Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L desktop board


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This is a desktop board using intel hardware (circa ~2009, ICH7 southbridge, similar performance-wise to the ThinkPad X200. It can make for quite a nifty desktop. Powered by osboot.

NOTE: As of January 4th, 2021, video initialization is broken on this machine. It is advisable to use Libreboot 20160907, for the time being. You can build a ROM image from osboot, and extract the CPU microcode updates to then insert in the Libreboot 20160907 ROM image, like so (using cbfstool):

cbfstool osboot.rom extract -n cpu_microcode_blob.bin -f cpu_microcode_blob.bin
cbfstool libreboot.rom add -n cpu_microcode_blob.bin -f cpu_microcode_blob.bin -t microcode

With this, you will then have a Libreboot ROM image, but with improved stability due to microcode updates. The code in coreboot that checks for this file, in CBFS, is present in every Libreboot release; Libreboot merely excludes the blob itself, but does not delete the code for loading it. The Libreboot 20160907 release is reliable, on this board (but has a few issues, for example the PCI express slots don’t work).

The advice above is only useful for the onboard graphics chipset (the Intel one). If you’re using an add-on graphics card (PCI express), you can simply use osboot, and it will work. If you’re doing that, please use one of the ROM images with the SeaBIOS payload, booting in text mode. SeaBIOS will automatically execute the option ROM on your graphics card, implementing VBE (Video BIOS extension).

IDE on the board is untested, but it might be possible to use a SATA HDD using an IDE SATA adapter. The SATA ports do work, but it’s IDE emulation. The emulation is slow in DMA mode sia SeaBIOS, so SeaBIOS is configured to use PIO mode on this board. This SeaBIOS configuration does not affect the Linux kernel.

You need to set a custom MAC address in GNU+Linux for the NIC to work. In /etc/network/interfaces on debian-based systems like Debian or Devuan, this would be in the entry for your NIC:
hwaddress ether macaddressgoeshere

Alternatively:

cbfstool osboot.rom extract -n rt8168-macaddress -f rt8168-macaddress

Modify the MAC address in the file rt8168-macaddress and then:

cbfstool osboot.rom remove -n rt8168-macaddress
cbfstool osboot.rom add -f rt8168-macaddress -n rt8168-macaddress -t raw

Now you have a different MAC address hardcoded. In the above example, the ROM image is named osboot.rom for your board. You can find cbfstool under coreboot/default/util/cbfstool/ after running the following command in the build system:

./build module cbutils

You can learn more about using the build system, osbmk, here:
osboot build instructions

Flashing instructions can be found at ../install/

RAM

Kingston 8 GiB Kit KVR800D2N6/8G with Elpida Chips E2108ABSE-8G-E

this is a 2x4GB setup and these work quite well, according to a user on IRC.

Many other modules will probably work just fine, but raminit is very picky on this board.

Markdown file for this page: https://osboot.org/docs/hardware/ga-g41m-es2l.md

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