Sunday, November 15, 2015



Best PC Racing Sim For Physics

Winner:  Assetto Corsa

Arguably the best and most realistic physics from any sim racing game. The cars handle the way you would expect and they just feel right.


Best PC Racing Sim For Sounds

Winners: Raceroom , DiRT Rally


Best PC Racing Sim For Tracks

Winners: Project CARS for numbers, Assetto Corsa or iRacing for quality

Best PC Racing Sim For Cars (Great Models)

Winners: Assetto Corsa , Project CARS


Best PC Racing Sim For Graphics

Winner: Project CARS

Best PC Racing Sim For FBB (Force Feedback)

Winner: rFactor 2

Assetto Corsa is also great, but rFactor 2 is better at this.

Best PC Racing Sim For AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Winner: Stock Car Extreme or RaceRoom (SCE is a little better)

Best PC Racing Sim For Controller Support

Winners: Project CARS , Assetto Corsa

Best PC racing simulators under different categories (Physics, Sounds, Tracks, Cars, Graphics , FBB, AI, Controller Support)

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Above picture shows a CH341A Serial Flash Programmer

Read my previous post HERE to know other available methods to re-flash a corrupted BIOS.

I tweak my motherboard's BIOS too often and always end up with a corrupted BIOS. So I need a quick and easy solution to fix this annoying problem. I realised that it's possible to use a serial flash programmer (SPI programmer) to write your corrupted bios chip (serial flash) but most of well known branded BIOS chip writers (SPIs) were expensive ( between $50 to $500).

 However you can find above  dirt cheap CH341A serial flash programmer under $3 from eBay. It's from china , cheap but gets the work done!

First I had to make sure if my chip model is supported. It was an MX 25L8005PC. Just ignore the last  2 revision letters, as long as other letters match it will work.

So I found that CH341A SPI supports many serial flash chip models , I've added the list at the end of this post. Apparently it support almost every BIOS chip you can find in a PC motherboard.

So I ordered an USB CH341A Series Serial Flash Programmer which cost me less than $3 with shipping. Seller gave me a software which required to operate the SPI programmer.

Then I followed these steps,

1. used a working PC

2. plugged the CH341A  device to a USB port.

3. Attached the corrupted BIOS chip to the CH341A's socket ( I had to make sure the pins are attached correctly. If pins are not connected to the corresponding hole it won't work).

4. Downloaded the latest BIOS update from my motherboard vendor's website.  It came with few files  and contained the BIOS.BIN file which is the actual BIOS update.

5. Used the CH341A software ,  erased the corrupted chip,  imported the BIOS.BIN file into the software and wrote the chip with it.

6. Then plugged the BIOS chip back into my motherboard and it worked flawlessly!

Now I can use this programmer whenever I corrupt my BIOS. Which is very convenient.

However originally the CH341A software was in Chinese. It's language can be changed to English by modifying a settings file.  I found someone has posted a video on how to do that as well as how to use this tool. You might find it's useful.






Here's the CH341A supported chip list according to the seller.

25\26Series devices support list: 

AMIC
          A25L512 A25L05P A25L10P A25L010 A25L020
          A25L20P A25L40P A25L040 A25L080 A25L80P
          A25L016 A25L16P A25L032 
ATMEL
          AT25F512 AT25F512B AT25F512A AT25FS010 AT25F1024
          AT25F1024A AT25F2048 AT25DF021 AT25F4096 AT25FS040
          AT25DF041A AT26F004 AT26DF081A AT25DF161 AT26DF161
          AT26DF161A AT25DF321A AT26DF321 AT25DF321 AT25DF641 COMMON
          25X005 25X05 25X10 25X20 25X40
          25X80 25X16 25X32 25X64 25X128
          25X256 25X512 25X1024 25X2048 
EON
          EN25F05 EN25P05 EN25LF05 EN25F10 EN25LF10
          EN25D10 EN25P10 EN25F20 EN25D20 EN25LF20
          EN25F40 EN25D40 EN25LF40 EN25Q80 EN25D80
          EN25F80 EN25P80 EN25T80 EN25B16T EN25T16
          EN25B16 EN25D16 EN25F16 EN25Q16 EN25P32
          EN25Q32 EN25F32 EN25B32 EN25B32T EN25Q64
          EN25B64 EN25F64 EN25B64T EN25F128 EN25Q128 ES
          ES25P10 ES25P20 ES25M40A ES25M40 ES25P40
          ES25M80 ES25M80A ES25P80 ES25M16 ES25M16A
          ES25P16 ES25P32 ESMT
          F25L04UA F25L004A F25L08PA F25L008A F25L016A
          F25L16PA F25L32QA F25L32PA GIGADEVICE
          GD25Q512 GD25Q10 GD25Q20 GD25F40 GD25D40
          GD25Q80 GD25D80 GD25T80 GD25F80 GD25Q16
          GD25Q32 GD25Q64 GD25Q128 KH
          KH25L8036D 

