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Thread: Support for nVidia chipsets in flashrom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    11

    Exclamation Support for nVidia chipsets in flashrom

    Hi,

    I'm one of the flashrom developers and we recently got some information about reflashing mainboard BIOS chips on current Nvidia chipsets. We have a patch which spits out a boatload of diagnostics and which is absolutely safe (doesn't write anything).

    What is this flashrom thing?
    flashrom is a program which can be used under Linux/*BSD/Solaris/MacOSX to flash/rewrite your BIOS chip. Very useful if you want to run a BIOS update without booting into DOS/Windows. Of course, flashrom is free software / open source. More info available at http://www.flashrom.org/Flashrom

    The bad news is that none of us has hardware newer than nForce5 (MCP55) and we can't test the new patch.

    The good news is that YOU might have such a board and might be willing to run it and mail/send us the diagnostic output.

    The implementation plan runs like this:
    1. Diagnostics. Already implemented, needs testing. No risk.
    2. Switching flash support on and off. Mostly implemented, will be published after we get the diagnostic output mentioned above (you wouldn't want us to unconditionally enable it unless needed). Somewhat safe (you might have to hit the reset button or power off to recover).
    3. Full driver. Infrastructure is already merged, specific bits need to be implemented. Will only be published after the above steps are completed and we feel they are sufficiently safe. Dangerous, you'll want the ability to recover externally (removable BIOS chip, external programmer, another board, ...).

    I'm now asking for testers of step 1.

    To download flashrom, please use subversion (svn) to check out the latest tree and apply the patch:
    Code:
    svn co svn://svn.coreboot.org/flashrom/trunk flashrom
    cd flashrom
    curl -s http://patchwork.coreboot.org/patch/628/raw/|patch -p1
    make
    Get root privileges (needed for the hardware access), then run the following command inside the flashrom directory:
    Code:
    ./flashrom -V
    The output of the command above is what we need. Please mail it (in full) to flashrom@flashrom.org with subject
    MCP SPI dump
    and mention in the mail which board you're using (exact model please) and if you want to make this easier for us, please also include the output of
    Code:
    lspci -nnvvvxxx
    flashrom@flashrom.org is moderated, but your posts will be approved quickly. You can subscribe at http://www.flashrom.org/mailman/listinfo/flashrom to get a quicker passthrough of your mail and to stay in the loop about flashrom development. Your choice.

    Thanks a lot for your help. Here at Phoronix, people like to contribute to cutting edge technology, and I appreciate that.

    If you have any questions, feel free to either mail flashrom@flashrom.org or join us on IRC: irc://irc.freenode.net/#flashrom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    11

    Unhappy

    Judging from the lack of responses, support for current Nvidia chipsets will not happen anytime soon.
    That's unfortunate, but oh well...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by biosflasher View Post
    Judging from the lack of responses, support for current Nvidia chipsets will not happen anytime soon.
    That's unfortunate, but oh well...
    With the majority of boards that support flashing as it is without needing bootable media I think the lack of responses are from seeing little need for it nowdays.

  4. #4
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    Maybe you could PM Michael and ask him to put a news item "help test new support for flashrom".

    I only saw this thread because I was randomly checking the forum. Unfortunately I only have a nForce 2 :/ (and the original, although I'm guessing you're not interested in xbox flashing ).

  5. #5
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    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by [Knuckles] View Post
    Maybe you could PM Michael and ask him to put a news item "help test new support for flashrom".
    Hm yes. Will do that for the next phase, thanks for the idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by [Knuckles] View Post
    I only saw this thread because I was randomly checking the forum. Unfortunately I only have a nForce 2 :/ (and the original, although I'm guessing you're not interested in xbox flashing ).
    If it is x86 and has flash, I'm interested. Heck, the nForce 2 is the chipset where I reverse engineered the binary only network driver to write forcedeth. To be honest, flashrom should work out of the box for that chipset. The board (Xbox) might need additional help for full chip access, though, so don't try to erase or write.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by biosflasher View Post
    Hm yes. Will do that for the next phase, thanks for the idea.

    If it is x86 and has flash, I'm interested. Heck, the nForce 2 is the chipset where I reverse engineered the binary only network driver to write forcedeth. To be honest, flashrom should work out of the box for that chipset. The board (Xbox) might need additional help for full chip access, though, so don't try to erase or write.
    I've just sent the results for my nforce 2 board, and just remembered where I might be able to access two more boards with nvidia chipsets, so I'll try to get the results from them soon.

    I was kind of kidding about the xbox, but if you're interested, I could try to boot linux on mine and get the results there, too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by [Knuckles] View Post
    I've just sent the results for my nforce 2 board, and just remembered where I might be able to access two more boards with nvidia chipsets, so I'll try to get the results from them soon.
    Thanks, they just arrived on the flashrom mailing list.

    Quote Originally Posted by [Knuckles] View Post
    I was kind of kidding about the xbox, but if you're interested, I could try to boot linux on mine and get the results there, too.
    It would certainly be cool to test, but it would be interesting to know the flash chip beforehand (well, it will be detected with high probability, but the Xbox is a bit different from classic x86 PCs, so restricting the probing to the chip present on the board will minimize any possible unwanted side effects, not that I'd expect any).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by biosflasher View Post
    Thanks, they just arrived on the flashrom mailing list.



    It would certainly be cool to test, but it would be interesting to know the flash chip beforehand (well, it will be detected with high probability, but the Xbox is a bit different from classic x86 PCs, so restricting the probing to the chip present on the board will minimize any possible unwanted side effects, not that I'd expect any).
    Xbox gets kind of complicated. The onboard flash (in models that didn't use OTP EPROM, which is most of them) has /WE tied high unless the board is modified. Many people put flash on the LPC bus instead (much easier to solder), which somehow forces the board to boot from the LPC flash instead (it might just replace the onboard flash in the memory map; not really sure). People doing the simplest version of the LPC mods used the SST49LF020; IIRC it was necessary to use this particular chip because of the way it mirrors addresses.

    If you're seriously interested in supporting Xbox flashing, you might want to have a look at raincoat, the flash utility written by the Xbox-Linux team.

  9. #9
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    Just sent one more (I had completely forgotten about this system and that it had a nvidia chipset).

    Also: I don't know if you are interested on outputs from ion boards, because Michael might be able to help you there.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Is the output for an NForce 4 Ultra of any use? If so I can do the run when I'm at home.

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