Can anyone mod an older bios to support Phenom II CPU?

Discussion in 'AMD x86 CPUs and chipsets' started by neRok, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    I have an Asus M3A78-EMH HDMI mobo, and I've tried to stick a AMD Phenom II X2 550 cpu in, but it's not recognised and keeps giving me BSOD. I already have the latest bios. Can anyone tweak the bios, pretty please?

    Edit: I believe similar bios can help in this quest? FYI - M3A78-EMH HDMI mobo has 780G chipset. M3A78 PRO and M3A78-EM also have 780G and support the Phenom II cpu.

    Edit2: I found a thread where someone tried to use the PRO and it didn't work, so the EM might be the best candidate? Also I am waiting for the posting rights to that forum so I can post to another thread.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  2. Renza

    Renza Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Messages:
    4,649
    Location:
    Adelaide, 5051
    You can try this. I have no way to test it, but All I did was extract the missing microcodes from the M3A78-EM Bios and insert them into yours. Nothing else was touched.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7PwEGJvYGg2MEhfMnN6aDVuaHc

    I claim no responsibility if this bricks your board. Make sure you have a way to recover the BIOS if it does not work!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  3. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Messages:
    3,288
    Location:
    ACT 2914
    A+ for renza just for actually taking the time/effort to do it. :thumbup:
     
  4. OP
    OP
    neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    Yer thanks, I'll give it a go.

    I have a question though, I read that you really need to update the AGESA section of the bios, as that's where the real info regarding the different cpu's is stored. Can you comment on this?

    Also, can you list the steps you took to mod this? I've got the MMTOOL program and opened the stock ROM and saw the CPU PATCH section. Did you just extract from one rom and instert into the other?

    Edit- The link came up as accessed denied. You can click on the file and get link, then there is a button for "Get shareable link", which will make a generic link with no permissions (which doesn't allow access to any of your other files).
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  5. Renza

    Renza Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Messages:
    4,649
    Location:
    Adelaide, 5051
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  6. OP
    OP
    neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    Got it, thanks.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    OK, I'm not 100% sure it actually flashed, but the bios flash tool (EZ Flash) did detect the new bios file had the same version and build date as the current one (to be expected, as only the microcodes were changed), and it went through the motions of erasing the old and writing the new. However, the bios settings weren't reset to default, which I presume should happen when replacing bios, AND the cpu is still undetected and giving me BSOD in windows.

    So I'm investigating this AGESA module, which seems a tricky nut to crack in AMI bios (in the 1B module). Can anyone shed some light on this, because I can't find a comprehensive source of info, just bits and pieces? Regardless, I'm compiling some info of the 3 mobos, their bios versions and associated AGESA version, in order to find the best candidate. My first look shows the EMH-HDMI v1302 (latest) has 1B module RomLoc 0003F104, whereas the EM v2701 (latest) has 0000001C. I don't know if this is a problem (hence I'm compiling info), but I notice bios v2002 was the first to add support my cpu, and it also has RomLoc 0003F104, so even though this older version has less CPU support, it might be a better candidate?

    PS- it doesn't matter if I brick this mobo, I'm just trying to assemble a few of the best PCs possible with the bits I have laying around so I can sell them. If it bricks, a new bios chip is only a few bucks it seems (presuming you can just stick them in like that).
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  8. SoulFire-Z

    SoulFire-Z Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    333
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I've had a quick read / play around with a few tools now (this thread has piqued my interest!)and I believe 1B is the BIOS menu's etc (it is not allowed to be replaced using MMTOOL).

    I did find that E1 however contains AGESA information:

    M3A78-EM-ASUS-2701.ROM - E1 Size 64kb
    M3A78-EMH-ASUS-HDMI-1302.ROM - E1 Size 48kb

    I have used the existing modded bios and replaced the E1 section. If you want to give this a go, it's up to you. At worst it will brick the motherboard, so if you want me to upload this modified bios let me know.
     
  9. Renza

    Renza Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Messages:
    4,649
    Location:
    Adelaide, 5051
    1B contains the system DSDT amongst other things, so replacing it would certainly break things enough if the onboard devices are connected differently or are completely different chips.

    There are 4 blocks with E1. Did you copy them all across?
     
  10. OP
    OP
    neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    Upload your modded bios somewhere, I'll take a look at it. BTW, what tools did you use other than MMTOOLS?

    I'm going back and reviewing other asus mobos now, because I found some on other international asus sites using different model numbers, but still using 780G chipset. What features should I be focussed on to rule in/out a mobo as a potential bios donor?
    1) Does the south-bridge matter (some are SB700, some are SB710)?
    2) How about if 2 mobo have 6 sata, but 1 has all internal, the other has 5 internal and 1 external (esata)?
    3) My mobo has floppy connector, but a lot of others don't seem to. Does this matter?
    4) I take it if a mobo is full atx with 2 pcie-16 ports, its a definite non contender (mine is microatx with only 1).
    5) My mobo has a HDJ1 connector, which either sends the video signal to the HDMI or DVI connector. There is a corresponding bios setting for this. If the other mobo does not have this, would it matter?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  11. SoulFire-Z

    SoulFire-Z Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    333
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I believe I did. I'll double check when I get home.

    I'll upload when I get home this afternoon.
    I found another AMI tool that lets you see the actual BIOS menus / strings etc. I used it for sanity checking the CPU PATCH tables, could probably enable some hidden functionality using it too (didn't dig around too much)

    I tried out CBROM as well, but this was for .bin BIOS's (and it could extract the .ROM along with various other things)

    I haven't hacked around with BIOS' for a long time now, but I am finding this particularly fun!
     
  12. philquad

    philquad Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Messages:
    587
    Location:
    nelson bay
  13. OP
    OP
    neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    I've been farting around with NFI for a while, and found an AMIBIOS 1B module modification tool. I extracted 1B from the M3A78-EMH HDMI v1302 bios rom, and run it through that program, and there was no mention of an AGESA module, so I think you must be right that it is now in a different module. I've definitely found a few sources that said the AGESA was in the 1B module in other bios circa 2007, so it must have moved since then :confused:
     
  14. SoulFire-Z

    SoulFire-Z Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    333
    Location:
    Brisbane
    sorry for the late reply, lots of games and forgot to update this thread.

    I used Renza's modified bios as the base and have just updated the E1 area of the bios. Caution, could brick I guess?

    Hopefully this contains the agessa update required. If not, I'll have to keep digging

    Download link here


    Cheers
     
  15. OP
    OP
    neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    I downloaded your ROM and checked it in a hex editor, and it still seems to have AGESA 3.1.6.0 in it, as there were still six references to `AMD!GESA....!!AGESA V3.1.6.0`in the rom., the same as the source one. Did you send your modded one?

    The E1 module was definitely bigger (as you described), and I extracted it and searched it in a hex editor, and there was no mention of AGESA. Are you sure it's in the E1 module?
     
  16. SoulFire-Z

    SoulFire-Z Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2001
    Messages:
    333
    Location:
    Brisbane
    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!
     
  17. OP
    OP
    neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    I have also been sinking some time into this, and have come to the same conclusion :upset:

    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 :lol:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  18. demiurge3141

    demiurge3141 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Melbourne 3073
    You can't fiddle with BIOS programming without a SPI flasher!
     
  19. OP
    OP
    neRok

    neRok Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Perth NOR
    You talked me into it :lol: $5.50 has purchased me a CH341A SPI flasher, so the project lives on!
     
  20. demiurge3141

    demiurge3141 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Melbourne 3073
    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     

Share This Page