Dell PowerEdge 1900 BIOS Mod

Discussion in 'BIOS Mods' started by Rich99, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Rich99

    Rich99 MDL Novice

    Jan 5, 2011
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    Can anybody point me in the right direction for info on how to mod Dell PE1900 BIOS to support newer processor?

    I bought 2 x Xeon X5260 from eBay and now I find that Dell seem to have chosen not to support this processor for some reason. Despite the machine booting up and correctly identifying 2 x 3.33Ghz processors, it eventually stops just before booting into OS with 'unsupported processor combination'.

    Maybe I am wrong, but, I can't see why, if the BIOS can support Xeon 5160, it can't support X5260?
    Surely, it is just a decision in the BIOS?
    This is despite the notes for the BIOS (2.7) saying that it does support 5200 series Xeon of the stepping I have :-S

    I have a BIOS image PE1900-020700C.hdr and want some tips on how I go about disassembling it?

    I am reasonably adept at x86 assembler and use of IDA.

    Cheers,
    Rich.
     
  2. tqhoang

    tqhoang MDL BIOS Modder

    Apr 29, 2008
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    #2 tqhoang, Mar 11, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
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  3. Rich99

    Rich99 MDL Novice

    Jan 5, 2011
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    Thanks for your answer :)

    I have found out a bit more about the BIOS subsequently....

    The BIOS does definitely ALREADY support the Xeon X5260, but, it seems like processor support in the BIOS is dependent on Motherboard version and I have a MK1 motherboard.

    SO, the million dollar question : is there likely to be a motherboard hardware change that was needed specifically to support the newer x5260 or is Dell artificially limiting the upgrade potential based on motherboard version (the motherboards also went hand in hand with PE1900, PE1900II and PE1900III)?

    I don't know enough about the hardware to answer that but, I do find it difficult to believe that there is a significant difference between Xeon 5160 and Xeon x5260 in hardware terms.

    The reference to AndyP's PhoenixTool looks like a good place to start my investigation...

    Cheers,
    Rich.
     
  4. tqhoang

    tqhoang MDL BIOS Modder

    Apr 29, 2008
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    I've seen that with some other Dell desktops...the problem likely has to do with the motherboard VRM's and that they can't deliver enough power to the CPU. Even if you hacked the BIOS, it's likely that you'll burn out the motherboard.
     
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