Jump to content
EwinRacing Flash Series Gaming Chairs
kh90123

Need help AW 18 bricked due to disabling Samsung EVO RAPID

Recommended Posts

I was checking up the SSD status in Samsung Magician, and it said that I have a firmware update for the 1TB Samsung 840 EVO. So I tried to update, but since RAPID is enabled I have to disable it and restart the system.

Upon restart the system would not boot anymore. The 3 fans would spin for a few seconds before stopping. The Alienware lighting is still on, but the screen has no display. If I leave it on like that for a few moments, I could feel there's still heat coming near where the heatsinks are, especially from the CPU heatsink, suggesting that the components are alright, but the fans are spinning. To me, this points to some mobo damage. EDIT: After a while the CPU fan started spinning, but still no display.

I have tried several methods. I have tried removing all the SSDs, I have also tried booting with only 1 RAM stick. I have also tried to remove the CMOS battery. None of these works.

Not only does it not POST, it also doesn't respond to Ctrl + Alt + Del. Without or without the CMOS battery connected, it exhibits the same behavior (with only 1 RAM stick), ie the fans spin up, then stop. The AW lighting comes on, but the screen is blank. There's heat coming off the heatsinks if I leave it in this state long enough.

Any suggestion? I currently have no other DDR3 SODIMM to test, so it could be the 4 RAM sticks that were fried. I suspect this because Samsung RAPID uses 1 GB of system memory. It could also be something wrong with the BIOS, or something else was fried on the mobo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not really familiar with rapid, but if I'm not mistaken it is a caching feature that relies solely software i.e. it has nothing whatsoever to do with the firmware of the system. Therefore I think you just got very unlucky and got some kind of defect on the motherboard just when trying to reboot. At the moment that's the only logical explanation for me.

Are no POST error codes showing up? E.g. flashing caps/num/scroll LEDs or similar? Or beeps?

You can try to reset the firmware variables of the system, but I kinda doubt it will help, for the reasons stated above. If you want to try it any way: Remove the battery and AC adapter, perform a power drain, hold the END key and then plug in the AC adapter, the system should start. This load the default firmware settings, though I'm not 100% sure whether this is implemented in the new AWs, but I'd really expect so. Also it might be a different key than END, not sure...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not really familiar with rapid, but if I'm not mistaken it is a caching feature that relies solely software i.e. it has nothing whatsoever to do with the firmware of the system. Therefore I think you just got very unlucky and got some kind of defect on the motherboard just when trying to reboot. At the moment that's the only logical explanation for me.

Are no POST error codes showing up? E.g. flashing caps/num/scroll LEDs or similar? Or beeps?

You can try to reset the firmware variables of the system, but I kinda doubt it will help, for the reasons stated above. If you want to try it any way: Remove the battery and AC adapter, perform a power drain, hold the END key and then plug in the AC adapter, the system should start. This load the default firmware settings, though I'm not 100% sure whether this is implemented in the new AWs, but I'd really expect so. Also it might be a different key than END, not sure...

RAPID uses system RAM to cache, so that might have corrupted/fried the RAM somehow. If I remove all the RAMs, it would beep twice, and from here: My Alienware Computer is not showing image and is beeping (No POST Beep Codes Table) | Dell US, it suggests "No RAM detected".

So far no matter what I do, the screen is blank.

I have tried holding down END while plugging in the ac adapter. Now the power light on the laptop is blinking rapidly, and all 3 fans spin up to what seems to be the maximum RPM. The display is still blank though. It has been going on a while like this, is this the expected behavior?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

That is expected behavior. It is doing precisely what it should do. If you shut down the system now and try to start it normally are you back in business or still having the same malfunction symptoms?

Question... before attempting to update your SSD firmware, had you been successful in disabling and re-enabling RAPID once or more times before, or was this your first attempt to do that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That is expected behavior. It is doing precisely what it should do. If you shut down the system now and try to start it normally are you back in business or still having the same malfunction symptoms?

Question... before attempting to update your SSD firmware, had you been successful in disabling and re-enabling RAPID once or more times before, or was this your first attempt to do that?

I have never disabled RAPID, and I have only enabled it once, right after installing it. And I have never updated the firmware on the Samsung EVO. I updated the firmware on the Samsung 840 Pro once, and it went smoothly without problem.

Perhaps our fellow Norway friend could help me out. But if he bricks his system disabling RAPID then I'd feel really bad.

Do you have a Samsung 840 EVO?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
By the way, is the display supposed to be blank when you do the holding down END and powering it up thing?

I have tried putting in USB drives in all 4 USB 3.0 ports, and it doesn't even get powered on.

The display is always black during a blind flash recovery (hence the name "blind") and your USB ports not powering on is exactly what I have experienced with the new 18.

Not being able to do a blind flash to fix BIOS problems is definitely not a good thing. It may be implemented by design to prevent circumventing Secure Flash, or it may be the fault of USB 3.0. They should at least include a pre-boot addressable USB 1.1 or 2.0 internal port or even header pins on the motherboard where the chassis design is not affected. Then you could pull the palm rest and blind flash when necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RAPID uses system RAM to cache, so that might have corrupted/fried the RAM somehow. If I remove all the RAMs, it would beep twice, and from here: My Alienware Computer is not showing image and is beeping (No POST Beep Codes Table) | Dell US, it suggests "No RAM detected".

A computer can't boot without memory, that's completely normal. As I said, this issue is not firmware related, there's a defect somewhere, RAM or mobo I guess.

