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 NCR SDMS BIOS upgrade on Plato motherboard
I have an Intel Plato motherboard running AMI BIOS 1.00.13.AX1 and NCR
SDMS BIOS 3.00.07.  I'd like to upgrade the latter to 3.07.00 (the
current rev), but the flash upgrade doesn't do it.

I tried to use debug to write the new BIOS image into what I hoped was
flash RAM at c800:0, with no luck (debug said "insufficient memory")
(and further, note that I did back up the 3.00.07 image first).  It
didn't particularly surprise me that it failed, since it's quite
likely that simply writing to flash memory isn't enough to program it,
although "insufficient memory" seems a strange error.

I'd like to upgrade this, since Symbios (formerly NCR) claims that
this will improve my DOS/Windows performance and allegedly this
upgrade will make it possible to hang a tape drive off my NCR 53C810
SCSI adapter (if I could do this, I could back up my entire system,
including DOS/Windows, from Linux using a nonproprietary backup
system).

Has anyone succeeded in doing this?
--
Robert Krawitz <r...@tiac.net>

Member of the League for Programming Freedom -- mail l...@uunet.uu.net
Tall Clubs International  --  tci-requ...@think.com or 1-800-521-2512



 Tue, 03 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT   
 NCR SDMS BIOS upgrade on Plato motherboard
: I have an Intel Plato motherboard running AMI BIOS 1.00.13.AX1 and NCR
: SDMS BIOS 3.00.07.  I'd like to upgrade the latter to 3.07.00 (the
: current rev), but the flash upgrade doesn't do it.
[snip snip]

Gee, this is a recurring thread here.  I remember starting it a while
ago and getting absolutely nothing but blank stares from everyone at
Intel.

: Has anyone succeeded in doing this?

Nope.  I'll give you a hint though.  They use some sort of encryption
(looks horribly weak) on their BIOS files so it's impossible to just
patch in the new SDMS BIOS on their upgrade files.

Intel is _not_ cooperative in the _least_ with this problem.  I have a
Plato MB that has a marginal or bad cache that they've given me nothing
short of _hell_ for trying to get replaced.  Well, it's either that or
the old SDMS version I have.  (Errors only occur during disk access.)
I just gave up on that and scratched it up as a loss.  No more Intel
products that I can avoid, thank you very much.

I was going to work on reverse engineering the whole flash thing but I
haven't got the time it seems.

Good luck.

Chris



 Sat, 07 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT   
 NCR SDMS BIOS upgrade on Plato motherboard
In article <41e7pp$...@jingoro.prevmed.sunysb.edu> cfann...@jingoro.prevmed.sunysb.edu (Chris Fanning) writes:

   Robert Krawitz (r...@laraby.tiac.net) wrote:
   : I have an Intel Plato motherboard running AMI BIOS 1.00.13.AX1 and NCR
   : SDMS BIOS 3.00.07.  I'd like to upgrade the latter to 3.07.00 (the
   : current rev), but the flash upgrade doesn't do it.
   [snip snip]

   Gee, this is a recurring thread here.  I remember starting it a while
   ago and getting absolutely nothing but blank stares from everyone at
   Intel.

I get nonsense like "We have no plans on releasing a new version..."
blah blah blah.  I told them I'm not interested in what they release,
I just want to patch MY motherboard.  I'm not holding my breath for a
response.

I'm REALLY getting fed up with this runaround I'm getting between
Symbios and Intel.  Symbios's position seems a bit more reasonable
(after all, they can't control what motherboard vendors do).  If Intel
and Symbios/NCR had a falling out, I don't want to be the one getting
the shaft.

I understand Asus makes some fine motherboards, and their web site
even includes the current SDMS BIOS along with instructions on how to
merge it in.  Perhaps I should spring for a new motherboard (which
wouldn't have the silly RZ1000 bogosity).  Intel support, do you even
bother listening to your customers?  Or is the retail market something
you don't care about?

   : Has anyone succeeded in doing this?

   Nope.  I'll give you a hint though.  They use some sort of encryption
   (looks horribly weak) on their BIOS files so it's impossible to just
   patch in the new SDMS BIOS on their upgrade files.

I've noticed there's something a bit odd about their BIOS files.

   Intel is _not_ cooperative in the _least_ with this problem.  I have a
   Plato MB that has a marginal or bad cache that they've given me nothing
   short of _hell_ for trying to get replaced.  Well, it's either that or
   the old SDMS version I have.  (Errors only occur during disk access.)
   I just gave up on that and scratched it up as a loss.  No more Intel
   products that I can avoid, thank you very much.

