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Messages - mtothaj

1
Quote from: 429076 on June 20, 2017, 01:57:10 am
Hi everyone. I've tried this image and it works. Thanks for the image.
I've started with z800 rev 002 stock BIOS chip, not working with 56xx processors. Tried to flash it in place (without any soldering). And I've got interesting result - I am able to erase the chip, but can't write new image to it.
So the BIOS was spoiled and I proceeded with the long way. I've unsoldered the chip and tried to flash it separately, but it was still read only (or maybe I've had some issues with my programmer). I've had some new spare chips, and flashed the image to new one without any errors. And now motherboard boots with 56xx processors, and has new boot block.


Congratulations on a succesfull boot block upgrade.
it is also my understanding / experience that certain regions of the stock bios HP bios chips have write protect enabled at the bios chip level during the course of the original factory programming. Thus, even with an unlocked descriptor and the relevant jumpers on the board in place attempting to write to the stock HP bios chip usally throws up an error at c.a. 25-30% progress bricking the machine in he proces. For this reason replacing the bios chip is the only viable option I am aware off to change the bootblock.
2
Hardware projects / Re: Z420 BIOS mod
May 11, 2017, 08:30:06 am
Quote from: Helgaiden on May 10, 2017, 04:31:59 pm
Ah, interesting info. What do you mean by asking the config of the Z620? Currently the mobo isn't sitting in anything, but the original plan was to use it with a single E5-1620 or 1650 (probably the 1650) as a secondary workstation in a standard ATX case.


If you got a 2013 bootblock machine or can modify your bios to go from 2011 to 2013 bootblock also have a look at the E5-1650 v2. While both the E5-1650 v1 and E5-1650 v2 have unlocked multipliers, in the case of the HP Z420 I found that with the E5-1650 v2 it was possible to change core ratio multiplier in Intel XTU.
In effect, I had a rock stable system running 4.0Ghz on all 6 cores. It was possible to push the CPU even further however with this type of software overclock one has very limited tweaking options, and that was the reason why I switched to a Asus P9X79 PRO board - currently running 4.4Ghz on all 6 cores at 1.3V
Obviously whether you decide / need to overclock is entierely up to you, just giving the heads up that this is possible.
3
Hardware projects / Re: Z420 BIOS mod
May 05, 2017, 11:14:17 pm
Quote from: Helgaiden on May 03, 2017, 04:12:17 pm
Quote from: mtothaj on April 25, 2017, 06:15:18 am
Quote from: Helgaiden on April 19, 2017, 02:37:35 pm
I posted a thread regarding modding the Z420/Z620 BIOS over on bios-mods.com, but to bypass the "press f1 to boot" issue. I hate to thread hijack but just wanted to throw it out there since this is on topic of modding that BIOS, do y'all think thats possible or doable? Thanks.


What is the reason you are getting the F1 prompts? If it is unplugged cables, you should be able to ground out the connections.

As for the bios it might be possible to unlock more bios menus / settings. I have looked at the Z420 bios by opening it with UEFI tool and extracting the IFR of the setup module - it seems to contain two sets of menus: HP menus and standard AMI menus. It might be possible to unlock the latter - there are various descriptions / guides on how to do this on bios modding forums. The challenge however would be flashing the contents back - mostl likely would have to be done from within the bios or if all else fails using an external programmer.
I have since sold my Z420 so unable to do any testing myself.


I wish it was that simple. The F1 prompts are because i have the Z620 motherboard in a standard case, and thus nothing is plugged into the rear fan header or the memory fan header. The rear fan header is 6 pin and if i plug a fan into the top 3 pins, one of the fan errors on bootup goes away but plugging another fan into the remaining 3 pins doesn't do anything, so it isn't exactly two 3 pin headers side by side. Some research on this showed that someone tried grounding the sense pin there, but the error didn't go away so im not sure what to make of that. The memory fan 6 pin connector on the mobo? That one i have no clue. I cant find a pinout, so i dont know which is the sense pin to try to bypass the error with.

As far as the BIOS modding stuff goes, yes as far as im aware the big issue is the encryption when trying to flash a modded BIOS back on. Thats a very interesting development in that it has the standard AMI menus hidden, but i've found 0 resources on modding this BIOS online. My thread on bios-mods.com has zero responses as well. Something tells me it isnt so easy to mod this BIOS. If you think you can pull that off, i could be swayed to send you my board to figure it out with.


