Cross Flashing a Dell PERC H200 BIOS to Support Larger SATA Disks

The latest firmware for the Dell PERC H200 still doesn’t support SATA disks of greater than 2.2TB. In fact the card cannot even detect SATA drives that are larger than this.  As the PERC H200 is essentially a rebadged LSI 9211-8i card however, the firmware and BIOS from that card can be flashed onto the PERC H200 to provide support for larger SATA hard drives.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Download the latest 9211-8i firmware package from LSI. I got my copy from http://www.lsi.com/products/storagecomponents/Pages/LSISAS9211-8i.aspx (click on the ‘Support & Downloads’ tab, then expand the firmware section). I downloaded the ‘9211_8i_Package_P16_IR_IT_Firmware_BIOS_for_MSDOS_Windows’ package and extracted the contents.
  2. Copy the required files from the extracted archive onto bootable media. I created a Windows 98SE boot USB stick and copied the files onto it. The required files are: 
    sas2flsh.exe – this is the  flash application. Copy the version from the sas2flash_dos_rel folder if using a dos boot disk.
    2118ir.bin – this is the firmware for the 9211-8i.
    mptsas2.rom – this is the card’s BIOS.
  3. Boot the server containing the PERC H200 from the bootable media. I’d recommend disconnecting any drives from the RAID card before flashing the firmware and BIOS.
  4. Once booted, change to the folder containing the files copied to the media, above, and issue the following commands
    sas2flsh –o –f 2118ir.bin
    sas2flsh –o –b mptsas2.rom
    sas2flsh –o –reset
    Each command should report success before you move onto the next one. If any indicate a failure, double check that you copied the correct files onto the bootable media.
  5. Reboot the server and test the card.

The above procedure allowed the H200 I was using to  detect and use two 3TB disks.

2 Replies to “Cross Flashing a Dell PERC H200 BIOS to Support Larger SATA Disks”

  1. Wow, this is exactly what I need. I have a client that has 2 3TB Sata drives and the card doesn't even pick them up. Only question is how safe is this really to do? I am not always confident about flashing firmware on anything honestly. I mean if it is just this easy, then why has Dell not just rebranded it and pushed it out? I guess that is a rhetorical question but still, you get my point I think. Any other caveats to this? Does everything else work as normal and does it screw with an existing RAID setup at all? I already have one SATA raid setup and was looking to add 2 more 3TB and have it on its own RAID 1. If this works for me you are a lifesaver man. I have been battling this issue for a month now trying to figure out what to do. Thanks! Mike

  2. Hi Mike, Flashing the firmware and BIOS on an add-in card is likely to be the same level of risk as flashing the BIOS on a motherboard, i.e. there's always a chance of failure and therefore bricking the card. If you want to be as sure as you can, run the machine on which you're doing the flashing on a UPS, have only one RAID card in at a time and disconnect all of the disks while flashing the card. In our case, I was starting from scratch with a couple of news disks, so have not had the opportunity to see whether an existing RAID setup would be carried over successfully to the new firmware on the card. I've no reason to think that it wouldn't, but I've not tested it. If you have a couple of cards, you could always use one with a couple of new drives, then flash the firmware and see what happens. I've not tried it, but there should be no reason you couldn't flash the original card's firmware back. When initially looking into flashing the card with the LSI firmware, I used the command sas2flsh -listall to ensure that the sas2flsh program could see the Dell H200 card properly. As long as this command comes back with a sensible looking result, you should be good to go! Andy

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