Dell Precision T1650

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Dell Precision T1650
Manufacturer Dell
Name Precision T1650
Variants Precision T1650
Released 2012
Chipset Intel C216
CPU Intel Ivy Bridge
Graphics Discrete graphics, or Intel HD Graphics model
depending on CPU model
Memory DDR3 DIMMs (max 32GB, 4x8GB), ECC memory supported
Architecture x86_64
Original boot firmware Dell UEFI firmware
Intel ME/AMD PSP Present. Can be disabled with me_cleaner.
Flash chip SOIC-16 and/or SOIC-8 12MiB (96Mbit)
W+: Works without blobs; 
N: Doesn't work; 
W*: Works with blobs; 
U: Untested; 
P+: Partially works; 
P*: Partially works with blobs
Internal flashing with original boot firmware ?
Display (if Intel GPU) W+
Display (discrete CPU, SeaBIOS payload only) W*
Audio W+
RAM Init W+
Payloads supported
GRUB (libgfxinit only) Works
SeaBIOS Works
SeaBIOS with GRUB Works


Unavailable in Libreboot 20230625 or earlier. You must compile from source, or use at least Libreboot 20231021.

Official information about the laptop can be found here:

This is similar code-wise to Dell OptiPlex 9010 which coreboot supports.

Build ROM image from source

The build target, when building from source, is thus:

./build roms t1650_12mb


Insert binary files

If you’re using a release ROM, please ensure that you’ve inserted extra firmware required refer to the guide for that. (failure to adhere to this advice will result in a bricked machine)

Libreboot’s build system automatically downloads and processes these files if you build Libreboot from source, but the same logic that it uses must be re-run if you’re using a release image.

Set MAC address

This platform uses an Intel Flash Descriptor, and defines an Intel GbE NVM region. As such, release/build ROMs will contain the same MAC address. To change the MAC address, please read nvmutil documentation.

WARNING about CPU/GPU compatibility

At the time of testing this board, I didn’t have a CPU with graphics built in, so I could only use discrete graphics on the PCI-E slot (in my case, Nvidia Quadro K420 running under the nouveau driver in Linux).

If you want to use onboard graphics, you must have a CPU that has a GPU built into it. You can find a list here:

NOT ALL CPUs support ECC memory. You must use one that supports it, if you want to have the ECC feature, or else it won’t work. ECC allows for error correction, mitigating certain defects that develop over time in the RAM (it will not account for all defects, and memory always needs to be replaced eventually) - with ECC RAM, this machine is more suitable to applications where data integrity matters.

Because of this, Libreboot currently only provides ROM images where SeaBIOS is the first payload, and SeaBIOS is relied upon the execute the VGA ROM that’s stored on the graphics card. However, coreboot’s libgfxinit is also enabled, so onboard graphics should work if you don’t have a graphics card installed.

Coreboot has libre initialisation code for Intel graphics, but libre initialisation code is not available for most graphics cards. This machine can take any graphics card that fits in the PCI-E slot.

GRUB also works, from SeaBIOS when the machine is booted in text mode. Both coreboot GRUB, and BIOS GRUB provided by your (Linux) distro. It’s done this way (SeaBIOS first) because Libreboot’s configuration does not tell coreboot to execute VGA Option ROMs, and it’s important that we try to prevent bricks whenever possible.

Flash a ROM image (software)

If you’re already running Libreboot, and you don’t have flash protection turned on, internal flashing is possible.

Flash a ROM image (hardware)

REMOVE all power sources and connectors from the machine, before doing this. This is to prevent short circuiting and power surges while flashing.

For general information, please refer to 25xx NOR flash instructions - that page refers to use of socketed flash.

This machine is somewhat cumbersome to flash, because it has a SOIC-16 flash for the first 8MB part, and 4MB SOIC8. You can split up your 12MB ROM image like so:

dd if=libreboot.rom of=4mb.rom bs=1M skip=8
dd if=libreboot.rom of=8mb.rom bs=1M count=8

The side cover comes off easily, and you can find the flash ICs next to the RAM.

Here’s the SOIC8 IC being flashed:

SOIC8 flash IC on T1650

and here is the SOIC16 IC being flashed:

SOIC16 flash IC on T1650

Here is SeaBIOS after a successful boot attempt:

SeaBIOS on T1650

Here is GRUB:

GRUB on T1650


MemTest86+ on T1650

The Debian installer:

Debian installation

and here is Mozilla Firefox in Debian booted on T1650, showing the Libreboot flashing instructions in Chinese:

Libreboot flashing instructions

Other aspects of the machine are not much to write home about. It’s a standard desktop PC form factor, and you can just run whatever you want on it.


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