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Another Older ASUS Board Now Works With Coreboot, Can Be Found Refurbished $50~70

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  • #21
    Originally posted by numacross View Post

    You seem to be under impression that I'm suggesting AMD as a solution for ME and that's not the case.

    While me_cleaner is a useful tool it might void your warranty (depending on your location - whether the EU protections against such warranty terms apply to you) and it is a solution for a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place. AMD refusing open-souring PSP firmware is one of the gripes I have with them too.

    There still is a semi-competitive third player for x86 designs in the form of Zhaoxin. While the details of their platform are scarce they might be interesting to watch especially if they hit their targets for upcoming generations. Intel seems to have ran out of steam while constantly rehashing Skylake, or Sandy Bridge depending how you look at it, and AMD has only recently caught up to them. The situation is looking interesting especially considering ARM cores slowly trying to compete in this space as well.

    There are a few issues here:

    1. Zhaoxin does not provide a comparable platform to either Intel or AMD. There is no readily available supply of ATX/ITX motherboards and packaged CPUs, nor are there laptops. Their wiki states they are more involved in SoC. I do not mean to knock Zhaoxin. I am sure they do well in whatever machines they are used in. However, they do not offer a laptop or desktop platform.
    2. All viable platforms are problematic, or do not ship a ready made platform. ARM for example has its own problems with proprietaryness, and support for PCI-E video cards varies. Onboard GPUs are not as well supported in Linux, and certainly not competitive with nVidia and AMD, and have terrible drive support.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
      AMD PSP can be isolated by using a UEFI option.

      Intel ME is in the chipset, and cannot be truly disabled either for the same reason. You can at most isolate it by removing its modules, or using that switch.

      This is a case of "pick your poison" I guess as there is no clear winner.
      You can still do a *far* better job. Its also been revealed the intel ME has a single bit kill switch for government orders that was recently discovered and added to me_cleaner.

      Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post

      If you go the Intel route make sure you got a SPI flash programmer and possibly a 1.8V adapter to work with it on low-power SPI chips (in case the one on your board is low-power).

      Also having hot air smd rework station does not hurt, as in many cases you can't flash them while soldered on the board with just a SOIC clip.
      Not even. ch341a readers can be had for under 10 bux on ebay, and work with flashrom. https://www.amazon.com/Gikfun-Progra...eywords=ch341a

      For my motherboard, the bios chip was clearly marked, and socketed for easy removal. I was also able to chase down a duplicate chip for another 10 bux. $20USD total. download manufactures bios image, extract it with another Free Software tool, and then flash to external chip on read, power off, swap and power back on. Easy.

      Many times physical swaps aren't even necessary because SPI is a standard, flashrom --programmer internal also works just fine. Even if not, there are all kinds of adapter clips you can use to flash in place without a desolder for laptop boards. Again on Amazon generally get recommended as a combo.

      https://www.amazon.com/Signstek-SOIC...XFKQKV4CYEYT5Y

      Amazon even offers you a special to buy both for $20.

      AMD offers you an option to "turn off" PSP, but its not really off

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      • #23
        Originally posted by GI_Jack View Post
        You can still do a *far* better job. Its also been revealed the intel ME has a single bit kill switch for government orders that was recently discovered and added to me_cleaner.
        And it still only shuts down additional stuff and isolates the ME.
        It does what the me_cleaner does but in a more clean and gentle way (by asking it gently to disable communications), but Intel systems can't run without the core ME as it does serve other functions like power management.

        I personally don't trust a switch and prefer to erase the actual modules.

        Not even. ch341a readers can be had for under 10 bux on ebay, and work with flashrom.
        The big question is if Flashrom can recognize and write the chip successfully. One of the reasons I upgraded to a Coright SkyPro is that the control software actually knows a lot more chips than flashrom (and is updated relatively regularly), while costing 30 euros. Yeah it is of course Windows-only but it runs also in Windows 10 too.

        Also be aware that chips requiring 1.8 volts exist and are in use, you will burn them with the 3.3-5.5 volts out of the average SPI flasher. ALWAYS check the datasheet and get a 3.3-to-1.8v adapter if needed (cheap and plentiful on ebay).

        The software of my SkyPro allows me to search with the name of the chip in its database and then tells me the pinout and if it is 1.8v or not (i.e. if I need an adapter).

        For my motherboard, the bios chip was clearly marked, and socketed for easy removal. I was also able to chase down a duplicate chip for another 10 bux. $20USD total. download manufactures bios image, extract it with another Free Software tool, and then flash to external chip on read, power off, swap and power back on. Easy.
        Yeah, this worked for BIOS. Afaik most UEFI firmwares aren't usually shipped as a full dump flashable directly from first block to last, they are usually supposed to be flashed to specific regions.

        For example many UEFI firmwares in laptops have a "bootblock" feature that allows them to initiate some kind of emergency firmware reflash from a specially prepared USB drive, and this feature OF COURSE requires the firmware to never overwrite this "bootblock" part when updating the firmware (so that in case of bad flash this "bootblock" can still be available).

        I usually just make a copy of the stock chip, and if I'm working on a laptop whose chip was hosed so I can't do that I pay the grand sum of 10$ to a german shop that actually specializes on that (can be found on ebay or by googling) and sends me the flashed chip.

        Many times physical swaps aren't even necessary because SPI is a standard,
        Yes it is, but it's not what you think it is.
        SPI is a bus, like for example USB.
        I can use SPI to communicate with screens or sensors or even ethernet controllers (on an Arduino for example), actually operating the flash chip is another thing.

