more cores simultaneously.  This is the reason that some software that claims to be SMP compliant does not perform any faster on a Quad core than on a Dual Core.  If the software is not SMP compliant at all, it will never perform faster on two or more cores, than it performs on a single core system.  If the software is truly SMP compliant, you will see a significant performance increase when you increase the quantity of cores.  You can verify if a program is running on multiple cores in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 by right clicking on the task bar and then selecting task manager.  Select the performance tab.  This should show your cores independently with a graphic representation of the amount of work each core is performing in close to real time.  If this only shows one graph, change the setting under VIEW, to one graph per CPU.

Programmers creating new code today are more aware of the advantages of SMP and 64 bit operation.  Some programmers are even optimizing their code to take full advantage of both SMP and 64 bit operation at the same time.   Adobe Flash 64bit Beta is a good example of 64 bit SMP software available now.  It is only available for Linux 64 bit platforms as of this writing.  Without SMP compliant software, your multiple core system is allowing many of it’s processor cores to sit idle most of the time.