Most of the budget SATAIII addin card are not able to handle all the bandwith of SATA3 because they are using a PCIex x1 slot. So it doesn't matter.
And, in all case, you shouldn't be able to blindly find the difference between two identical PCs, one using SATA2 and one SATA3: Except on a heavy hammered server, you can't have the queue depth needed to hammer the SATA2 bus.
I'm unearthing this old thread with a question: I just got a used Inspiron 620 (ebay), and promptly upgraded to the latest available bios (MS-A08 from Jan 2013). Of course, it was then that I realized that my drives were showing up in ATA mode vs SATA. So, now I've already got the latest bios installed unpatched.
I've got the AmiBCP tool and I'm confident about doing the patching I need (and no, the MS-A08 bios does not enable AHCI, in case you are wondering).
Original question (see edit below):
So, my question is simple: How do I FORCE a reflash of my patched MS-A08 bios? Obviously I'm not using the Dell .exe at this point. There are the AFUWIN.EXE and AFUWINx64.EXE files in the extracted files. (I'm using Windows 7 64-bit). Am I to assume I'm running the x64.exe file with the appropriate options? I'm no PC noob, but I haven't done manual flashing in a while, and would want to get this absolutely right.
Assume the following for procedure:
Patched MS-A08.BIN file
Windows 7 x64
What should the command line be for proper flashing?
Edit: After posting this, I see I've got some flaky things going on with my 620. Since I didn't notice this behavior until flashing to MS-08, I'm going to try and do a two-fer, and patch an MS-04 for AHCI and then downgrade to that. The flakiness: All of the sudden the pc won't boot completely from a cold boot. It's not a Windows problem, either, as even if I go into the Setup/Bios, it will freeze up and not let me move around with the keyboard. If I don't bother going into the setup, it just stalls on "Starting Windows". What's odd is that if I actually DO get into Windows and do a simple "restart" from Windows, it boots back fine. It's only the so-called cold boot that's the issue. I'm starting to get some buyer's remorse about this pc, lol. Should have done more homework before pulling the Ebay switch.
I've been thinking about the question I asked about running the patched bios file (now indented/highlighted with yellow), and now it makes sense. Tell me if this is right:
OK, I accomplished what I needed to do. Here's what I did, and what I've found:
I managed to downgrade my bios version to MS-A04 while patching it at the same time for AHCI. I also found that this did NOT cure my flaky boot issues. Upon further investigation, I found that any of my USB devices that were “storage-capable” (Zune-HD, USB external WD drive) were causing the pc to stall at boot-up, even though USB devices were listed far down the boot order. I ended up disabling any/all USB boot devices in the bios boot order since I’m not booting from USB and can easily toggle it on in the bios if I actually needed to. I did NOT disable “Legacy USB”. That would have been disastrous. Ok, maybe not disastrous, but since there’s no PS/2 ports on this computer, I wouldn’t have any keyboard available during bootup. I would have had to clear the CMOS just to get into the bios! Anyway, that issue’s solved. With no USB devices in the boot order, the pc boots fine to Windows from a cold start.
Now, as for the flashing process, here's what I did:
1. Got a copy of AMIBCP from this link via bios-mods.com: http://www.sendspace.com/file/owfsdf (it's an .rar compressed file, so get a copy of 7-Zip or something similiar to uncompress it. What I did was uncompress the RAR and then the enclosed secondary ZIP file contained therein, and saved the extracted AMIBCP files to a folder. I then made a desktop shortcut to AMIBCP.exe. More on that later.
2. You’re going to need to FIRST change a Windows registry setting to enable AHCI, or else you could end up with an “Inaccessible Boot Device” error if you try to boot with AHCI enabled in the BIOS.