         MXIC(Macronix):

          MX25V512 MX25L512 MX25L1005 MX25L2005 MX25L8035
          MX25L4005A MX25V4035 MX25V4005 MX25V8005 MX25L8005
          MX25L1635D MX25L1605D MX25L1608D MX25L3235D MX25L3208D
          MX25L3237D MX25L3225D MX25L3205D MX25L3206E MX25L6405D
          MX25L6455E MX25L6408D MX25L6406E MX25L6445E MX25L12805D
          MX25L12845E 

          NEXFLASH
          NX25P10 NX25P20 NX25P40 NX25P80 NX25P16
          NX25P32 

          NSHINE
          MS25X05 MS25X10 NS25X20 NS25X40 MS25X80
          MS25X16 MS25X32 MS25X64 MS25X128 PMC
          PM25LV512A PM25LV010A PM25LV020 PM25LV040 PM25LV080B
          PM25LV016B 
         
          SAIFUN
          SA25F005 SA25F010 SA25F020 SA25F040 SA25F080
          SA25F160 SA25F320 SPANSION
          S25FL004A S25FL040A S25FL008A S25FL160 S25FL016A
          S25FL032A S25FL064A S25FL128P S25FL129P S25FL128A SST
          SST25VF512A SST25VF512 SST25VF010 SST25VF010A SST25VF020A
          SST25VF020 SST25VF040B SST25VF040A SST25VF040 SST25VF080B
          SST25VF016B SST25VF032B SST25VF064C ST
          M25P05A M25PE10 M25P10A M25P20 M25PE20
          M25PE40 M25P40 M25PE80 M25P80 M25PX80
          M25PX16 M25P16 M25PE16 M25P32 M25PE32
          M25PX32 M25PX64 M25P64 M25PE64 M25P128 

WINBOND
          W25X10 W25X10L W25P10 W25X10AL W25X10A
          W25P20 W25X20AL W25X20A W25X20 W25X20L
          W25X40A W25P40 W25Q40BV W25X40L W25X40
          W25X40AL W25Q80BV W25Q80V W25X80 W25P80
          W25X80A W25X80L W25X80AL W25P16 W25Q16BV
          W25Q16V W25X16 W25Q32BV W25Q32V W25X32
          W25P32 W25Q64BV W25X64 W25Q128BV
       
    24Series devices support list :

          ATMEL
          AT24C01B AT24C01 AT24C01A AT24C02 AT24C02A
          AT24C02B AT24C04B AT24C04 AT24C04A AT24C08A
          AT24C08B AT24C08 AT24C16 AT24C16A AT24C16B
          AT24C32B AT24C32A AT24C32 AT24C64 AT24C64A
          AT24C64B AT24C128 AT24C128A AT24C128B AT24C256B
          AT24C256 AT24C256A AT24C512B AT24C512A AT24C512
          AT24C1024 AT24C1024A AT24C1024B 

