I was trying to install Vista RC1 x64 last night, but was getting an error before setup even began about a missing ACPI controller. After some research the problem appeared to be solvable by a new system BIOS. So this morning I head over to the Novatech Forum and see that my machine (Crossfire 3400) is actually a MiTAC, and BIOS updates can be found there.
Happily, I visit the MiTAC site. I locate updates for both the system and the kbc BIOS, and after a little bit of Google, instructions on how to install both. I download these and the flashing tools, and (lacking a floppy drive) use Nero to make a DOS boot CD that will run them. I boot to this.
Installing the KBC BIOS is a breeze (if a little surreal, with little smiley faces filling up a progress bar, and the notebook then switching itself off with NO lights - not even the battery status. In addition, whilst flashing, the mother of all fans that I have never heard before kicked in. The machine sounded like a jet engine. I boot the machine back into Windows (XP x86 SP2), just to check that nothing was borked, then go back to the boot CD to install the system BIOS.
I type the requested instructions, and the BIOS flasher appears, does its job, then verifies and shows the green text to show that the update was successfully installed. Little did I know that that would be the last coherent text my notebook displayed. THe machine shut itself down, and upon pressing the power button again, I see scrolling vertical lines of gibberish (rather reminiscent of The Matrix, but in white rather than green). After a short length I see what looks like the prompt for my BIOS password (yes, I'm paranoid). Thinking if I can get past this screen, I might be able to make some progress, I type in my password and press return, and the machine even beeps to say it's accepted, but then I see (hidden behind the garbage lines) what looks like DOS error messages. No beef.
It turns out from the Forum that my machine is in fact a MiTAC 8355H. The only difference is the graphics card, but apparently that necessitates a different driver (in stark contrast to desktop machines, where you can use whatever the hell AGP or PCI-E graphics card you like and still use the same driver).
MiTAC service have yet to get back to me, but let this serve as a warning to all Novatech Crossfire users: do not install the O1.09 system bios flash for the MiTAC 8355 unless you fancy hosing your machine. The 1.09 BIOS for the 8355H might be worth a try, but I wouldn't put money on it, as I haven't tried it myself.
As if that wasn't enough, by that point in the morning I'd already acquired a bitchin' headache within a quarter of an hour of getting up, and I spent the first hour of work this afternoon re-shelving books to accommodate someone else's flagrant shelving error.
And to top it off, the Novatech forums are censoring the word "Bugger", making it look like I'm being profane when I'm just being mildly vulgar.
Today is definitely not my day. I hope it's yours.