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Thread: Best Coreboot Motherboard

  1. #1
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    Default Best Coreboot Motherboard

    I will be buying a new motherboard in the foreseeable future, but I'm pretty much a total newbie to anything outside mainstream Intel/AMD offerings.

    If possible, I'd like coreboot support. What would the best option be? I don't care what vendor. I'm thinking about a nice quiet low power/high efficiency chip, but I would like it to be the newest generation possible.

    Are VIA boards any good for desktop users? Are there any that work well with discrete graphics cards?

    According to the coreboot wiki, it looks like the only AMD boards are Socket AM2, with one "devel" board exception. AM2 which will quickly be obsolete. I know it is not announced if Fusion will work on AM3, but it certainly won't work on AM2. I would like something relatively future-proof.

    Is AM3 coreboot support coming? If so, which boards would most likely give me that?

    I'm assuming all the Geode and Atom offerings are no good for desktop users. Though I did see AMD running an intense DirectX 11 videogame inside a netbook using their upcoming Fusion product.

    So I am willing to look at relatively small and low power boards as long as I can be assured they will support all that APU OpenCL goodness.

  2. #2
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    Default

    This board looks decent, but I don't see it on the list of supported coreboot motherboards, and the comments mention problems with linux video playback. Not a good sign.

    Any suggestions welcome... regardless of vendor.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Don't be chopping your arms off... avoid VIA like the plague. Stick with a nice AMD CPU on an AMD chipset. Compared to that VIA junk, you'd be WAY better off with a SEMPRON chip.

    And don't be forgetting that the integrated viajunk CPU is absolutely against what you were initially asking for... future proof + maybe coreboot. It'll NEVER happen with that viajunk.

    There is some support for RS780/SB700 AM3 in coreboot... see under V4 devel boards for AMD Tilapia.

    Also note that this could extend to 870/880/890 according to http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showt...t=22582&page=2
    ** CAUTION: It will *NOT JUST WORK* on any AM3 board you can buy today. Will require hacking. There is also some mainboard specific stuff to consider (more to it than just socket+chipset), so pick a middle-of-the-road ASUS board since there seem to be more ASUS desktop boards supported in coreboot than any other brand (guess the coreboot devs really like ASUS...).

  4. #4
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    Honestly, I wouldn't bank on coreboot. I don't think that it actually works *properly* on ANYTHING.

  5. #5
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    I don't expect it to be easy to get coreboot to work. I don't have any firmware programming talent at the moment, but I figure they need testers. I am willing to put up with some inconvenience.

    Thanks for your thoughts on VIA. I wasn't expecting to go with them, but they seemed to have a lot of boards with coreboot support, so I didn't want to rule them out.

    Any board with multi-core support and PCI Express should in theory be able to do OpenCL, correct?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by droidhacker View Post
    Honestly, I wouldn't bank on coreboot. I don't think that it actually works *properly* on ANYTHING.
    I wouldn't say "not bank on it"...Coreboot is always a "work in progress" as the devs need the chipset programming docs in order to properly support a particular board. Without docs it'll be harder to support a board with Coreboot

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeepDayze View Post
    I wouldn't say "not bank on it"...Coreboot is always a "work in progress" as the devs need the chipset programming docs in order to properly support a particular board. Without docs it'll be harder to support a board with Coreboot
    Of course its a work in progress... the point though is that of tens of thousands of different models of mainboards that are out there in the world, current or not, only a VERY small number of them have any kind of support at all out of coreboot and not a single one of them appears to actually be USABLE. There is a backlog of boards that don't have any kind of support, and that backlog is perpetually growing. For every new board supported by coreboot, 100 new boards come out... so chances are that any particular board you're looking at now will NEVER be supported by coreboot... unless something major changes, like the OEM decides to go with coreboot rather than... award or whatever proprietary bios they usually go with.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by droidhacker View Post
    Of course its a work in progress... the point though is that of tens of thousands of different models of mainboards that are out there in the world, current or not, only a VERY small number of them have any kind of support at all out of coreboot and not a single one of them appears to actually be USABLE. There is a backlog of boards that don't have any kind of support, and that backlog is perpetually growing. For every new board supported by coreboot, 100 new boards come out... so chances are that any particular board you're looking at now will NEVER be supported by coreboot... unless something major changes, like the OEM decides to go with coreboot rather than... award or whatever proprietary bios they usually go with.
    Yes agree with that...each model might have the same chipset but different internal structure that needs to be programmed for, a really daunting task indeed with the zillions of different makes and models of boards out there

  9. #9
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    This month, patches for the ASUS M4A785-M have been posted to the Coreboot mailing list. This is at least AM2+ so modern CPUs will work on it.

  10. #10
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    Default Asus M4A78-EM

    Hello everyone,

    First post here and I was happy to see this thread

    Like the OP EmbraceUnity, I'm also looking to build a "nice quiet low power/high efficiency" box before the VAT increase here in the UK on January 4th 2011.

    I've been watching the progress of LinuxBIOS/CoreBoot for many years, and was happy to see another newly supported board:

    http://www.coreboot.org/ASUS_M4A78-EM
    http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=0KyowHKUFAQqH2DO

    I just trawled the recent Coreboot archives:
    http://www.coreboot.org/pipermail/co...er/062191.html
    http://www.coreboot.org/pipermail/co...er/062239.html
    http://www.coreboot.org/pipermail/co...er/062290.html
    http://www.coreboot.org/pipermail/co...er/060279.html

    One of the Coreboot devs uses the board with this CPU:

    AMD Athlon II X2 240e 2800MHz 45W 45nm SOI AM3
    http://products.amd.com/en-na/Deskto...il.aspx?id=615

    I do try and keep up, reading here as well as AnandTech and SilentPCReview, but my knowledge of recent tech is limited, so are there better (quieter+faster) CPU options now? I need a powerful box without fans for my recording studio (just passive+chimney cooling, maybe one massive <1000rpm fan). Other plans are Seasonic X-400 Fanless PSU and a couple of SSDs.

    Adarion describes using this board with Linux (not Coreboot IIUC)
    http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15899

    I'm looking for a board with all-round Free-as-in-Free Linux support (not asking much then! ). Hopefully since it uses AMD graphics it should be well supported. Any other issues I've not noticed? I checked the ALSA soundcard matrix and can't find Realtek but Googling mentions ALC887 as OK.

    This Asus board seems ideally priced for what I need (SATA3, although no USB3). I hope 4*2GB RAM would work but the Coreboot wiki is vague about this. I'm no firmware hacker either, and I've no idea if it would all work as planned, but hope for the best...

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