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Problems regarding ANOVO AIMB-865

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First post, by LSS10999

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A while ago I got myself an ANOVO AIMB-865 (V1.0S1.2, 865G with 1 ethernet controller placed around the lower two USB ports) intended to replace an Axiomtek IMB200 mainly for better CPU support (that board supports only up to Pentium D 960 as the official manual stated, and any attempt to extend the CPU support past it, mainly by adding microcodes and such, was not successful), yet I've found quite a few problems with the new board.

1. The board officially claims to support Core 2 Duo up to 2.66GHz, and as tested, up to Core 2 Extreme X6800 can boot. While the BIOS shows correct clock values (so does Windows XP's System Information, which doesn't seem to reflect actual values, either), the actual system bus speed is only 100MHz, regardless of whether it is FSB 800 (200MHz) or FSB 1066 (266MHz). Also, when using a FSB 1066 Core 2 Duo, the board can only boot when memory speed is set to 266MHz (while a FSB 800 Core 2 Duo can boot with any option, 266/333/400 MHz, despite in both scenarios, the CPUs will have an actual system bus speed of 100MHz).
2. The board seems to have issues handling the multipliers when booting with an extreme edition CPU, as it initially sets the multi to the maximum value (60x I think) then boots with an overclock failed message and has to manually set the multi back to the intended value in order to be able to boot properly during subsequent boots.
3. Somehow the AIMB-865 board I have fails to boot on any valid dual-channel memory configuration regardless of installed CPU. Using single-channel memory configurations (by leaving one of the slots empty, or using memory sticks of different sizes), however, will boot properly.
4. Tried a Pentium D 965 and it could not boot at all. Perhaps a BSEL mod that sets to 200MHz bus speed (which somehow had no effect on IMB200) is needed, but I haven't had time to try it there.
5. The ISA DMA does not work out of box. As tested, a chipset register hack similar to the one in this video is required for ISA DMA to function, and it only lasts for this boot instance only (PS: Setting the register values involved to exactly the ones shown in the video actually caused a hard freeze during my initial tests after playing some ISA sounds, as I might have flipped some other register bits that I shouldn't have. Doing it by figuring out which bits the actions actually flipped according to the video, however, I did not encounter freezes anymore).

The only detailed information about the board I could find is this one (from Modlabs, in Russian), and it appears to have mentioned some of the problems I'm having (namely the ISA DMA and the actual system bus speed issues). Besides, there is an official BIOS image named 865GV008.ROM which bears the same BIOS version number of the board I currently own, but I cannot confirm whichever variant the BIOS was intended to (or is not specific to variants), as there is also another major variant called V1.0S1.3 which is 865GV-based and lacked the AGP slot.

Apparently regarding the 100MHz system bus issue when running Core 2 CPUs on 865-based mainboards, there's already a post talking about it in an attempt to get it working on a different board than this one. And I'm not certain if there are any methods other than BSEL mod, to force 200MHz bus speed for Pentium D 965, if the motherboard itself is not (or not entirely) using BSEL to determine CPU clocks (like my IMB200, the BIOS always gives it a 33MHz system bus for Pentium D 965 then hangs, even after doing a BSEL mod that has been confirmed working using another 865GV-based board I had for reference, MSI 865GVM3-V).

Besides, from the Modlabs post I did not see it mentioning the inability to boot when using dual-channel memory configurations, so whether this is due to the board's BIOS or my board itself (hardware issue) could not be determined.

So again, there are still a lot of things needed in order to make AIMB-865 useful, so I'll have to stay with IMB200. Compared to AIMB-865, while it lacks the potential to extend CPU support (for better forward compatibility), and it doesn't have an easy way to manage USB boots (so I have to install OSes using optical discs instead), it has out-of-box ISA support (including ISA PnP like AWE64 Gold).

Reply 1 of 33, by Scraphoarder

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I ordered two AIMB-865 (AGP) some weeks ago, but have not time to test them much. Booted with a Pentium Dual Core E2140 and 4x 1GB DDR 400 ram and one took all without problem, but the other board would not boot at all with dual channel configuration. Thought ram slots 3 & 4 were bad, but oddly i could get it on with a stick i slot 3 alone.
The seller said i could send it back and get a new one, but we agreed to let me keep it and i got a good deal on a new. I now have three of them, but have not checked the last one. I think it can be a hit or miss, but i could live with max 2GB ram in non dual channel mode. Performance wise i dont think i would notice.

I got some worries reading your about ISA DMA issues, because the reason i wanted theese boards was i read a place that ISA DMA were OK. Those russian forums i dont understand anything what their discussing. After struggeling for weeks to get ISA sound on an Intel D845WR i gave up and was going to play with an Anovo AIMB-865 instead.

Reply 2 of 33, by LSS10999

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I was able to figure some of it out using Google Translate on the posts in the Russian forum mentioned. Apparently it was a FAQ about a community BIOS mod for the board that supposedly fixed some issues and improved CPU support, but it appears to be not publicly available. Besides, according to that forum, the board (as of v1.0S1.2) has many variants, with 1-2 ethernet ports, or with different clock generators. The latter might be the cause of all those incompatibilities.

Apparently in my case the four memory slots were not really bad. One can, however, plug three 1GB stick and one 512MB to get a single-channel configuration of the maximum possible memory (3.5GB). Unfortunately the 512MB stick I had was faulty so I couldn't test such configurations further.

And by the way, have you actually checked the CPU speed with your E2140? The BIOS and Windows system information may not show the real CPU speed information (the latter simply copies what BIOS shows), and it's possible that your CPU is running at 100MHz system bus. Back then I tried E2200, E4700 and X6800 on the board I have, and they all appeared as 100MHz system bus. The TSCDOS tool might help with confirming it.

And about ISA DMA... well, the board does have ISA DMA like other 865-based boards, just it seems disabled by default with no option to actually turn it on, as at first I could not get a working ISA DMA for a Sound Blaster 16 I intended to test the board for, but after applying chipset register hacks similar to the video I referenced, I was able to get the card configured and working, at least for that boot instance.

Reply 3 of 33, by bristlehog

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The people from Modlabs made a BIOS update for AIMB-865, fixing the ISA DMA support issue. It is not publicly available, but still obtainable. I'll try contacting White from Modlabs.

I myself have an AIMB-865 bought from Taobao, but it is faulty. Its northern bridge crystal is chipped. Hopefully it can be fixed by deballing the faulty bridge and soldering in a new one.

Last edited by bristlehog on 2017-07-14, 10:16. Edited 1 time in total.

Hardware comparisons and game system requirements: https://technical.city

Reply 6 of 33, by bristlehog

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I'll translate the part concerning BIOS mod:

- fixes DMA support for ISA devices
- enables Core 2 Extreme QX series (albeit only 2 cores would be active)
- enables Voodoo 5 6000 via AGP2PCI adapter
- fixes PCI, AGP and embedded video controller boot sequence
- enables pre-set profiles for legacy and newer Microsoft operating systems (DOS/Win9x and Win2K+)
- enables boot from second PCI video card, if present
- enables setting system bus frequency from MS-DOS

Hardware comparisons and game system requirements: https://technical.city

Reply 7 of 33, by Scraphoarder

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bristlehog wrote:
I'll translate the part concerning BIOS mod: […]
Show full quote

I'll translate the part concerning BIOS mod:

- fixes DMA support for ISA devices
- enables Core 2 Extreme QX series (albeit only 2 cores would be active)
- enables Voodoo 5 6000 via AGP2PCI adapter
- fixes PCI, AGP and embedded video controller boot sequence
- enables pre-set profiles for legacy and newer Microsoft operating systems (DOS/Win9x and Win2K+)
- enables boot from second PCI video card, if present
- enables setting system bus frequency from MS-DOS

Would be very happy if this bios got available for us outside the modlabs circle.

Reply 8 of 33, by LSS10999

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bristlehog wrote:
I'll translate the part concerning BIOS mod: […]
Show full quote

I'll translate the part concerning BIOS mod:

- fixes DMA support for ISA devices
- enables Core 2 Extreme QX series (albeit only 2 cores would be active)
- enables Voodoo 5 6000 via AGP2PCI adapter
- fixes PCI, AGP and embedded video controller boot sequence
- enables pre-set profiles for legacy and newer Microsoft operating systems (DOS/Win9x and Win2K+)
- enables boot from second PCI video card, if present
- enables setting system bus frequency from MS-DOS

The preset profiles can be interesting, and how's the system bus frequency setting option? Wonder if it can fix the 100MHz system bus issue present in official BIOS, as with only 100MHz (400MHz FSB) the Core 2s would be less helpful other than supporting SSSE3 instructions which Pentium D doesn't support. Asrock, however, had a board that unofficially supported even 1066 FSB and Conroe processors (Conroe865PE), just not having on-board ISA.

Additionally, it seems some memory tweaks are needed for 1066MHz FSB operaion. I do recall on some forums they mention about the DDR needs to support CL2.5. Also, when actually running under 1066MHz, will other buses get overclocked (AGP and such)? Back then with 440BX the AGP bus would be clocked to 89MHz when unofficially running it at 133MHz, and not all AGP video cards like that.

The board is good in overall just a few downsides aside from the FSB and dual-channel memory issue.

- Improper RAM slot design that overlapped with the AGP slot, preventing the use of full-length video cards. Fortunately a Radeon HD 4650 can be used as it's half-length.
- The secondary IDE channel is actually a 44-pin header originally designed for 2.5'' IDE HDDs, and needs special converter cables to connect it to a 40-pin device such as DVD drive (got myself some, but not tested).

LATE EDIT: Not sure about AIMB-865, but RUBY-9719VG2AR also utilized a 44-pin header for IDE slot, and 44-pin to 40-pin converter cables work there.

Last edited by LSS10999 on 2019-07-03, 16:34. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 33, by JTK68

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Hello friends.
I have also this ANOVO AIMB-865 V1.0S1.2 MB, but I can´t find that modded BIOS online.
If anyone know where to get it i'd be thousand times grateful or if you have it you cans send copy to it my email or link where it could be downloaded.
I have also Core 2 Extreme X6800 cpu what I try to use this MB. Does this cpu need so called BSEL mod to work?

Reply 12 of 33, by Scraphoarder

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White wrote:

There is no online copy for this BIOS.

All sorts of crap, cracks and mods can be found on russian sites, but when you truly needs it there are no luck 😵

Reply 13 of 33, by JTK68

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Scraphoarder wrote:
White wrote:

There is no online copy for this BIOS.

All sorts of crap, cracks and mods can be found on russian sites, but when you truly needs it there are no luck 😵

Ok, does this mean that there are no exists modded BIOS at all? So all is "snakeoil" 😠 😈 🤣 ?

Reply 14 of 33, by LSS10999

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JTK68 wrote:
Scraphoarder wrote:
White wrote:

There is no online copy for this BIOS.

All sorts of crap, cracks and mods can be found on russian sites, but when you truly needs it there are no luck 😵

Ok, does this mean that there are no exists modded BIOS at all? So all is "snakeoil" 😠 😈 🤣 ?

The BIOS in question was never meant for public, even though you'll definitely need that BIOS in order to make the motherboard complete.

After all, the motherboard itself has a lot of flaws to begin with, despite the fact it's the only i865 industrial motherboard with ISA (though not working out of box) that can POST with a 65nm Core 2 Duo.

You can use RU for modifying the chipset registers, but I couldn't remember the exact register values anymore, and the video I referenced (which mentioned about how to modify the registers) were long gone (video unavailable)...