Don't you have some other ram sticks around to try? Of course it would need to be DDR3L, else it won't POST either since Dell decided to drop support for normal DDR per bios setting.

Not being able to do a blind flash to fix BIOS problems is definitely not a good thing. It may be implemented by design to prevent circumventing Secure Flash.

Actually the firmware recovery mode described in the uefi specs is designed to work with signed images, i.e. it will work the same way as secure flash. If implemented properly it won't be possible to use a modified bios for recovery, but it will still flash a signed image. I very much doubt that the recovery feature got removed from the AW systems, but the key combo might be different, I don't know. I noticed that with many recent Insyde systems the recovery mode as we know it does not seem to work, so my best guess is that we're doing something wrong.

Well, anyway... the bios can't be the issue here. If RAPID uses the RAM for caching then it's kinda like a RAM disk, independent of the system firmware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No I do not have other DDR3L RAM around to test. Unfortunately not that many people use DDR3L around here, so it might take a while to find one.

I have contacted Dell and after they order the part from other region eventually I will need to go down to Singapore for the technician to replace the mobo. I have asked so that the technician bring some new RAMs, so I guess eventually I will know if it's the mainboard or the RAM. I brought it to a computer repair shop, and although they don't have any DDR3L SODIMM handy, they told me that it's likely that the mainboard has problems.

It seems too much of a coincidence that the system fail to POST straight after disabling RAPID. Unless another user of AW 18 that also has the 840 EVO shows us that disabling RAPID wouldn't cause any problem, we can't tell for sure. For what's worth, doing that might actually brick the person's system too. Seems like only Mr. Cloudfire has the AW 18 and EVO, maybe I should ask him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Maybe it is just a really bizarre coincidence that it happened simultaneously and the actions bear no relation to the outcome. By that I mean, perhaps for reasons we do not know, it would have been dead upon reboot even if nothing had ever been attempted with the EVO firmware update and RAPID had not been disabled.

The Alienware 17 that I had for a while mysteriously stopped booting with symptoms remarkably similar to this machine. Nothing attempted successfully revived it.

I do find myself wondering if something freakish is making the data stored in NVRAM that is used at POST is for some reason "fragile" or subject to corruption by things we would never normally associate with the BIOS. Too bad they can't just leave stuff alone that is not broken and doesn't need to be fixed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just out of interest, what CPU do you have and have you overclocked it in BIOS?

Have you changed the RAM from the stuff already supplied in the system?

The reason I ask is on my AW18 and AW17 both will show the same behaviour with either a i7-4930MX or i7-4900MQ plugged in if I select one of the overclocking options. I believe this is because it is trying to set the memory to XMP mode. The same thing happens on A00, A02 and A03 BIOS.

Even if I put "normal" memory in it wont boot. (I have upgraded the system with Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1866)

The fix is to put in an i7-4700MQ and this will make the system beep continuously, it can then be powered off and then powered on. After 30 seconds the backlight will come on and then the system will boot as normal. If you already have one of the CPUs, this fix probably wont work for you. (I'm not sure if it will work for the i7-4800MQ either)

I have to go into BIOS, reset to defaults (F9), save (F10) and then reboot again.

Go into BIOS a second time (F2) and then you can disable overclocking support in the performance option (under advanced)

You can replace the CPU with one of the faster ones that support OC options, this means you need, once again go into the BIOS and make sure overclocking options are switched off. (The BIOS auto detects the CPU and normally the OC options come back on)

For overclocking I use Intel XTU, even when the BIOS is set to no OC, it can still change the CPU parameters to allow overclocking.

I put some teardown instructions here:

http://forum.techinferno.com/alienware-m18x-aw-18/4922-alienware-18-teardown.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just out of interest, what CPU do you have and have you overclocked it in BIOS?

Have you changed the RAM from the stuff already supplied in the system?

The reason I ask is on my AW18 and AW17 both will show the same behaviour with either a i7-4930MX or i7-4900MQ plugged in if I select one of the overclocking options. I believe this is because it is trying to set the memory to XMP mode. The same thing happens on A00, A02 and A03 BIOS.

Even if I put "normal" memory in it wont boot. (I have upgraded the system with Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1866)

The fix is to put in an i7-4700MQ and this will make the system beep continuously, it can then be powered off and then powered on. After 30 seconds the backlight will come on and then the system will boot as normal. If you already have one of the CPUs, this fix probably wont work for you. (I'm not sure if it will work for the i7-4800MQ either)

I have to go into BIOS, reset to defaults (F9), save (F10) and then reboot again.

Go into BIOS a second time (F2) and then you can disable overclocking support in the performance option (under advanced)

You can replace the CPU with one of the faster ones that support OC options, this means you need, once again go into the BIOS and make sure overclocking options are switched off. (The BIOS auto detects the CPU and normally the OC options come back on)

For overclocking I use Intel XTU, even when the BIOS is set to no OC, it can still change the CPU parameters to allow overclocking.

I put some teardown instructions here:

http://forum.techinferno.com/alienware-m18x-aw-18/4922-alienware-18-teardown.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

That's just crazy. It's awesome knowing swapping the CPU out will reset the BIOS, but having to do this to straighten things out is the crazy part. This almost has to be an indication that something else is seriously messed up in the BIOS that needs to be fixed. Whatever is causing this to happen may also have something to do with the lackluster CPU performance and maybe even the fans not working correctly. Perhaps they went overboard with locking things down with the BIOS to the extent that changes to settings which should occur transparently and automatically are unable to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like some kind of self checking signed bios that hp had been using.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.