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Supermicro: 5 BIOS beeps might just mean internal VGA is disabled

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/05/03

A while ago, I got a second hand Supermicro workstation and wondered why the IPMI KVM would not show anything.

The video card in it worked fine, so I used it as a desktop machine setup for a while, happily running VMS.

I finally decided to move into a closet, so I removed the video card, and rebooted.

Then it beeped 5 times, which was odd: I expected it to switch from the video card to the internal video. It didn’t.

Older BIOS codes: [WayBack] AMI BIOS Beep Codes – Thomas-Krenn-Wiki

From PDF [WayBack] BIOS POST Codes for C7/X9/X10/X11/B9/B10/B1/A1 Motherboards

PEI Beep Codes

# of Beeps Description
1 Memory not Installed
1 Memory was installed twice (InstallPeiMemory routine in PEI Core called twice)
2 Recovery started
3 DXEIPL was not found
3 DXE Core Firmware Volume was not found
4 Recovery failed
4 S3 Resume failed
7 Reset PPI is not available

DXE Beep Codes

# of Beeps Description
1 Invalid password
4 Some of the Architectural Protocols are not available
5 No Console Output Devices are found
5 No Console Input Devices are found
6 Flash update is failed
7 Reset protocol is not available
8 Platform PCI resource requirements cannot be met

So I did a bit of reading in the manual, then found about a jumper which had happily been living out of view, under the video card:

VGA Enable (JPG1)

JPG1 allows you to enable or disable the onboard VGA connector. The default position is on pins 1 and 2 to enable VGA.

Setting the jumper to pins 1&2 made internal VGA available again, it happily booted and showed in the IPMI KVM.

Later I understood why the jumper was set to VGA disabled: when having two video cards, by default Windows will extend your desktop to an invisible monitor.

The easiest workaround for that is just to disable VGA. However, you can also change Windows

Older versus newer boards

It appears that most older SuperMicro systems have a hardware switch, but for newer chipsets supporting Intel Quick Sync Video a there is a BIOS setting: [WayBack] Enable internal graphics in SUPERMICRO servers | Any IT here? Help Me!

Windows 10 fixing video cards and ACPI_BIOS_ERROR

The reboot did not work fine: Windows 10 would not initialise properly, but hung when detecting video cards.

There is a little trick for that: reset 3 times during boot, then Windows will attempt an automatic repair.

Often Windows detects VGA and works fine, but not this time. I would hang when detecting video cards, and – instead of repairing after 3 tries – come up with a ACPI_BIOS_ERROR during repair (yup, Dutch windows as one family member needs that) which is the modern name for stop code 0xA5 (of 0x000000A5):

The solution was a multi-step process of which I am not sure all are needed:

  1. Ensure the video card is inserted and onboard VGA enabled, then boot
  2. Wait until the Windows desktop
  3. Shutdown
  4. Boot until BIOS
  5. Restore BIOS default settings
  6. Save and reboot
  7. Wait until the Windows desktop
  8. Shutdown
  9. Replace the onboard CR2032 battery
  10. Check BIOS settings
  11. Reboot
  12. Wait until the Windows desktop
  13. Shutdown
  14. Remove the video card
  15. Reboot
  16. Wait until the Windows desktop in only onboard VGA mode

The final step succeeded.

Most post around ACPI_BIOS_ERROR try to scam you into running diagnostics software that only make your PC worse (see Registry cleaner – Wikipedia), most others suggest checking the RAM memory (which was already done using [WayBack] Memtest86+ – Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool as there is no ISO for Memtest86 any more) resetting the BIOS settings or replacing the battery. I did both.

Some links I think are relevant:

–jeroen

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