Dasharo 1.0 Open-Source Firmware Released For MSI Alder Lake Motherboard

Written by Michael Larabel in Coreboot on 15 June 2022 at 06:00 AM EDT. 3 Comments
Earlier this year the folks at firmware consulting firm 3mdeb announced a open-source Coreboot port to a retail Intel Alder Lake motherboard. It's very exciting since outside of Chromebooks, IHV reference boards, and custom server platforms at hyperscalers, it's still rare to find Coreboot support on modern, retail boards. That "Dasharo" open-source firmware effort for the MSI Z690-A WiFi DDR4 has come together nicely over a matter of weeks and the developers are now celebrating their v1.0 release.

The Dasharo v1.0 release for the MSI Z690-A WiFi DDR4 comes with the motherboard port effectively nearing the point of completion. The v1.0.0 release of this Dasharo Coreboot-based port was issued on 10 June and they are now working on their final phase of upstreaming and bug fixing the code.

Last month I bought the MSI Alder Lake board now supported by this Dasharo firmware... Now just to find the time to assemble a test system. I'll try to get that done in the coming days given the v1.0 release, so stay tuned for my usability/performance report.

This open-source firmware can be flashed onto the MSI Z690-A WiFi DDR4 retail motherboard via Flashrom (and there is the ability to move back to the proprietary BIOS if necessary later on), but 3mdeb also looks like they'll be offering up flashed offerings via their 3mdeb shop.

Per the documentation, the v1.0.0 release fixes the fTPM not working, TPM physical presence interface support introduced, and there is serial number and UUID support added to CBFS.

All of the standard functionality of the motherboard should be working with this open-source firmware, but worth noting is so far they have tested a limited number of different DDR4 DIMMs and Alder Lake CPU models. So your mileage may vary.

While the focus is on open-source firmware, there does remain the Intel FSP binaries that are needed as part of the Dasharo BIOS as well as the CPU microcode blob. Unfortunately this is a limitation with all newer Intel motherboards on Coreboot.
Benchmark Result

I'll be carrying out performance benchmarks and compatibility tests on the Dasharo v1.0 firmware with the MSI motherboard once I get the system assembled. In the meantime, the folks at Vikings Libre did publicly post some Dasharo benchmarks against the vendor BIOS. In their benchmarks they found the Dasharo open-source firmware with this system built around an Intel Core i9 12900K to be quite competitive in most areas.

Great job to the folks at 3mdeb for making this open-source firmware solution for a modern, widely-available desktop retail motherboard a reality!
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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