   I was going to work on reverse engineering the whole flash thing but I
   haven't got the time it seems.

I'd gladly help out to the extent I could with this project.  Maybe
it's time to crank up the ol' disassembler on fmup.
--
Robert Krawitz <r...@tiac.net>

Member of the League for Programming Freedom -- mail l...@uunet.uu.net
Tall Clubs International  --  tci-requ...@think.com or 1-800-521-2512



 Sun, 08 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT   
 NCR SDMS BIOS upgrade on Plato motherboard
: In article <41e7pp$...@jingoro.prevmed.sunysb.edu> cfann...@jingoro.prevmed.sunysb.edu (Chris Fanning) writes:

: I understand Asus makes some fine motherboards, and their web site
: even includes the current SDMS BIOS along with instructions on how to
: merge it in.  Perhaps I should spring for a new motherboard (which
: wouldn't have the silly RZ1000 bogosity).  Intel support, do you even
: bother listening to your customers?  Or is the retail market something
: you don't care about?

Just out of curiosity do you know if American Megatrends has a similar web
site so that I can upgrade my bios? If so leave me some mail!!

Thanks,
Chris
________________________________________________________________________________
What? Me Worry?
Linux Inside
chir...@Lamar.ColoState.Edu
r...@Allison120.Halls.Colostate.Edu



 Sun, 08 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT   
 NCR SDMS BIOS upgrade on Plato motherboard
: I get nonsense like "We have no plans on releasing a new version..."
: blah blah blah.  I told them I'm not interested in what they release,
: I just want to patch MY motherboard.  I'm not holding my breath for a
: response.

: I'm REALLY getting fed up with this runaround I'm getting between
: Symbios and Intel.  Symbios's position seems a bit more reasonable
: (after all, they can't control what motherboard vendors do).  If Intel
: and Symbios/NCR had a falling out, I don't want to be the one getting
: the shaft.

Well, Symbios (AT&T, NCR, whatever they're calling themselves right now)
can't write flash update programs for every motherboard.  That's silly.
However, they do make the BIOS available freely for download.  If Intel
didn't have a braindead update program or braindead policy which requires
them to encrypt the BIOS, this wouldn't be a problem.  You could just
patch in the SDMS BIOS into the Intel update.  But, noooo.  And, Intel
won't tell anyone how the BIOS updates are encrypted, that would defeat
the purpose of encryption!  Duh.

: I understand Asus makes some fine motherboards, and their web site
: even includes the current SDMS BIOS along with instructions on how to
: merge it in.  Perhaps I should spring for a new motherboard (which
: wouldn't have the silly RZ1000 bogosity).  Intel support, do you even
: bother listening to your customers?  Or is the retail market something
: you don't care about?

No, they don't care about the retail market.  These motherboards are
sold to OEMs.  Intel only wants to sell to large companies which will
support the product so they don't have to.  Remember the Pentium fiasco?
This is exactly what happened.  They quickly had to realize that THEIR
name was on the BigExpensiveChipWithTheBug(tm).

End user support is something Intel wants to avoid.  It costs a lot of
money.

: I'd gladly help out to the extent I could with this project.  Maybe
: it's time to crank up the ol' disassembler on fmup.

I'd love to tackle this, but I just really don't have the time
unforunately.  I started, and have all of the flash BIOS header information
in a file somewhere I can dig up.  My next step was to tackle their
weak encryption either through a de{*filter*}/disassembler or just looking at
and analyzing it.  There doesn't appear to be a key, it looks like an
identity.  Maybe something along the lines of: add 76 to a byte and XOR
it with the value of the byte before it.  This is most telling when you
see large areas of 00's in memory and the corresponding area in the BIOS
file is filled with FF's (or some other value I forget).

My solution is going to be buying an ASUS or SuperMicro (depending on
what their support looks like) motheboard.  Intel makes a great motherboard
if you're happy with the current features and bugs.  Be _very_ careful
when buying an Intel product.  Make sure you know everything about it
and can happily live with all of the bugs in the hardware and software.

In fact, I'm interested in the Opti Viper chipset since Intel seems to
be abandoning parity memory.  Intel seems to be saying, "Either you have
a server and need ECC memory or your data just isn't important." with
their Triton and Triton II chipsets.

Ah well, just had to vent my disgust with Intel's direction.

Chris



 Tue, 10 Feb 1998 03:00:00 GMT   
 
   [ 5 post ] 

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