How To: Update a Dell C6100 DCS Node (BIOS & BCM)

This past week I purchased a lovely Dell C6100 unit on ebay, come to find out it is unable to take any official dell updates for the BIOS or BCM module. As my unit had BIOS version 1.04 (from 2009) I was unable to upgrade my CPU’s to hex-cores. After some research, I found out the reason was because my “C6100” was actually a DCS model. DCS models are re-branded or resold C6100’s that are not registered under dell. You can test for a DCS node by checking the service tag on dell’s website. If it returns not found, chances are you have a DCS model. But, after spending a while on the internet I was able to update both my BIOS and BCM firmwares to the latest dell releases!

First things first, this method for updating is not supported by Dell nor 2nd hand vendors so if you break anything, its your fault. There are some mentions that this method for updating will only work on C6100’s that have the “asset tag” field available in the BIOS, even if it’s empty. If your C6100 BIOS does not show any asset tag field at all, then you may be entering risky territory.

Now lets get on to the fun flashing!

NOTE: I am not responsible for any bricked or damaged units. If you are unsure of doing this process, then do not proceed!

Requirements:
Dell C6100 DCS Model
Jump Drive (1GB+)
Rufus
C6100 Update ZIP

  1. On your PC, use Rufus to format your Jump Drive and install MS-DOS for FreeDOS. (I Recommend FreeDOS)
  2. Next, Download and Place the contents of the c6100.zip file on the Jump Drive.
  3. Plugin your Jump Drive into one of the C6100 nodes, and boot to the Jump Drive. You should be at a DOS command prompt.
  4. First update the BIOS by going to C6100/BIOS and then running “FLASH.bat”
  5. Now be patient, flashing can take a minute or two. Once it is done, reboot the node.
  6. If all goes well your node will reboot with the updated BIOS! Now, boot the Jump Drive again.
  7. When at the DOS prompt again, now go to C6100/BMC and run “FLASH.bat”
  8. Again, wait for the update to complete. Once it is done, shutdown the node, then restart it.
  9. Congrats, you should now have your BIOS on version 1.71, and your BMC on 1.33! You will have to repeat this process on every node if you want to update the entire C6100.

Citation:

  • http://forums.servethehome.com/processors-motherboards/2393-dell-poweredge-c6100-dcs-firmware-updates.html
  • http://forums.servethehome.com/processors-motherboards/3094-bios-v1-04-dell-c6100-xs23-ty3.html
  • http://forums.servethehome.com/processors-motherboards/2930-c6100-succesfull-bios-flash-1-04-1-70-dcs-yahoo-inc-model.html
  • http://forums.servethehome.com/processors-motherboards/1247-dell-c6100-xs23-ty3-2u-4-node-8-cpu-butt-server-78.html

18 thoughts on “How To: Update a Dell C6100 DCS Node (BIOS & BCM)

  1. PersonalJ

    I just updated my XS23-TY3 using this method, the BMCs needed to be flashed multiple times on three of the nodes as they would not always accept the settings specified for them in the BIOS. I flashed the BMC first and then the BIOS so maybe that had something to do with it.

    Reply
    1. Chris B - Admin Post author

      Hello,
      I had that issue on one node, but I just needed to do a full reboot to have it apply. This is why I have the guide say to flash the BIOS first. Glad you got it working though!

      Reply
  2. Preston R

    Just wanted to say thanks for this; I think there’s and updated BIOS/Firmware for the BMC from this, but that wasn’t important to me, running 1.04 for both BIOS and BMC.

    This worked, and I don’t believe I had an asset tag in my BIOS. I saw that, and I thought “what can I lose? I’ll try one, if it works, great, if not, I’ll have to buy a new sled”…. glad I did. I’m all updated.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  3. Dave J

    Many thanks. Saved me a bunch of searching. This worked flawlessly. No asset tag in my bios either. I picked up a fully populated 6100 for a great price (8 * x5650 / 12 * 8gb * 4) and the bios was so old that I was unable to allow add on video cards (the setting wasn’t even there in the bios.). Now that things are updated all is great!

    I also have a custom water cooled c6100 workstation for my main desktop. Eventually When I get some time I will run the bios update on that… Judging by how things went on the server I am hopeful that all will be fine. I have to say I really like the c6100 both as a server and a workstation both in price and performance.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  4. Dimitar Nenov

    Thanks. Great thread.
    I’m about to buy XS23-TY3 and put some X5650 and 48GB per node.
    I have a question regarding the HDD. I won’t be using any raid configuration. I want just to plug a one hdd per node and install windows. Do I need some extra hardware other than default. Because I’ve read that the onboard raid doesn’t support Windows. As I’m not going to use raid I’m not sure about that.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Chris B - Admin Post author

      You should be able to just use the onboard SATA interfaces and enable JBOD, and that should allow you to install windows. I personally have never tried it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

      Reply
    2. Brian

      I’ve tried this as well and get to the login prompt before the bluescreen. These servers were made for esxi not Windows. The fix for me was to purchase a PCI express to msata adapter and buy an msata ssd, using up the x16 slot though. Windows Server 2012 R2 installed successfully on that.

      I have only found Windows drivers by googling around, still can’t get Intel RST to install.

      Also having issue installing 5TB drives as they are only recognized as 561.5GB with the Intel Matrix Storage Manager option ROM v8.6.0.1007 ICH10R/DO 2003-08. I’m crossing fingers with the bios update I can get this thing to recognize above 2TB drives!

      Reply
      1. Brian

        Just ran through and had no issues with the update. At first I didn’t see that the FreeDos and MS-DOS was a drop down option on Rufus so you don’t actually have to download the iso for freedos. Nice! Looking at the Intel Storage Manager and looks like The 5tb drives are still showing as 561.5gb. Going to AHCI in the storage options to see how Windows sees the drives.

        Reply
        1. Brian

          Windows sees the 5TB drives and is currently creating a Raid 5 Windows array! At the end of the day, does it really matter between the ICH10R or Windows Raid? I’m feeling successful with that new bios in place and will update once I play around with bench-marking tools. I like to use HDTune for checking out the SMART info and ATTO to compare performance. Considering I’m just using the disks for backups of photos and family videos, and not so much real business use, I’m happy just having the fault tolerance there in place. Thank you for having this bios update guide here!

          Reply
          1. Brian

            Testing the windows raid, it’s extremely slow write 5MB sec using atto bench and HD Tune. 300MB read. Cannot enable bitlocker on Windows raid as well. I’m still researching if there is a way to update the Intel Matrix Storage Manager option ROM and will report back if found.

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  7. Eche

    Hello guys, i need info regarding this dell c6100 server.
    I want to know whether all nodes can be operated into one ? I mean I m going to install win server hpc 2008 on one node..n rest node should share the processor. (Like 48 proceesor into one operating system). I m using ansys software to solve higher problems and decrease compute time.

    Plz help me out .. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Chris B - Admin Post author

      Hello,

      As the C6100 is just a blade enclosure, it does not have any hardware way to “join” or “combine” the nodes as a single host. If you want to do this, it will need to be done with software by either clustering, or distributing your work across the blades.

      Reply

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