Asus Slate EP121/B121 disassemble and BIOS replacement

Recently, I upgraded my Asus Slate EP121 to the latest 704 BIOS version, through the inbuilt BIOS flash utility and unfortunately I bricked it (failed to power on or boot).

It was out of warranty, and even if it was in warranty, a failed BIOS upgrade is not covered. A bit of googling revealed that it was a fairly common occurrence, which then led me to Joe Kabalan from Advanced Quality Systems LLC who was able to provide a replacement BIOS for $20 plus $6 postage to Australia.

To replace the BIOS chip of the EP121 or any surface mount device (SMD) I recommend the following tools;

  • rework station or heat gun ($50 from eBay)
  • tweezers (few dollars from eBay)
  • solder paste
  • solder flux
  • thermal compound is needed specifically for the Asus Slate

Solder, flux, tweezers and thermal paste

Start by removing the back cover of the unit, start at the USB ports and slowly unclip the clips by sliding a credit card between the back cover and unit.There is a ribbon cable connecting the thermal sensor to the back cover, carefully dislodge the cable from the socket.

Remove the back cover starting at USB ports

Near the HDMI port you will notice the BIOS chip tucked away under the metal frame. Convenient.

The BIOS chip tucked away under the metal frame

Remove the battery by removing the four screws and disconnecting the cable.

Remove the battery

Remove the fans and heat pipe. Remove all screws surrounding the metal frame to detach it from the main unit.

Remove the fans and heat pipe

Turn the removed frame and motherboard over and remove all screws holding the motherboard to it.

The removed motherboard metal frame
Remove the screws holding the motherboard to metal frame

Once the frame is removed you can access the BIOS chip.

The free motherboard
Close-up of BIOS chip with frame removed

HP MicroServer N40L and Gigabit HD 6450 horizontal flickering line

I recently purchased a HP MicroServer N40L and half-height Gigabit Radeon HD 6450, after installing Windows 8 I noticed that a third from the screen was a flickering white horizontal line, noticeable when playing movies in full screen or moving the mouse around the right start bar.

The problem doesn’t lie with the MicroServer of Windows 8 (or even your monitor), it is the Gigabit Radeon HD 6450 at fault here. Luckily, there is a relatively easy fix, a BIOS update.

  1. Download Easy Boost (about half way down the page)
  2. Download the Easy Boost manual
  3. Install Easy Boost
  4. Follow the “VBIOS backup” procedure, you will also find your BIOS type either F1# or F2#, mine was F21
  5. Download the correct BIOS (F11 if you have F1# or F22 if you have F2#), you can also see the BIOS offers “Fixed screen flicker problem”
  6. Follow the “Flash VBIOS” procedure.
  7. Reboot

Thanks to this RedFlagDeals post for the procedure.