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Modified BIOS for Microserver N40L enables hidden features

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Steven Bell

hi guys im new to the home server show but seen some off your long videos on YouTube even the one where your N54L failed to install windows server thanks to the nic 

why im here is im using my old N36L and never ever had any problems with it im running windows server 2012 essentials on it with 0 problems 

and want to use it as a test bed for windows server 2016 essentials just to see how well i can get it to work im looking at buying the newer Gen10 server but as the old one runs well and cant ever see my self replacing it i do have the SP64420 bios installed and as im out of warranty i dont know if there is a new bios but do know there is a mod for it so does anyone know where i can lay my hands on the most up to date modded bios so i can install it and when the new server comes i can start doing some testing all the links i keep checking says there is no files to download like there taken away

any help would be grand and keep up the good work you guys do 

kind regards steven 

 

Edited by Steven Bell

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kalatopas

@Steven Bell almost a month later, but as I just did the update I would like to share this page with all for anyone that trying to find the latest moded bios!

 

here it is: http://www.nathanielperez.us/blog/hp-proliant-n40l-bios-modification-guide

 

In the comments, they say that support even N36L so you can safely install it! :)

Edited by kalatopas
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Alex Maleta

Hello. I am the owner of HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer. But nowhere can I find the bios sewing. Please share links to the latest versions. Thank.

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LVLouisCyphre
On 7/11/2019 at 11:00 PM, Alex Maleta said:

Hello. I am the owner of HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer. But nowhere can I find the bios sewing. Please share links to the latest versions. Thank.

The link is on page 55 of this thread; directly above your comment.  .  I just liked and thanked the author.  I used it earlier this week to download the files.  They indeed work with N54Ls which only have the fastest CPU.

 

It worked flawlessly on my pair of N54Ls which are both running the 041 modded BIOS.  I'm running Memtest86 4.3.7 on them to burn in the 16 GB of ECC RAM in them in preparation to install FreeBSD 12.1 and subsequently FreeNAS.  I want to do a make buildworld to thoroughly test the memory.  For some reason Memtest86+ 5.01 consistently locks up after 10 minutes on both N54Ls.  I suspect it's a SMP mode bug in Memtest86+ on with > 4 GB RAM (64-bit address or x64 mode required) as it worked with only 4 GB installed.

Edited by LVLouisCyphre

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nrf

hmmm... 'plus' is always better right? hopefully the systems will be stable.

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LVLouisCyphre
11 minutes ago, nrf said:

hmmm... 'plus' is always better right? hopefully the systems will be stable.

It's most likely a bug in the Memtest86+ SMP code as it can be consistently replicated where it fails at test 7.  There's a PSA on it here. 

 

TL;DR warning.

 

Memtest86+ hasn't been updated since that PSA.  I don't know if it ever will.  I'm running it with SMP disabled now on one of my N54Ls and it's so far hasn't failed or locked up after over 3 hrs.  Memtest86 4.3.7 does not have a SMP mode.  What I've noticed with my experience with the SMP bug is that it bites me if there's > 4 GB RAM in the system (X64 mode or 64-bit addressing).  I remember the old days over dealing with the IOAPIC with SMP with socket 5/7 CPUs.  My first SMP machine was a home build with a Tyan Tomcat S1564D (dual socket 7) built to run FreeBSD.  I also was big into the Abit BP6s with dual Celeron 533s.  If the server function could handle 768 MB, it ran very well; too well in fact which is why Intel lobotomized the IOAPIC in later Celerons making it SMP impotent. 

 

What I'm going to do after I've done the initial memory burn it is put FreeBSD 12.1 on them, run a make buildworld on them and run Memtest86+ 5.01 from the FreeBSD ports collection.  The old *nix school of mem testing was to do a clean kernel or world build.  If you got a core dump, it's most likely a hardware problem and memory is highly suspect.  If I get the same results only from the FreeBSD Memtest86+ 5.01 port, I'll chalk it up to the PSA and buggy SMP code and drop FreeNAS on them but watch them closely.  It's possible the FreeBSD SMP kernel code will circumvent the bug in which case there's a (more) reliable SMP Memtest86+; the FreeBSD port.

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nrf

so for now I"m going to blacklist the plus version i have on my recovery usb keys. thanks for the details!

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LVLouisCyphre
6 minutes ago, nrf said:

so for now I"m going to blacklist the plus version i have on my recovery usb keys. thanks for the details!

Just don't run it in SMP mode.  By default SMP mode is disabled.  IME, it runs reliably if you don't run SMP mode or you have < 4 GB of RAM in SMP mode.

Edited by LVLouisCyphre

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nrf

ok, fine distinction I didn't notice in reading here. last time I tried smp mode it seemed funny anyway. someday I will check to see what the latest versions are and maybe update my toolkit.

 

this board has become very interesting again!

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LVLouisCyphre

The BIOS here does not work; http://www.nathanielperez.us/blog/hp-proliant-n40l-bios-modification-guide

 

FreeBSD reports at kernel loading that the eSATA and internal SATA port is a SATA 1 port capable of only doing 1.5 Gbs and it does not support SATA multipliers.

 

In the BIOS it shows up as an IDE controller, not one of the six AHCI controllers.  How many hacked or modded BIOSes are for the G7s?  The above mentioned one is a lemon.

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