        Many chips don't like being treated like a "generic SPI chip", see flashrom's source on what info they need to operate successfully on each of these "&$%$%%£ things https://review.coreboot.org/cgit/fla...e/flashchips.c
        If they don't get that, it's likely it will use the chip wrong or not even detect it.

        Flashrom can operate chips that conform to "Serial Flash Discoverable Parameters" or SFDP standard https://www.jedec.org/standards-documents/docs/jesd216b which is what you thought the SPI is (and is indeed a great thing, the chip can be interrogated and will provide the info required to then operate it), but it's still not that popular.

        flashrom --programmer internal also works just fine.
        Assuming it knows the chip, and that it can operate the internal flasher. Usually it can use the internal flasher, but sometimes it doesn't. There is also a sizeable list of unsupported mobos in the flashrom wiki.

        Even if not, there are all kinds of adapter clips
        That don't fucking work on so many laptops because the board was designed to prevent it (by pulling low/high a reset pin or read-only pin if you are injecting voltage to power up the chip with a clip while the rest of the system is shut down).

        AMD offers you an option to "turn off" PSP, but its not really off
        As said above, it's isolated, the UEFI drivers used to communicate with it are not loaded, so any access to it becomes impossible.
        You cannot turn it off just as you can't turn of Intel ME.

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by Th3Fanbus View Post
          As the one who worked on this board, I have to say this is completely nonsense:
          - This board is not 11 years old. It is at most 7 years old, since it has a B3 revision chipset (http://event.asus.com/2011/mb/Identify_B3_Motherboards/).
          - Booting from USB drives works fine with both SeaBIOS and Tianocore.
          - Audio channels do not fail like that. And it has been tested.
          - The board I have has two PCI-E X16 slots in size, the first one works as X16 properly and the second one runs as X1 even with the original BIOS (hardware does not have more PCI-E lines, it is also present on the mainboard specs page: https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8...pecifications/).
          - S3 sleep is working properly and the CMOS does not reset just because the computer goes in and out of S3.
          - The onboard video works well with both libgfxinit and a VBIOS.
          I'm sorry, I think you misunderstood my comment.

          I was not referring to your coreboot port for this board.

          I was making a joke that articles about coreboot ports usually have a long list of caveats, like those I listed, but my point was that this one does not have such list.

          Thank you for your work.

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
            And it still only shuts down additional stuff and isolates the ME.
            It does what the me_cleaner does but in a more clean and gentle way (by asking it gently to disable communications), but Intel systems can't run without the core ME as it does serve other functions like power management.

            I personally don't trust a switch and prefer to erase the actual modules.

            The big question is if Flashrom can recognize and write the chip successfully. One of the reasons I upgraded to a Coright SkyPro is that the control software actually knows a lot more chips than flashrom (and is updated relatively regularly), while costing 30 euros. Yeah it is of course Windows-only but it runs also in Windows 10 too.

            Also be aware that chips requiring 1.8 volts exist and are in use, you will burn them with the 3.3-5.5 volts out of the average SPI flasher. ALWAYS check the datasheet and get a 3.3-to-1.8v adapter if needed (cheap and plentiful on ebay).

            The software of my SkyPro allows me to search with the name of the chip in its database and then tells me the pinout and if it is 1.8v or not (i.e. if I need an adapter).

            Yeah, this worked for BIOS. Afaik most UEFI firmwares aren't usually shipped as a full dump flashable directly from first block to last, they are usually supposed to be flashed to specific regions.

            For example many UEFI firmwares in laptops have a "bootblock" feature that allows them to initiate some kind of emergency firmware reflash from a specially prepared USB drive, and this feature OF COURSE requires the firmware to never overwrite this "bootblock" part when updating the firmware (so that in case of bad flash this "bootblock" can still be available).

            I usually just make a copy of the stock chip, and if I'm working on a laptop whose chip was hosed so I can't do that I pay the grand sum of 10$ to a german shop that actually specializes on that (can be found on ebay or by googling) and sends me the flashed chip.

            Yes it is, but it's not what you think it is.
            SPI is a bus, like for example USB.
            I can use SPI to communicate with screens or sensors or even ethernet controllers (on an Arduino for example), actually operating the flash chip is another thing.

            Many chips don't like being treated like a "generic SPI chip", see flashrom's source on what info they need to operate successfully on each of these "&$%$%%£ things https://review.coreboot.org/cgit/fla...e/flashchips.c
            If they don't get that, it's likely it will use the chip wrong or not even detect it.

            Flashrom can operate chips that conform to "Serial Flash Discoverable Parameters" or SFDP standard https://www.jedec.org/standards-documents/docs/jesd216b which is what you thought the SPI is (and is indeed a great thing, the chip can be interrogated and will provide the info required to then operate it), but it's still not that popular.

            Assuming it knows the chip, and that it can operate the internal flasher. Usually it can use the internal flasher, but sometimes it doesn't. There is also a sizeable list of unsupported mobos in the flashrom wiki.

            That don't fucking work on so many laptops because the board was designed to prevent it (by pulling low/high a reset pin or read-only pin if you are injecting voltage to power up the chip with a clip while the rest of the system is shut down).

            As said above, it's isolated, the UEFI drivers used to communicate with it are not loaded, so any access to it becomes impossible.
            You cannot turn it off just as you can't turn of Intel ME.
            That said. My motherboard was as easy as buying a cheap replacement memory chip for the firmware. Downloading the latest firmware from the manufacture website, decapulating it with one programing, using me_cleaner to create an ME crippled version, using a $10 writer to burn the image to the new memory chip, and the physically swapping them with a $2 puller.

            Comment

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