upgrading the SGI O2 PROM - SGI

This is a discussion on upgrading the SGI O2 PROM - SGI ; It is probably an easy to answer question, but I was unable to find an answer in the last weeks and prefer some advice instead of blindly trying an upgrade. I am trying to upgrade the PROM on my SGI ...

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  1. upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    It is probably an easy to answer question, but I was unable to find
    an answer in the last weeks and prefer some advice instead of blindly
    trying an upgrade.

    I am trying to upgrade the PROM on my SGI O2 (R5k, *not* R10k) from
    its current release (4.3) to the most updated release possible.
    Using flashinst I get the known "/sbin/flashinst: bad PROM revision"
    message. I guess that the firmware image available at /usr/cpu/firmware
    is for R10k systems only (like all the O2 PROM rollup patches I found in
    the last weeks).

    Is a PROM upgrade possible on an O2 with an *R5k* processor?
    Where can I find the latest upgrade for this system? I am aware that
    R10k systems have a different motherboard and that the PROM rollup
    patches are probably not the same.

    Cheers,
    Igor.

  2. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    Hello,

    I just did a fresh install of 6.5.27 on my O2, was 6.5.18, and the PROM
    version went from 4.03 to 4.18. I think inst does it automatically during
    the install. My O2 is running a R10K chip though so your mileage might
    very.

    Hope that helps,

    Rob

    "Igor Sobrado" wrote in message
    news:e4ml1j$j96$1@string1.ciencias.uniovi.es...
    > It is probably an easy to answer question, but I was unable to find
    > an answer in the last weeks and prefer some advice instead of blindly
    > trying an upgrade.
    >
    > I am trying to upgrade the PROM on my SGI O2 (R5k, *not* R10k) from
    > its current release (4.3) to the most updated release possible.
    > Using flashinst I get the known "/sbin/flashinst: bad PROM revision"
    > message. I guess that the firmware image available at /usr/cpu/firmware
    > is for R10k systems only (like all the O2 PROM rollup patches I found in
    > the last weeks).
    >
    > Is a PROM upgrade possible on an O2 with an *R5k* processor?
    > Where can I find the latest upgrade for this system? I am aware that
    > R10k systems have a different motherboard and that the PROM rollup
    > patches are probably not the same.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Igor.




  3. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    Robert Ramsey wrote:
    > Hello,
    >
    > I just did a fresh install of 6.5.27 on my O2, was 6.5.18, and the PROM
    > version went from 4.03 to 4.18. I think inst does it automatically during
    > the install. My O2 is running a R10K chip though so your mileage might
    > very.


    Hi Robert.

    I can try an OS upgrade, indeed. But this machine has an old 2 GB HDD.
    Installing IRIX 6.5.x on a 2 GB HDD is a real nightmare. Thanks a lot
    for this advice. Before I try an upgrade, I will wait until the previous
    owner of this machine finds the OS media that comes with the system.

    In any case, I guess that upgrading the firmware on a R10k O2 is not
    difficult at all, only missing patches for machines with R5k processors.
    It is sad, as the latest firmware upgrade for R10k supports R5k too.

    Thanks a lot!

    Igor.

  4. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    Hello,

    Just took a quick look on ebay and there's a 9.1 GB drive for $25. The page
    describes it for use on an Origin 200 but the drive will work just fine in
    an O2. Irix becomes a lot more useful when you can do a full install (2GB
    worth).

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SGI-Origin-200-2...QQcmdZViewItem

    Nothing is free, but ebay makes it affordable!

    Rob

    "Igor Sobrado" wrote in message
    news:e6hd2f$5rt$1@string1.ciencias.uniovi.es...
    > Robert Ramsey wrote:
    > > Hello,
    > >
    > > I just did a fresh install of 6.5.27 on my O2, was 6.5.18, and the PROM
    > > version went from 4.03 to 4.18. I think inst does it automatically

    during
    > > the install. My O2 is running a R10K chip though so your mileage might
    > > very.

    >
    > Hi Robert.
    >
    > I can try an OS upgrade, indeed. But this machine has an old 2 GB HDD.
    > Installing IRIX 6.5.x on a 2 GB HDD is a real nightmare. Thanks a lot
    > for this advice. Before I try an upgrade, I will wait until the previous
    > owner of this machine finds the OS media that comes with the system.
    >
    > In any case, I guess that upgrading the firmware on a R10k O2 is not
    > difficult at all, only missing patches for machines with R5k processors.
    > It is sad, as the latest firmware upgrade for R10k supports R5k too.
    >
    > Thanks a lot!
    >
    > Igor.