Extracting the setup module from within the Z420 / Z620 bios shows we have the following menus available:


                                   Form Sets
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Offset:      Title:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0xA5A6B      Main (0xA)
0xA8E6A      Advanced (0x20)
0xAC476      Chipset (0x22)
0xAD55D      Boot (0x24)
0xAE5B8      Security (0x3F)
0xAF329      Save & Exit (0x53)
0xAFB64      File (0x6F)
0xB03AA      Storage (0x85)
0xB1E1A      Security (0x3F)
0xB4CDC      Power (0xAE)
0xB570B      Advanced (0x20)

So there are 2 sets of menus - first 6 items are the locked AMI menus and the next 5 items is the standard HP menu. These are turned of using ""Suppress If:" There are some good guides available on how to unlock these hidden menus however not HP specific and I don't have the links available since I migrated to a new board.
As for flashing modified bioses to an extent it is possible from within the actual bios by just using the rom file. If something does not go to plan boot block recovery is always an option.

PS. What is the config of your Z620?
4
Quote from: msilveira on April 28, 2017, 08:02:33 pm
Hi mtohaj!
I spent some more time thinking about this and I think you're right.
About board revisions, of course it will impact in the chances of success of the bootblock upgrade.
I read somewhere ( not sure if in the topic I mentioned ) about "creating" a bios file, using the last 64k from a new bios release ( that's the boot block ) on top of a dump of the board bios dump.
I think it's the way to go on the "What file should I burn to the bios chip?"  matter. Using dd in Linux or BSD is easy to do it ( seek / skip ).

Nice to know about the jumpers and project differences between zx00 an zx20 platforms ( those pretty black boxes ).

Well, I know my stuff and I know my odds. Don't mind me, I'm an old geek and I like getting my hands dirty.
eg: I've never looked into flash memory WP feature, this journey led me to learn about it  :D

I have to wait about two more weeks before I get my hands on some CPUs and memory modules ( I'll borrow the cheapest ones from a customer's future leftovers ). As sonn as I get these, I'll check if the board is OK before I mess with it. And then I'll decide about the PSU.

I remember the times when we used to build our 486 system, It worked like a charm on the bench, state of the art VLB IDE controller, S3 video card... then you get it back to your desktop and bang: it didn't boot or just kept beeping.
Wasn't it like that?  ;D

Again, thanks for the info !


For the Z420 / 620, the easiest approach is to simply download the latest bios from HP website (v.3.91 as of now), open it in hex editor and in line offset 00001000 put in your mac address (00 - 05). This will give you latest bios, ME firmware and  bootblock, and the bios will have your MAC address hardcoded. Then just flash that to the bios chip.

If one wants an additional refinement you can also add the NVMe support module NvmExpressDxE_2 by following this guide: http://www.win-raid.com/t871f16-Guide-How-to-get-full-NVMe-support-for-all-Systems-with-an-AMI-UEFI-BIOS.html

Or to make things easy just use this bios file (already includes the NVMe module) and edit the MAC address before flashing: https://uploadfiles.io/y0zyf

For the Z800 things are somewhat more complicated since it is not a UEFI bios so you cannot use e.g. UEFI Tool. However, I would do as follows:
- dump your original bios from the chip, using your chip clip and programmer
- using a hex editor find the location / hex address of your MAC address in the file you dumped
- then follow the above procedure - download the latest bios from HP, add your MAC address in the location you found above and flash it to the chip. This is IMHO the easiest way to get a consistent / coherent latest bios.

You probably already know this, but when flashing with the chip clip disconnect all power from the board - mother board and CPU connectors and remove the CMOS battery. If you are still having problems it sometimes helps by disconnecting the power / VCC pin from the bios chip, so the programmer is not trying to power the whole board.
5
Quote from: msilveira on April 14, 2017, 10:35:51 pm
I hope this is my last post before I get my hands on the board!

