Acer G43T-AM3

The Acer G43T-AM3 is a microATX-sized desktop board. It was used for the Acer models Aspire M3800, Aspire M5800 and possibly more.

Technology

Northbridge Intel G43 (called x4x in coreboot code)
Southbridge Intel ICH10R (called i82801jx in coreboot code)
CPU socket LGA 775
RAM 4 x DDR3-1066
SuperIO ITE IT8720F
Audio Realtek ALC888S
Network Intel 82567V-2 Gigabit Ethernet

There is no serial port. Serial console output is possible by soldering to a point at the corresponding Super I/O pin and patching the mainboard-specific code accordingly.

Status

Working

Tests were done with SeaBIOS 1.14.0 and slackware64-live from 2019-07-12 (linux-4.19.50).

  • Intel Core 2 processors at up to FSB 1333
  • All four DIMM slots at 1066 MHz (tested 2x2GB + 2x4GB)
  • Integrated graphics (libgfxinit)
  • HDMI and VGA ports
  • Both PCI slots
  • Both PCI-e slots
  • USB (8 internal, 4 external)
  • All six SATA ports
  • Onboard Ethernet
  • Onboard sound card with output on the rear stereo connector
  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
    • With SeaBIOS, use CONFIG_SEABIOS_PS2_TIMEOUT, tested: 500
    • With FILO it works without further settings
  • Temperature readings from the Super I/O (including the CPU temperature via PECI)
  • Super I/O EC automatic fan control
  • S3 suspend/resume
  • Poweroff

Not working

  • DDR3 memory with 512Mx8 chips (G43 limitation)
  • 4x4GB of DDR3 memory (works, but showed a single bit error within one pass of Memtest86+ 5.01)
  • Super I/O voltage reading conversions

Untested

  • Other audio jacks or the front panel header
  • S/PDIF output
  • On-board Firewire
  • Wake-on-LAN

Flashing coreboot

Type Value
Socketed flash No
Model Macronix MX25L1605D
Size 2 MiB
Package 8-Pin SOP
Write protection No
Dual BIOS feature No
Internal flashing Yes

The flash is divided into the following regions, as obtained with ifdtool -f rom.layout backup.rom:

00000000:00001fff fd
00100000:001fffff bios
00006000:000fffff me
00002000:00005fff gbe

In general, flashing is possible internally and from an external header. It might be necessary to specify the chip type; MX25L1605D/MX25L1608D/MX25L1673E is the correct one, not MX25L1605.

Internal flashing

Internal access to the flash chip is unrestricted. When installing coreboot, only the BIOS region should be updated by passing the --ifd and -i bios parameters to flashrom. A full backup is advisable.

Here is an example:

$ sudo flashrom \
  -p internal \
  -c "MX25L1605D/MX25L1608D/MX25L1673E" \
  -r backup.rom
$ sudo flashrom \
  -p internal \
  -c "MX25L1605D/MX25L1608D/MX25L1673E" \
  --ifd -i bios \
  -w coreboot.rom

In addition to the information here, please see the Flashing firmware tutorial.

External flashing

The SPI flash chip on this board can be flashed externally through the SPI_ROM1 header while the board is off and disconnected from power. There seems to be a diode that prevents the external programmer from powering the whole board.

The signal assigment on the header is identical to the pinout of the flash chip. The pinout diagram below is valid when the PCI slots are on the left and the CPU is on the right. Note that HOLD# and WP# must be pulled high (to VCC) to be able to flash the chip.

            +---+---+
 SPI_CSn <- | x | x | -> VCC
            +---+---+
SPI_MISO <- | x | x | -> HOLDn
            +---+---+
     WPn <- | x | x | -> SPI_CLK
            +---+---+
     GND <- | x | x | -> SPI_MOSI
            +---+---+

Intel Management Engine

The Intel Management Engine (ME) can be disabled by setting the ME_DISABLE jumper on the board. It pulls GPIO33 on the ICH10 low, causing the “Flash Descriptor Security Override Strap” to be set. This disables the ME and also disables any read/write restrictions to the flash chip that may be set in the Intel Flash Descriptor (IFD) (none on this board). Note that changing this jumper only comes into effect when starting the board from a shutdown or suspend state, not during normal operation.

To completely remove the ME blob from the flash image and to decrease the size of the ME region, thus increasing the size of the BIOS region, me_cleaner can be used with the -t, -r and -S options.

Fan control

There are two fan connectors that can be controlled individually. CPU_FAN can only control a fan by a PWM signal and SYS_FAN only by voltage. See the mainboard’s devicetree.cb file for how coreboot configures the Super I/O to control the fans.

Variants

Various similar mainboards exist, like the Acer Q45T-AM. During a discussion in #coreboot on IRC, ECS was suspected to be the original designer of this series of mainboards. They have similar models such as the ECS G43T-WM.