5 Replies Latest reply on May 7, 2011 2:40 PM by websrvr

    Custom BIOS programming on the Intel DX58SO

    websrvr

      How much more frustrating can it be to get a straight answer form intel or avoid a run-around of being passed off to another person who has no clue what is required to achieve this goal.

       

      Speaking to Intel engineers and developers they have assured me that this is very possible and claim a third party adapter is required and then direct me to another person because they have no information on this required adapter.

       

      It seems that intel forgot to include an SPI header on this motherboard and then forgot to include the information outlining the actual hardware required to perform this task.

       

      There are several different in circuit SPI programmers but the key to purchasing the correct one is knowing which chip is on the motherboard and neither support or engineers have been able to provide me with this information and they couldn't even tell me if the board was designed with protection for in circuit programming.

       

      I know I need an SPI programmer, but what chip does it need to support for this board?

       

      What adapter/interface is required to connect the SPI programmer to this board?

       

      Being told that a third party adapter is required without providing the make and model or direct me to the company that sells it only adds to the frustration.

       

      Expecting an official response from Intel is required in this situation, they are officially and publicly encouraging independent BIOS development with their products so you would think that they would know how to achieve this with this specific products.

       

      I have no issues telling my customer that the Intel product he wants to use is not capable of accepting a custom BIOS thus killing the project and forcing me to return the purchased 500 motherboards if they are not capable of accepting a custom BIOS even though Intel has already stated it can but currently that claim is unsubstantiated and even the intel developers and engineers couldn't substantiate the capability so all that has to occur is someone from Intel responds telling me that this board does not support custom BIOS flashing or responds with the hardware required to perform the task.

       

      So Intel, what are my options???

        • 1. Re: Custom BIOS programming on the Intel DX58SO
          websrvr

          Maybe it's unclear what is happening here but perhaps a little clarity is in order.

           

          First, I'm not currently bound by any NDA so there is nothing that prevents me from sharing or discussing any information which may include Intel trade secrets that I figure out.

           

          Second, I am going to achieve my intended goal with or without your participation, without your participation will only take me longer and I cannot guarantee any confidentiality of information and since I'm not bound by any NDA I don't have to worry about violating it's terms.

           

          Third, while I was not permitted to obtain a copy, I have already examined the schematics for the DX58SO revision 503/504 motherboards and I do see that the prom is protected by mosfets so we now know that we can use an in-circuit programmer connected directly to the chip and program it without worrying about frying the motherboard.

           

          Fourth, there are schematics of a programmer for the SST25VF016B that can be purchased or built for under $25.00 and the software is freeware, I'm having isolation adapters made specifically for this motherboard and programmer combination to protect the programmer and convert it to an in-circuit programmer making it extremely easy to modify the BIOS on this motherboard and I might even go as far as to make a whole kit for this motherboard available to the public that is so cheap that it would make no sense not to obtain one and modification of the software to support other boards and chips is well documented so this could be a solution for just about any board Intel produces.

           

          Ignoring me or failing to work with me isn't going to make what I want to do go away, it's only going to make it become a public affair and I'm not sure this is something you want.

           

          I already know of one other person attempting to discuss with you this very thing and what I do know about them is that they will achieve their goal much faster than I will and they have been known to pass out privileged information when no NDA exists so ignoring them would be far worse than ignoring me but beneficial to others who are interested in doing BIOS work with this motherboard so I don't see how I can lose in this situation.

          • 2. Re: Custom BIOS programming on the Intel DX58SO
            websrvr

            I guess it's OK to discuss everything about this BIOS publicly since you have not responded and I also have to conclude that it is OK to distribute any decompiled modules, remember, I'm not under any NDA at this time and I will get my questions answered any way I can.

             

            I now have technical questions which require a response and no, a response that does not address my questions will be considered an invalid response forcing me to take other public steps to get answers to my questions.

             

            I see in the schematic section of the SPROM shows it will support a 32Mb SPROM so does this mean that I can replace the 16Mb SST 25VF016B with a 32MB SST 25VF032B without additional board modifications and in doing so will this affect the BIOS address or will this auto-compensate with the larger SPROM?

             

            The BIOS has been extracted, broken down and some of the modules decompiled, one of particular interest is the BIOS security module and also what appears to be a Memory config (which looks extremely complicated) and a PCI config module.

             

            Is it safe to use these modules unmodified in a newly generated BIOS or would they need to be modified so I should get the decompiled source for modification or you have a different solution I should use?

             

            Also, can you explain the purpose of BIST?

             

            Communication goes a long way, the lack of it only causes frustration and anger, I have no issues working under any terms that helps me achieve my goal but I also have no issues working unrestricted so don't cry to me later if you're not happy about how I am proceeding, you are forcing me to go this route because not achieving my goal is not an option and your failure to respond with assistance is your approval of the current route.

            • 3. Re: Custom BIOS programming on the Intel DX58SO
              BIOS_PROJECT

              Don't expect a response from intel.

