I have a Gigabyte (GA-B85-HD3 2.0) motherboard and an LSI SA9201-16e, however am not seeing the BIOS configuration menu for the card on boot. The motherboard only has one PCIe slot that can accept the card (8x 2.0), the graphics card slot (16x 3.0). There is another slot that is mechanically 16x but electrically 4x. I would be fine with reduced bandwidth, but not if the port could not power the card completely.

What can I look at to verify compatibility as the issue?

  • As in, you boot in to the OS fully and you never see the LSI cards BIOS messages? I know they usually come after post/ later in the boot sequence but before the OS loads, but not during the POST or integrated controller initialization. – Damon Dec 18 '17 at 19:38
  • Exactly, the LSI boot banner never shows up before grub and the OS boot. My first search on the topic suggested incompatibility, and not seeing the banner is a symptom of that. The symptom weirdly also includes the fact that the OS can see the card but can't use it if it wasn't 'booted'. – J Collins Dec 19 '17 at 13:09

Once I was able to create an EFI boot disk as per my answer on this question, it was possible to use the firmware flashing utilities of LSI as discussed here and here to update the LSI card's firmware. With the updated firmware, the card booted successfully and gave access to the Ctrl+C option and 'boot banner' for the card. From here CentOS was able to see the drives in an external Netstor enclosure.

Original firmware was P17, I upgraded to P20. The files required were found on the LSI/Broadcom website:

  1. The zip file listed in the results here i.e. this file: Installer_P20_for_UEFI.zip

  2. The zip file listed in the results here i.e. this file: 9201_16e_Package_P20_IT_FW_BIOS_for_MSDOS_Windows.zip

Extracting from the posts linked above and using the EFI boot USB stick created from the SuperUser answer, perform the following:

  1. Copy the following files to the root of the USB stick:

Installer_P20_for_UEFI.zip\sas2flash_efi_ebc_rel\sas2flash.efi 9201_16e_Package_P20_IT_FW_BIOS_for_MSDOS_Windows.zip\sasbios_rel\mptsas2.rom 9201_16e_Package_P20_IT_FW_BIOS_for_MSDOS_Windows.zip\Firmware\HBA_9201_16e_IT\9201-16e.bin

  1. Boot to the stick in the target machine using the UEFI boot option as available. This will bring the computer into a UEFI shell with various text in yellow and Shell> as the terminal command prompt.

  2. Establish what devices are available using the map function.

  3. Of the listed devices, deduce which is the USB stick booted from. In the case of the first linked post, it was fs1, however mine was fs0, simply the first listed device in the list.

  4. Mount the USB stick using, in my case, mount fs0

  5. Using the slightly DOS-like command fs0: (with the colon), to change to that drive. If successful the command prompt will change to the again DOS-like fs0:/>

  6. At the new command prompt, type the now Unix-like ls to confirm the three files coped above are visible.

  7. This is the dangerous command, wiping the flash from the HBA card. After this command, I understand if the new flash is not written, the card would be unusable. at the prompt, submit the command flash2sas.efi -o -e 6. I understand th e'6' refers to this being a 6GT/s card.

  8. With haste, write the new flash using: flash2sas.efi -o -f 9201-16e.bin -b mptsas2.rom. This will go through an extended writing process and restart the machine.

The choice of firmpware P20 was entirely arbitrary, and simply followed from it being the newest firmware I could find. A dangerous game perhaps, but it worked this time.

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