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

Danlopez1222

Caliper Novice
Apr 5, 2019
27
52
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?
I tried testing continuity on those pins, but i couldn't seem to find any that were common to the SPI flash pins. I might have missed something though. Maybe they are instead for JTAG or some other interface?

@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?
The flash-chips themselves aren't really an indicator of anything major. They are all pretty much interchangeable between boards as long as the capacity is the same. It's easier for the OEM to use the same part across multiple models.
 

GLSRacer

Average Stuffer
May 31, 2019
61
40
Maybe I'm off base here but couldn't you just flash the SPI with a flasher and test clip?
 

peak_mu

Caliper Novice
Mar 3, 2019
30
27
Maybe I'm off base here but couldn't you just flash the SPI with a flasher and test clip?
Sure, that's always an option, but I'd much rather hook up to a header if possible. I'll admit I haven't used the test clips before, but they look rather finicky to me.

The flash-chips themselves aren't really an indicator of anything major. They are all pretty much interchangeable between boards as long as the capacity is the same. It's easier for the OEM to use the same part across multiple models.
That's pretty much what I suspected, but just thought I'd put it out there.

I tried testing continuity on those pins, but i couldn't seem to find any that were common to the SPI flash pins. I might have missed something though. Maybe they are instead for JTAG or some other interface?
Are you sure you got right header? Its label is BIOS_PH1. The silkscreen would lead you to believe it's BIOS_S_A1, but BIOS_PH1 is what's on the B450M with that same header and also more clearly labeled.

Here's what I got when I buzzed it out just now:

Header numbering when looking at the board with the fan headers to the left and the bios flash to the right:

2468
13579

Header numbers to flash pin name from the W25Q128FW datasheet
BIOS_PH1W25Q128FW
1​
/CS
2Vcc
3DO
4/HOLD or /RESET
5/WP
6CLK
7NC
8DI
9GND
 
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GLSRacer

Average Stuffer
May 31, 2019
61
40
Yeah, it seems that they can be a bit finicky so it's best to read reviews and find one that has worked well for others. Hopefully you (or Dan Lopez) will be able to find the appropriate header on the A300 board.
 

W4RR10R

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Bronze Supporter
Jan 29, 2019
181
190
So using @peak_mu 's pin numbers I tested all the pins and they are connected.
 
Last edited:
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g1l

Efficiency Noob
Dec 17, 2018
6
0
Will ECC memory work like normal memory if ecc is not yet implemented in the bios or it won't work at all?
 

peak_mu

Caliper Novice
Mar 3, 2019
30
27
@W4RR10R Thanks for the pic! Just a small note, it should be 7 instead of 6 on the lower row of the header.

Will ECC memory work like normal memory if ecc is not yet implemented in the bios or it won't work at all?
I'm fairly sure ECC would work like normal memory, but you would also need a processor that supports it. As far as I know, only the PRO variants of the APUs support ECC, and those aren't really available outside of some random ebay auctions or extracting it from a prebuilt system.
 
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Danlopez1222

Caliper Novice
Apr 5, 2019
27
52
Sorry for the delay, my car's AC and suspension failed at the same time and I've been working as many hours this summer so I can repair them. No AC in the Florida summer sucks.

On top of that, I ended up having to RMA the motherboard because of the wifi antenna popping off and shorting some components.


I'm currently waiting for the return shipping.

Are you sure you got right header? Its label is BIOS_PH1. The silkscreen would lead you to believe it's BIOS_S_A1, but BIOS_PH1 is what's on the B450M with that same header and also more clearly labeled.
Yeah, I retested it after the initial comment and it still wouldn't close a circuit. Turns out, my positive lead wasn't plugged in all of the way. However, I was able to use an old SPI test clip on the bios for easy reading/writing-

Also, I've been having difficulties getting the board to post with modifications to the AGESA code. My primary experince with bios modification is with Insyde bioses, which handles the pre efi initialization (PEI) section differently. It's been a challenge to guess which parts of the AGESA code need to be moved together, and which ones I can let stay.

Regarding the 1600- I was able to get everything to power up, but the fan never slowed after the initial ramp-up and the system didn't post. This makes me believe it is getting caught on initializing the integrated video and halting the boot process. I've been looking at purchasing one of these post-code cards to see what module the bios is getting caught up in after I get paid later this week. The only problem is that I may not get AGESA specific post-codes, which would make this whole thing much more difficult.

If it does tell me which AGESA module is having issues, I can narrow down which module needs to be altered and replaced, and focus my time an energy on that specific component.