         CATALYST
          CAT24C01 CAT24WC01 CAT24WC02 CAT24C02 CAT24C04
          CAT24WC04 CAT24WC08 CAT24C08 CAT24WC16 CAT24C16
          CAT24WC32 CAT24C32 CAT24WC64 CAT24C64 CAT24WC128
          CAT24C128 CAT24WC256 CAT24C256 CAT24C512 CAT24WC512
          CAT24C1024 CAT24WC1024 COMMON
          24C01 3V 24C01 5V 24C02 3V 24C02 5V 24C04 5V
          24C04 3V 24C08 3V 24C08 5V 24C16 5V 24C16 3V
          24C32 5V 24C32 3V 24C64 5V 24C64 3V 24C128 5V
          24C128 3V 24C256 5V 24C256 3V 24C512 5V 24C512 3V
          24C1024 3V 24C1024 5V 24C2048 5V 24C2048 3V 24C4096 5V
          24C4096 3V 

         FAIRCHILD
          FM24C01L FM24C02L FM24C03L FM24C04L FM24C05L
          FM24C08L FM24C09L FM24C17L FM24C16L FM24C32L
          FM24C64L FM24C128L FM24C256L FM24C512L FM HOLTEK
          HT24C01 HT24LC01 HT24C02 HT24LC02 HT24C04
          HT24LC04 HT24C08 HT24LC08 HT24C16 HT24LC16
          HT24LC32 HT24C32 HT24LC64 HT24C64 HT24C128
          HT24LC128 HT24C256 HT24LC256 HT24LC512 HT24C512
          HT24C1024 HT24LC1024 ISSI
          IS24C01 IS24C02 IS24C04 IS24C08 IS24C16
          IS24C32 IS24C64 IS24C128 IS24C256 IS24C512
          IS24C1024

 =====25\26 =====
          CH341A ESMT SST?25
          AMIC
          A25L512 A25L05P A25L10P A25L010 A25L020
          A25L20P A25L40P A25L040 A25L080 A25L80P
          A25L016 A25L16P A25L032 
ATMEL
          AT25F512 AT25F512B AT25F512A AT25FS010 AT25F1024
          AT25F1024A AT25F2048 AT25DF021 AT25F4096 AT25FS040
          AT25DF041A AT26F004 AT26DF081A AT25DF161 AT26DF161
          AT26DF161A AT25DF321A AT26DF321 AT25DF321 AT25DF641 COMMON
          25X005 25X05 25X10 25X20 25X40
          25X80 25X16 25X32 25X64 25X128
          25X256 25X512 25X1024 25X2048 
EON
          EN25F05 EN25P05 EN25LF05 EN25F10 EN25LF10
          EN25D10 EN25P10 EN25F20 EN25D20 EN25LF20
          EN25F40 EN25D40 EN25LF40 EN25Q80 EN25D80
          EN25F80 EN25P80 EN25T80 EN25B16T EN25T16
          EN25B16 EN25D16 EN25F16 EN25Q16 EN25P32
          EN25Q32 EN25F32 EN25B32 EN25B32T EN25Q64
          EN25B64 EN25F64 EN25B64T EN25F128 EN25Q128 ES
          ES25P10 ES25P20 ES25M40A ES25M40 ES25P40
          ES25M80 ES25M80A ES25P80 ES25M16 ES25M16A
          ES25P16 ES25P32 ESMT
          F25L04UA F25L004A F25L08PA F25L008A F25L016A
          F25L16PA F25L32QA F25L32PA GIGADEVICE
          GD25Q512 GD25Q10 GD25Q20 GD25F40 GD25D40
          GD25Q80 GD25D80 GD25T80 GD25F80 GD25Q16
          GD25Q32 GD25Q64 GD25Q128 KH
          KH25L8036D   

          MXIC(Macronix)
          MX25V512 MX25L512 MX25L1005 MX25L2005 MX25L8035
          MX25L4005A MX25V4035 MX25V4005 MX25V8005 MX25L8005
          MX25L1635D MX25L1605D MX25L1608D MX25L3235D MX25L3208D
          MX25L3237D MX25L3225D MX25L3205D MX25L3206E MX25L6405D
          MX25L6455E MX25L6408D MX25L6406E MX25L6445E MX25L12805D
          MX25L12845E 

