Motherboard Group Buy/Crowdfunded Modded BIOS for the Asrock A300m (Deskmini A300)

W4RR10R

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jan 29, 2019
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Has anyone contacted Asrock to ask for an upgraded bios? They do do that sort of thing from time to time if you ask.
Yes, they said that it should be only a BIOS thing but that they don't have the resources available to do such a thing at this time.
 

ermac318

Master of Cramming
Mar 10, 2019
592
479
Semi-related, looks like AsRock won't be updating the STX board BIOS to support the next gen Ryzen APUs:

Or at least, not yet. Also interesting, they clearly state that A320 boards will only support APUs, not standard Ryzen CPUs, bringing it back to the topic of this thread.
 

Primerib

Caliper Novice
Apr 5, 2019
24
8
Semi-related, looks like AsRock won't be updating the STX board BIOS to support the next gen Ryzen APUs:

Or at least, not yet. Also interesting, they clearly state that A320 boards will only support APUs, not standard Ryzen CPUs, bringing it back to the topic of this thread.
You sure? Isn't the A300 almost identical to the A320 chipset? By all means I could be wrong but I have faith. Are the STX boards really that different?
 

Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
1,247
1,026
You sure? Isn't the A300 almost identical to the A320 chipset? By all means I could be wrong but I have faith. Are the STX boards really that different?
A300 is no chipset at all (only using the onboard controllers of the CPU for USB, SATA, etc.). A320 is a discrete chipset like B350/450 and X370/470.

Still, the only legitimate reason for not supporting 3000-series on A320 boards is that their VRMs can't handle the new 16-core CPUs. As illustrated by A320 boards getting 3000-series APU support. I wouldn't be surprised if the A300 got the same treatment.
 
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ConsolidatedResults

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May 4, 2019
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[...]
Still, the only legitimate reason for not supporting 3000-series on A320 boards is that their VRMs can't handle the new 16-core CPUs. As illustrated by A320 boards getting 3000-series APU support. I wouldn't be surprised if the A300 got the same treatment.
It's most certainly not VRMs. Look e.g. at the ASRock A320M-HDV and the AB350M-HDV. Both are the exactly same board layout, VRM config and so forth. Both as per CPU Support list only support up to 65W TDP CPUs. The B-board is listed as getting the full Zen2 update, the A-board isn't. Almost every ASRock A320 board at the moment a) has a B-board equivalent that is getting the Zen2 treatment, and b) supports up to 105W TDP CPUs. Certainly that would be enough for Zen 2. So I have to conclude that this is a deliberate decision (By AMD, maybe supported by board vendors) to exclude A-board owners from Zen 2 at the moment.

ASRock is also being a bit sneaky about the A300. In the original manual, they had screenshots from the OC Tweaker section of UEFI, that showed and listed with description the CPU OC feature that was present but not working in early BIOS versions. The currently available manual on their website reflects the OC Tweaker section of BIOS P3.40, with the CPU settings removed. It looks like they pasted the content into the original screenshot to keep the BIOS date consistent. They have also not incremented version or release date of the manual, it still says "Version 1.0, Published December 2018". A date where the BIOS where they got the screenshots from would not be available for another 3 months. Current version still lists iGPU OC section, which we know doesn't work. Things like these from companies piss me off to no end :)

Therefore I will chip in USD 50 bounty for a BIOS with iGPU OC unlocked.
 
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W4RR10R

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jan 29, 2019
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BIOS 3.50

Got mildly excited, had a small hope that they slipped non apu support into the new bios, but they didn't.

But... maybe this new BIOS could help with the cpu support because now we have two bios with different cpu support so we can compare the two to see what needs to be changed and or added.
 
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BIOS 3.50

Got mildly excited, had a small hope that they slipped non apu support into the new bios, but they didn't.

But... maybe this new BIOS could help with the cpu support because now we have two bios with different cpu support so we can compare the two to see what needs to be changed and or added.
I had a browse through the BIOS files between the A300 and some full boards at some point and iirc the only relevant DXE driver that was really not present was the one for Promontory (the A320, B350... physical southbridge). Which makes sense :) So I don't think it's a missing module, but rather the content of the modules. If you take e.g. an ASrock A320 board and it's B350 equivalent (HDV / HDV, Pro4 / Pro4) on the same BIOS release, the BIOS layout will be virtually identical but some files/modules/drivers between the BIOSes will be binary different. So they have likely been compiled with different options. Everything beyond comparing lists of modules in UEFITool and comparing some extracts in HXD is way above my level of knowledge unfortunately. Fingers crossed for @Danlopez1222

In the PEI section there are to following changes to the module list: Added AodPei, SbSocRavenPei and SbPcdPei

In the DXE section there are the following changes to the module list: Added AmdRasBrApeiDxe, AmdRasRvApeiDxe, AmdRasRvDxe, PatchDevice, AmdRasRvSmm, AodSetupDxe & half a dozen or so freeform type GUIDs. Removed AmdCpmI2cDxe
 
