Question What is the point of a BIOS upgrade?

goodenough

Distinguished
Apr 25, 2011
18
1
18,515
0
If your 2013 laptop worked fine for 6 years on the original BIOS, what is the point of a BIOS update now, in 2020?
What kind of situation would have your laptop work fine for 6 years, but now the BIOS is not good enough?
 

2plash6

Prominent
Jul 23, 2019
184
20
595
4
Better overclocking capabilities(This is usually the case with desktops), sometimes.

But you don't need to mess with it if you don't have a problem with it.
 

tennis2

Honorable
Performance improvements
Bug fixes
Security patches
Additional/improved BIOS features
etc etc.

Read the release notes of all BIOS revisions that are newer than your currently installed one (since BIOS updates build off of previous ones) to see what's been changed.
 
Do not fix a problem that you do not have.
_


Bios updates fix minor issues such as stability or ram compatibility.
Consider that a failed bios flash can brick your motherboard or make it difficult to recover from.
Do not update a bios on just speculation.
Read the description of what the update does and only flash if the update fixes a problem that is impacting you.
 

goodenough

Distinguished
Apr 25, 2011
18
1
18,515
0
Virus? Does new BIOS help with compatibility issues of software OS written after the original BIOS ?
Like 2013 BIOS can't support Win10, so you update it to 2018 BIOS ?
 
Reactions: 2plash6

goodenough

Distinguished
Apr 25, 2011
18
1
18,515
0
I agree with not messing with stuff that isn't broke.
But, I get monthly BSOD, so I just ran a BIOS update.
I was scared since it took like 5-10 mins.
I Went from v9 to v24 (2014 to 2018)
Laptop runs fine
 

Flayed

Honorable
If your 2013 laptop worked fine for 6 years on the original BIOS, what is the point of a BIOS update now, in 2020?
What kind of situation would have your laptop work fine for 6 years, but now the BIOS is not good enough?
One that comes to mind is if you decided you wanted to upgrade your ram, its possible that a bios update would improve memory stability with a different brand/speed of ram than that which originally shipped with the laptop
 

Flayed

Honorable
It's not really an issue if you have confidence in your energy supplier or UPS can keep the lights on for the 5 minutes it takes to update and that you triple check you are flashing the correct bios file for your motherboard
 

goodenough

Distinguished
Apr 25, 2011
18
1
18,515
0
It's not really an issue if you have confidence in your energy supplier or UPS can keep the lights on for the 5 minutes it takes to update and that you triple check you are flashing the correct bios file for your motherboard
Yea, I got the update.EXE file directly from Dell's website for my Dell model. Seems to have worked fine!
 

2plash6

Prominent
Jul 23, 2019
184
20
595
4
One that comes to mind is if you decided you wanted to upgrade your ram, its possible that a bios update would improve memory stability with a different brand/speed of ram than that which originally shipped with the laptop
Well if your MOBO is broken, not working properly, or malfunctioning, then you can consider reinstalling RAM.
 

2plash6

Prominent
Jul 23, 2019
184
20
595
4
Well if your MOBO is broken, not working properly, or malfunctioning, then you can consider reinstalling RAM.
For example, if your PC isn't booting to the OS, but your MOBO leds are on and the case fans are spinning, then maybe reinstall the RAM and/or get a BIOS update.

I have done this before to my own PC that I tried building a while back. the fans were spinning, the HDD was running, the LEDs were on, but the CPU(i7-4770k) was not compatible with my model (Opltiplex 3020). So about a year later I bought a new Pentium G3220, and still. Nope. Nothing. So I will have to get a new Optiplex one day soon.

I was just saying that it was broken. I don't know what was broken, but the point of this was to tell you that a BIOS update or RAM reinstallation won't help if it is broken or damaged.
 

2plash6

Prominent
Jul 23, 2019
184
20
595
4
If you have a virus like this:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrnWFAx5vJg

CIH (computer virus) - Wikipedia
en.wikipedia.org › wiki › CIH_(computer_virus)


or any program like this:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6D3Dje5sDg&t=260s


then you will need to reflash it.
These two programs flash your BIOS and cause it to become unbootable, and reinstalling/uprading the OS or BIOS won't work if you are in a situation like that.

You would have to take it to the Geek Squad to reflashed.
 

Endre

Prominent
Apr 30, 2019
433
54
790
5
BIOS update can improve:

  1. RAM compatibility: it may allow you to install higher density modules (for instance 32GB DIMMs), or faster RAM;
  2. Drives compatibility: it may allow you to install newer drives, like an Intel Optane M.2 SSD;
  3. New BIOS menu (my motherboad’s structure menu changed with one of the updates, adding new cathegories and changing its look completely);
  4. Bugfixes & stability improvements;
  5. Compatibility with newer CPUs that otherwise wouldn’t be recognized (if you’ll ever change that component);
CONCLUSION:
Over all, it’s a good idea to be on the latest BIOS version. Not to mention, that on laptops, updates are safer, not having to worry about a power drop during the update.
 

hotaru.hino

Prominent
Sep 1, 2020
571
184
590
9
The only time I'd recommend updating BIOS is either to update for hardware compatibility and you're confident it's BIOS, to improve security, there's a documented feature that you will use, or the manufacturer strongly recommends it for some reason. Otherwise I don't see a point. I also hate that release notes of most BIOS updates are super vague.

Also in my experience (and this is just my experience, so take it how you will), BIOS updates may cause issues. I recall an old P65 board I had that I updated to absolute latest, but it refused to take a video card until I rolled it back to the last version. My last system, a B450 board from MSI, had issues going to one update and I couldn't roll back because you can't roll back versions if the BIOS update contains an AGESA update.

There's also the fun bit that most AMD 300/400 chipsets on AM4 have a BIOS size limit of 32MB, and a lot of BIOS updates that brought compatibility to Zen 2 processors dropped support for some processors (mostly Athlons) and simplified the BIOS interface.

If you're thinking about updating BIOS "just because", hold off and do some research to see if you can figure out if the BIOS update is really beneficial or not.
 
If your 2013 laptop worked fine for 6 years on the original BIOS, what is the point of a BIOS update now, in 2020?
What kind of situation would have your laptop work fine for 6 years, but now the BIOS is not good enough?
What laptop is it? did you read the BIOS release notes? It could be a security fix.

In fact, that's probably a very good reason in a laptop that old especially if it's a model commonly sold to business or corporate customers. Older Intel processors have many security vulnerabilities. The laptop mfr. doesn't want to be liable if one should be exploited in a customer's managed environment no matter how remote the possibility. So just release an update and put the onus on the owner to decide if it's worth the trouble.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY