Folks, I need some help with your mainboard and BIOS which I am not sure regular tech. support can give me so I am asking here.
I have Intel DX58SO mainboard with Core i7-920, 6GB of DDR3 RAM in 3x 2GB configuration, 650W PSU and an older video card -- NVIDIA 7950GX2.
Latest BIOS version is 4196 at the moment of this writing.
However, I am forced to use BIOS version 3044 and here is why.
When I put any of the newer BIOSes which have SLI support, I experience random lockups at POST, extensive display on/off switching while POST-ing, and the inability to load NVIDIA video drivers and thus boot to the operating system except in the safe mode.
On a side note, each time I flashed the BIOS I loaded optimal defaults as suggested in release notes and I used the same configuration options every time.
I suspect that this may have something to do with the SLI license in the ACPI SLIC table -- 7950GX2 has two GPUs on board so it already works in SLI mode even without the SLI license in the BIOS. Unfortunately I don't have another brand of video card to test at the moment and this card works just fine with the older BIOS. I would really appreciate if someone from Intel engineering could test DX58SO with BIOS 4196 and NVIDIA 7950GX2 in Windows 7 x64 to see if they encounter the same issue as I do and perhaps get it fixed for me.
Another issue is that flashing another BIOS version causes Windows (at least Windows 7) to re-enumerate ALL devices and reinstall all drivers requiring up to two reboots to sort itself out. What is worse, this procedure leaves a lot of duplicate phantom devices which can be seen if you set the environment variable devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices to 1, and select Show Hidden Devices from the View menu in Device Manager. That is really undesirable behavior because it bloats the registry with those phantom devices and it might even trigger OS reactivation if the OS detects too many hardware changes.
Moreover, BIOS options vary between different versions -- some options disappear and some new ones show up. Those that show up do not have any help associated with them while the names are rather cryptic (ASPM L0, etc). While I am at it, VT-d related options are also poorly explained. Options should be documented well enough so one can make an educated decision whether to turn them on or off without having to resort to extensive Googling.
Finally, memory timings setting section is designed and implemented very poorly -- it exposes a lot of timings which is good, but in manual mode it doesn't display or preset their default values from SPD/XMP, nor it offers to keep some of the values set automatically like most of the other mainboards from other IHVs do. If all the timings were documented or readable from the SPD/XMP so I could find the right ones that would be ok with me, but some of them are completely undocumented and the lack of automatic/default setting for those really makes manual configuration very hard even for geeks such as myself.
I would really appreciate help, at least with the inability to use latest BIOS.