  5. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    As of this writing (and with IRIX 6.5.29), the latest version of the O2
    PROM (both R5k and R10k/R12k) is 4.18. An earlier poster was correct --
    the prom is automatically flashed when installing the OS.

    You might want to take a look at the man page for "prom" for some more
    information. I believe that you can manually flash the prom from the
    prom command line, but flashinst should work fine, as long as the prom
    version is good (i.e. newer than what is installed and uncorrupted).

    I'm curious, however. Why do you need to upgrade the PROM if you are
    not upgrading the OS? Unless you have a specific need to do so, it
    really isn't something that is recommended practice, and you risk
    trashing your system if the flash fails.


  6. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    * josehill:

    > I'm curious, however. Why do you need to upgrade the PROM if you are
    > not upgrading the OS? Unless you have a specific need to do so, it
    > really isn't something that is recommended practice, and you risk
    > trashing your system if the flash fails.


    Right, and besides that, there also is the chance of experiencing
    problems older IRIX releases might have with a newer PROM version...

    The best bet probably is to go to the latest IRIX release with which
    PROM update is done automatically...

    Benjamin

  7. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    * Benjamin:

    Exactly! The only reason I could think of for doing this as part of a
    "normal" operation would be if someone has multiple, identical hardware
    systems, and they want to upgrade their OSs by cloning system disks,
    rather than by running a manual installation on each system. Since
    cloning the system disk doesn't flash the PROMs on the target systems,
    a manual approach would be appropriate, but even then, it shouldn't be
    done casually.

    -j


    Benjamin Gawert wrote:
    > * josehill:
    >
    > > I'm curious, however. Why do you need to upgrade the PROM if you are
    > > not upgrading the OS? Unless you have a specific need to do so, it
    > > really isn't something that is recommended practice, and you risk
    > > trashing your system if the flash fails.

    >
    > Right, and besides that, there also is the chance of experiencing
    > problems older IRIX releases might have with a newer PROM version...
    >
    > The best bet probably is to go to the latest IRIX release with which
    > PROM update is done automatically...
    >
    > Benjamin



  8. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    Robert Ramsey wrote:
    > Hello,
    >
    > Just took a quick look on ebay and there's a 9.1 GB drive for $25. The page
    > describes it for use on an Origin 200 but the drive will work just fine in
    > an O2. Irix becomes a lot more useful when you can do a full install (2GB
    > worth).
    >
    > http://cgi.ebay.com/SGI-Origin-200-2...QQcmdZViewItem
    >
    > Nothing is free, but ebay makes it affordable!


    Hi, Rob.

    It would be great if the HDD bracket is compatible with the O2,
    as there is a HDD bay empty on this machine. But I think that
    these drives are not compatible with this workstation case.

    Cheers,
    Igor.

  9. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    josehill wrote:
    > As of this writing (and with IRIX 6.5.29), the latest version of the O2
    > PROM (both R5k and R10k/R12k) is 4.18. An earlier poster was correct --
    > the prom is automatically flashed when installing the OS.
    >
    > You might want to take a look at the man page for "prom" for some more
    > information. I believe that you can manually flash the prom from the
    > prom command line, but flashinst should work fine, as long as the prom
    > version is good (i.e. newer than what is installed and uncorrupted).


    Thanks for this advice. I will try to upgrade the firmware installing
    a new IRIX release then. I tried a firmware upgrade from the operating
    system, but the computer shows a "bad PROM revision" message. Forcing
    an upgrade is certainly a bad idea. Better installing a new IRIX
    release.

    > I'm curious, however. Why do you need to upgrade the PROM if you are
    > not upgrading the OS? Unless you have a specific need to do so, it
    > really isn't something that is recommended practice, and you risk
    > trashing your system if the flash fails.


    As this machine is currently EOL'd, I suppose that 4.18 is the latest
    firmware release. I usually upgrade the firmware in all devices I can
    either when a serious problem is discovered or when the latest release
    is available (and I certainly do not expect a newer firmware release
    for the SGI O2).

    When flashing any device (a PC BIOS, a HDD firmware, a wireless NIC
    firmware, a CD-ROM firmware...) I usually download twice the driver
    and check it using a hash function (usually MD5, but sometimes other
    checksums too). I never try an upgrade if the device is not
    connected to a UPS either.

