My brand new Nvidia 970 GTX hangs at BIOS screen. I upgraded from a Windforce GTX 660 to a Windforce GTX 970. The 660 has been a damned good card and had lasted me for 3 years of pretty intensive gaming, so I chose the same line again and went for the beast. EXCITED! Until I swapped the cards and my system hung on a letterboxed splash screen.

  • CTRL+ALT+DEL worked to reboot but no other keys worked (F12 boot, DEL setup)
  • Checked power supply and PCI-e cables (the new card uses 8+6 pin power)
  • Checked cable seating

So I put my old card back in and it was still working fine. However the minute I swapped to the new card, my system kept hanging at the splash screen and wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t even access BIOS. I thought maybe the card had arrived DOA but decided to update the firmware on the board just in case. I put my old card back in, booted to Windows, and used the Gigabyte @BIOS utility to update my BIOS. 2mins later it had updated and my system was accepting the new 970.

I read that this has happened with MSI boards and GeForce 970/980s. Older boards have a problem with the new cards – my motherboard has been sadly discontinued which might explain it.

The first (and oddly most annoying) part of finding a good BIOS update was knowing my motherboard model – I bought it in 2013 and the model number is not written anywhere on it. Usually it’s fairly trivial to check the model, either with dxdiag or system info.

Windows key + R opens a run command. In here, type dxdiag and you can see an overview of your system.

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No dice on the motherboard model. Windows Key + X opens a Power User task menu, so from here click Run and then type msinfo32

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Still no dice. So I spent an hour going through old receipts to discover that it was a Gigabyte X79-UD3. From here it was simply a case of visiting the Gigabyte site, finding their @BIOS utility for the X79 chipset and installing.

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Once installed, take a backup of your BIOS and save it to a USB device. It’s only 8MB. It’s worth noting at this point that I have a jaunty SNES icon for my BIOS backup because all .bin files automatically associated with my SNES emulator when I installed it. In any case, once it’s backed up you can choose an online update, select your motherboard model and mirror, and start the download.

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Once the wizard has finished, shut down the computer, install the new card, restart and boom. All working.