Board:lenovo/x201: Difference between revisions

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* To find exactly where it's divided run that command(the example below is on another laptop):
* To find exactly where it's divided run that command:
  [root@x201 ~]# flashrom -r bios.bin -pinternal:laptop=force_I_want_a_brick
  [root@x201 ~]# flashrom -r bios.bin -pinternal:laptop=force_I_want_a_brick
  flashrom v0.9.6.1-r1563 on Linux 3.10-1-grml-amd64 (x86_64)
  flashrom v0.9.6.1-r1563 on Linux 3.10-1-grml-amd64 (x86_64)

Revision as of 20:01, 20 December 2013


Thanks for your interest in Lenovo X201 port. Issues:

  • suspend to RAM (S3) currently fails.
  • No expresscard hotplug
  • Sometimes Gnome starts to think that battery is 10 time larger than real

Information from sysfs remains correct.

  • On my X201 there due to recent hardware failure thermal management doesn't

work with either coreboot or original BIOS. Before this hardware fault happened thermal management worked under coreboot as well. Tested:

  • RAM module combinations of 4G+4G, 4G, 2G+2G,4G+2G, 2G
  • USB
  • Video (both internal and VGA)
  • Expresscard slot
  • Sound
  • LAN
  • mini-PCIe slots (both wlan and wwan)
  • Linux (through GRUB-as-payload)
  • Windows (through GRUB-as-payload loading SeaBIOS image from disk)
  • SD card slot
  • Thermal management

Not tested:

  • Modem

proprietary components status

  • CPU Microcode (optional)
  • VGA option rom (optional): you need it if you wantgraphics in SeaBIOS but most payloads should work without it (text mode)
  • ME(Management Engine) => you do not have to touch it(just leave it where it is)
  • EC(Embedded Controller) => you do not have to touch it(just leave it where it is)


 $ git clone


Flash in X201 is divided roughly in 4 parts:

  • Descriptor (12K)
  • ME firmware (5M-12K)
  • Rewriteable flash (3M-96K)
  • Locked bootblock (96K)

Descriptor and bootblock are read-only. ME firmware is not readable. Rewriteable region can be rewritten easily with flashrom.

For coreboot we need to preserve descriptor and ME firmware while overwriting rewriteable region and bootblock. To achieve this there are 2 ways:

  • External flasher.
  • Unlock bootblock

For the first one proceeds as follows:

  • Turn off your laptop, remove battery and AC adapter.
  • Remove the keyboard.
  • Connect your external SPI flasher to the SPI chip which is under keyboard,

around the position of trackpoint under protective layer.

under the keyboard
The flash chip

I recommend using SOIC clip. Depending on the flasher you use, you may have to use separate 3.3V source. Make sure not to feed more than 3.3V ot the chip. I used buspirate as flasher and 3.3V power lines from another computer. The pinout is as follows, the colors are buspirate colors

 ===  front (display) ====
 3.3V (red)   N/C          violet (CLK)  MOSI (gray)
      |        |             |              |
 dot  |        |             |              |
 CS (white)   MISO (black) N/C           ground (brown)
 ===  back (touchpad) ===
  • Read the flash. Twice. Compare the files to be sure. Save a copy of it on

external media.

  • Recover descriptor and me firmare:
 dd if=flash.bin of=coreboot/3rdparty/mainboard/lenovo/x201/descriptor.bin \
   count=12288 bs=1M iflag=count_bytes
 dd if=flash.bin of=coreboot/3rdparty/mainboard/lenovo/x201/me.bin \
   skip=12288 count=5230592 bs=1M iflag=count_bytes
  • Compile coreboot
  • Flash the resulting build/coreboot.rom

The other way has never been successfully used but it's known that the locking mechanism is in bootblock itself and that original firmware has a way to update it as follows:

  • Flash an update of rewriteable region. On next boot bootblock parses the

image and sees that it contains a compressed copy of new bootblock. That copy is uncompressed and flashed. A way to unlock the bootblock would be to modify a firmware update to have a copy of bootblock without protection. For this you need to compress the modified block to fit into original space. The compression used is Lempel-Ziv- Huffman variant. I've written a compressor for it but unfortunately it's not performant enough.

  • To find exactly where it's divided run that command:
[root@x201 ~]# flashrom -r bios.bin -pinternal:laptop=force_I_want_a_brick
flashrom v0.9.6.1-r1563 on Linux 3.10-1-grml-amd64 (x86_64)
flashrom is free software, get the source code at

Calibrating delay loop... OK.
Found chipset "Intel QM57". Enabling flash write... WARNING: SPI Configuration Lockdown activated.
FREG0: WARNING: Flash Descriptor region (0x00000000-0x00000fff) is read-only.
FREG2: WARNING: Management Engine region (0x00003000-0x004fffff) is locked.
PR0: WARNING: 0x007d0000-0x01ffffff is read-only.
Please send a verbose log to if this board is not listed on yet.
Writes have been disabled. You can enforce write support with the
ich_spi_force programmer option, but it will most likely harm your hardware!
If you force flashrom you will get no support if something breaks.
Found Macronix flash chip "MX25L6405" (8192 kB, SPI) at physical address 0xff800000.
Reading flash... FAILED.

it will print the ME regions:

FREG2: WARNING: Management Engine region (0x00003000-0x004fffff) is locked.

it will also print the chip:

Found Macronix flash chip "MX25L6405" (8192 kB, SPI) at physical address 0xff800000.

But as in this case, flashrom might misidentify the chip, this output is from this MX25L6445E

visually verify your chip's part number and find an appropriate datasheet

=>verify that its voltage matches with the programmer voltage...

  • Then man flashrom says:
       -l, --layout <file>
              Read ROM layout from <file>.

              flashrom  supports  ROM  layouts. This allows you to flash certain parts of the flash chip only. A ROM layout file contains multiple lines with the following

                startaddr:endaddr imagename

              startaddr and endaddr are hexadecimal addresses within the ROM file and do not refer to any physical address. Please note that using a 0x  prefix  for  those
              hexadecimal  numbers  is  not necessary, but you can't specify decimal/octal numbers.  imagename is an arbitrary name for the region/image from  startaddr to
              endaddr (both addresses included).


                00000000:00008fff gfxrom
                00009000:0003ffff normal
                00040000:0007ffff fallback

              If you only want to update the image named normal in a ROM based on the layout above, run

                flashrom -p prog --layout rom.layout --image normal -w some.rom

              To update only the images named normal and fallback, run:

                flashrom -p prog -l rom.layout -i normal -i fallback -w some.rom

              Overlapping sections are not supported.