[coreboot] BIOS Saviour

Peter Stuge peter at stuge.se
Wed Mar 23 20:07:22 CET 2011

Alexandr Frolov wrote:
> BIOS Saviour device
> In my board I have SST49LF080A 8 Mbit, should I use IOSS RD1-LPC8
> which is 8 MBit also?


> The exerimental flash chip is still have to be unplugged to be
> reprogrammed by flash programmer. This makes sense to me only if
> in-circuit reprogramming is used (like 'hot-swap').
> Could anybody share his expeirience with this device? How do you
> use it?

The BIOS Savior contains one soldered flash chip, and one socket for
a second flash chip.

The idea is that you take your original flash chip out of it's socket
on the mainboard and put it in the socket on the BIOS Savior, so that
the BIOS Savior now has two flash chips - and then you plug the BIOS
Savior into the socket on the mainboard.

The switch connected to the BIOS Savior chooses which of the two
flash chips is actually connected to the mainboard.

The factory BIOS stays in the original flash chip and you use the
internal, soldered, flash chip for testing. E.g. flashing coreboot to
it. If there is some problem you flip the switch and boot the system
with the factory BIOS. When the system is started you flip the switch
again to activate the flash chip that could not boot the system
correctly, which you can then erase and rewrite with a tool such as

It is exactly the same as hot swapping, but electrically and
mechanically it is a much more safe and convenient solution.

> Is it still possible to buy?

I believe the BIOS Savior products are no longer being manufactured,
but some resellers may still have stock. I have met the good people
at eksitdata in Sweden, who have a very strong relationship with IOSS
since a long time, so eksitdata is perhaps the most reliable source
of BIOS saviors in this part of the planet.


Unfortunately the RD1-LPC8 is out of stock, which most likely means
that the product is no longer possible to buy anywhere.

But RD1-PMC4 (Top 10 Best Seller #3) is also compatible with your
mainboard, so if it is sufficient for you to use a 4 Mbit (instead of
8 or 16 Mbit) secondary flash chip you could get that instead.

> It seems that manufacturer is out of bussiness now.

I haven't seen much from IOSS lately, but they have been around for a
long time so I would be a little surprised if they suddenly

However, BIOS Saviors are no longer a mass market product, since SPI
flash chips are often soldered on to the mainboard.


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