Flashing an LSI 9211-8i IR card with IT Firmware

I purchased a brand new, sealed LSI 9211-8i card from a vendor on eBay at a much better price than at my normal (ie Newegg, Amazon) places. Unfortunately, when I went to flash it from IR to IT firmware I kept receiving a “Failed to Validate Mfg Page 2” error.

Lots of Googling later, I finally found a method that worked to revive the card. Since my process was slightly different from the dozens of methods I found, I’m going to add another revision to the internet (and for my future reference).

The card was probably an OEM design, misleadingly sold as a retail LSI card, but I decided to keep it because I was able to get it working reliably.

Here’s my firmware update process:

  1. create a bootable USB flash drive using Rufus
  2. copy the following items to the bootable flash drive
    1. Megarec DOS utility and Dell SBR file from http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=12767.615 (Toolset_PercH310 to LSIMegaraid.zip)
    2. DELL 6gbtsas firmware and DOS flash utility from https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/fujitsu-d2607-sas2008-it-mode.2513/ (Firmware Package Version:
    3. LSI 9211-8i P7 firmware and DOS flash utilty from LSI website (navigate to downloads for 9211-8i, choose archived)
    4. LSI 9211-8i P19 firmware and DOS flash utility from LSI website (navigate to downloads for 9211-8i, choose current)
  3. Follow the instructions at https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/fujitsu-d2607-sas2008-it-mode.2513/ with the following changes:
    1. get the SAS address
      1. megaoem -AdpAllInfo -aAll -page 20
    2. flash a dell sbr file with megarec
      1. megarec -writesbr 0 sbrempty.bin
    3. clear the flash with megarec
      1. megerec -cleanflash 0
    4. hard reboot
    5. flash the Dell firmware using the Dell utility
    6. hard reboot
    7. flash using the P7 dos utility and firmware
    8. flash using the p19 DOS utility, firmware, and bios
    9. hard reboot
    10. set the SAS address
    11. verify with sas2flsh -list

To perform this process I _had_ to use a DOS bootable USB flash drive because of the P7 DOS utility. It appears that the P7 UEFI utility is either missing or never existed on the internet. Also the DOS megarec utility was a requirement, the process didn’t work without the erase and sbr commands. Another requirement was a motherboard which was compatible with both the sas2flsh.exe DOS utility and the 9211-8i card. After PAL errors on four motherboards (3 intel, one AMD), I found an AMD motherboard which worked, the ASUS M2N-MX.

The entire process was time consuming and a frustrating experience. Here’s hoping LSI releases a simple, raidless, affordable 8+ port SATA card in the future.

Update (2016-04-17)

I successfully flashed a Dell H310 using the instructions and files at https://techmattr.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/updated-sas-hba-crossflashing-or-flashing-to-it-mode-dell-perc-h200-and-h310/ using a UEFI firmware desktop.



failed hard drives

Keeping track of my drive failures, since April 2011.

Purchased Failed Model
141 2009-11 2021-08 1 TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B HDD
47 2016-07 2020-06 4 TB Seagate 2.5″ Laptop HDD
37 2016-11 2020-01 4 TB Seagate Desktop HDD.15
119 2010-01 2019-12 2 TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 7200RPM
60 (52818 POH) unknown 2018-07 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 7200RPM
47 2012-11 2016-10 3 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 7200RPM
18 2014-12 2016-06 4 TB HGST Deskstar NAS 0S03664 7200RPM
68 2010-06 2016-02 2 TB Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 5400RPM
66 2010-08 2016-02 2 TB Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 5400RPM
66 2010-05 2015-11 2 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3EG HD203WI 5400RPM
56 2010-11 2015-07 2 TB Samsung Spinpoint F4 HD204UI 5400RPM
41 2010-06 2013-11 2 TB Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 5400RPM
42 2008-11 2012-05 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 7200RPM
66 2006-08 2012-02 400 GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 7200RPM
18 2010-04 2011-10 1.5 TB Western Digital Green 64MB Cache 5400RPM
15 2010-04 2011-07 1.5 TB Western Digital Green 64MB Cache 5400RPM
26 2009-02 2011-04 1 TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B 16MB Cache 7200RPM

Find the Model Number of Your DVD Burner in Linux

$ cdrdao drive-info /dev/scd0

Cdrdao version 1.2.2 – (C) Andreas Mueller <[email protected]>
SCSI interface library – (C) Joerg Schilling
Paranoia DAE library – (C) Monty

Check http://cdrdao.sourceforge.net/drives.html#dt for current driver tables.

