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Old 4th December 2015, 9:55 AM   #16
SoulFire-Z
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Hey,

I haven't disappeared Lots of reading up on this stuff and I think that with an AMIBIOS, that the Agessa module is compiled in with the BIOS itself, so I do not think this is replaceable source.

If I had a mobo / cpu I could do some testing of my own first, but I am coming to the conclusion that this effort may be futile!
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Old 4th December 2015, 12:04 PM   #17
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I have also been sinking some time into this, and have come to the same conclusion

There's something different about this mobo model, it's almost like it was a prototype for 780G based upon the previous gen models that somehow came up for sale. Why do I say this: well 780G chipset was released in March 2008, and all the other M3A* mobos have their first bios dated between March and November 2008, however this mobo first bios is dated January 2008! Also the "RomBuild Version" is 4.14, whereas all the other M3A* mobos use 4.18, again indicating this is some franken-mobo hacked together from old models.

With regards to AGESA, it seems 3.1.x.x supports phenom I's, and 3.2.x.x supports am2+ phenom II, and 3.7.x.x supports am3 phenom II. With the M3A78-EMH HDMI latest bios, it seems the AGESA version is 3.1.6.0, and it is referenced/stored in the first 2 'Memory Sizing' modules with ID 15, and it is in the 1B 'Single Link Arch BIOS' module under the 'POST_CSEG' component (you can split the 1B module with a tool called ami_1b_utilz). I did a tiny bit of reading regarding the Memory Sizing modules, and I'm not sure if they actually contain the AGESA, or merely call it (and it's actually in the 1B 'POST_CSEG').

Some other mobo older bioses have a similar setup, however it seems when they changed to AGESA 3.2.x.x, the 1B changed to 2 AGESA related components called 'AGESA_CSEG' and 'AGESA_DSEG', and there either are no ID 15 'Memory Sizing' modules, or they don't contain the AGESA. So extracting the AGESA from a similar bios and slipping it into this one seems nigh on impossible.

This leads me to thinking there was a "functional change" between AGESA 3.1 and 3.2, and there was also a size increased (ie kb increase) which required storing it in different modules/components. I also discovered a bit more info regarding AGESA in a PDF, and even though I think it is in relation to the current crop of bulldozer cpu's, I read the following;

Quote:
The funneling model, as shown in Figure 5.7, is used to interface the AGESA software binary image to a host BIOS. It consists of code compiled into the host environment BIOS, and the AGESA software binary image. The host side code (the bridge) calls into the AGESA software side (the dispatcher), executes the requested function, and returns to the caller. The model also provides a framework for the AGESA software side to call the host BIOS to perform platform specific operations.

The bridge code and the BIOS Call router code are built with the host environment BIOS. The dispatcher and call-out port is built with the AGESA code into the binary module as described in “Binary Image Design” on page 31.
I may be off the mark here, and a lot of the document went way over my head, but I notice it mentions a Dispatcher and Call-out port, which probably relate to 'AGESA_DSEG' and 'AGESA_CSEG'. So this again indicates AGESA was fundamentally re-written, so I presume there is going to be no way to replace a 3.1 version with a newer version.

So I think that leaves the last option being to flash a different mobo bios in place of this one. The early bios for the Asus M3A78-EM were very similar to the M3A78-EMH-HDMI, so it could be a candidate. Also I found an MSI mobo, the KA780GM2, which has quite similar features, and even the same back panel layout. It has 1394 ports, TPM and a different audio chipset though (ALC888 vs ALC883). Also, the franken-beast M3A78-EMH-HDMI has a set of jumpers for switching between HDMI and DVI output, with a corresponding bios entry, which no other 780G mobo has (from any vendor I could find). The only other mobo with this jumper is the M3N78-EMH-HDMI, which uses the NVIDIA GeForce 8200 chipset.

But, and I don't know if this is even a problem, I come back to the RomBuild version 4.14 of my mobo versus 4.18 of all the potential candidates - I wonder if this version changes corresponds with a slightly different bios chip, hence making this completely impossible!

I don't feel like buying some new chips and mucking around with hot swaps, so I think this is the end of my bios modding adventure (after physically doing nothing )

Last edited by neRok; 4th December 2015 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 4th December 2015, 5:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neRok View Post
I have also been sinking some time into this, and have come to the same conclusion

There's something different about this mobo model, it's almost like it was a prototype for 780G based upon the previous gen models that somehow came up for sale. Why do I say this: well 780G chipset was released in March 2008, and all the other M3A* mobos have their first bios dated between March and November 2008, however this mobo first bios is dated January 2008! Also the "RomBuild Version" is 4.14, whereas all the other M3A* mobos use 4.18, again indicating this is some franken-mobo hacked together from old models.

