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R9 290 won't boot with old motherboards - anyway to fix?

Frandesktop

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Hello,

I have a reference Sapphire R9 290 that works with an ASRock B450M-Pro4 motherboard but won't work with Intel DH61WW and Gigabyte GA-H61M-D2-B3 rev 1.0.
The fan spins fast but no output. No detection by the mobos.
I was told that the R9 290 does not support booting with old motherboards and I should flash a newer vBIOS on it.
But I got confused: Should I flash an R9 290X bios or a newer vBIOS of R9 290?
And is anyone here already aware of this issue and have a good vBIOS that is known to fix the issue?

*Also, are these vBIOSes official? Or modded by someone? because I can't find any official vBIOS on the manufacturers websites (Sapphire / AMD), so I assume they do not support end-user to flash his own vBIOS? It's first time I'm messing with GPUs hence the seemingly newbie questions
Thanks
 

Frandesktop

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The Gigabye board is latest BIOS, the Intel is version 116 instead of 120 because it's said to be more stable. Version 116 is already UEFI so I don't know if the 120 is the BIOS that will add support for R9 290? The 120 version is still older than the release date of the R9 290.
Also, the latest BIOS of the reference R9 290 on TechPowerUp is less than 1 month newer than what I currently have:
I have this: https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/150583/sapphire-r9290-4096-131121
And the newest for reference card is this: https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/151539/sapphire-r9290-4096-131205
And it doesn't have release notes so I'm not sure it's worth modding an almost same date ROM without any information on it?

**There are newer versions for Tri-OC R9 290 for example, but not sure they are compatible?

**Also, a kind moderator on another forum suggested me to dump my current vBIOS and he will edit GOP modules or add legacy support to my vBIOS and then I will flash it - is it safe?
 
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After reading your post, the first thing that i would troubleshoot is the uefi bios.

Try to have a 290 bios that support both legacy and uefi. You can probably test the vbios in the b450 motherboard, as it should have an option to play with/without legacy/uefi. Make sure you backup before flashing.

While pretty straightforward and easy, flashing a bios comes with real risks. Do your homework, and proceed with caution. Everything should be fine if you know what you're doing.
 

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If it really is just a legacy/UEFI issue it should be easily solved, can you upload a GPU-Z screenshot here. The Bioses in our collection are unmodded and uploaded by Joe public to the site.
 

Frandesktop

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After reading your post, the first thing that i would troubleshoot is the uefi bios.

Try to have a 290 bios that support both legacy and uefi. You can probably test the vbios in the b450 motherboard, as it should have an option to play with/without legacy/uefi. Make sure you backup before flashing.

While pretty straightforward and easy, flashing a bios comes with real risks. Do your homework, and proceed with caution. Everything should be fine if you know what you're doing.

I didn't find option to disable UEFI in my B450M-Pro4. But how can I find a vBIOS of the R9 290 that supports both? There's no information on the vBIOS links on TechPowerUp website, only technical details

If it really is just a legacy/UEFI issue it should be easily solved, can you upload a GPU-Z screenshot here. The Bioses in our collection are unmodded and uploaded by Joe public to the site.

Out of curiosity about the vBIOS versions: certain cards of the same model (reference R9 290) got released with diferent vBIOSes? But then if the new vBIOS fixed real issues, how are regular end-users supposed to flash it if they don't know how to do it? Because flashing vBIOSes is not something that's supported officialy, so the vBIOS you get when you buy the card is the one you're going to use forever (Unless you learn how to flash it here on TechPowerUp, and it's also risky)

*I attached the screenshot - is this tab enough or you need other tabs?
 

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Tatty_One

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Manufacturers do allow Bios flashing in certain instances but on their terms, for example, if there is a known issue with a new release card for example (RX5600XT springs to mind) they will make a revised Bios available, some manufacturers have all their Bioses accessible on their website, maybe not Sapphire but I can access mine on the Gigabyte website. I agree that it can be daunting and there is risk but that risk is minimised if a user has the right Bios for the right card, after all we are all "regular users" on our first go. I am an advocate for not messing with Bioses on graphics cards unless people know what they are doing and/or have issues where all else has failed and could result in needing to buy a new card in any case.

Edit: Cards, even those with reference designs can have different memory, connectivity, power limits etc, it's not really a one size fits all these days so it's not unusual with the exception possibly being at launch.
 

Frandesktop

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thank you! What would you suggest I do then after seeing the screenshot? Is there any chance to fix it if that's really UEFI issue as you said? Or it doesn't look good
 
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Have you checked the card for a dual Bios switch?
 

