[Beowulf] Arima motherboards with SATA2 drives

Geoff Jacobs gdjacobs at gmail.com
Tue Mar 9 15:17:47 PST 2010

David Mathog wrote:
>> I'm assuming that the boffin Flextronics has handling legacy support for
>> Arima is not being very responsive?
> If by "very" you mean "at all", then you would be accurate.
>> Well, editing the BIOS image for the mainboard seams kind of dodgy.
> That's what I ended up doing though, and it worked.

By any chance is the flash ROM socketed and did you have a spare board
for hot swapping? That sort of insurance make's me breathe easier when
doing weird firmware updates.

>> If
>> chassis space isn't a problem, I would think replacing the controller
>> would be a better solution.
> That's an option for the one machine I moved to a different case, the
> others I'm thinking about getting are in strange little cases, and they
> will only have room for one disk, so just getting the one controller to
> see a SATA II disk will be good enough.

Yeah, so you were stuck.

>> If you want to, find a copy of BNTBTC (Bog Number Two's BIOS Tools
>> Collection) and install Phoenix Bios Editor. Hopefully you have no
>> missing VBVM 6.0 files. You'll need to find the correct module for
>> replacement. I was just checking the ROM image myself, but I was using
>> an older BIOS editor and things were a little gnarly. We'll see with the
>> new version...

That would be Borg...

> Found this thread:
> http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/13358-How-to-Use-New-Phoenix-Bios-Mod-Tool-to-Modify-Phoenix-Dell-Insyde-EFI-Bios-Files?s=016f5c20a0849a623a806a9a440db2fb
> with a link to PBE  Used that on the 1.11 BIOS (downloaded
> from Flextronic), stuffed in the SiI stuff (5403.bin), flashed the ROM,
> and it worked, seeing the SATA II disk.  Note, there were two
> complications.  1st, PBE installs owned by the installer, and there are
> access issues, solved those by changing ownership to Everbody:FULL at
> the top level of that directory tree.  Second, replacing a module.  I
> tried that using the menu interface, and it seemed to have done it, but
> the resulting BIOS still had the old SiI section.  So used PBE to
> unpack, from another window, copied 5403.bin to ....\TEMP\OPROM3.ROM
> (where it lived in this BIOS), changed and unchanged a string to enable
> the build command, then BUILD, then save BIOS.

It seems BIOS modding has become somewhat of a cottage industry as a way
of getting around WGA and/or being able to boot Windows 7.

Examining the module binaries, I see they did us the favor of providing
copyrights in the first line. Very considerate of them. Distinguishing
between the various addon modules is easy this way.

> Tried another tool called Phoenix_Tool_1.24 (from the thread cited
> above) and it could break out the pieces of the BIOS, then you could
> replace one, and run prepare and catenate.  Except that what comes out
> won't flash with phlash.exe. See my entry near the end of the forum
> cited above.  I used a little tool of mine called "intercept" to
> intercept all program calls, and it wasn't doing anything special with
> prepare.exe, catenate.exe, or the other programs.  The only thing left
> was that PBE itself must be appending some stuff after the catenate
> output, and that seems to be metadata for phlash16.  Probably one could
> use another flash program that didn't need these, but I wasn't going to
> try that.  In any case, these appended bytes were the same when PBE
> built an unmodified and a modified BIOS, so it would apparently be safe
> to just use "dd" and hack the difference in length off the original BIOS
> image and append it to the output from catenate.  The phlash command I
> used was:
>   phlash16 HDAMAI.11C /C /Mode=3 /CS /EXIT /PN /V
> Since the legal status of these versions of PBE is somewhat dubious, I
> didn't post these last few results in public anywhere.

I won't tell if you won't.

> Regards,
> David Mathog
> mathog at caltech.edu
> Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech

Hey, glad it's working. I guess the war horses will soldier on some more.

Geoffrey D. Jacobs

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