3. Downloaded the MS-A04 bios for the Inspiron 620. Since this was a lower version than the MS-A08 I already had installed, I had to use a special file "switch" to get it to run. If I were to just click on the MS-A04.exe file by itself, I would have gotten an error message that the bios version was the same or lower than my current version, and hence, it wouldn't run. So, the "fix" is to click Start/Run in Windows, clear the Run box if necessary of any text that's already there, and then drag the file MS-04.exe (or whatever previous version you need to run) into the Run window. Position your cursor at the end of the MS-A04.exe file name with your mouse, add a space with the keyboard, and then type in (without the quotes) "/forceit”. So, the file name in the Run box should say something like:
Of course, "username" and "folder" are whatever your name and folder path are. I'm assuming C: as your Windows drive.
Click OK. The bios update screen will pop up waiting for you to commit to updating it. Don't click the "Update" option at this point. Just leave it sitting on-screen, as this is the time you'll be patching your bios for AHCI. To do that, go back to the Run folder, clear the box of the MS-A04.exe text if it’s there, and just type in (without quotes) "&TEMP&" and click OK. Your Temp folder will open. Scroll down the folder list until you see the MS-A04 folder. Double-click on that folder to open it up. What I did was drag the .bin file (MS-A04.bin) -- and dropped it on top of my AMIBCP.EXE shortcut on my desktop. This opens the bios editor. You can, of course, use the File/Open option on the AMIBCP.exe program, but it will take you an extra step, since .bin files are not looked for by default. You’d have to select “All Files” from the File/Open box to then “see” your MS-A04.bin file as an option to open. So, why not just drag the file onto the shortcut? No muss, no fuss.
Now, I just looked for the settings that user Litwell so kindly took screenshots of on page 2 of this thread. You'll be making 5 changes he's highlighted in yellow. Save the file back to the MS-A04 folder. Now, all the while the actual bios flash window is still on-screen waiting for you to commit to flash it. Now, click the “Update” button, and it will flash your patched bios.
4. Of course, a reboot is needed after flashing, and that’s the time you’ll want to go into the PC's bios/setup and set your drives for AHCI vs. IDE, now that you have that option. You’ll see you have a SATA options menu item. Save your changes in the bios. Boot into Windows. Shortly after booting, you’ll be prompted to reboot for changes to take effect. I actually took an extra step and found Intel’s AHCI Controller, since this is an Intel chipset on the Dell Inspiron 620. I got that here: http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=20110&keyword=%22AHCI+SATA+Driver%22&... I installed it, and rebooted. My device manager now shows my drives as SCSI drives – which they essentially are with AHCI. These drivers come with an “Intel Rapid Storage Technology” Control Panel applet, which tells you the status of the drives, speeds, etc. Mine is reporting 3 gigs/sec transfer rate, write caching enabled, etc. There’s also an option to toggle on an LED light for the port to show you which one the drive is connected to. I haven’t done anything with that.
Bottom line: Since my boot problems were not the result of the MS-A08 bios update, I can always patch that and reflash to that one. I read the changes for that update, though, and it says this: “Fix system will have some fan noise with some particular situations.”. Well, this is about the quietest pc I’ve ever had, so unless this is referring to the DVD drive spin up noise, I’ll pass for now.
Here's what my Device Manager looks like after:
Great job. Thanks for posting the detailed instructions. Very helpful. Obviously, the BIOS downgrade is the complicated part, and only applies if that's what a user needs to do.
Thanks, Osprey. I agree -- the bios downgrade is certainly not necessary for most. But this process should work even if you wanted to reflash the same version level bios you are currently using to enable the SATA (AHCI) options, as normally you wouldn't be able to do that as the bios flash exe would balk with the error message.
Of course, if you're going up in bios versions, like from A04 to A08, the "/forceit" option would not be necessary at all.
Have done all these steps with patching but still no option for AHCI, double checked files in AMIBCP and they seemed to be changed correctly, just not showing anything extra in bios.
Sounds like you might have missed a step in the patching process. Have you checked each of the changes LitwDell shows in yellow on page 2? Did you save patched bios to the same location as your original unpatched (so it overwrites it vs. creating a separate patched file)? Just thinking out loud. If you're not seeing the SATA AHCI options, you must have done something wrong.
I know this is a user forum. Dell's surpport staff could not solve this problem, so I came here to see if it can be help.