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ruatuki
07-11-2007, 09:57 AM
I have come across a 'batch' of PCs that, on startup, report the VGA bios is 'Engineering Release- not for production use'. These machines are very new and purchased from a NZ retailer but are having an unusually high rate of Windows problems mostly to do with Windows system files.
What is an Engineering Release?
Is it common? Should it be used for a retail machine?
Could it be involved in the windows problems?

Motherboard is ASUS M2N-MX SE with integrated nvidia geforce 6100.
Thank you,
Rua.

Speedy Gonzales
07-11-2007, 10:06 AM
Thats a possibility

Here's the same prob in a Nvidia forum (http://forums.nvidia.com/lofiversion/index.php?t27005.html)

I would see if theres a bios update for the card, or take the mobo back and get something else.

Agent_24
07-11-2007, 12:01 PM
Exact same thing happen to me with the Asus M2N-MX SE, System BIOS was v0201 (very old)

Updated to latest BIOS (0406), the engineering release message has gone away.

I always update motherboard to latest BIOS as soon as I buy it, unless there is a known problem with that BIOS and the configuration I may have, as such I never tested my M2N-MX SE with the 0201 BIOS in windows, but I had XP and Kubuntu 7.10 64bit installed for a while on the 0406 BIOS and never had a problem.

I say do a BIOS update, it will probably solve your problem.

File corruption could be caused by faulty/incompatible/wrongly setup memory (and the last 2 could be fixed by BIOS update) Run Memtest and see if that comes up with any problem

pctek
07-11-2007, 02:41 PM
bios is 'Engineering Release- not for production use'. ?
Just means it didn't get its BIOS update before being shipped out.

Update to the latest BIOS.

somebody
07-11-2007, 03:08 PM
A friend of mine had the exact same problem. He ended up kicking up a fuss about it with computer retailer, and got a refund.

Agent_24
07-11-2007, 03:13 PM
Too lazy to do a 10 second BIOS update, so waste even more time getting a refund? That's stupid

ruatuki
07-11-2007, 04:20 PM
Thank you Speedy,
I had seen this post but as it referred to another version of bios, didn't go too far with it.
I will try a BIOS first.
Why would a retailer source motherboards without production BIOS? Why would ASUS manufacture same?
Though the retailer would sort this before selling.
Cheers,
Rua.

Speedy Gonzales
07-11-2007, 04:26 PM
I doubt the retailer would know that the mobos theyre selling with onboard video shouldnt be sold to the public.

Unless they actually built a system up using the mobo, connected everything else, and tested it.

And then repackaged it after. I dont think so.

Agent_24
07-11-2007, 05:52 PM
I have yet to see a motherboard that didn't get a BIOS update shortly after introduction to retail, only perhaps the very old ones where the BIOS may have been tested properly beforehand, even then I'm not sure

Whoever makes them, just wants to ship them ASAP, they don't worry about putting on the latest BIOS because the user can do that for free in the time it takes to download an flash

Provided the thing can boot a floppy or other media that holds BIOS update I wouldn't worry about it, it's not like the BIOS is actually that bad, just because it says engineering release. In fact a lot of BIOS probably are they just hide that message

somebody
07-11-2007, 06:05 PM
I have yet to see a motherboard that didn't get a BIOS update shortly after introduction to retail, only perhaps the very old ones where the BIOS may have been tested properly beforehand, even then I'm not sure

Whoever makes them, just wants to ship them ASAP, they don't worry about putting on the latest BIOS because the user can do that for free in the time it takes to download an flash

Provided the thing can boot a floppy or other media that holds BIOS update I wouldn't worry about it, it's not like the BIOS is actually that bad, just because it says engineering release. In fact a lot of BIOS probably are they just hide that message

So it's ok for a car dealership to sell you a car with the tires deflated, because they can pump them up by themselves?

Speedy Gonzales
07-11-2007, 06:20 PM
Ah no, but the diff is, a computer will still work even if the BIOS is old.

Altho, that may depend on the CPU you put on the mobo.

A car on the other hand, wont go far with flat tyres.

I dont think I've seen any mobo with the latest BIOS update on it.

Agent_24
07-11-2007, 06:24 PM
So it's ok for a car dealership to sell you a car with the tires deflated, because they can pump them up by themselves?

That's completely different, be default that would render the car undriveable. However the message "engineering release" at POST does not affect the actual usage of a PC.

