Flashing TS-H943 ms28 firmware on ATI SB600

I have successfully flashed an XBOX 360 Samsung drive (TS-H943, MS28) on a GA-MA69G-S3H using the on-board ATI SB600 SATA2 controller.

I did this using JungleFlasher and iXtreme 1.6 with the half-open drive door trick.

At the beginning I have tried most of the DOS flash disk methods with iPrep and XtremeBootMaker but with no success. In all cases the drive was found and recognized, but i got stuck at the 0x51 status and couldn’t get it to start reading. (the power off/on trick, nor the doors open trick) I went for the DOS boot methods because i had linux on my computer, and had no access to XP, but just when I was about to give up and buy a VIA SATA card i thought I’d give it a try with XP and see what happens.

I can safely say that I am glad I did so.. Here is how the flashing went:

1. I set the BIOS Sata settings to NativeIDE.
2. I have powered the Samsung drive with the XBOX and plugged the Sata cable into SATA0 on the motherboard (and placed the Xbox on top of the PC so the grounds are common)
3. I went into xp and installed the driver and restarted. (Made sure the xbox drive is recognized in BIOS)
4. I’ve popped out my DVD door and held it down with my hand so it wouldn’t close. (after a while the drive gave up on trying to close it)
5. I’ve uploaded firmware iXtreme 1.6 to the firmware folder of jungle flasher
6. I’ve started up JungleFlasher and went for SammyUnlock
7. It recognized the drive, and after 2 attempts of closing / opening the bay door i got a status read
8. Then i dumped the old firmware and saved it to 2 different locations (made sure I’d have it secured for future, I might want to reset to the original fw)
9. I followed the onscreen instructions and got to the part where i should have saved the firmware. At this point I noticed that the two keys did not match, one was full of zeros, so i aborted and did the whole reading all over again. (THE 2 KEYS MUST MATCH)
10. I saved the hacked firmware, and went back to the DVD screen and wrote(flashed) it to the drive.

At the end i got the “Writing ok” message and everything was nice and cool from there. I’m just writing this down so people would know that you can flash an ms28 drive using SB600. In the documentations I only found references that said that supposedly only VIA cards work.

dell-vostro-1700

Dell Vostro 1700 with GeForce 8600M GT Review

I have been using a Dell Vostro 1700 for 1 year now, so I thought I’d share some info about it.

Processor: Core2Duo T9300 @ 2.5Ghz on 32W, 6Mb L2 cache, 800Mhz FSB

Memory: 4Gb

Graphics Card: nVidia GeForce 8600M GT 256Mb DDR2 @20W

Graphics card Memory Clock: 800/475Mhz, Shader Clock: 950Mhz (32)

Monitor: 17.2” Samsung/Seiko Epson SEC 3258

I bought this machine for gaming and work. It has great feature sets to do these tasks, but not too brilliant when it comes to mobility. It features a heavy chassis and heavy battery.

Mobility:

This machine weighs a ton. It is very heavy because of the big screen, heavy magnesium alloy chassis and batteries. It is hard to carry around and requires a BIG case. Since it has a huge monitor and a very power hungry graphics card it eats up the battery very fast. My machine gets an autonomy of about 2 hours with a 6Cell battery using the Dell power profile, and in power saver mode with low back-lighting I can get out a maximum of 3 hours tops.

However it is a rugged machine and most screws are held in metal instead of plastic, so you get the idea.

Work usage:

I am a programmer and I run a lot of heavy processing environments like J2EE with such IDE-s running as Eclipse and Netbeans. I sometimes peak both memory and processor usage, but this configuration doesn’t really slow down nor hang or swap. It runs everything smoothly and quickly becomes responsive when coming back from stand by.

In power saver mode there is some lag coming both from processor and powered down hard disks, but it’s bearable. I rarely turn it off, I just go on stand-by all the time.(standBy drowns the battery! so make sure the charger is plugged in)

I run Vista. I also used Ubuntu and LinuxMint for a while, ran fine, but power management was not really supported.

Gaming:

Here comes the main reason I write this article. This rig is great for gaming. It runs most games just fine including newer ones. Sometimes you need to tweak the options since it wont really run everything in high detail, but if you find a balance between resolution and video features you should have no problems.

It features a descent Class 2 graphics card. http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-8600M-GT.3986.0.html

Heat: the heat dispersion is great on this unit. My temperature sensor usually shows 40-45 C in normal usage. Peaks slightly around 55-58 C when running games, but it rarely reaches 60 C.

There is plenty room for overclocking but I didnt feel I need to commit to that. Especially in Crysis you will notice that a small overclock of just a few Mhz on the shader and memory clocks will result in very visible increase in framerate.

This laptop is a definite go if you’re a gamer and want to play serious games on it. However if you have the money try to go for a Class 1 graphics card like the Quadro3700M.

This laptop does NOT feature MXM, so you are stuck with the stock graphics card.

I use most DELL drivers on the system, but for video I recomend the updated driver found here: http://laptopvideo2go.com/

These drivers are hacked from the official driver releases from nVidia and updated much more often then the DELL drivers. Getting an updated driver results in HUGE visible performance increase.

For example: Crysis would barely run with the stock DELL drivers, and after the update from laptopvideo2go it ran perfectly. Same with BioShock!