The BIOS chip, which stands for Basic Input/Output System, is a small, rectangular, black chip soldered onto a motherboard. This crucial hardware piece acts as the middleman between the operating system and hardware components, such as the CPU, RAM, hard drive, etc.
When a computer is turned on, the BIOS chip performs a quick diagnostic test called POST to ensure all your hardware functions properly before loading the operating system (e.g., Windows, macOS) into memory. If it discovers any errors, it will try to alert the user before proceeding.
BIOS chips also store basic settings for your hardware, such as the boot order, clock speed, and fan control. All of these settings are loaded alongside the operating system during the startup. That said, let us tell you different ways to identify a BIOS chip on the motherboard!
How To Identify BIOS Chip On Motherboard?
Although there may be one (or two) BIOS chips on a motherboard, there are multiple ways to identify it. You can try any of these for this purpose.
Method 1: Check The Motherboard Documentation
The first and one of the easiest ways to find the BIOS chip on your motherboard is to refer to the documentation. Check the documents that came with the motherboard, like manuals or guides. Look for the diagrams that show all the components, including the BIOS chip.
You may also find a list of all the different hardware components (and their specifications) on your motherboard. If you have such a manual, don’t skip the list; see the BIOS chips from the list. If your mobo came with a CD or manual for drivers, take a look at that too.
NOTE: If you don’t find the manual/documentation of your motherboard, try to look for it online. Search for your motherboard with its exact name and download its manual from a trusted source.
Method 2: Use System Information
You can also use your computer’s System Information to know what BIOS chip is there on the motherboard. However, this built-in tool is only available on Windows.
- Click on the Start button (Windows logo in the left-bottom corner), type “System Information” in the search bar, and press Enter.
- Look for BIOS Version/Date in the System Summary section to find out what BIOS chip is embedded in your motherboard.
NOTE: To know more about the BIOS on your motherboard, go to System Information > Components > System Devices. Now, find entries mentioned as Embedded Controller or BIOS.
Method 3: Use a Hardware Identification Tool
A hardware identification tool can also be used to pinpoint a BIOS chip on a board. It is a third-party software installed on a computer to get all the information related to the system’s components. These include a BIOS chip, RAM, CPU, hard drive, and more.
NOTE: Some of the most famous and reliable hardware identification tools are NinjaOne, Atera, Open Hardware Monitor, and HWMonitor. While some are free, a few may need you to pay a fee before you can scan your computer.
- Download and install a hard identifier on your computer from the official website.
- Once you have gotten into the tool, simply run the scan to generate a full report of all the components connected to your computer.
- Go to the Motherboard section and look for the information related to the BIOS chip from the report.
Method 4: Manually Look For The BIOS Chip
If none of the above methods work, one last way is to manually look at your motherboard and locate BIO chips. However, remove the PC case (or a side panel) before doing this. Ultimately, you should be able to clearly see the top side of the motherboard.
Remember, this BIOS chip is mostly situated on the top side of the motherboard, near its center. Try to look for any of these labels: BIOS, M_BIOS, and UEFI. It mostly comes square but can be rectangular as well. If square, it is 8-22 mm tall and 8-22 mm wide; it can also vary in size.
NOTE: In case you find it difficult to locate the BIOS chip, look around the other parts, such as RAM, CPU, or expansion slots, as these components often cluster the BIOS chip.
Do Some Motherboards Have Two BIOS Chips?
Yes, some motherboards do have two BIOS chips to add an extra layer of protection against potential BIOS failures. If the primary BIOS malfunctions, the system can quickly switch to the backup BIOS, so the computer remains operational even if the primary BIOS encounters problems during boot-up.
The primary BIOS chip, often labeled as “M_BIOS,” handles the standard startup procedures and overall system operations. If, for any reason, this main BIOS becomes corrupted—due to a failed update or other problems—the motherboard can switch to the secondary BIOS chip, known as “B_BIOS”.
So, we have learned four ways to identify a BIOS chip on a motherboard, one of the crucial components of a computer. First, consult the motherboard documentation, manuals, or guides for diagrams or the list of the motherboard’s components to see the BIOS chip.
Alternatively, you can use the Windows System Information tool to find BIOS details. Hardware identification tools like NinjaOne or HWMonitor can also provide this information. If all else fails, manually inspect the motherboard to see “BIOS” or “UEFI” labels and the BIOS chip.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Different Names Of A BIOS Chip?
The BIOS chip is often referred to as the “BIOS firmware chip” and “BIOS ROM”.
Can You Remove The BIOS Chip?
Yes, on many motherboards, the BIOS chip is removable. However, not all motherboards have replaceable BIOS chips. In some recent motherboards, the BIOS chip is soldered onto the motherboard, making it impossible (or at least difficult) to remove.
How Do I Know A BIOS Chip Is Faulty?
When you start your computer, a POST screen appears, showing basic hardware information, such as the amount of RAM installed, processor type, and hard drive partitions and space. If this screen is missing, it indicates a problem with the BIOS chip.
Can A BIOS Chip Be Replaced?
Yes, a BIOS chip can be replaced in most cases if it gets damaged or needs an update. However, we suggest you use the correct BIOS chip and consult a professional who knows the proper replacement procedures to get it done in the right way.
How Can I Manually Remove The BIOS Chip?
For your information, you can’t simply pull out the BIOS chip. To remove it manually, you need to desolder the chip from the motherboard. If you lack technical skills, we suggest you seek help from someone with relevant expertise.
How do I reset my BIOS chip?
Find the CMOS jumper located on the mobo to reset the BIOS chip. Turn your PC off and pass the jumper to the “Clear” position. Now, wait a few seconds and bring it back to its original position. Alternatively, you can remove and reinsert the CMOS battery for a few minutes.