Using libscg version ‘ubuntu-0.8ubuntu1’

/dev/cdrw: LITE-ON DVDRW LH-20A1S Rev: 9L02
Using driver: Generic SCSI-3/MMC – Version 2.0 (options 0x0000)

Maximum reading speed: 8467 kB/s
Current reading speed: 8467 kB/s
Maximum writing speed: 8467 kB/s
Current writing speed: 8467 kB/s
BurnProof supported: yes
JustLink supported: no
JustSpeed supported: yes

My Life in Processors

Here’s my history of processors I’ve owned in my primary computer. This does not count second, third, or fourth computers, laptops, servers, media, or Seti/Distributed machines. Only computers which were used as my primary machine count.

  1. IBM 486SLC2 66 MHz
  2. Intel Pentium 166 MHz
  3. Intel Pentium 2 266 MHz
  4. Intel Celeron 300A 300 MHz @ 450 MHz
  5. AMD Athlon 500 MHz
  6. AMD Athlon 1000 MHz
  7. AMD Athlon XP 2100+ 1733 MHz
  8. AMD Athlon XP 2500+ 1833 MHz
  9. AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0 GHz
  10. AMD Opteron 165 1.8 GHz @ 2.2 GHz
  11. Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4 GHz @ 3.0 GHz

Build a Usable Computer from Newegg for $375

Creating a system guide appears to be popular these days, with my favorite guides coming from Ars Technica, The Tech Report, and Anandtech. I thought I’d throw another guide on the net with the main focus being price, with usability and upgradability coming in a close second. Several notes about this guide, everything is from Newegg, because they have a great reputation and ship quickly. No refurbished/open box items are considered, and I have not actually build this machine, these are just parts which look like they would work well together.

  • Motherboard/Video/Sound/Network: ECS C51GM-M Socket AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard – $60
  • Processor/Heatsink/Fan: AMD Sempron 64 2800+ Manila 1600MHz HT Socket AM2 Processor Model SDA2800CNBOX – Retail – $50
  • Memory: OCZ Value Series 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Unbuffered System Memory Model OCZ26671024V – $69 (after $8 MIR)
  • Hard Drive: HITACHI Deskstar T7K250 HDT722516DLA380 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 8 MB Cache Hard Drive (3 Year Warranty) – $54
  • Optical Drive: NEC 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model ND-3550A – Retail – $36 (same price as OEM w/shipping)
  • Case/Power Supply: Antec NSK 4400 Black/Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction ATX Mini Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply – $72

Total: $349 + $26 Shipping = $375 ( -$8 mail in rebate)

(read more below the fold to see the reasoning behind my choices)

Continue reading “Build a Usable Computer from Newegg for $375”

Neverending Hardware Issues when Creating a Backup Server

My first attempt at creating a backup server left me with a dead motherboard. I replaced the motherboard with an old but reliable socket A EPoX board I had been using in my HTPC. After booting and changing eth0 to eth1 in my network config, the server was ready to go. I started the backup and everything looked good. It ran overnight and got about 500 GB off the server. I then started copying about 250 GB of data from the server to another computer. After a couple hours of this, my server went offline, and I was left sitting at work wondering why. I was hoping for a power outage, but when I arrived back at home, I discovered only the networking on the file server had gone out, leaving thousands of these lines in dmesg:

NETDEV WATCHDOG: eth0: transmit timed out
NETDEV WATCHDOG: eth0: transmit timed out
NETDEV WATCHDOG: eth0: transmit timed out

I’m not yet sure why my network card stopped working, Google or the Ubuntu forums should help, or I could just refer back to my pre-rma’d motherboard and remember that the Marvell skge network controller died on that motherboard completely, and move to other built in network card on the mobo, by NVIDIA. If all that fails, dropping some money on a quality Intel NIC will solve the problem. Unless the problem exists in my switch.

Update: Switching the the integrated NVIDIA network interface appears to have fixed this issue. Hooray for workarounds.

Another Dead Motherboard

It appears that my 1 GHz Athlon mobo died in the middle of building a backup server. This happened at the end of the entire build, while I was performing my first backup, and is going to force me to tear apart 3 machines in order to have working HTPC and Backup computers without buying anything extra. Looks like I’ll have an extra Antec Overture case with 380w PS. I’ll sell if anyone wants to make me a reasonable offer.

X2 Price Drops

Today AMD cut the prices of most all their consumer CPUs. The previous low-price leader went from $300 to $160 overnight, which is great for when I want a faster computer, but for now, I’m fine. My Opty 165 running @2.2 GHz is doing great, no stability or heat issues (actually ran the entire last month without the CPU fan because I forgot to plug it in), and it is still around the price I paid for it. If the quad cores come out before 2007 like the rumors say, that will be my next upgrade.