According to this thread: http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Business-PCs-Workstations-and-Point-of-Sale-Systems/z820-e5-2600-v2-ivy-bridge-upgrade/td-p/5086052/page/7 , there's hope:

"I was pretty excited when I was able to dump the Descriptor section from my bios using FPT to a file desc.bin (fpt.exe -desc -d desc.bios). The result is a 4kb file. Then, using Intel Flash Image Tool (FITC) I edited Decriptor Region \ Master Access Section to remove the read / write locks. A problem however arouse on the last hurdle - flashing back the modified descriptor to the bios (fpt -desc -f desc.bin) as FPT reports that 'host CPU does not have write access to the target flash region'. It suggests modifing the descriptor settings (clearly just tried that with no success) to give host access to this region."

here
https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Business-PCs-Workstations-and-Point-of-Sale-Systems/Z440-640-840-is-there-a-boot-block-issue-like-in-the-Zx20/td-p/5895487


I am the author of the post you quoted. Bear in mind that that discussion was pertaining to the Zx20. I have very little knowledge of the Zx00 platform, however do recall that the board itself underwent some revision during its lifetime (4 RAM slots and then 6 RAM slots) + supposedly some chipset changes so I can not comment whether just the changing the boot block will suffice in terms or running the newer processors.

As for the Zx20 and perhpas also the Zx00 there is a method of unlocking the descriptor - you need to connect / short pins 1 and 5 on the sound chip with a 1k ohm resistor during POST. THe board will be in debug mode until reset allowing you to fully dump your bios and to write to the descriptor and with the various jumpers (boot block, me) in place to the rest of the bios. Just bear in mind that it is VERY EASY to end up with a brick if this does not go according to plan. There may also be other security features / locks in place on the actual bios chip which despite the appearance that you are able to write to the bios from the chipset side will result in an error halfway through your write and render the board inoperable. ALso, since you will be able to write to the entire bios, it may be the case that a failed write will corrupt your boot block to the extent that you will be unable to recover using the boot block recovery feature. You have been warned.

Check my response to the Z420 bios thread on this forum, I outlined the steps needed to safely update the bios boot block in that thread - basically installing a socket and programming a new bios chip with an external programmer. An external programmer with a chip clip is perhaps also an option, however these can be hit and miss hence I would not recommend using one without being mentally prepared that it may be necessary to desolder the original bios if things do not go according to plan.

PS. re the picture you inserted - crisis recovery jumper is for restoring the bios using boot block recovery. It will not grant you write access to the boot block area (FF0000-FFFFFF on the Zx20). On the Zx20 boards there is a separate jumper for that.
6
Hardware projects / Re: Z420 BIOS mod
April 25, 2017, 06:15:18 am
Quote from: Helgaiden on April 19, 2017, 02:37:35 pm
I posted a thread regarding modding the Z420/Z620 BIOS over on bios-mods.com, but to bypass the "press f1 to boot" issue. I hate to thread hijack but just wanted to throw it out there since this is on topic of modding that BIOS, do y'all think thats possible or doable? Thanks.


What is the reason you are getting the F1 prompts? If it is unplugged cables, you should be able to ground out the connections.

As for the bios it might be possible to unlock more bios menus / settings. I have looked at the Z420 bios by opening it with UEFI tool and extracting the IFR of the setup module - it seems to contain two sets of menus: HP menus and standard AMI menus. It might be possible to unlock the latter - there are various descriptions / guides on how to do this on bios modding forums. The challenge however would be flashing the contents back - mostl likely would have to be done from within the bios or if all else fails using an external programmer.
I have since sold my Z420 so unable to do any testing myself.
7
Hardware projects / Re: Z420 BIOS mod
April 12, 2017, 06:52:10 am
Quote from: micpas on April 10, 2017, 02:25:48 pm
Hi all,
my Z420 workstation has latest BIOS J61 v03.91 and Windows 10 Professional 64-bit.
Boot Block Date is 12/28/2011.

I was able to update its ME Firmware Version from 7.1.21.1134 to v7.1.86.1221 (sp71010) from HP website.
However, now I cannot update ME Firmware Version from 7.1.86.1221 to latest download v8.1.65.1568 (sp72520) from HP website.

The command:
FWUpdLcl64.exe -f 81651568.bin -generic
results in:

Error 8727: Firmware update tool failed to get the firmware parameters.

Just the same, if I try update to ME Firmware v8.1.52.1496 from UEFI shell,
the command:
fs0:\efi\boot\FWUpdLcl.efi -f 81651568.bin
results in:

Error 8727: Firmware update tool failed to get the firmware parameters.

I'm sure I am doing something wrong.
Is there any way to succeed to upgrade ME from v7.1 to v8.1?

Thank you very much in advance for any support, feedback or advice.
Cheers, Michele


Have you tried flashing with the jumper in place on the ME/ AMT override header?

