Open-Source Firmware For The MSI Alder Lake Motherboard Taking Shape
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 11 May 2022 at 03:00 AM EDT. 11 Comments
HARDWARE --
Last month was the surprising news of open-source Coreboot working on a readily available Intel Alder Lake motherboard. That work for the MSI PRO Z690-A WiFi DDR4 motherboard is being carried out by independent firmware consulting firm 3mdeb and using the Dasharo open-source firmware distribution with Coreboot.

This is a very promising effort since many of the open-source firmware ports for modern motherboards tend to just be for Google Chromebooks, various software development vehicles / reference platforms not generally available, or more niche platforms like Raptor's POWER9 offerings. And then the open-source firmware solutions for desktop motherboards that are available in retail channels tend to be for decade old (or longer) products and far out of date for performance and features.

3mdeb has been focused on the MSI PRO Z690-A WiFi DDR4 motherboard for their current Dasharo efforts. It's great with this being a current-generation Intel Alder Lake motherboard and supporting a robust set of hardware features and available easily from major Internet retailers for around $230 USD. It's pretty much a dream come true after tracking this space for so many years.


On Tuesday they announced their v0.3 release with more functionality working and things looking on the up-and-up.

The v0.3.0 release of Dasharo for the MSI PRO Z690-A WiFi DDR4 now has added TPM support, memory HCL, UEFI Secure Boot, measured boot, and support for custom boot menu keys. There are also configurations added/updated around the CPU VR, PCH FIVR, and PCI Subsystem ID.

This open-source firmware is progressing steadily though there are known issues of USB storage devices disappearing after reboot / power cycling and some PCI Express ports are not currently working.

There are binaries publicly available for this current port and can be easily flashed by users using Flashrom. The original BIOS can also be re-flashed using Flashrom as well should you want to switch back. Learn more about this exciting open-source firmware effort at Dasharo.com.


The state of this effort is far enough along that I have ordered a MSI PRO Z690-A WiFi DDR4 for Dasharo/Coreboot use... Stay tuned for my initial thoughts next week.
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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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