NEXFLASH
          NX25P10 NX25P20 NX25P40 NX25P80 NX25P16
          NX25P32 NSHINE
          MS25X05 MS25X10 NS25X20 NS25X40 MS25X80
          MS25X16 MS25X32 MS25X64 MS25X128 PMC
          PM25LV512A PM25LV010A PM25LV020 PM25LV040 PM25LV080B
          PM25LV016B
  SAIFUN
          SA25F005 SA25F010 SA25F020 SA25F040 SA25F080
          SA25F160 SA25F320 SPANSION
          S25FL004A S25FL040A S25FL008A S25FL160 S25FL016A
          S25FL032A S25FL064A S25FL128P S25FL129P S25FL128A SST
          SST25VF512A SST25VF512 SST25VF010 SST25VF010A SST25VF020A
          SST25VF020 SST25VF040B SST25VF040A SST25VF040 SST25VF080B
          SST25VF016B SST25VF032B SST25VF064C ST
          M25P05A M25PE10 M25P10A M25P20 M25PE20
          M25PE40 M25P40 M25PE80 M25P80 M25PX80
          M25PX16 M25P16 M25PE16 M25P32 M25PE32
          M25PX32 M25PX64 M25P64 M25PE64 M25P128 

WINBOND
          W25X10 W25X10L W25P10 W25X10AL W25X10A
          W25P20 W25X20AL W25X20A W25X20 W25X20L
          W25X40A W25P40 W25Q40BV W25X40L W25X40
          W25X40AL W25Q80BV W25Q80V W25X80 W25P80
          W25X80A W25X80L W25X80AL W25P16 W25Q16BV
          W25Q16V W25X16 W25Q32BV W25Q32V W25X32
          W25P32 W25Q64BV W25X64 W25Q128BV

          ====24 serial===
          ATMEL
          AT24C01B AT24C01 AT24C01A AT24C02 AT24C02A
          AT24C02B AT24C04B AT24C04 AT24C04A AT24C08A
          AT24C08B AT24C08 AT24C16 AT24C16A AT24C16B
          AT24C32B AT24C32A AT24C32 AT24C64 AT24C64A
          AT24C64B AT24C128 AT24C128A AT24C128B AT24C256B
          AT24C256 AT24C256A AT24C512B AT24C512A AT24C512
          AT24C1024 AT24C1024A AT24C1024B CATALYST
          CAT24C01 CAT24WC01 CAT24WC02 CAT24C02 CAT24C04
          CAT24WC04 CAT24WC08 CAT24C08 CAT24WC16 CAT24C16
          CAT24WC32 CAT24C32 CAT24WC64 CAT24C64 CAT24WC128
          CAT24C128 CAT24WC256 CAT24C256 CAT24C512 CAT24WC512
          CAT24C1024 CAT24WC1024 COMMON
          24C01 3V 24C01 5V 24C02 3V 24C02 5V 24C04 5V
          24C04 3V 24C08 3V 24C08 5V 24C16 5V 24C16 3V
          24C32 5V 24C32 3V 24C64 5V 24C64 3V 24C128 5V
          24C128 3V 24C256 5V 24C256 3V 24C512 5V 24C512 3V
          24C1024 3V 24C1024 5V 24C2048 5V 24C2048 3V 24C4096 5V
          24C4096 3V 
FAIRCHILD
          FM24C01L FM24C02L FM24C03L FM24C04L FM24C05L
          FM24C08L FM24C09L FM24C17L FM24C16L FM24C32L
          FM24C64L FM24C128L FM24C256L FM24C512L FM HOLTEK
          HT24C01 HT24LC01 HT24C02 HT24LC02 HT24C04
          HT24LC04 HT24C08 HT24LC08 HT24C16 HT24LC16
          HT24LC32 HT24C32 HT24LC64 HT24C64 HT24C128
          HT24LC128 HT24C256 HT24LC256 HT24LC512 HT24C512
          HT24C1024 HT24LC1024 ISSI
          IS24C01 IS24C02 IS24C04 IS24C08 IS24C16
          IS24C32 IS24C64 IS24C128 IS24C256 IS24C512
          IS24C1024 
MICROCHIP
          MIC24LC014 MIC24AA01 MIC24AA014 MIC24LC01B MIC24LC02B
          MIC24AA02 MIC24C02C MIC24AA025 MIC24AA04 MIC24LC04B
          MIC24LC024 MIC24AA024 MIC24LC025 MIC24LC08B MIC24AA08
          MIC24LC16B MIC24AA16 MIC24LC32 MIC24AA32 MIC24LC64
          MIC24FC64 MIC24AA64 MIC24FC128 MIC24AA128 MIC24LC128
          MIC24AA256 MIC24LC256 MIC24FC256 MIC24AA512 MIC24LC512
          MIC24FC512 MIC24AA1024 
NSC
          NSC24C02L NSC24C02 NSC24C64 