Location of jumper: http://h20628.www2.hp.com/km-ext/kmcsdirect/emr_na-c03424977-1.pdf - page 19

Just to ask what do you need the v.8 ME firmware for? My understanding is that unless you are remotely managing multiple machines, for the standard user AMT does not add any value and can be disabled. AFAIK it is standard that the v1 2011 machines come with v.7 and the v2 2013 come with v8.

Also bear in mind that since bios update v 3.88 the following 'feature' has been added:

- Adds a mechanism to detect unsupported combinations of processor and Management Engine firmware. In such cases, system will display an error message and fail to boot. 


Basically if you have a v2 machine with a v2 processor and v7 ME firmware the system will not boot. Its is hence entirely possible that the same situation could occur if you try to pair a v1 processor and v8 ME firmware.
9
Quote from: napkin_man on January 30, 2017, 03:32:19 pm
Hi all!  I thought I would share an album of my Z800 build.  Looking forward to checking out the rest of the forum and meeting other Z800 enthusiasts!

http://imgur.com/a/Uj6ts

Specs:
Chieftec Dragon Case
HP Z800 workstation motherboard
Dual Xeon X5677 processors (4 cores, 8 threads, 3.46GHz with 3.73 turbo)
Deep Cool Gammaxx 400 heatsinks
Apevia 80mm case fans
48GB 8500R ECC RAM
Nvidia Geforce GTX 980 Reference
Corsair RM1000x PSU
Two Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
Four Seagate 2.5" 500GB HDD


Looking good! Can ou advise where you ordered the custom I/O shield / back plate?
10
Quote from: denj on January 13, 2017, 10:45:41 pm
my CPU is an X5675.  I don't know if this matters or not but the GTX 1080 has a TDP of 180W. 

The R9 290X has a TDP of 250W. 

I'm assuming your GTX 1080 is only using the 8 pin or 2 x 6 pin since PCI interface provides 75W, 8 pin pci provides 150W and 6 pin pci provides 75W.   

Question for you all: Is it possible for me to run a 250W GPU (like my r9 290x) on 850W? 



What you are quoting is peak power draw figures. Even if the PSU was not man enough for the job (which I doubt is the case), the machine should still POST since power draw at that point is next to nothing.
11
Quote from: bulls4ever on January 07, 2017, 11:20:33 am
I saw a z820 motherboard on ebay for $280. not too bad. then I read the seller comment ..

HP Assembly Part Number: 618266-001
Please note: per this HP part number, this system board does not support V2 Processors

Is the z820 motherboard the same as z800 where some wont take V2 and some will?


Yes, all Z420, Z620, Z820 share this 'feature'.
In essence, hardware wise they are all the same. To run the V2 CPU's you would need to update the bios with an external programmer, taking both the ME and bootblock code from the latest version of bios (AFAIR its v. 3.91). The ME update is also needed, since from v. 3.88 HP added a 'functionality' where even if you have the 2013 boot block but the older 7.xxxx ME firmware the machine will fail to boot.
12
Quote from: bulls4ever on January 03, 2017, 11:38:02 am
Lack of SATA3 is the other one but minimized if you can live with a single PCIe SSD instead of bunch of SATA3 SSD Raid. IMO PCIe is best option than SSD Raid0

Price of "real" LGA 2011-1 cpus (v2) has not dropped yet to a point it is worth. The ones that really matter are still at $1000+ range (used). Yes, it is possible to grab a low end 12 cores or V1 CPU for $200 and a "low end" motherboard as ASROCK for another $300. But to grab a motherboard with tons of PCIe and 16+ ram slots still cost $700+


For the Z800 a nice option is an Apricorn Velocity Duo PCIe card - this allows you to have the best of both worlds since you can attach 2x SATA3 SSD's to the card and use these in RAID0 (the card has a built in controller) for speeds of up to 800MB/s.

Regarding E5 v2 CPU's you are right - prices for the better SKU's are still very high. In the Z420 I currently have a E5-1650 v1 and since for my uses clock speed is more important than absolute core count I would like to update at some point to either the E5-1660 v2 or E5-2687W v2. However with current prices in the c.a. 1000 USD range I will just have to wait. In the meantime I have upgraded my RAM (full 64GB @ 1866mhz) but to be able to run at that speed I need a v2 CPU. The only decent enough deal at the moment is the E5-1650 v2 - in the 300 USD range, mostly out of the cylinder Mac Pro's, but this is a little too close in specs to what I have already.
13
Quote from: bulls4ever on January 03, 2017, 01:22:27 am
My Experiences so far ...
4. PCIe SSD. I bought a PCIe adapter for my Samsung. Did not work. it will display missing BIOS. I didn't know SSD had such thing as "option ROM". It happens that my very nice and fast SSD wont have it. I purchased a Kingston HyperX Predator that has it and should work.


