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Firmware update on LSI SAS 9000 series HBA

dwchan69

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Nov 20, 2013
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83
How do I confirm that my LSI 9000 series HBAs are properly set up correctly within TrueNAS in term of latest BIOS version (as during setup, it say it is an outdated BIOS) and run running in the right mode (e.g. IT mode). I am using /testing 9207 and 9211) for now. Just doing a dry run while waiting for my 9300 to show up in the mail. Also, if I need to flash them, do I do this within TrueNAS, or default back to Broadcom support utility?
 

Chris Moore

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May 2, 2015
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dwchan69

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Nov 20, 2013
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83
Thank you so much for the link, a lot to take it. I think I got the installer and firmware for both the 9207-8e and 9211-8i, will work on the 9300-16i when it arrives later on this week I hope. In any case, I do have a couple of quick follow-up questions
1. I notice on Broadcom support web site, there are both BIOS and firmware. I know I will be flashing the firmware, do I also need to flash the BIOS? Any benefit in doing so?
2. Very similar to question 1, both 9207-8e and 9211-8i, seem to be running in IT mode. I check it with the onboard TrueNAS sas2flash util. With that being said, from the SAS2Flash util, the 9207-8e is currently at version 18.00.00.00 and 9211-8i is currently at 16.00.00.00, while the latest firmware from Broadcom seems to at P20, or perhaps it translates to 20.00.00.00 (best guess). Does it many sense or add any value to update the firmware in my situation where the card is already running in IT mode?
 

jgreco

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May 29, 2011
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You really do need the card to be running in IT mode with the exact major and subversion that the driver expects. The driver chats with the card and needs the card to respond correctly for every possible condition, or there will be problems. The way the card responds is controlled by the firmware on the card. So it is not acceptable to have IT version 20.00.00.00; you really do need 20.00.07.00. The "07" subrev fixes specific, even if minor, issues.
 

dwchan69

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Nov 20, 2013
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OK, I believe I got all of the flash util (sas2flsh.exe, sas2flash.efi, sas3flsh.exe), firmware and BIOS for all three of my LSI cards. However, I am running into my next problem. I am using a Gigabytes x399 motherboard, not sure new but it is running in uefi mode. I try to make a bootable dos USB with rufus (using the builtin freedos option). Upon reboot, at the freedos prompt, the flash util did not work and gave me the (Failed to initialize PAL. Exiting program) error. So how do I get into a dos uefi environment for me to execute the sas2flash.efi?
 

Etorix

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Dec 30, 2020
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In a DOS evironment, you use .exe utils; .efi are for the UEFI shell, which you can boot directly from the boot menu without bothering to make a FreeDOS disk.
 

dwchan69

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Nov 20, 2013
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83
Well, make a little headwind. When I try to use the .exe version of the util from Broadcom with FreeDOS, it pops up with the following error
(Failed to initialize PAL. Exiting program)
So is fair to say I have to operate in UEFI mode - It is a gigabyte X399 motherboard. SO I finally manage to get into a UEFI shell (that was an interesting learning curve). It turns out that my motherboard doesn't come with a UEFI shell option where you can just select and boot into a shell without some external help (e.g. boot USB). So now I am trying to figure out which version of shell.efi I should use as I end up with 4 different versions. I am going to run some tests to see what are their version number and try to run the sas2flash.efi command to see if they all behave the same as I was told that some new uefi shell will not work with sas2flash.efi. So any feedback and comment as to what version of shell.efi and bootx64.efu are ideal, much appreciated there.

Also, can you use the sas2flash util to flash just the firmware and not the BIOS on the LSI HBA? All the examples I see on youtube seem to flash them at the same time. I am not sure if this is a requirement / mandatory or just recommendation. One additional interesting I want to point out here is that during the boot process, I never got any message that say hit 'CTRL-C' (just as an example) to go into the LSI utility. I am not sure is normal, because of my motherboard, or because I may be using a BIOS version with no utilities
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
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May 29, 2011
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You don't have to flash the BIOS, but it's probably stupid not to. Being able to access the option ROM means that you can debug problems without having to boot into FreeNAS and maybe try to import a half-busted pool. Lots of hobbyists cannot stand the additional time it takes to run the scan, though.
 

dwchan69

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Nov 20, 2013
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83
quick update , I back up the firmware and bios on the current 9207-8e to my usb drive. During this process, I notice something weird between its current firmware/bios versus the latest release according to Broadcom.

the latest firmware file size is little bigger than what is on my current card, that is what I would expect However, why would my current bios file size be double the size to the latest bios ? On top of that, as I stated before, the bios seem somewhat invisible as there is no prompt , menu, or display info during boot up
 

dwchan69

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Nov 20, 2013
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83
OK, I bite the bullet and update the 9207-8e (Fw and BIOS). Seem to be ok and it also didn't change any boot up event (e.g. boot up option, etc). I will give the 9211-8i next. stay tune
 
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