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Before I purchased HP Z820 I had for many years an IBM IntelliStation workstation.

 

I recall that about 2 years after that model was introduced by IBM, they made available optional larger memory units. For the IntelliStation to recognize the new type of memories, IBM published BIOS updates that included an update for the Boot Block.  

 

Nowadays I have found in the following Forum link:

http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/529-Bios-Tools/page22?p=431531&viewfull=1#post431531

 

reference to Phoenix BIOS flashing tools that explicitly include command options to update Boot Block in addition to BIOS updates. They use the same code /bbl as was used by IBM years ago to update Boot Block in the IntelliStation.

 

Note that no jumper modifications were required to update Boot Block, just an extra /bbl to the flash command.

 

I guess HP workstations are also capable of similar Boot Block updates with a suitable command option; it's a pity that HP do not offer it to users that wish to upgrade their workstations.

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Pabla Top Student
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lb_idf

- Dosflash utility only update bios, it don't do anything to bootblock, that's the problem. otherwise your test procedure and jumper settings were fine.

I will try to solve it and update soon.

 

 

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Just to clarify what others have written: 

 

To use an Ivy Bridge processor in the Z820, the boot block section of the system ROM must be updated.  This is an Intel CPU requirement, and has been the same for updating from 55xx Nehalem to Westmere 56xx CPUs on the Z800, and from the Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge on the Z820, and even on future products that I cannot discuss.  If the boot block is not updated, the system will not boot or be very unstable.  Everyone on this thread who tried this found out this is true, so I am just confirming what others wrote. 

 

FWIW, HP knows about the next generation of CPUs far in advance.  Intel says the next generation should be compatible with previous motherboards, but does not guarantee it - they cannot until they produce production-ready versions of the new CPUs.  There could be necessary changes to the new CPU pinout or voltage regulators that might require changes to the motherboard PCB layout.  So far, this has not been the case, but neither Intel, nor HP (nor anyone else), cannot guarantee that a board released a year before new CPUs are available for testing will be 100% compatible with the next generation. 

 

FYI, the boot block is part of the BIOS image, stored in a specific location within the system ROM for recovery purposes.  It has its own date, as Scott noticed. 

 

HP does not provide any tools to update the boot block.  This is a product decision, because the boot block is also used to recover from BIOS corruption.  If the boot block were flashed during normal BIOS updates, and the process was halted or the BIOS was corrupted, the board could be 'bricked' and become non-functional, with no way to recover easily.  HP does not officially support CPU upgrades, so does not want to take the risks of a boot block flash failure.  It is a tradeoff. 

 

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want - I work for HP, but don't shoot the messenger.  Other board manufacturers might support updating the boot block, but they sell mainly to enthusiasts who are experienced and are willing to take risks.  HP takes a more conservative approach to ensure product reliability. 

I am an HP Employee.
My opinions are my own, and do not express those of HP.

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Blackpony Honor Student
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Dan, thank you for clarifying the situation. However, why does HP clearly state in its documentation of the latest BIOS update, that one of the purposes for that BIOS update is to provide support for the latest CPUs? Any why did HP’s executives state publicly that HP knew that the Ivy Bridge CPUs were on the way and had designed its machines to be able to upgrade to them? Nowhere did HP state that one could not upgrade to these CPUs. Based on these representations and the lack of any clear statement that it would not be possible to upgrade, I, after a lot of research, purchased an Ivy Bridge CPU and am now stuck with it. I do not believe that I can return it but I suppose that I can try to sell it on Ebay, but I am still going to be out a fair amount of money, I suspect.  Your explanation of why the Boot Block cannot be changed seems reasonable but another reasonable explanation is simply that it is a marketing strategy whereby if one wants to upgrade buy a new machine. 

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@lb_idf wrote:

     for your information the jumper E14 is under PCI express Slot 4, and E1 is under the first RAM location of CPU 0, on the right side of the mother board. 