I have no experience with the Z800 but can confirm a Samsung 950 Pro NVMe works fine on a Z420 with a cheap M.2 to PCIe adapter card from Ali Express. That said AFAIR the Zx20 bios has been updated to include the NVMe functionality, which the Zx00 line is most likely lacking.
However, there is still a high chance that this drive would also work on the Z800, since it has the legacy option roms included. AFAIR the Z800 bios is not UEFI based so there is no possibility of injecting these roms into the bios for disks which do not have these onboard, so choice of drives is very important. 

Regarding some of your other points, IMO the Z800 is still a very robust platform. There are of course areas where it is showing its age e.g. lack of USB3, no SATA 3 suport, limited suport for disks larger than 2TB but these can be easily remedied with add on cards. That said, with prices of dual CPU Z620 and Z820 dropping, going forward these should be at the forefront of interest.
14
Quote from: Andy Brown on December 17, 2016, 01:05:18 am
I am monitoring the ebay prices of C612 chipset boards. They are still expensive and the Z820 board is not yet a bargain amongst them, plus you have to mod your case to fit it. If I were to buy right now then I'd probably get a Gigabyte MD70 or Asus Z10PE.



The Z420/620/820 boards use the C602 / X79 chipset. To be honest they are very cheap as compared to the prices of X79 boards from Asus, Gigabyte etc. which - if at all available new and most often used - go for far more than the more current new X99 chipset boards.
The only new X79 boards which appear to be widely availalbe at the moment are two China made 'no name' boards - an ATX and mATX version but I would be hesistant to purchase either of these.

The X99 boards generally work with Xeon E5 V3/V4 CPU's and ECC RAM e.g. http://www.cpu-upgrade.com/mb-Gigabyte/GA-X99-UD4(rev._1.0).html but its best to do some research on a given board to see if there aren't any issues specific to a given board.
15
Quote from: Andy Brown on December 17, 2016, 01:05:18 am
Quote from: Dan on December 16, 2016, 05:37:33 pm
Hello guys!

I was was impressed with the capabilities of the HP Z800/820  in video production. At first, I was looking on ebay for a barebone Z820 to build up.  After some Googling I came across Andy's Z800 build blog, which is amazing. Now I'm leaning toward going this route--using a Z820 motherboard and 2x E6-2670.    I saw some ES version CPUs on ebay, should I stay away from them? TIA


I haven't heard any good reason to not use the engineering samples. As long as there are no critical bug fixes in the later steppings you should be fine.

I am monitoring the ebay prices of C612 chipset boards. They are still expensive and the Z820 board is not yet a bargain amongst them, plus you have to mod your case to fit it. If I were to buy right now then I'd probably get a Gigabyte MD70 or Asus Z10PE.

The E5 V3 CPUs are starting to fall in price and there's some great deals around from HK/Chinese sellers on the 12/14/16 core models. If the motherboards weren't holding their prices so well then I'd be sorely tempted myself.


FYI below is a dump of the microcodes contained in the latest (v3.91) bios for the Z420/620/820:

CPUID=306E4 Rev=427 2014/04/10 CRC=A73DF352 Off=580060 Size=3000 Plat=0,2,3,5,6,7
CPUID=206D7 Rev=710 2013/06/17 CRC=30EAA2E5 Off=583060 Size=4400 Plat=0,2,3,5,6
CPUID=206D6 Rev=61A 2013/01/25 CRC=BC4B0272 Off=587860 Size=4000 Plat=0,2,3,5,6
CPUID=206D5 Rev=513 2011/10/13 CRC=BDB805CB Off=58B860 Size=4800 Plat=0,2,3,5,6

If the ES sample is covered under these then you are good to go, if not then it may be necessary to inject the appropriate microcode into the UEFI bios (tools such as UEFI BIOS Updater). Obviously to run the 306E4 Ivy Bridge chips you need a machine with the newer 2013 bootblock (or to change the bootblock from 2011 to 2013 with an external programmer).