Super Micro X10 hangs with “PEI – Intel Reference Code Execution (A9)”

For a customer of us we had to set up two webserver environment on physical servers. We picked up both server systems (having a Super Micro X10DRI-LN4+ and a PNY Quadro P1000 installed in addition to other components) and booted up the system. During the IPMI initalization phase, the whole process hanged with PEI – Intel Reference Code Execution … (A9). The status code 0xA9 itself does only mean that the setup started.

We waited more than an hour but nothing happened, so we tried everything suggested:

  1. Doing multiple power cycles.
  2. Popping out every SSD to make sure that this is not related due to some HDD hardware failures.
  3. Doing a BIOS recovery as described at various places – which did not work as our USB stick and the Ctrl+Home shortcut had no effect.

In the end – and after a lot of cursing – we phoned with the hardware distributor of the systems. He gave us the hint to attach a second monitor to the PNY Quadro in addition to the monitor connected to the onboard graphics adapter.

Instantly after we had attached the monitor to the PNY quadro, the A9 status went away and we were able to enter the BIOS. It turned out that most of the Super Micro mainboards are recognizing if a second graphics adapter is installed and will just hang until a display is attached. After we were able to access the BIOS we switched the primary display mode from Offboard to Onboard and everything worked.

I felt very stupid.