RAMTRON
          FM24CL04 FM24C04A FM24CL16 FM24C16A FM24CL64
          FM24C64 FM24C256 FM24CL256 FM24C512 ROHM
          BR24L01 BR24C01 BR24L02 BR24C02 BR24L04
          BR24C04 BR24L08 BR24C08 BR24L16 BR24C16
          BR24L32 BR24C32 BR24C64 BR24L64 ST
          ST24C01 ST24C02 ST24C04 ST24C08 ST24C16
          ST24C32 ST24C64 

XICOR
          X24C01 X24C02 X24C04 X24C08 X24C16




How I fixed my dead motherboard BIOS with a Serial Flash Programmer

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Few months ago, one day, my PC suddenly stopped working. Whenever I turn it on , it would spin it's  CPU fan a second or two then stop. This kept happening over and over again. (after a while it only spinned once ). It turns on LEDs but it wouldn't POST (Power On Self Test).

Then I tried everything possible to fix it. Disassembled each and every part reassembled, and tried to identify the root cause by booting the PC after removing each component.

However I noticed that even when I removed all the components including graphics card and RAM sticks, motherboard did not gave any beep codes. It didn't identify anything.  That's when I figured out the problem must be with the motherboard itself  not with the RAM, graphics card etc. And Intel CPUs hardly die, I've never heard of such an instance. 

When most people find out that their motherboard is gone, what they do is purchase a new one (if warranty period is over).  But most of dead motherboard issues are caused due to corrupted BIOS chip. All you have to do is re-flash your BIOS chip. To do this make sure your motherboard has a socketed BIOS chip which can be removed and plug back easily.

Most BIOS chips looks like this
Location of this chip can differ from one motherboard to another. 
These are programmable serial flash memories.

My motherboard had a MX 25L8005PC serial flash installed. Which is a very common in most motherboards.

All you have to do is take out this chip and re-flash it with a fresh BIOS update, plug the chip back in it's socket , and you're done! Your dead motherboard will be back to life once again.
Then I researched on how to re flash a corrupted BIOS. And I came up with 3 possible solutions.
An MX25L8005PC serial flash


1.Buying an already flashed BIOS chip from eBay:

This is the first method I tried and it worked flawlessly. It cost me $11 including overseas shipping. This cost is lot less than buying a new motherboard , specially if your motherboard is a high end gaming one.Seller shipped this so fast and it arrived within a week. There are few eBay sellers who sells almost every available BIOS chips programmed with the requested BIOS update.

 However until this item arrives I tried other options as well , as I wanted to fix my motherboard as soon as possible. So I came up with two other options listed below.

2. Hot Swap your BIOS chip and re-flash:

Hot Swapping is a technique used to flash bios using another similar motherboard. You need to have access to a exact same motherboard model (different models with same chip might work). I tried this method as well and I can confirm it works flawlessly!  I wrote a separate post about how I did it. See below,

How I fixed my corrupted BIOS chip by Hot Swapping

3. Re-flash your BIOS chip with a chip writer ( Serial flash programmer)

This is a risk-free method and all you need is a Serial Flash Programmer.  I tried both above methods and they work great, but I am a person who play with BIOS settings too often and end up corrupting sooner or later. So I needed a quick solution that let me fix corrupted BIOS instantly without spending anymore money or without bothering someone else to risk their motherboard for another hot-swap. So finally this 3rd method was the perfect method I've ever tried. I wrote a separate post about how I did it. See below,



Hope you will find these post useful and maybe you'll get your dead motherboards working again! :)


How I brought a dead motherboard back to life !