    I was just looking to fix some possible issues on the firmware.
    Certainly upgrading the firmware without installing a new OS release
    is dangerous and an unsupported configuration. I will install a new
    SCA drive on that machine and install a newer IRIX relase then. It
    is a very good advice. Thanks a lot.

    Cheers,
    Igor.

  10. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    Benjamin Gawert wrote:
    > * josehill:
    >
    >> I'm curious, however. Why do you need to upgrade the PROM if you are
    >> not upgrading the OS? Unless you have a specific need to do so, it
    >> really isn't something that is recommended practice, and you risk
    >> trashing your system if the flash fails.

    >
    > Right, and besides that, there also is the chance of experiencing
    > problems older IRIX releases might have with a newer PROM version...
    >
    > The best bet probably is to go to the latest IRIX release with which
    > PROM update is done automatically...


    Hi again, Benjamin.

    Agreed, these new firmware releases are probably not being tested
    with old IRIX releases. An OS upgrade is the right way to update
    the firmware.

    Thanks a lot for this advice!

    Igor.

  11. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    josehill wrote:
    > * Benjamin:
    >
    > Exactly! The only reason I could think of for doing this as part of a
    > "normal" operation would be if someone has multiple, identical hardware
    > systems, and they want to upgrade their OSs by cloning system disks,
    > rather than by running a manual installation on each system. Since
    > cloning the system disk doesn't flash the PROMs on the target systems,
    > a manual approach would be appropriate, but even then, it shouldn't be
    > done casually.


    Indeed, a manual firmware upgrade should not be required when doing
    a normal IRIX installation. I will install a new HDD on the O2 and
    upgrade the operating system as usual. Thanks a lot for this advice.

    Another reason for manually upgrading a firmware would be fixing a
    known issue on a production system were an OS upgrade is not possible,
    even if IRIX has not been installed by cloning a hard disk drive.

    Best regards,
    Igor.

  12. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    Igor Sobrado wrote:

    > Another reason for manually upgrading a firmware would be fixing a
    > known issue on a production system were an OS upgrade is not possible,
    > even if IRIX has not been installed by cloning a hard disk drive.


    Yes! Good point -- I forgot about that.

    Thanks and best regards.
    -j


  13. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    * Igor Sobrado:

    > Indeed, I have some SCA drives here (e.g., I have a Sun StorEdge
    > Multipack disk drive array with six 9 GB SCA drives on it... a fine
    > and very fast RAID-5!). I have not installed an SCA drive on that
    > machine as I prefer a drive with the right firmware on it... don't
    > know if SGI firmware is "recommended" on drives for reliable workstations,
    > but I am trying to avoid replacing the original HDD with a standard
    > drive if it is possible.


    Well, the disks used in these desktop workstations usually don't contain
    any special firmware. The only thing that differs from the generic disk
    is the identification string and the much shorter warranty. There is
    absolutely no advantage on a desktop workstation like an O2 to have a
    disk with SGI firmware. More contrary, newer standard disks are usually
    noticeably faster than the ancient drives that were sold with these
    machines...

    Benjamin

  14. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    Benjamin Gawert wrote:
    >
    > Well, the disks used in these desktop workstations usually don't contain
    > any special firmware. The only thing that differs from the generic disk
    > is the identification string and the much shorter warranty. There is
    > absolutely no advantage on a desktop workstation like an O2 to have a
    > disk with SGI firmware. More contrary, newer standard disks are usually
    > noticeably faster than the ancient drives that were sold with these
    > machines...


    Same happens with Solaris and the Sun HDDs. It is a nice feature being
    able to identify the HDDs from the SPARC OBP, but certainly not required
    for a workstation.

    Cheers,
    Igor.

  15. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    josehill wrote:
    > Igor Sobrado wrote:
    >
    >> Another reason for manually upgrading a firmware would be fixing a
    >> known issue on a production system were an OS upgrade is not possible,
    >> even if IRIX has not been installed by cloning a hard disk drive.

    >
    > Yes! Good point -- I forgot about that.


    Your point was certainly more important! :-)

    I have just upgraded the SGI O2 PROM to release 4.18. I will look for
    a list of changes on this release (my goal was upgrading from 4.3 to
    4.12, as it was the latest firmware release provided in a patch for
    my old IRIX release, but I finally installed IRIX 6.5.22). I changed
    the SCA drive to a mostly noisy 4GB Sun SCA drive. I really do not
    want to remove the HDDs from the MultiPack enclosure, as these drives
    are currently set up as a RAID-5 with two hot spares.

    I am just curious about the improvements from 4.12 up to 4.18. I will
    look for some information at sgi.com.