Also, if anyone is using and AMD board with a 7-segment LCD built in for post codes, can you try to find a list of what each code means on your device, as well as try to get a video (slow motion preferably) of the order and speed of each code?
 

W4RR10R

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Bronze Supporter
Jan 29, 2019
181
190
Sorry for the delay, my car's AC and suspension failed at the same time and I've been working as many hours this summer so I can repair them. No AC in the Florida summer sucks.
Man that sucks, I get it, Im from Texas that 30 seconds or so before my AC blows cold is unbearable.

I was just checking in making sure you were still alive.

Thank you for all this work you've been doing.
 
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Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,370
5,874
Sorry for the delay, my car's AC and suspension failed at the same time and I've been working as many hours this summer so I can repair them. No AC in the Florida summer sucks.
Sounds like something a BIOS Bounty would take care of ;)

In all seriousness, best of luck getting things in order. That sucks.
 

NateDawg72

Master of Cramming
Aug 11, 2016
385
281
@W4RR10R I've been watching this thread for awhile but haven't said anything till now, put me down as interested.
With how awesome ryzen 3000 is looking I've been badly wanting something smaller than ITX to drop one in to and undervolt / tune it.

I don't have any technical skills to help pursue this, but I'll gladly put in for the bounty or help acquire any hardware that gets us closer to a successfully modded bios.
 
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GLSRacer

Average Stuffer
May 31, 2019
61
40
I've had my A300W up and running for the last few weeks and it's been very stable on Fedora 30. I'd be willing to help with testing as required. Also, if we could get full overclocking on the newest ASRock BIOS firmware (so that we maintain support for 3400G) I'd be willing to contribute to the bounty.
 
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Hammerfest

Chassis Packer
Jul 15, 2019
15
13
Decided to bite the bullet and register.
Willing to donate, mainly for GPU OC but anything is good :D.
Memory is key and already works, next in line is GPU which TechEpiphany has shown can make these shine since they can easily do an extra 200-400Mhz in some case's :p
 

jace_ziii

Minimal Tinkerer
Jul 16, 2019
4
2
soundcloud.com
Decided to bite the bullet and register.
Willing to donate, mainly for GPU OC but anything is good :D.
Memory is key and already works, next in line is GPU which TechEpiphany has shown can make these shine since they can easily do an extra 200-400Mhz in some case's :p
I just registered and agree with "memory is key". If we can have a bios to support speeds up to 4,600MHz along with other relative prerequisite needed. No need for GPUs. IMO.

Also just bit the bullet and registered. I'm currently waiting for my A300w to ship. I have plans for an aesthetically modded deskmini case. GPUs are expensive widely available which would defeat the sff of the a300w.

I will donate what ever takes on an incremental basic to take advantage of AMDs iGPU aka APU graphics. I love the idea of super multi core dedicated to the APU. With it being brand new and typically by popular demand frowned upon with fps "Nazis". Would love to see a bios with ddr4 4,600MHz compatibility at least for now.

Im all for sff builds. So into sff that I still use my Palm Pre phone. Mainly because I don't wanted to be like everyone else. IPhone and samsungs everywhere. Long live WebOs sff palm pre!
 

Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
1,127
918
Also just bit the bullet and registered. I'm currently waiting for my A300w to ship. I have plans for an aesthetically modded deskmini case. GPUs are expensive widely available which would defeat the sff of the a300w.

I will donate what ever takes on an incremental basic to take advantage of AMDs iGPU aka APU graphics. I love the idea of super multi core dedicated to the APU. With it being brand new and typically by popular demand frowned upon with fps "Nazis". Would love to see a bios with ddr4 4,600MHz compatibility at least for now.

Im all for sff builds. So into sff that I still use my Palm Pre phone. Mainly because I don't wanted to be like everyone else. IPhone and samsungs everywhere. Long live WebOs sff palm pre!
Those memory speeds are never, ever going to happen on a Zen+-based APU. The memory controller and Infinity Fabric doesn't scale beyond 3600 or so - and that's on a good day with good silicon. Zen2 in the Matisse design with its ability to decouple IF from memory speed scales much higher, but Matisse is CPUs only, no APUs. We'll likely see speeds like those whenever Zen2-based APUs appear, but for now the earliest rumored release for those is CES. and we have no idea if it will be possible to get the Deskmini to support those APUs at all.
 

Slowjim

Trash Compacter
Mar 12, 2019
51
25
Count me in. I am running a 3400g with Gskill 3200 CL18 and would like GPU OC. Also I am hitting a wall at 3333 with RAM but I know for a fact this kit is stable at 3400.