Sorry to say IBMs initial responses to my queries we're not positive. Even
if I can get them to provide information, they may invoke our MNDA so I
might not be able to share it. I pushed back a little to see if it was
just a knee jerk reaction or if they really feel like some of this info is
They of course provided the generic response of "I will also warn that
flashing firmware not provided as a complete upgrade package from IBM will
likely make your motherboard inoperable and unrecoverable. ". Which might
be believable for someone that doesn't know anything about computers or
electrical engineering. I've spent the better part of 2 decades working
with computers and electronics and I know it's not true. Don't get me
wrong, if you do it "incorrectly" you can certainly break it, but if done
correctly there is no reason to think that it would magically become
I did take a closer look at some of their BIOS update tools and it looks
like they do have some other firmware imbedded in with the BIOS updates,
looks like some kind of riser card update, and something with the service
processor. Their documentation isn't real clear what some of the bits and
pieces are actually updating. But it is clear that they have multiple
firmware devices being updated using a couple of different tools. An
program to update the service processor, then they use
awdflash.exe to apply two different bits of firmware one 1,024KB and the
I also notice the comment about the backup bios, from past experience with
IBM I've seen quite a few of their systems come with backup bios
capability. It's handy if something goes wrong when flashing the
firmware, if something goes wrong the system will automatically load off
the backup version. I thought I saw something a few years back that
suggested they alternate which flash chip they update so that the version
that is currently booting isn't overwritten when you flash a new version,
just the one in the current backup. Could be mistaken on that just
something I remember, triggered by Stefan's comments....
FYI - Thanks for answering some questions and discussing the possibilities
Stefan Tauner <stefan.tauner(a)student.tuwien.ac.at>
flashrom(a)flashrom.org, Carl-Daniel Hailfinger
07/16/2012 07:57 AM
Re: [flashrom] IBM SurePOS 700 4800-783 support
On Wed, 11 Jul 2012 18:17:19 -0400
If I'm reading the flashrom site correctly this is
one of the flash
that flashrom has support for already. So that might
be a plus.
Yes, the flash chip itself wont be a problem.
There is a service manual for the POS located at
and it mentions a "backup bios" in the service processor section. That
could complicate things further (or help you out if something fails if
you are very lucky, but usually it make things worse for us).
The remainder of the document is not very helpful (targeted at users
venture a guess that we can do this before IBM can
even give you a quote.
What kind of information would you want? I have pretty solid
with IBM I may be able to get questions answered about
A schematic that contains the data path between the southbridge and the
flash chip as well as its relation to the Renesas IC would indicate if we
have to take care about the Renesas at all. Any additional information
regarding the BIOS upgrade process (e.g. if the version of the Renesas'
firmware has to be kept in sync with the BIOS) or the service
processor's interaction with the flash chip would be very welcome too.
Above all we need to work on the support for the VIA chipset (VT8251),
but IBM won't be able to help us with that. I have no news regarding
Kind regards/Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Stefan Tauner