So the ASRock motherboard I bought in 2011 has been having issues with recent kernels. Though with older kernels it runs fine (with a boot parameter to disable RC6 power save mode), I want it to keep running fine with newer kernels--as for example I already know Linux Mint 15 will ship with it. Some investigation led me to an analysis by other Linux users with the same motherboard. A BIOS upgrade was the confirmed solution for the problem I'm also having.
Now I recall having bought specifically this motherboard because ASRock advertised the BIOS could be flashed without needing Windows. Just put the BIOS image on a USB thumb drive and press F6 during boot! Well, their download site today only has downloads for Windows
I don't have Windows at home. After considering my options I tried something that I was a bit amazed that worked. Took the hard disk from my work laptop, a HP sloth with Windows 7 on it, and put it--against all hope really--in my desktop machine and tried booting from it. It worked! Okay, Windows complained a bit about hardware it couldn't use and seemed a bit confused, but then I was able to run the BIOS flash utility
I'll probably be upgrading to Haswell in 2014 but I think this time I'll skip ASRock as an option. False advertising and when on their website you click on the link to get technical support (my first idea), that page never loads. Ah well, for now it should continue to run fine and I thought it funny I could do this with Windows
Edit: should probably add "don't try this at home." I don't know enough about what all Microsoft is "innovating" but IIRC at least some versions of Windows can have but a certain number of hardware changes before you have to buy another license. So doing the above might lock you out of your license perhaps?