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W4RR10R

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Jan 29, 2019
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I had a browse through the BIOS files between the A300 and some full boards at some point and iirc the only relevant DXE driver that was really not present was the one for Promontory (the A320, B350... physical southbridge). Which makes sense :) So I don't think it's a missing module, but rather the content of the modules. If you take e.g. an ASrock A320 board and it's B350 equivalent (HDV / HDV, Pro4 / Pro4) on the same BIOS release, the BIOS layout will be virtually identical but some files/modules/drivers between the BIOSes will be binary different. So they have likely been compiled with different options. Everything beyond comparing lists of modules in UEFITool and comparing some extracts in HXD is way above my level of knowledge unfortunately. Fingers crossed for @Danlopez1222

In the PEI section there are to following changes to the module list: Added AodPei, SbSocRavenPei and SbPcdPei

In the DXE section there are the following changes to the module list: Added AmdRasBrApeiDxe, AmdRasRvApeiDxe, AmdRasRvDxe, PatchDevice, AmdRasRvSmm, AodSetupDxe & half a dozen or so freeform type GUIDs. Removed AmdCpmI2cDxe
Straight over my head ... well not entirely, I am an ME student so cooling and cases are more my thing, but on a (very) base level I understand most of this. Still hoping that the collective we can get something workong I really want my Sleeper Gamecube to work, 6c/12t + Vega 56 is way cooler imo than 4c/8t. Is also would like to not waste the ~$160 I spent on my 2600.
 
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Danlopez1222

Trash Compacter
Apr 5, 2019
40
80
I had a browse through the BIOS files between the A300 and some full boards at some point and iirc the only relevant DXE driver that was really not present was the one for Promontory (the A320, B350... physical southbridge). Which makes sense :) So I don't think it's a missing module, but rather the content of the modules. If you take e.g. an ASrock A320 board and it's B350 equivalent (HDV / HDV, Pro4 / Pro4) on the same BIOS release, the BIOS layout will be virtually identical but some files/modules/drivers between the BIOSes will be binary different. So they have likely been compiled with different options. Everything beyond comparing lists of modules in UEFITool and comparing some extracts in HXD is way above my level of knowledge unfortunately. Fingers crossed for @Danlopez1222

In the PEI section there are to following changes to the module list: Added AodPei, SbSocRavenPei and SbPcdPei

In the DXE section there are the following changes to the module list: Added AmdRasBrApeiDxe, AmdRasRvApeiDxe, AmdRasRvDxe, PatchDevice, AmdRasRvSmm, AodSetupDxe & half a dozen or so freeform type GUIDs. Removed AmdCpmI2cDxe

Yeah, after going through bios 3.50, I think I'm going to inject the relevant pieces into 3.20 because it has the options for overvolting/overclocking already visible and coded in, they just seem to be disabled by a flag somewhere. I know this because Ryzen Master detects the altered VEGA clockspeeds in windows when changed in the bios, they just aren't enforced by the SMU. There are certain options that can be enabled and disabled when AGESA is compiled as far as I know, which is why custom ram timings doesn't work on many platforms despite having the same underlying code as desktop.

Also an update on my progress so far: it seems you cant bypass the signature check in the bios, at least not with any of the current methods for flashing modded bioses. This means that either (A) I or someone else will have to discover a way to flash a modded bios via software (whether it be a security bypass or some other form of writing to the ROM via software) or (B) the only way to mod the bios on this thing is with an SPI flasher.

This isn't an issue for me because I've been using my FlashcatUSB this whole time, but it will be a problem once I start releasing bioses.

In other news, @peak_mu's 1600 came in the mail today, so stay tuned for more on that.
 

peak_mu

Caliper Novice
Mar 3, 2019
30
27
Well, I'm down to test stuff if/when you need some test monkeys. It looks like there is a header that can be used for flashing (~.050" pitch 5x2 between the fan header and bios chip itself). Are you using this header or clipping directly to the chip?
 
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Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
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Looks like 3000 APU's will still be 12nm :(
Yeah, I've assumed so ever since AMD made that only barely vague statement about "no MCM APUs on Matisse". There is room for interpretation there (is it still Matisse - a CPU platform - if it has a GPU chiplet?), but still pretty clear. I'm hopeful that they might push 4000-series APUs out early, once there's a suitable Navi die available in volume and Ryzen demand has tapered off a bit, but I doubt it will be this year.
 
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Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
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Guess I'll be reentering my "wait for next gen" hole.
Yeah, me too. The need for a HTPC upgrade is really starting to arise, but I don't want to until I can get a properly gaming-capable APU (to be clear, something like 1080p60 medium in current AAA titles) in there. I would feel like an idiot if I did a full system upgrade and wanted to replace the APU within a year.
 
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peak_mu

Caliper Novice
Mar 3, 2019
30
27
@Danlopez1222 Don't know if this is helpful, but while gathering stuff to prepare for bios flashing, I noticed that my Asrock B450M Pro4 motherboard uses the exact same IC for the bios flash. Maybe this is an indicator that the A300 and the B450M share similar functionality in the firmware?