Regular readers will know that KitGuru has been using the Asus PQ321Q 4K monitor for a long time now in many of our reviews. The image quality is truly excellent and it is one of the only 4K monitors (along with the Sharp PN-K321) that Apple have certified to work perfectly with their latest Mac Pro system (OSX 10.9.4).
We managed to get our hands on a new loaner Mac Pro system this week, featuring a 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 16GB 1866MHz of DDR3 ECC memory and dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics cards. We ran into some issues when using the Asus PQ321Q monitor with the Mac Pro – with the display flickering intermittently and sometimes not switching on from boot.
As our ASUS contacts were not working this weekend, the obvious first step was to check the official ASUS support website to get any updates. Sadly no updates seemed to be available for the PQ321Q 4K screen.
After some Google research we stumbled upon this thread on the Geforce forums. It would appear that members of the public were also experiencing various PC issues between now and late last year. The cold boot issue was also mentioned in this thread. A SCAN computers representative had made attempts to get the firmware updates for the screen by contacting ASUS directly. They got version 1.020 of the firmware to try and all went well.
Later in the same thread V 1.100 of the firmware was supplied by a support representative of ASUS to a member of the public over email. None of these firmware updates are available on the ASUS website.
Kitguru is hosting this V1.100 of the Asus PQ321Q firmware file in case you are experiencing some cold boot or random glitching with the screen. You can download V1100 it from us, HERE.
Download V1.100 of the BIOS (1.9MB) and copy the extracted PQ321_Main.hex file into the root directory of your USB drive (6.5MB). On the rear of the ASUS PQ321Q 4K panel there is a covered USB service port (see picture above). Turn the screen off. Remove the USB cover on the port and insert the small FAT32 formatted flash drive with the hex file into the USB port on the screen. Turn the PQ321Q on. An update process will start which takes around 3 minutes. The firmware on our screen was initially 1.000, so it was probably one of the oldest from the first batch of screens released to market.
The outcome after the firmware update? All the issues have been resolved.
Obviously you do this at your own risk, we would imagine that ASUS are not hosting this file themselves in case the end user bricks their own screen, however if they trust users to update the BIOS on their motherboard we can see no difference. It is worth bearing in mind that many wireless enabled high definition television sets now offer firmware updates – my 55 inch Sony television has had 3 updates alone in the last year. We see no reason why ASUS are leaving their customers in the dark with problems that can be fixed with a simple firmware update.
We hope this helps some of our readers. If you are not experiencing any issues, it is likely you have a later version of the firmware. We would imagine most of the issues will be limited to early adopters who bought the PQ321Q shortly after it was released.
Obviously with any firmware update there is a certain amount of risk involved. We did apply the update ourselves, and it was smooth sailing. Well worth doing if you are experiencing scaling, cold boot issues or random glitching.