Why do I keep posting about laptops?
I’m looking for someone to modify a Phoenix BIOS for me. I have a Gateway ML3706 with a date code of sometime around November of 2006. this is a laptop that uses this motherboard:
4006148R – Motherboard UMA w/ATI RC415MD w/o 1394
This motherboard seems to be applicable to all of these models:
MX3101b MX3102j MX3103b MX3138m MX3139m MX3140m MX3141m MX3142m MX3143m MX3701 MX3702
MT3104b MT3105j MT3107b MT3110c MT3111c MT3112c MT3705 MT3707 MT3708 MT3710c MT3711c
MT3713c <== (Newest model, sold w/ Core Duo T2130 @ 1.86GHz & 1GB DDR2-667)
as all of these models have or had at one point, BIOS 83.05 available to them to ugprade to.
I recently found the 83.10 BIOS for the MT3000 series on Gateway’s FTP through some digging on Google. This can be found below along with the 83.05 BIOS ripped from my laptop.
My particular laptop originally came with a Pentium Dual-Core T2060 (Yonah) CPU running at a blistering 1.6GHz– this seems to be the most generic CPU option shipped, with some getting a T2080 or some level of same-sped Core Duo. On a whim, I went and upgraded this to a T2080 I found in an E1505 carcass, with not much improvement. I then went and decided, “well, I have this Core 2 T7200 here, and I don’t know if it’s any good, so let’s just throw it in and see what sparks fly out.”
I wasn’t expecting anything to happen because this is a Yonah platform with a Radeon XPress 200M (RC415ME, “ATI RC410MB/MD/ME+SB450 Bonefish Board” appears in the BIOS information) as the chipset.
Both cores work fine, and CPU-Z and HWInfo32 seem to say that Virtualization and 64-bit instructions are seen properly. I’ve also been able to make sure that it’ll boot a 64-bit system by booting off an amd64 build of clonezilla from a flashdrive. The only thing that doesn’t work natively seems to be anything in the regard of Speedstep or C1E or what have you C-states. Both cores are stuck at 2GHz. RMclock does wonders at that point and allows for speedstep scaling down to 1GHz with all states and stuff enabled from there, but I want to be able to have the ability to run a 64-bit version of Windows on this, and RMclock will not run reliably on that platform without some driver modification etc. and I’d rather not go all through that mess.
Speaking of 64-bit, I’ve also confirmed this laptop’s motherboard will boot with 4GB installed, but it is capped at 3GB, 2.89GB with video memory set to 128MB. anything above 2.89 is also inaccessible in 64-bit Linux as well, so it isn’t a “omg ur using a 32bit os this is totally why you idiot lolololol xD” issue. The XPress 200 can take 4GB easy on AMD laptops, but I’m unsure if this is because the Turion64/X2’s I’ve seen also have their own memory controller like their Athlon64/Sempron Socket S1G1 counterparts. All information I’m seeing for the Intel-compatible Xpress 200 says a 2GB memory ceiling, but most of those boards with that chipset are older than this laptop. I’d love to see if there was an actual BIOS memory limit. I’m seeing also some stuff off ASRock’s site for an XPress 200-based motherboard that says although it will take 4GB, there’s a chipset limitation, so I’m not too hopeful. this chipset isn’t the most well-documented and has been highly despised for the last decade by many for its poor graphics capabilities.
Here’s a screenshot that shows that it sees all 4GB, but it only allows for 2.89GB to be used. Once again, it’s seemingly a BIOS limitation:
So now that I can at least confirm that this laptop will take a CPU originally never meant to ever run on this platform, and reliably at that, there are a number of objectives that really need to happen with the 83.10 BIOS to make it anything worthwhile to anyone else in the world that may have this laptop, and would want to improve what little more performance that can be squeezed out of it. These objectives are as follows:
- – SPD Settings unlocked as they are in the 83.05 BIOS
- – Speedstep and C1E functions and menu items enabled if at all possible
- – Artificial Memory Limit removed (if any?)
- – find anything else that is possible to unlock in terms of chipset or CPU configuration.
Doing all of this to an 83.05 BIOS save for the SPD unlocking (since that’s already there) would also be an option, since I don’t know if anything major changed from 83.05 to 83.10…
TL;DR or “So what we’ve learned so far from this”:
- – Motherboard shared by 26 generic worldwide models all with the same specs
- – Socket M Core 2 Duo (Merom) CPUs seem to work fully with full-blown 667MHz FSB, but no speedstep
- – Memory allows for DDR2-667 sticks to be used just fine.
- – Memory can go up to 400MHz (DDR2-800), but setting it to 400MHz with non-400MHz RAM requires the CMOS to be reset through a full tear-down and battery re-seat
- – Memory cap at 3GB regardless that the XPress 200M can supposedly support up to 4GB, and it’s possibly limited in the BIOS since the cap also happens under a 64-bit OS.
- – ALL TOASTERS TOAST TOAST
My other ulterior motive for this is to get this laptop into ship-shape condition so I can mess with an eGPU on the expresscard54 slot, but that isn’t too important. If anyone can help in making this a possibility, I’m more than grateful. I’m sorry for the wall of text, but there’s no easy way to explain out everything cleanly.
The other issue that seems to be present is that the 83.10 BIOS might not be able to be opened in the Phoenix BIOS editor etc. and I’m sure of that. the 83.05 BIOS linked below should still be alright to do the above modifications save for the SPD modification, that’s already visible and working out of the box. the strings in the BIOS shows there’s more than meets the eye, I’m just clueless as to how to go about this myself.
Gateway 83.05 BIOS from ML3706 Support Page (now defunct, download link still works, though)
Perhaps someone will come across this and help in my quest to make this lesser-known line of laptops better. I’ve also cross-posted this information on the NotebookReview Forums (and pretty much copypasta’d a good chunk of this post from there) so excuse me if I’m a bit blunt on some things.
Here is a picture of the laptop:
Once again, taken on the bed at Grandma’s. Woohoo.