               

              Even if they do respond don't expect the truth, they have a track record of not being honest and it has been my experience that they certainly don't care if they lie to you about anything they say they will do or any capabilities they claim a particular piece of hardware has.

               

              As far as I am aware, the purchase of the board includes the licenses for the software and option roms which is considered the BIOS and I see no reason why you cannot modify the BIOS in any way you want but certainly don't expect any help or assistance from intel in doing it, they will fix BIOS related issues that affect windows users but wont fix anything just because it's broken and this is a fact.

               

              Furthermore, intel does not promote independent BIOS development despite what you might read anywhere, any claims made by intel that says they do is an outright lie, every person I know of who is developing a BIOS has received no assistance from intel and has really been prevented form developing a BIOS so they had to go elsewhere to get it resolved (Insyde and AMI).

               

              The only thing I know for sure is that you can request the schematics for the board you are working on which is required by the BIOS vendor (of your choice) to provide the code base and modules needed to create the BIOS for the board to your requirements and specifications.

               

              Any claim that there is sufficient code in the EDK to generate a working BIOS is nothing more than a fantasy because there is insufficient code to do it.

               

              The coreboot project while a nice idea is not an example of an EFI based BIOS, targets legacy hardware and is used primarily to provide a linux based solution and as far as I know, there is no working solution for newer technology.

               

              I would think that you would have some kind of legal grounds to stand on if they refused to provide the schematics and refused to fix the issues with the BIOS.

               

              The cost in legal expenses alone should be sufficient for them to let you go do your own thing and the $100.00 filing fee on your part would be about the only expense you would be facing so you really have nothing to lose by filing if they all of a sudden refuse to provide you with the schematics so you can get a BIOS that isn't screwed up.

              • 4. Re: Custom BIOS programming on the Intel DX58SO
                BIOS_PROJECT

                Don't expect a response from intel.

                 

                Even if they do respond don't expect the truth, they have a track record of not being honest and it has been my experience that they certainly don't care if they lie to you about anything they say they will do or any capabilities they claim a particular piece of hardware has.

                 

                As far as I am aware, the purchase of the board includes the licenses for the software and option roms which is considered the BIOS and I see no reason why you cannot modify the BIOS in any way you want but certainly don't expect any help or assistance from intel in doing it, they will fix BIOS related issues that affect windows users but wont fix anything just because it's broken and this is a fact.

                 

                Furthermore, intel does not promote independent BIOS development despite what you might read anywhere, any claims made by intel that says they do is an outright lie, every person I know of who is developing a BIOS has received no assistance from intel and has really been prevented form developing a BIOS so they had to go elsewhere to get it resolved (Insyde and AMI).

                 

                The only thing I know for sure is that you can request the schematics for the board you are working on which is required by the BIOS vendor (of your choice) to provide the code base and modules needed to create the BIOS for the board to your requirements and specifications.

                 

                Any claim that there is sufficient code in the EDK to generate a working BIOS is nothing more than a fantasy because there is insufficient code to do it.

                 

                The coreboot project while a nice idea is not an example of an EFI based BIOS, targets legacy hardware and is used primarily to provide a linux based solution and as far as I know, there is no working solution for newer technology.

                 

                I would think that you would have some kind of legal grounds to stand on if they refused to provide the schematics and refused to fix the issues with the BIOS.

                 

                The cost in legal expenses alone should be sufficient for them to let you go do your own thing and the $100.00 filing fee on your part would be about the only expense you would be facing so you really have nothing to lose by filing if they all of a sudden refuse to provide you with the schematics so you can get a BIOS that isn't screwed up.

                • 5. Re: Custom BIOS programming on the Intel DX58SO
                  websrvr

                  There is a guy floating around with the name "crappy" who is looking for people to test some patched DX58SO BIOSes however people need to be aware of the issues and consequences of participation

                   

                  Please understand, I feel it is my responsibility to inform users of the potential risks involved in performing such a flash, the consequences and why you are being requested to perform the BIOS tests when the creator isn't.

                   

                  • There is no outlined goal to the changes being implemented so you have no real clue what you are flashing or the full end results.
                  • The serious risks and inevitable bricking of your board are never explained to you.
                  • If you flash the BIOS file and the board becomes bricked, Intel will not warranty the board.
                  • You have no input towards the things being tested and there is no structure or list of actual changes.
                  • You are the guinea pig to be used to flash these BIOSes becasue crappy wont flash them to his own board despite what he tells you, he has admitted to me he wont flash them because he doesn't want to brick his board since you can't easily recover and the changes he has implemented (he claims) has added USB HID capability to the BIOS when UEFI is enabled and can boot HFS partitions but I am unable to confirm this because he has not provided me with one BIOS that works.
                  • I spent some time flashing a file that bricked my board however it should be noted, I have an expensive SPI programmer with ICP/ISP capabilities so I am able to recover from such flashes in a matter of minutes where the average user doesn't have the hardware or knowledge to do this safely or reliably and I have also installed sockets on my DX58SO boards to make switching to larger SPI flashrom chips or using a spare for such tests very simple and safe.

                   

                   

                  You have been warned.