Reviving and Volt Modding an Abit AW9D-Max Motherboard

Howto by geoffrey @ 2007-01-24

The overclock ability of PC hardware is known for more then a decade now. As the market seemed to ask for more user friendly ways to overclock, manufacturers came up with ideas like dipswitches, softmodding through BIOS, asynchronous bus functions, etc. Though the risk stays the same, and once you run out of luck you might find yourself paying another $200 for replacement parts. Today we take a look on how we revived our motherboard after a failed BIOS flash, followed by supercharging it for extreme performance.

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The cure & Post soldering prob

The cure

In the past I've done multiple modifications on PC hardware, though 40 pins closely to each other is something I've never had to deal with before. I started removing what's left of the socket:

Madshrimps (c)

My first attempt took longer then initially expected, I accidentally connected 2 pins when they were difficult to reach, but in the end I almost successfully attached it. Almost… as the small black “audio module” slot is quite close to the bios chip and it blocked my solder gun, so I was unable to finish the job, getting it almost 75% done.

A friend of mine gave it a try using a hot air blower and almost succeeded in connecting the last pins, again, almost. Some pins still remained unsoldered and without everything hooked up it won’t work.

As a last resort I turned to my mentor, my father, who guided me in removing all the excess of solder iron, bending the chips pins so that they’ll be easier to attach, and lo and behold, the re-attachment was complete!

Let’s just hope the next BIOS flash won’t fail… because it won’t be so “plug and play” to remove it now.

Madshrimps (c)

Post soldering problems

The audio connector was only damaged a tiny bit and should still be in working order. For testing the board I used an Intel Core 2 E6600, two 1gb sticks from Team Group rated at PC2-6400 and an old PCI (not express) S3 Trio video card, after hooking everything up and pushing the power-on button (read= shorting the PowerSwitch pins) I was greeted by… a black screen.

Luckily abit’s POST code displayer helped us out:

Madshrimps (c)

I got code “20” which wasn’t in the manual, but an internet search revealed that this code might be caused by “Dual Channel” issues. So after removing one stick I retried… no more code “20” woohoo! Hello code “2b” DOH!

This code was in the manual and referrers to a problem with the video card, so out with the old (S3) and in with the new (7950GT):

Madshrimps (c)

We have lift of, booting into windows and doing a few hours of stress testing/benchmarking proved that the system was running as it should. The BIOS chip held up perfectly; the abit board just seems to be a bit picky when it comes to memory.

Now it’s time to push it a bit further, while the AW9D-Max offers some voltage controls in the BIOS it’s not always enough when going for the top. The system was powered of and ready to enter “Voltmodding Heaven” ->
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