[LinuxBIOS] Intel SE440BX support

Corey Osgood corey_osgood at verizon.net
Tue Mar 27 02:21:18 CEST 2007

First of all, please CC the list.

Oscar Molin wrote:
> I see your point there, it could be a lot of work.
> But then again there are a LOT of these boards and I'm sure there is
> demand for it.

Yep, there is, at least for people with older hardware. Uwe and I have
both been working (off and on) on support for the i440bx northbridge (on
different boards, with socketed bios chips), which is required for ram
initialization. Neither of us has gotten it to work, yet. I could whip
off a rom that would probably give you serial output, but that's all it
would ever do again.

> It would mean breaking one board but I can probably get more for next to
> nothing, I see them sometimes at recycling stations I would only need to
> get extra flash chips that work.

If you're serious about this, get the flash chips, and either find a
place that does electronics work or do it yourself, but put a socket on
the motherboard, you should be able to map the pins of the TSOP to a
DIP32 socket, then get DIP32 chips to fit it (or better yet, an IOSS
BIOS Savior). I'm sure one of the other guys on the list will correct me
if I'm wrong on that.

Mouser.com I've found is usually the cheapest place to get the
chips/sockets, and FrozenCPU.com has BIOS Saviors, I can figure out what
you need later, should you decide you want to do this. Avnet also
carries BIOS chips and sockets, they might be cheaper for your needs.
Once you have a socket on the mainboard, I'll go back and find my code
for the FDC37C777 SuperI/O (which is as-yet untested), so maybe we can
get some serial output. But understand that RAM init is still not
working, so until that's working, there's no hope for a complete boot.
Also, you'll probably want a POST card, if you don't have one already,
these can be very handy for debugging serial output.

You have to understand, right now I'm working on a PCChips M789CG, which
is a board that we *already* have support for all the chips for. So far,
I've done at least 30 flashes of the BIOS chip, and still haven't gotten
serial output. Getting things exactly right the first time is far from easy.

> That is assuming the board doesnt stall when you try to hotswap the
> chips to reflash.
> I'm not very knowledgable on how linuxbios works exactly when flashing,
> but all these boards have a emergency boot block on them that you can
> access with a floppy drive and it supports ISA videocards also.
> I have one somewhere that I remember works (videocard that is).
> If linuxbios doesnt overwrite the boot block area, that would make
> things a lot easier aswell.

Linuxbios does overwrite the boot block, so dualbios/backup bios/bios
failsafe systems are all useless, for now. In the future, we *may* have
support for dual-bios systems (where there are two physical bios chips
on the board) from vendors like gigabyte, but so far it's been just talk.

> If you feel like it, you could try and make some bare minimum bios for
> me and I will try it out on the board I dislike the most.
> Send me an email if you want to know chip models and such

I already have all the info I need, I'm looking at one of mine right now
;) I don't have the hardware skills to replace the bios though, and I
already have another 440bx development board.


P.S. Sorry if I seem a bit cranky, it's another monday night with no
Heroes :-(

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