[LinuxBIOS] MSI MB support

Richard Smith smithbone at gmail.com
Sat Dec 3 20:06:03 CET 2005

  > there any point in trying to just get the chipset specs from VIA (it's a
> KT600 NB and a VT8237 SB), or are there things that need to be done
> specifically for the motherboard so that the chipset specs are useless

It depends on what MSI did with the board.   Most northbridges have
GPIO on them.  If MSI did something funky with the SM bus it could be
hard to figure out how to turn on the RAM.
But not impossible.  In most cases the motherboard is simply close
copy of the reference design from the chipset mfg.  So if you can get
a copy of the chipset docs and perhaps the reference design from via
then you would at least have a place to get started.  Most of that
involves an NDA though.  So then you would need permission to release
the code based on the NDA material.

> by themselves, apart from the flash memory (which isn't supported
> either)?

You mean that it doesn't have the ability to program the flash on
board?  Because from a read viewpoint there is no difference.  Any
flash part that meets the same timing and pinout as the part that's
already on the board will work.  You just need a programmer to change

> I'm more than willing to do the porting work myself, but I'd like to
> know where I could start, and if it's at all possible without the MB
> specs.

With chipset docs only yes its possible.  But the level of effort may
be really large.  The docs are going to get you most of the way there
but there's probably going to be things that aren't documented and you
will probably have to boot under the COTS bios and look at how the
registers are set.

In the extreme case you would need to run the COTS bios under an
emulator to watch the mem read/writes and IOs.  Look at your chipset
docs and then modify the emulator to appear to be fake hardware and
study how to twiddle the registers depending on what values your fake
hardware provided.  You can't disassemble the COTS bios and figure it
out for legal reasons.

If you can't get the chipset docs though its really not worth it. 
Find a MB that has docs available.

Richard A. Smith

More information about the coreboot mailing list