Frandesktop

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Have you checked the card for a dual Bios switch?
It has the dual bios switch but it still won't work. I think this switch is something about testing or Gaming/Quiet mode

According to the screenshot I provided - does it look like my GPU is UEFI only?
someone suggested to mod my vBIOS to add support for something about GOP modules
 

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thank you! What would you suggest I do then after seeing the screenshot? Is there any chance to fix it if that's really UEFI issue as you said? Or it doesn't look good
Well ……. assuming you have the most up to date Bios installed for your motherboard and you cannot boot even if you have a dual bios switch and you have tried that then are you saying you want to try to flash the card at your own risk?
 

Frandesktop

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Well ……. assuming you have the most up to date Bios installed for your motherboard and you cannot boot even if you have a dual bios switch and you have tried that then are you saying you want to try to flash the card at your own risk?
I don't mind flashing my card. It does have 2 BIOSes right? But which vBIOS should I choose? And why do you think it will help? Because I didn't see anywhere that it says adding support for legacy motherboards .
Also, should I give my VBIOS file to a moderator on another vBIOS modding forum to add support for legacy motherboards? He said he can do it. I can give you link to my post there if you'd like
 

Frandesktop

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But I don't understand something. I thought my R9 290 supported UEFI boot only, but the screenshot I provided has no "V" in the UEFI box? What's that?
 

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I have just checked each bios version for the card, I don't think it will make any difference sadly, I can only suggest contacting Sapphire support and ask if they have a hybrid Bios that supports both legacy & UEFI, most manufacturers went down that route (Asus, MSI and Gigabyte for sure) as so many people with older motherboards were having similar issues.
 

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Thank you. How do you check VBIOS files? Any software that opens it? Or you see HEX code?
 

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Thank you. How do you check VBIOS files? Any software that opens it? Or you see HEX code?
All of the Bioses we have are NON UEFI and if your motherboard has only a legacy compatible Bios this is not your problem, you can see in the description for each bios if UEFI is supported.
 

Frandesktop

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All of the Bioses we have are NON UEFI and if your motherboard has only a legacy compatible Bios this is not your problem, you can see in the description for each bios if UEFI is supported.

Thanks. I am now totally confused. I just saw the "UEFI Supported" line on the page. But that got me confused because, if it is a NON-UEFI vBIOS, why won't it work with legacy motherboards?
 

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Thanks. I am now totally confused. I just saw the "UEFI Supported" line on the page. But that got me confused because, if it is a NON-UEFI vBIOS, why won't it work with legacy motherboards?
it is confusing with these older cards, I think the only Bios that will work are these hybrid bioses that manufacturers have produced specifically to cover all bases, I have just spent a few minutes going through our unverified uploads, I have found a Bios from June 2014 that is the correct one for your card and it may be a hybrid because it's the only one I can find that indicates it's UEFI compatible, take a quick look here ………………...

 

Frandesktop

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it is confusing with these older cards, I think the only Bios that will work are these hybrid bioses that manufacturers have produced specifically to cover all bases, I have just spent a few minutes going through our unverified uploads, I have found a Bios from June 2014 that is the correct one for your card and it may be a hybrid because it's the only one I can find that indicates it's UEFI compatible, take a quick look here ………………...

But my card works already with a UEFI motherboards (B450M-Pro4), the problem is with older motherboards? I'm still confused :banghead:
 

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Well you have 2 choices, flash a more up to date bios that says No to UEFI support to see if that works, if it does not, then flash the one I linked @ #19 above, the Bioses are correct for your card and you have the dual Bios so you should be OK, the flash should be done on the original Bios (not silent/quiet).

If that fails then yes go to the guy who can mod the Bios for you.
 

Frandesktop

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Ok before I do that I have last few questions:
1) as my screenshot showed, I already have a non-UEFI R9 290, right? Or I'm missing something? so why should a one-month-newer vBIOS (That also does not support UEFI) do anything to fix it? I mean if my card shows already "no UEFI" - why it actually works on UEFI and not on Legacy
2) How can I tell which position of the switch is original and not quiet?
 
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Tatty_One

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Ok before I do that I have last few questions:
1) as my screenshot showed, I already have a non-UEFI R9 290, right? Or I'm missing something? so why should a one-month-older vBIOS (That also does not support UEFI) do anything to fix it? I mean if my card shows already "no UEFI" - why it actually works on UEFI and not on Legacy
2) How can I tell which position of the switch is original and not quiet?
That's why I suggested the hybrid at post #19, these were written specifically to address the older motherboard issue and may have had code changes for additional compatibility, it may be that your Asrock pro 4 has a built in Bios fix for older cards and compatibility or it may be that some of the GPU database input is wrong …. dunno. I know ages ago I had a Sapphire 280x and I modded it's Bios to give me slightly higher load voltage as I was getting some instability and on doing so I lost UEFI compatibility but nothing on the GPU or motherboard side looked different!
 

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How can you open an R9 290 bios file to read its contents?
You can't ……. unless you understand hex and have an editor, if you are concerned about flashing your card then go to the mod guy, with a dual bios you are pretty safe. It will still need to be flashed with any Mod in any case.
 
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