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cheesyking
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SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:19 am

Not wanting to hijack I started a new new topic but here is the starting point for reference:
https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=117436

Anyway I've failed at more or less the first hurdle as I can't erase the card before flashing the new firmware.

I downloaded the latest FW and sas2flash in their respective win/dos and linux archives.

Then I ran "sas2flash -o -e 6" as root and got told that erasing the firmware failed. Trying to flash the firmware without erasing gets me a message saying it can't flash IT over IR.

Reading various threads this seems quite common but there seems to be two schools of thought on how to fix it.

Either I should use the EFI version of the flash tool rather than the linux or dos version. However I only have a consumer mobo to work with and I'm not sure this is an option for me.

Or I should use "megarec" to wipe the megaraid firmware before using sas2flash.

Anyone with actual experience got any suggestions?
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Waco
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:18 am

Older versions of the flash tool can be more successful as they tend to check fewer things. I had excellent luck with the DOS and EFI versions of the tools. Once you find a version that will wipe the firmware you can generally use that one for the flash of the new IT or IR firmware without too much trouble.

I'm on travel for a couple weeks but if you have trouble finding a working version I can make an ISO of the boot disk I use with a bunch of versions already loaded once I get back.

It's also worth trying the same tools on a different motherboard, I had trouble on one machine that had a wonky BIOS on it.
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:21 am

As I've noted in the other thread, I've never had any flashing issues; this may be because I've not yet tried flashing one of them from IR to IT (I typically just disable the RAID boot support in the IR BIOS settings). Hopefully Waco will chime in shortly, as he's clearly dealt with a lot more of these cards than I have.

Edit: Whoops, he posted as I was typing this!
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ezorb
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:07 am

I fought this for like 9 months, and finally i was fixing an old computer for my house keeper and it was a core 2 duo with old fashion BIOS, Not UEFI. and I thought what the hell, and bam it worked first try. I booted from a free dos usb stick.
 
cheesyking
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:58 am

Many thanks all, I now have a sas9211-8i running with the latest IT firmware!

For me the magic combination was an ancient bios only Asus mobo that was covered in blown caps and perhaps even worse... a Pentium4 805 together with using the dos version of the flashing tool. With all those planets aligned it erased and flashed first time.

Now I've just got to learn some zfs to put the card to good use ;)
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:00 am

Heh, I'll keep that in mind if I ever have trouble flashing one. Guess that old Socket AM2+ system may still be good for something! :lol:

FWIW I've not had any trouble flashing from within Linux on a UEFI mobo. But I wasn't trying to go from IR to IT, which may make a difference.
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Waco
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:26 pm

just brew it! wrote:
But I wasn't trying to go from IR to IT, which may make a difference.

It does. Going between IR and IT requires finding a sas2flash version that will let you wipe the existing firmware entirely and one that will let you install the basic old-ass "6GBSAS.FW" image that's so old it doesn't block flashing either IR or IT firmwares over it. For some reason going directly to the newest IR or IT firmware fails far more often than it should (it doesn't brick, but it also doesn't work consistently), whereas going to the old version and upgrading works every time once you get the correct sas2flash versions in hand.

This type of knowledge pollutes my brain. :)
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:52 am

Are there any advantages to using the IT firmware, aside from faster boot times?
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Waco
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:19 am

You get the same boot times regardless of firmware if you wipe the BIOS (which I recommend if you're not booting from the card). The IT firmware is passthrough directly, so SMART reporting works without any hassles and the RAID controller is disabled. JBOD mode on IR firmware is...finicky...in my experience under heavy loads.

If you're not doing RAID with the card itself, I recommend IT firmware every time.
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:28 am

Waco wrote:
You get the same boot times regardless of firmware if you wipe the BIOS (which I recommend if you're not booting from the card). The IT firmware is passthrough directly, so SMART reporting works without any hassles and the RAID controller is disabled. JBOD mode on IR firmware is...finicky...in my experience under heavy loads.

FWIW I've not had any issues with SMART on the IR firmware. We did have some really nasty issues at the day job with the LSI MegaRAID cards in JBOD mode (long I/O stalls under load); but AFAICT this seems to have been addressed in newer firmware/drivers.

Waco wrote:
If you're not doing RAID with the card itself, I recommend IT firmware every time.

Guess I will need to play around with that. I have a spare (bought another one the last time there was a price dip on Amazon) that I can screw around with.
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Waco
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Re: SAS9211-8I flashing ir to it

Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:16 pm

I haven't really used JBOD mode since...firmware 14? I had enough nightmare scenarios with it I gave up. SMART passthrough works most of the time, but I had trouble querying 300+ drives in JBOD mode whereas IT mode worked without any complaint. Again, that was up to version 14, so perhaps it's better today.
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