Flashing the IBM ServeRAID M1015 to the LSI9211

Flashing the IBM ServeRAID M1015 to the LSI9211

The IBM ServeRAID M1015 is an enterprise SAS controller that is very capable in a home server and can be had for around $100 on eBay.  It also uses the same chipset as the LSI9211, so you can flash the card with LSI’s firmware to take advantage of the following features:

  • Access to advanced features previously only available by installing a license from IBM.
  • Ability to run the card in IT Mode which passes all disks through as JBOD. IR Mode enables the use of RAID.
  • Ability to forgo the controller BIOS during boot, making boot time faster.

There are many posts out there on cross flashing this card, including this one that I started from, but I wanted to include links to current firmware versions and more detailed instructions for users with EFI based motherboards.

  1. Make a note of the SAS address of your card.  It will be a 16 digit hex address printed on a white sticker on your card starting with something like 500605.
  2. Download Rufus and use it to create a USB bootable DOS disk.
  3. Create a folder at the root of the USB disk called SAS2008.  We will put all of the necessary files here.
  4. Download the LSI utilities zip which includes the megarec.exe tool, the sbrempty.bin file.
  5. Go to the LSI92118i downloads page, click on firmware, sort by date and grab the latest firmware for MSDOS, and the latest firmware for UEFI.
  6. Copy the following files to the SAS2008 folder on your bootable USB drive.  The first three are from the LSI MSDOS zip file, the fourth is from the LSI UEFI zip file, and the last two are from the LSI-Utils zip file.
    • \sas2flash_win_x86_rel\sas2flash.exe
    • \Firmware\HBA_9211_8i_IR\2118ir.bin
    • \Firmware\HBA_9211_8i_IY\2118it.bin
    • \sas2flash_efi_ebc_rel\sas2flash.efi
    • megarec.exe
    • sbrempty.bin
  7. Boot the server from the USB drive, if the device shows up twice, select the one that does not contain EFI/UEFI.
    • Note: The motherboard I am using is the ASRock E3C224, your boot device menu will look different.
  8. Change to the SAS2008 directory by executing cd C:\SAS2008
  9. Clear the existing firmware by executing megarec.exe -writesbr 0 sbrempty.bin.
  10. Clear the flash by executing megarec.exe -cleanflash 0.
  11. Replace 500605XXXXXXXXXX with your SAS address recorded in step 1.  In steps 12 and 13, if you wish to flash to IR mode instead of IT mode, replace 2118IT.BIN with 2118IR.BIN.  If you do not want to install the controller bios (resulting in faster boots and inability to enter the controller BIOS during boot) remove -b MPTSAS2.ROM from the command.
  12. Reboot the computer, if the motherboard supports UEFI:
    • Boot to the EFI shell and change to the USB drive by executing fs1:
    • Enter the SAS2008 folder by executing cd SAS2008
    • Write the new firmware by executing sas2flash.efi -o -f 2118IT.BIN -b MPTSAS2.ROM
    • Update the SAS address by executing sas2flash.efi -o -sasadd 500605XXXXXXXXXX
  13. If the motherboard does not support UEFI:
    • Boot to the USB drive again and change to the SAS2008 directory by executing cd C:\SAS2008
    • Write the new firmware by executing sas2flash.exe -o -f 2118IT.BIN -b MPTSAS2.ROM
    • Update the SAS address by executing sas2flash.exe -o -sasadd 500605XXXXXXXXXX
  14. Reboot the computer

Your card should now show up as an LSI adapter.  Don’t forget to install the latest drivers from the LSI download link above, and leave a comment if you run into any trouble.

3 thoughts on “Flashing the IBM ServeRAID M1015 to the LSI9211”

  1. Hello,

    sorry but i don’t found the right files…
    cannot find megarec.exe or sbrempty.bin
    sas2flash.exe i cannot found too.. pls help me..
    is there another zip with all the files to download ?

    • It looks like the link I was using is down. I replaced it with a locally hosted copy of the two files you need. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  2. Hello Anthony,
    thanks for your step-by-step guide, I’ve followed it and all is working good (IR mode here).
    I know this post is more than 1 year old, but I would like to add just some additional notes if anybody else would try it:
    – I couldn’t successfully run MegaRec.exe commands until I downloaded DOS4GW.exe (seems to be a dependency of this tool). I found it there, but it could be downloaded from many other sources:
    ftp://ftp.supermicro.nl/driver/SAS/LSI/2108/Firmware/X8QB6-F/Update_FW_2.120.53-1235/DOS4GW.EXE
    Just copy it to SAS2008 folder and proceed with steps.
    – \sas2flash_win_x86_rel\sas2flash.exe was not working in DOS mode (running from bootable USB created with Rufus), I had to replace it with \sas2flash_dos_rel\sas2flsh.exe

    Thank you again for sharing it!

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