[coreboot] building a coreboot (and 100% free software) compatible box
csillag.kristof at gmail.com
Thu Feb 7 09:45:55 CET 2013
Thank you for your answer!
At 2013-02-07 08:05, David Hubbard wrote:
> Hi Csillag,
> I don't have experience with Intel motherboards.
> If this sounds like I'm pushing one specific motherboard, I apologize.
> Rudolf Marek did a great job porting coreboot to the Asus F2A85-M board,
Yeah, I am reading the thread. Congrats there.
> and I bought one. I simply know the most about this board.
> The open source radeon driver performs just fine for this board (as
> you mention below, yes, there is a binary blob).
... and as such, it does not fit the requirements (when used with
> 1.2. It must have hardware support for AES. (For hw crypto
> For AMD that means you want a Bulldozer or Piledriver:
> 1.4. It must have hardware support for virtualization.
> Which specific virtualization features are you interested in?
Everything that is available. What's AMD's equivalent of VT-d called
IOMMU or AMD-Vi ?
> AMD CPUs should all have some virtualization capability. Coreboot +
> virtualization has not been tested on the F2A85-M.
Could you please test it?
> 1.5. It must be able to drive 3 independent display outputs, at
> least in 1920x1200 resolution.
> (Preferably all digital, but that's not necessary.)
> The F2A85-M board has HDMI, DVI-D, and VGA sockets, but only works
> with up to 2 displays. I can confirm that all three sockets work fine
> with the open source radeon driver, and that dual-display works fine.
That's fine, however, since the integrated GPU requires a binary
firmware, it does not fit the requirements.
> ASUS does do 3-display motherboards, just not this one.
Yep. There is a board with the same name & Pro prefix that is like that.
However, that would sill require a binary firmware, so it would not fit
the requirements, therefore, irrelevant.
> I think this means you'll need a discrete graphics card, as you
> mention in 2.1 below. Bitcoin just got ASICs so if you're the type to
> risk a scammer on fleabay, you could score a great deal.
OK, but what graphics card? Both AMD and Nvidia require binary firmwares...
Is there something that does not? (And does 3 displays...)
> 1.6. I must _use_ this, in a production environment, therefore it
> must work. Reliably. Now. I have ~15 yrs Linux programming
> experience, have modified stuff inside the kernel and X drivers,
> and I am not afraid to have my hands dirty, but now I am not here
> to run a hobby project, I want to to buy something that works, so
> that I can do my job using it.
> Great! I understand that completely. The F2A85-M has some linux bugs:
Thank you for the listing!
> 1.6.1. The motherboard realtek r8169 gigabit NIC will lock up the
> system as it gets fully loaded (tested up to kernel 3.7.1). Consider
> picking up a cheap PCI-E NIC and ignore the on-board NIC until the
> bugs are well and truly fixed.
OK, not a problem.
> 1.6.2. The hwmon sensors driver is still a work-in-progress with
> significant bugs. The stock linux kernel doesn't do anything to hwmon,
> which is fine for production use.
Does not care.
> 1.6.3. I'll mention that there is almost no overclocking ability just
> to be complete. The only thing coreboot supports is selecting the
> proper voltage for DDR3 RAM at compile time.
Does not care.
> 2. Would be nice:
> 2.1. It should only use integrated graphics. (Both Intel and AMD
> can do 3 displays from integrated graphics now.) If I must, I
> could add discrete card[s], but that increases power consumption
> and system size...
> Yep, integrated graphics can drive 1920x1200 but only 2 displays.
(With binary firmware -> out of the question.)
> 2.2. Size small enough to be portable. Not planning to use in on
> the move; I mean portable in a (potentially huge) backpack,
> between several sites, where I intend to use them.
> - size of Intel NUC or Thin Mini-ITX mainboard are very cool,
> - Mini ITX is great, too,
> - MicroATX is acceptable
> - ATX seems to be too big, unless you can recommend me a
> really, really small case (with acceptable cooling)
> The F2A85-M is a MicroATX board, for what it's worth.
> 2.3. Modern tech and High CPU performance. Of course :) Whatever
> is available...
> AMD really doesn't have anything that competes with high-end Intel CPUs.
Indeed, this seems to be the case.
> 2.4. Low TDP, for the possibility of quite/silent cooling.
> - definitely under 100W,
> - probably at most 65W,
> - ideally only 45W.
> TDP for a high performance AMD CPU is ~100W.
You mean something like the FX-8300, right?
> I use an aftermarket heatsink and 120mm fan, and if you're willing to
> get a high-end heatsink this board can be silent, even when the CPU
> and GPU are running at 100%.
I could do that, but that would about kill my chances to build this in a
portable size. Oh well.
> Now, if I understand correctly, the both GPU's (intel HD 4000 and
> Radeon HD 7660D) runs on binary firmware blobs.
> I have read about attempts to replace the Intel firmware with an
> open version, but I am not sure where it stands now.
> What are my options here?
> I didn't realize Intel HD 4000 uses a binary blob. That's interesting,
> I'm going to go research that.
I am not exactly sure how the binary part is used; it might be uploaded,
or it might go into the BIOS.
This is the part I was talking about:
Thank you for your help:
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