Whether or not the BIOS which displays that message is stable, is another matter. personally I found it perfectly stable while booting and updating to the latest version, in fact it would probably be stable even if I hadn't updated, but in the case of the M2N-MX SE, I wanted to update to get rid of any possible problems that the BIOS versions later than 0201 fixed.

But not having the latest BIOS is in my opinion not a good reason to return a motherboard

somebody
07-11-2007, 06:51 PM
That's completely different, be default that would render the car undriveable. However the message "engineering release" at POST does not affect the actual usage of a PC.

Whether or not the BIOS which displays that message is stable, is another matter. personally I found it perfectly stable while booting and updating to the latest version, in fact it would probably be stable even if I hadn't updated, but in the case of the M2N-MX SE, I wanted to update to get rid of any possible problems that the BIOS versions later than 0201 fixed.

But not having the latest BIOS is in my opinion not a good reason to return a motherboard

Looks like you had some good luck. My friend's PC would continually crash at random times within a few hours of installing Windows, and in the process would damage the MBR of the hard drive so that it needed a complete reformat and reinstall. A new (Gigabyte) motherboard fixed the problem.

My analogy works on this basis - a car with deflated tyres will go... for a little bit, before causing damage, and needing new tires/rims. Same deal here. In any case, it's the principle of the thing - why would any reputable motherboard manufacturer ship pre-release firmware, which will only damage its reputation?

stormdragon
07-11-2007, 07:49 PM
I've been using a ASUS M2N-MX SE for a little while now and its run perfectly stable with XP Pro. Yeah I thought about updating to the current BIOS but keep putting it off as got other things to do and its not causing me problems in any state or form.

Somebody maybe it was just a bad board your mate had or maybe the RAM wasn't fully compatible who knows, but the BIOS in general still works for most people. If it didn't ASUS wouldn't ship the MB with it.

Agent_24
07-11-2007, 09:24 PM
Looks like you had some good luck. My friend's PC would continually crash at random times within a few hours of installing Windows, and in the process would damage the MBR of the hard drive so that it needed a complete reformat and reinstall. A new (Gigabyte) motherboard fixed the problem.

My analogy works on this basis - a car with deflated tyres will go... for a little bit, before causing damage, and needing new tires/rims. Same deal here. In any case, it's the principle of the thing - why would any reputable motherboard manufacturer ship pre-release firmware, which will only damage its reputation?

Did your friend also have the M2N-MX SE? Apparently there were some RAM issues that were fixed in the latest BIOS. Did your friend try updating to the latest BIOS? Was the RAM tested?

I don't believe that BIOS version 0201 is pre-release, perhaps the video BIOS part was, as that's where the engineering release message was displayed on mine, but I don't think that BIOS 0201 was the first either

CYaBro
07-11-2007, 10:38 PM
I have had a few Shuttle XPC boxes that had the Engineering Release message as well so not only Asus that are doing it.
A BIOS update fixes the problem (Not that it was really a problem as machines ran fine anyway)

ruatuki
08-11-2007, 08:08 AM
Thanks for the input. The situation is.... 24 machines (all same specs, ASUS m2n-mx se based) were purchased for a school with XP Pro installed. Over the following month 6 to 10 of the machines have had a variety of issues mostly to do with Windoze system files and dlls. Each issue may occur on one or two machines with other problems occurring on others. There is no real pattern to the problems. The VGA Bios reporting an Engineering release was one hint to a possible cause but the truth is it could be one of many things (or a variety of causes). Unfortunately my magic wand is at the cleaners at the moment.

Needless to say, the owner wants an instant fix. I am not the supplier of the hardware.

Agent_24
08-11-2007, 08:22 AM
If it is like you say, they have the engineering release message, then the BIOS is likely rather old (v0201 or earlier) in which case there are known memory issues only solved in the latest 0406 BIOS revision

This *may* be your problem, I find it hard to believe that such a high amount of the boards would be faulty, I think it would be much more likely an incompatibility issue.

Have you tried memtest on the machines with issues?

if you just want to hope for a quick fix, try updating the lot to v0406 and hope it solves the problem :D

somebody
08-11-2007, 08:42 AM
Did your friend also have the M2N-MX SE? Apparently there were some RAM issues that were fixed in the latest BIOS. Did your friend try updating to the latest BIOS? Was the RAM tested?

I don't believe that BIOS version 0201 is pre-release, perhaps the video BIOS part was, as that's where the engineering release message was displayed on mine, but I don't think that BIOS 0201 was the first either

I don't actually know what he did, apart from the fact that he tried different RAM and a different hard drive, and it didn't make a difference. He just sent it back under warranty and the supplier tested it saying it was "fine".