How to flash a new bios and firmware to your LSI 9217-8i SAS2308 controller

I recently bought a SAS controller card for my FreeNAS computer. Since my onboard motherboard controller was maxed out at 3 drives, I needed something for expansion.

I chose a LSI 9217-8i controller as it was well recommended on the blogs around the internet, and had great support for BSD based OS’s. Only problem was that this controller came with “IR” firmware, which meant it came with RAID support and would not simply pass the drives to my OS for a software RAID.

i needed to flash the card to “IT” mode for HBA type operation. Once you know how to do it, the process seems quite simple. But while i was researching the task, it seemed very confusing. Hopefully this how-to will help you understand and make the job a little easier for you.

We will be using the DOS method, although it may be possible to do this using a UEFI command line if your motherboard supports it. My PC does not, and this way is more universal for any motherboard.

Step 1: gather things

Make sure you have the card installed in the pc and the controller bios is running during boot. Make sure the card shows as IR mode in the controller setup.

Step 2: set up usb flash drive

get a flash drive, doesn’t have to be big, and use Rufus ( to install FreeDos on it. make sure the freedos is bootable when complete.

Step 3: get software to flash

go to the broadcom website and get the required software. here, we will be gathering both a Bios, and a Firmware. some people say you can do this without a bios, which would make a faster boot time for your PC, but this is the process that made the most sense to me.

go to this website:

go to downloads, then the “firmware” section, and find the “9217-8i_Package_P20_IR_IT_Firmware_BIOS_for_MSDOS_Windows” selection. This file contains both the BIOS and Firmware we will need, as well as the utility we will use to write these files.

Step 4: copy images to flash drive

We need to extract our stuff and copy them to the root of the flash drive. Go get the following files from our zip we just downloaded:

  1. flash utility
    • /sas2flash_dos_rel/sas2flsh.exe
      • notice this is spelled short so it fits the 8 character naming limit of dos.
  2. Bios
    • /sasbios_rel/mptsas2.rom
  3. Firmware
    • /Firmware/HBA_9207_8i_IT/9207-8.bin

Notice, for the firmware, there are 2 options. It is possible to flash this back to “IR” mode by simply using the 9217-8.bin from the other directory inside firmware. Basically 9207 means IT mode, and 9217 means IR mode.

The Bios file is a rom, and the firmware file is a bin. This is an easy way to keep track of them.

Again, copy these 3 files to the root of the bootable freedos flashdrive and move on. Dont worry about or get distracted with all the other files available, they don’t matter for this. (you can read through the pdf documentation files if you like)

Step 5: flash stuff

Insert the flash drive into the pc with our SAS controller and boot from it. once we are at a command prompt, we are ready.

basically the process goes in two stages. First, because this is a “cross-flash” we need to erase the current firmware before we can write our new one. If we dont erase first, the utility will see the firmware as incompatible. Second, we flash both the bios and firmware in a single command.

To check status before we flash, we can run the following. this will also show us which controller number we are working with. if there is only one installed, it should be zero.

sas2flsh -list

Next thing to do is erase the “region”. Here we are doing 6 – Clean flash (erase everything except manufacturing area):

sas2flsh -o -e 6

and finally, flash the firmware and bios. This command selects the controller (-c 0), flashes the firmware ( -f ), and then flashes the bios ( -b ).

sas2flash -c 0 -f 9207-8.bin -b mptsas2.rom

do not reboot between the erase and the write commands.

once all steps are complete, you can check status again, or reboot.

Congratulations, you did it!

Additional documentation and my references:

2 responses to “How to flash a new bios and firmware to your LSI 9217-8i SAS2308 controller”

  1. Hi!
    This is a full name of the controller from readme.txt which is included in newest firmware:
    LSI Host Bus Adapter(HBA) – LSI SAS 9217-8i
    So, there is “HBA” in here. I read somewhere else, that HBA is a Dell naming for the same thing as LSI named “IT mode”.

    I have LSI 9217-8i and I have access to every 4 disks connected to it (SATA SSD and SAS). Is it worse access that it will be after flashing to IT version?


  2. This a big help. I’m looking to go from a hardware raid linux server to Unraid. It’s going to a be a lot of copying files from backup, but the end should be worth it. I was having a hard time finding a guide to flashing my 9271-8i to IT mode until I found your post. Thanks a ton.

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