    Thanks to all for helping me on this issue!

    Best regards,
    Igor.

  16. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    In article ,
    Igor Sobrado wrote:
    >I changed
    >the SCA drive to a mostly noisy 4GB Sun SCA drive. I really do not
    >want to remove the HDDs from the MultiPack enclosure, as these drives
    >are currently set up as a RAID-5 with two hot spares.


    Note that sometimes drives that are part of a RAID are formatted
    with a slightly larger sector size... ummm, 520 bytes per sector
    is what floats to mind.

  17. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM


    Igor Sobrado wrote:
    > As this machine is currently EOL'd, I suppose that 4.18 is the latest
    > firmware release. ...


    If 4.18 is the latest, how come I've seen O2s that report V4.3 and in
    one
    case V4.7?

    Btw, a default install of 6.5.26 *will* fit onto a 2GB disk. Just. Uses
    1.8GB.


    > is dangerous and an unsupported configuration. I will install a new
    > SCA drive on that machine and install a newer IRIX relase then. It
    > is a very good advice. Thanks a lot.


    Btw, if it's of any help, my site has an installation guide for 6.5:

    http://www.futuretech.blinkenlights.nl/6.5inst.html

    Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.

    Cheers!

    Ian.

    SGI Depot: http://www.futuretech.blinkenlights.nl/sgidepot/
    Email: mapesdhs@yahoo.com (eBay ID: mapesdhs)
    Backup email (send copy to this too): sgidepot@blueyonder.co.uk
    Home: +44 (0)131 476 0796 (best to call this number first)


  18. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    Walter Roberson wrote:
    > In article ,
    > Igor Sobrado wrote:
    >>I changed
    >>the SCA drive to a mostly noisy 4GB Sun SCA drive. I really do not
    >>want to remove the HDDs from the MultiPack enclosure, as these drives
    >>are currently set up as a RAID-5 with two hot spares.

    >
    > Note that sometimes drives that are part of a RAID are formatted
    > with a slightly larger sector size... ummm, 520 bytes per sector
    > is what floats to mind.


    Indeed! But this drive was never added to the MultiPack enclosure. The
    Sun StorEdge MultiPack has six 9 GB SCA drives on it. This drive was the
    system disk on an Ultra 2 Creator workstation attached to the RAID.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Igor.

  19. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM

    mapesdhs@yahoo.com wrote:
    >
    > Igor Sobrado wrote:
    >> As this machine is currently EOL'd, I suppose that 4.18 is the latest
    >> firmware release. ...

    >
    > If 4.18 is the latest, how come I've seen O2s that report V4.3 and in
    > one
    > case V4.7?


    Mine had 4.3 before upgrading too. I think that 4.18 is a recent
    firmware release (i.e., 4.18 is not 4.1.8, 4.18 > 4.3). In fact,
    it was releases at some time at 2002, if I am not wrong. PROM 4.3
    was on this machine. And it was never updated since it was adquired
    in the mid-90's.

    > Btw, a default install of 6.5.26 *will* fit onto a 2GB disk. Just. Uses
    > 1.8GB.


    Quite sure, but it does not allocate a lot of space for user files!

    >> is dangerous and an unsupported configuration. I will install a new
    >> SCA drive on that machine and install a newer IRIX relase then. It
    >> is a very good advice. Thanks a lot.

    >
    > Btw, if it's of any help, my site has an installation guide for 6.5:
    >
    > http://www.futuretech.blinkenlights.nl/6.5inst.html
    >
    > Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.


    Are you Ian Mapleson??? I printed a lot of information you provide
    on SGI's systems some years ago. An *excellent* reference for SGI
    users!!!

    Best regards,
    Igor.

  20. Re: upgrading the SGI O2 PROM


    Igor Sobrado wrote:
    > Mine had 4.3 before upgrading too. I think that 4.18 is a recent
    > firmware release (i.e., 4.18 is not 4.1.8, 4.18 > 4.3). In fact,


    Whoops! Indeed, I was misreading that as decimal...


    > Quite sure, but it does not allocate a lot of space for user files!


    True, but I meant as in enough for testing, etc. Afterwards, if all
    is well, you could clone onto a larger drive and proceed from there.


    > Are you Ian Mapleson??? ...


    Er, yes.


    > ... I printed a lot of information you provide
    > on SGI's systems some years ago. An *excellent* reference for SGI
    > users!!!


    Thanks! 8-) So much more to add, so little time...

    Cheers!

    Ian.


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