 

I have two Z820 workstations. One has the older 12/28/2011 bootblock (AS#618266-001) and the other has the newer bootblock date of 3/6/2013 (AS#618266-003).

 

Physically they appear the same except for the jumper locations mentioned above. The newer board (-003) does not have the three pin ME/AMT flash overide header ( number 40 in the board component location illustration on page 33 of the Maintenance and Service Guide manual) but has the three pin header E1. I believe E1is the ME/AMT flash override header that has been relocated in the later version (-003) boards and not yet reflected in the Maintenance and Service Guide manual. So, if you cannot find E1 below the first DIMM slot of CPU0, look closely for a three pin header at location 40 as illustrated in the manual.

 

As for E14 two pin header, the newer (-003) board does have it as mentioned but the older (-001) board does not. The -001 board has a series of solder pads (not labeled) where the E14 headeris on the -003 board (not identical configuration) has the header that need to be investigated to see if they are the same.

 

I think Pabla has provided great information but It is yet to be determined yet whether jumpering the E14 header and repositioning the ME/AMT jumpers enables writing to the bootblock which is hardware write protected (as in all other HP products). That is step one. The second step is finding a program that will read and write the Bios flash rom, a 4MB Spansion S29GL032V2 chip (so if you know of one, please post). And finally, there will be other information that needs to be loacted in the existing bootblock (like the MAC addresses, UUID, serial number, etc.) that neeed to be transfered to the new bootblock prior to flashing if one wants the new bootblock to clone the workstation characteristics.

 

Keep this thread going. Sooner or later we will get there. Hope the above advances the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

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Z820 Tutor
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Too bad HP doesn't support cpu upgrades, they want you to buy a whole new machine. Keep in mind that they want us to buy the exact same machine, just different cpus. Everyone must agree with me that this is ludicrous. I love HP workstations, and use them exclusively. The only problem is what we are discussing here in this thread. Maybe if enough people get together, they might actually do something about it if we complain enough. I just bought 2 E5-2690V2 cpus and realized that my bootblock date is prior to March 2013. So basically I am screwed! So... Looks like we are one step closer with the jumpers stated above. Reminds me of when the guys figured out how to put the 6 core cpus in the Xw9400, with the unpopulated jumper. Anyone here remember that? Looks like we have a little work to do. And by the way, this will be solved sooner than later, just hang in there. Btw, 708464-001 is the updated board which supports the new Ivy Bridge cpus.

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Attached ia a photo of the newer system board (march 2013 bootblock) showing the location of E1 and E14.

 

 

EDIT: Please note Dan's subsequent post correcting my identification of the flash chip in the attached phot.

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Attached are close up photos of E14 on the -001 and -003 boards. Note the extra pad on the -001 board.

 

Also, the two sets of four pads to the left of E14 leave me wondering if these boards have a JTAG port. Any thoughts?

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salsimp, the locations for E14 and E1 are correct on your attached picture 618266-003.jpg.   Z820 motherboards with a Rev. 1.00 PCB, have E1 at the right hand bottom corner of your picture, next to the mounting hole.  This is difficult to access when the motherboard is in the chassis, so it was moved on Rev. 1.01 PCBs and later to where it can be accessed easier.

 

Your picture has an arrow pointing to a Flash ROM.  This is a ROM for the SAS controller, it is not the system BIOS ROM.  The system BIOS ROM is located at the right hand bottom corner of your picture, next to the mounting hole.  It is an 8-pin IC, 16MB Winbond (or other vendors).   

I am an HP Employee.
My opinions are my own, and do not express those of HP.

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@Dan - Thank you. Then it is a serial flash like in the Z800?

 

And without divulging any HP proprietary information, the BIOS Softpacks state that once version 1.xx is upgraded to 2.xx (and above), one cannot revert back to versions 1.xx.  Did BIOS versions 2.xx+ do something to permanently  'lock' portions of the flash such that it could not be reprogramed to 1.xx versions? Like locking bootblock sectors?

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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