With regards to AGESA, it seems 3.1.x.x supports phenom I's, and 3.2.x.x supports am2+ phenom II, and 3.7.x.x supports am3 phenom II. With the M3A78-EMH HDMI latest bios, it seems the AGESA version is 3.1.6.0, and it is referenced/stored in the first 2 'Memory Sizing' modules with ID 15, and it is in the 1B 'Single Link Arch BIOS' module under the 'POST_CSEG' component (you can split the 1B module with a tool called ami_1b_utilz). I did a tiny bit of reading regarding the Memory Sizing modules, and I'm not sure if they actually contain the AGESA, or merely call it (and it's actually in the 1B 'POST_CSEG').

Some other mobo older bioses have a similar setup, however it seems when they changed to AGESA 3.2.x.x, the 1B changed to 2 AGESA related components called 'AGESA_CSEG' and 'AGESA_DSEG', and there either are no ID 15 'Memory Sizing' modules, or they don't contain the AGESA. So extracting the AGESA from a similar bios and slipping it into this one seems nigh on impossible.

This leads me to thinking there was a "functional change" between AGESA 3.1 and 3.2, and there was also a size increased (ie kb increase) which required storing it in different modules/components. I also discovered a bit more info regarding AGESA in a PDF, and even though I think it is in relation to the current crop of bulldozer cpu's, I read the following;

I may be off the mark here, and a lot of the document went way over my head, but I notice it mentions a Dispatcher and Call-out port, which probably relate to 'AGESA_DSEG' and 'AGESA_CSEG'. So this again indicates AGESA was fundamentally re-written, so I presume there is going to be no way to replace a 3.1 version with a newer version.

So I think that leaves the last option being to flash a different mobo bios in place of this one. The early bios for the Asus M3A78-EM were very similar to the M3A78-EMH-HDMI, so it could be a candidate. Also I found an MSI mobo, the KA780GM2, which has quite similar features, and even the same back panel layout. It has 1394 ports, TPM and a different audio chipset though (ALC888 vs ALC883). Also, the franken-beast M3A78-EMH-HDMI has a set of jumpers for switching between HDMI and DVI output, with a corresponding bios entry, which no other 780G mobo has (from any vendor I could find). The only other mobo with this jumper is the M3N78-EMH-HDMI, which uses the NVIDIA GeForce 8200 chipset.

But, and I don't know if this is even a problem, I come back to the RomBuild version 4.14 of my mobo versus 4.18 of all the potential candidates - I wonder if this version changes corresponds with a slightly different bios chip, hence making this completely impossible!

I don't feel like buying some new chips and mucking around with hot swaps, so I think this is the end of my bios modding adventure (after physically doing nothing )
You can't fiddle with BIOS programming without a SPI flasher!
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Old 4th December 2015, 6:09 PM   #19
neRok Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demiurge3141 View Post
You can't fiddle with BIOS programming without a SPI flasher!
You talked me into it $5.50 has purchased me a CH341A SPI flasher, so the project lives on!
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Old 4th December 2015, 6:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neRok View Post
You talked me into it $5.50 has purchased me a CH341A SPI flasher, so the project lives on!
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Old 15th December 2015, 5:38 PM   #21
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Following out of interest, this thread is cool as shit
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Old 24th January 2016, 3:06 PM   #22
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Update time! The flasher arrived, and then it took me a while to find the 64-bit drivers (because I am using win7x64), but I tracked them down on a russian forum and got it working. I chucked on a bios from the M3A78-EM, which was very close in terms of features, and success!!!

I didn't want to push my luck, so I used version 1602 from 2009/05/26, which has AGESA 3.3.2.0 (the first version to support my CPU afaik), and the cpu registered correctly on the boot screens. With how well this bios is working, I reckon I could have just put on the last version which has AGESA 3.7.0.0 and would have support Phenom II X6 CPU's. I have a 1045T here in another PC, but cbf messing around with taking it out.

I disabled a few things on first boot in the bios, stuff like display port (which mine doesn't have), the parallel and serial ports, 1394, etc. Other than that, it booted up fine, I used the onboard hardware raid which recognised the previous raid config. I put on windows 10 x64, and that has been running without issue too (although the driver support for the onboard video in particular is a little lacking, but some registry tweaks got that sorted manually). LAN, VGA, DVI/HDMI is working (the bios setting I mentioned the original bios had doesnt seem to affect anything, either works depending on jumpers), audio and SPDIF work, pci and pcie ports work (have a wifi card and tuner installed), front and back USB all work, so happy days

I acutally chucked a third 1gb ram chip in (the fourth is busted), and it isn't having any trouble with that either. And I ran some benchmarks and the mem test that comes with win10, and have had 0 crashes.

So in the end, I didn't actually mod anything, just put a different bios on

Last edited by neRok; 24th January 2016 at 3:13 PM.
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