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-   -   How To: Unbrick Your Bricked Graphics Card/Fix a Failed BIOS Flash (https://www.overclock.net/forum/74-graphics-cards-general/593427-how-unbrick-your-bricked-graphics-card-fix-failed-bios-flash.html)

Core2uu 10-17-2009 11:34 PM

Whether it was to improve your thermals, your performance, or both, you edited and tried to flash a new BIOS for your GPU but it didn't go over so well. Your PC is now currently failing to POST and your expensive parallel processing monster is nothing more than a big, bulky, oversized paperweight. If that is the case then this guide is for you.


1) You will need to find a PCI graphics card/display adapter from somewhere to act as a temporary video output until you can get your PCI-E card functioning properly again. This might involve going out to buy one or pulling one from an older machine or your stash.
*Feel free to use a PCI-E card instead of a PCI card if your motherboard has two or more PCI-E slots.
*You can also use onboard video if you motherboard has an IGP. The method for switching to it should be similar to the one outlined below.

2) Once you have found a PCI GPU go ahead and open your case. Remove the retention bracket of your PCI-E card and take the card out of your system. Remember to ground yourself first by touching the metal part of your case before handling any components in order to avoid damaging your components.

3) Once you have taken your PCI-E card out, insert your PCI card into a PCI slot, preferably one that is far away from your PCI-E slot so that it doesn't interfere with letting you put your PCI-E card back in.

4) Hook up your monitor's cable to the appropriate output on your PCI card and boot up your computer. Hopefully you should POST. If you don't and are getting a strange number of beeps from your motherboard, you might not have inserted your PCI card correctly into the slot and your motherboard is telling you it doesn't detect a VGA.

5) Right after you post, enter your BIOS by pressing the appropriate key. Find the setting in your BIOS which sets the primary display adapter. On my motherboard, this is found under Advanced -> Chipset Configuration -> North Bridge Settings, although it may be different for your motherboard.


6) Change your primary display adapter from PEG to PCI. This step will let you POST with your bricked graphics card inserted as the Power-on Self-test will not fail due to the incomplete BIOS present on your PCI-E card because you have switched the primary display to the PCI card.

*Disregard this step if you are using a PCI-e backup card instead of a PCI card.

7) After you have changed the primary display adapter setting, shut off your computer and insert your PCI-E card back in. You might want to put the retention bracket back on to make sure the card doesn’t get bent.

8) Boot up your computer again and hopefully it will POST if you have done Step #5 correctly. Continue on into Windows. (Note: If your PCI-E card is ATi card and your PCI card is an nVIDIA card or vice-cersa, I WOULD NOT recommend installing nVIDIA (or ATi) drivers to accommodate your PCI card as the generic Windows display drivers will serve fine for the purpose of this guide).

9) When booted into Windows you will need to first of all make a bootable DOS disk. Creating a bootable USB drive is the easiest way, in my opinion, so follow this guide to make a bootable USB drive.

10) When you have made a bootable USB drive, download your favourite BIOS flashing software. (Eg. ATIFlash for ATI users and NVFlash for nVIDIA users)

11) Copy the folder with the software in into the root of the USB drive. Make sure to rename the folder to a name with a max of eight characters due to the limitation in DOS.

12) Find your backup or download an original BIOS for your graphics card and copy it into the SAME FOLDER as your flashing software and give it a name that is also under eight characters and easy to remember.

13) Restart your computer and boot into the USB drive. On my computer, this is done by pressing F8 and selecting the USB drive when I see the BIOS splash screen but it may be different for your motherboard.

14) Navigate to your folder using “cd [foldername]”.

15) Finally, you can go ahead and flash your old BIOS. (Using ATIFlash, first find the adapter number done by using “atiflash –i”, then you can flash by “atiflash –f –newbios –p [adapter number] [BIOS_filename].ROM”).

* Make sure the BIOS file you are flashing has a *.ROM extension. If it doesn't, ATIFlash will not recognize it.
** NVFlash commands are different from ATIFlash but are well documented in its guide and readme included with it. So please READ the NVFlash guide before using it.
*** If your GPU is not detected by ATIFlash or NVFlash see the further troubleshooting section below.

16) Shut down your computer using your power button.


17) Reboot and then go back into the BIOS. Change the primary display adapter back from PCI to PEG. Save BIOS settings then shut down.

*Disregard this step if you are using a PCI-e backup card instead of a PCI card.

18) Switch your monitor cable from the PCI card back to your PCI-e card and remove the PCI card if you wish.

19) Boot up your computer and you should now be running back on your original GPU again.

20) END thumbsupsmiley.png


Further Troubleshooting (Click to show)
Further Troubleshooting:

If NVFlash and ATIFlash cannot detect your GPU, first make sure that it is plugged in firmly. If it is still not being detected, your card may either have died from a hardware failure or has been bricked past recognition. In this case you may try the methods below:

Dire Experimental Methods 



Method for ATI cards

*The guide linked in the above post is no longer available. It's the 1+8 pin recovery method. This thread on TPU references it. See it if you need any help. I don't provide support for any of these hardware recovery methods.

Method for NVIDIA cards

*This link is still available. Again, do this at your own risk. If you have questions about these methods, I can't answer them as I have never attempted them. And I recommend you don't either unless you find it absolutely necessary.

hackm0d 10-17-2009 11:37 PM

Great job!
This'll save my butt when something goes wrong...

tiondus 10-21-2009 12:46 PM

If my motherboard has integrated graphic, do I need the other PCI card ?

Core2uu 10-21-2009 02:58 PM

Originally Posted by tiondus View Post
If my motherboard has integrated graphic, do I need the other PCI card ?
Your motherboard SHOULD default to the IGP for output, but don't quote me on that. My motherboard doesn't have an IGP so I can't test it to find out.

You're welcome to test and see if it works though. If it does, please tell me so I can add it to the guide. Thanks!

metallicamaster3 10-24-2009 10:21 AM

Added to the nVidia Essentials Thread. .

goldman11 11-28-2009 12:47 PM

Thanks man great tut all links work great everything went smooth my card is working again

lonnie5000 11-28-2009 12:52 PM

Great guide. Nice job.

Core2uu 11-28-2009 08:26 PM

Originally Posted by metallicamaster3 View Post
Added to the nVidia Essentials Thread. .

Originally Posted by goldman11 View Post
Thanks man great tut all links work great everything went smooth my card is working again
Glad to hear it!

Originally Posted by lonnie5000 View Post
Great guide. Nice job.

Jerry60k 02-07-2010 07:56 AM

Just wondering but will this method also work with AGP ?

Core2uu 02-07-2010 08:41 AM

Originally Posted by Jerry60k View Post
Just wondering but will this method also work with AGP ?
I don't think it really matters whether you're trying to fix an AGP, a PCI or PCI-E card, as long as you have a temporary replacement display adapter that you can use.

I do think it should work for AGP, you just need to modify the guide a bit by substituting in AGP for wherever I say PEG or PCI-E.

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