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Read my previous post HERE to know other available methods to re-flash a corrupted BIOS.


When my motherboard's bios chip got corrupted I used this technique to fix it. And it worked flawlessly. To make it work 100% successfully you need to make sure you have access to another PC with the exact same motherboard model. Luckily I have a friend who had the exact same motherboard.  And make sure it has a socketed BIOS chip (not soldered in to the board).

What you have to do is boot the working PC into DOS , and swap the corrupted BIOS chip with the working chip while PC is still up and running and perform the BIOS update.


BIOS chip looks like this


WARNING:  Hot-Swappingis not for everyone. This is a risky method and you will end up corrupting other working BIOS as well. If you are planning to do this, try this at your own risk.

My motherboard was a Foxconn. I dowloaded latest BIOS update from their website. This BIOS update file comes with an executable MS-DOS program which can be used to easily update the BIOS.

I used my usb flash drive and made it a bootable DOS drive. This can be easily done with Rufus tool.
Then copied the BIOS updated to the usb drive.

Then I booted my friend PC into DOS using this usb stick. While PC is still ON and running DOS , I removed the working BIOS chip.  Before I did this, I had to loosen the chip from it's socket first. Loosened as much as possible until it merely touched the socket. Otherwise it would've been harder to remove the chip while PCs running and I might have ended up short circuit something.

Then I plugged my corrupted chip to the socket of the running PC and performed the BIOS update by executing the dos program. It was an award BIOS and it's BIOS-update file set came with an autoexec.bat file which contained all the required commands. All I had to do was run this autoexec.bat file. If you like to manually input commands HERE's a good guide on how to do that with Award BIOS and AMI BIOS.

Then updated was successful, and I turned off the PC. Removed my BIOS chip from the socket and plugged back my friends chip in to the socket. Then later I plugged my flashed BIOS into my previously dead motherboard and boom! It worked flawlessly!! PC turned on like nothing ever happened!

 This may work with different motherboards if the chip is exactly same. For e.g. my chip number was MX 25L8005PC.  Once I tried to flash this with a different motherboard that had a different chip as well (MX 25L4****) and it didn't work. However it might work if the chip number is same.

Make sure to use YOUR motherboard's BIOS-update files, when updating YOUR chip even with a different motherboard model.

Why does this work?

When PC is booted and running POST module is no longer used it's possible to even remove your BIOS chip and still run the PC until another restart. This makes us to use this opportunity to re flash a corrupted BIOS using a PC with a working BIOS.




How I fixed my corrupted BIOS chip by Hot Swapping

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Thursday, May 28, 2015









Many people who have received above message can no longer access iPhone's message app. And many article on internet mentions that you can fix this by sending back a reply to the original sender (or original sender must send some other normal message).

There are number of methods to try sending a message mentioned by online articles. Unfortunately none of them worked for me. Including SIRI method, Image sharing method etc.

 However I found this app called Unshortener , which has an option to send an SMS. And this app previews the message history of your Message App when a sender's name typed in the "To:" field! (see pic 2)

















All you have to do is , go through all the people's messages who sent you that 'crash message' and send them back a normal message ( something like "test"). Then it will magically fix everything and you will be able to open Messages app again.








How to fix iPhone Message App crashing issue , if none of other method you tried NOT working!

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Sunday, January 4, 2015






For those who do not wish to read the full article and try the settings right away here are the settings.

G27 Profiler Global Settings




G27 Specific Game Settings



Grid Autosport In-game Vibration Settings




There you go!

Need a little explanation? Read on,

For simplicity sake I've set exact same values for both Global and Game specific settings. This will make sure we are getting exact same settings from the Logitech profiler.

Most important thing in these settings is setting the "Centering Spring Strength" to "0". And also make sure "Enable Centering Spring" is checked.

You might be wondering that there's no point of enabling this option unless you set the spring strength to something other than "0". I had the same question until I actually test it myself.  I'll explain this later in this article.

Most Realistic Logitech G27 settings for Grid Autosport

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