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H310/H710/H710P Mini & Full Size IT Crossflashing

This guide allows you to crossflash 12th gen Dell Mini Mono & full size cards to LSI IT firmware. Mini Mono refers to the small models that fit in the dedicated "storage slot" on Dell servers. Because iDRAC checks the PCI vendor values of cards in this slot before allowing the server to boot, the generic full-size PERC crossflashing guides do not apply. This guide however solves that issue. Technical explanation for those curious. The following cards are currently supported (if you have a model not listed, contact me):

WARNING: Do not follow any of these guides on a blade chassis (like an M620 or M820). They use different perc mini cards with different PCI values, the files in this guide will brick them. I am working on generating the correct files to crossflash these cards as well, so check back.

  • H310 Mini Mono
  • H710 Mini Mono
  • H710P Mini Mono
  • H710 Full Size
  • H710P Full Size

Please note that we're not the first to do this, a few eBay sellers figured this out and have kept it a secret in order to crossflash these themselves, then sell hundreds of them for 4x the cost of the original cards. In the spirit of open source, this guide is intended to allow users to save money and do it themselves. If you're lazy and want a pre-flashed card, eBay is still an option.

Thanks

Jon Sands
fourlynx
WildOne69
Various STH Members

Why

There's two main reasons to do this, assuming you don't need the hardware RAID functionalities of the stock firmware:

Better Performance: the plain LSI IT firmware in this guide drastically increases the max queue depth of the adapter. For instance on the H310 Mini, it goes from 25 with the stock Dell RAID firmware to 600 with the LSI IT firmware. This can mean drastic improvements in IOPS with heavy SSD configurations for example.

Different Driver: The stock Dell firmware (MegaRAID-based) uses the MegaRAID driver in Linux/FreeBSD/etc. In some distributions this can cause issues, for example FreeNAS has issues pulling SMART data from drives connected to a MegaRAID controller. After crossflashing to IT mode, the card is used by the OS via the much simpler mpt3sas driver.

Preparation

Ensure there is only one LSI-based adapter in your system. If there are others besides the adapter you intend to flash, remove them! Also in the server BIOS settings, under Integrated Devices, ensure both SR-IOV Global Enable and I/OAT DMA Engine are disabled. They are disabled by default, so unless you've changed them in the past you should be good.

Remove the RAID battery from the adapter. The IT firmware has no cache for the battery to back, in fact the IT firmware will have no clue the battery is there if you leave it connected. To make matters worse, in rare cases some people observed the battery holding old Dell code in the card's RAM and it made their crossflash process a pain. Just unplug/remove the battery and store it somewhere in case you return to Dell firmware.

Download the ZIP below which contains two ISOs. One is a FreeDOS live image, the other is a Debian live image. Both come prepackaged with all the required tools and files, and they can be booted either via iDRAC virtual media or by burning them to a flash drive via Rufus, using dd, or your favorite flashing utility - up to you.

Dell Perc Flashing ZIP
Version: v1.5
ZIP Updated: 05-18-2020
MD5: 64f167007480f71d9756ea9f6f6f449a

Note: If you know you have an H310 Mini (not an H710), skip all of the below and jump right to the H310 Mini Guide. Otherwise, continue below.

Finding Your Card Revision

Boot the server off the FreeDOS ISO. Once it's booted, just run the following command, which will spit out the name and revision of your card:

info

percflash1

If it displays an H310 Mini, proceed to the H310 Mini Guide
If it displays an H710 Mini B0 revision, proceed to the H710 Mini (B0) Guide
If it displays an H710 Mini D1 revision, proceed to the H710 Mini (D1) Guide
If it displays an H710P Mini B0 revision, proceed to the H710P Mini (B0) Guide
If it displays an H710P Mini D1 revision, proceed to the H710P Mini (D1) Guide
If it displays an H710 Adapter B0 revision, proceed to the H710 Full Size (B0) Guide
If it displays an H710 Adapter D1 revision, proceed to the H710 Full Size (D1) Guide
If it displays an H710P Adapter B0 revision, proceed to the H710P Full Size (B0) Guide
If it displays an H710P Adapter D1 revision, proceed to the H710P Full Size (D1) Guide

If it displays anything that doesn't exactly match the above choices, contact me with a screenshot. If you're impatient and pick the "closest one" instead, you'll brick your card.

Extra: Revision Info & Part Numbers

The main difference between the B0 and D1 revisions is the D1 will link at PCIe 3.0 speeds, instead of PCIe 2.0. This will almost certainly never cause a bottleneck unless you have every SAS port on the card connected to very fast SSDs that all get hammered at the same time. Even then, you're likely to reach the card's processor limitations before the bus bandwidth limit. The difference with the P cards (H710P) is more cache (1GB vs 512MB), but this is totally irrelevant when running the card flashed to IT mode as the cache is not used.

Regardless, since they're the same price used, you may as well grab the D1 revision. Note that many ebay sellers just stick popular part numbers in the listing title, so try to verify in the actual auction images that the label states the correct part number. Note that most sellers omit the leading 0 so you'll get more results doing the same:

H710 B0 Full Size Part Numbers:
- These full size cards are still $$$ for some reason
- Unless you already have one just buy an actual LSI card for half the price
- 017MXW

H710 D1 Full Size Part Numbers:
- These full size cards are still $$$ for some reason
- Unless you already have one just buy an actual LSI card for half the price
- 0PX45J

H710P B0 Full Size Part Numbers:
- These full size cards are still $$$ for some reason
- Unless you already have one just buy an actual LSI card for half the price
- 0V9RNC

H710P D1 Full Size Part Numbers:
- These full size cards are still $$$ for some reason
- Unless you already have one just buy an actual LSI card for half the price
- 07GCGT

H710 B0 Mini Part Numbers:
- 0MCR5X
- 0FRH64

H710 D1 Mini Part Numbers:
- 05CT6D

H710P B0 Mini Part Numbers:
- 0TTVVV
- 0N3V6G

H710P D1 Mini Part Numbers:
- 0TY8F9

Unknown:
- 0PK2W9

Contributing:

The markdown source for these guides is hosted on my Github repo. If you have any suggested changes or additions feel free to submit a pull request.

Documentation version: v2.2 (05-18-2020)