The Video BIOS
The video BIOS is actually an amalgation of instructions that provide VGA backward compatibility, indentifiers for the graphics card as well as codes for the control of its various clocks and settings. Many BIOS also include micro-code with bug fixes for the GPU.
The video BIOS used to be the only interface between the operating system and the graphics processor in the past. However, that function has now been replaced by the graphics card driver. Currently, the built-in VGA functions are only used when running DOS or in the fail-safe mode of Windows 95 and above. The video BIOS is now mostly relegated to the role of providing identification to the graphics card driver as well as control of the graphics card clocks and GPU settings.
What Do You Mean By Flashing The BIOS?
The phrase "flashing the BIOS" was derived from the term Flash BIOS. It means "updating the BIOS", as in erasing the Flash BIOS chip and writing in the new BIOS code.
The Flash BIOS is the new type of BIOS chip that makes use of flash memory. It allows you to erase and reprogram the BIOS much quicker than EEPROM chips. This is because it erases the entire chip at once or large blocks of bits at a time, instead of one bit at a time.
Why Flash The Video BIOS?
Although the video BIOS is no longer used to control the GPU's accelerator functions, it still has important functions. It not only serves to identify the card to the driver, it also controls the clock speeds of the card's GPU and memory chips. In addition, manufacturers often add micro-code patches to the BIOS to correct bugs in the GPU design.
Therefore, it is important to keep your video BIOS updated whenever possible. This ensures the micro-code is kept recent.
More interestingly, hardware enthusiasts have discovered that they can actually mod some low-end cards into more powerful cards, just by flashing the BIOS!
This is because some manufacturers artificially create different performance models of what is essentially the same hardware. They do this by artificially underclocking the GPU and/or memory. Some do this by creating drivers that activate certain features only when they detect a certain identifying string in the BIOS.
But these methods can sometimes be circumvented by the simple method of flashing the video BIOS! But that, of course, is another story for another day.
How Do I Flash The BIOS?
Well, that is what this guide is all about! Go on to the next page. We will guide you through the entire process!