Astec A3x00: Firmware 





On power-up DEL gets you into the BIOS setup screen. The BIOS is a standard Phoenix Award BIOS.

The options for boot devices are:

  • LS120
  • Hard Disk
  • ZIP100
  • LAN
  • Disabled

I set the first boot device to USB-ZIP and it happily booted Tiny Core Linux 5.2 from a conventionally formatted pen drive. (It had a standard MBR but had not been specifically adjusted to ZIP format).

It gave a Boot error if the pen drive had no MBR (i.e. it appeared as a single partition - /dev/sda)

Clock Frequency

In May 2016 I had an issue with the A3500 not successfully booting various current Linux distributions. To cut a long story short I eventually traced it down to one setting in the BIOS - the CPU FID setting in the Frequency/Voltage Control screen. This sets the CPU clock multiplier. The Load Fail-Safe Defaults sets it to 4x, Load Optimised Defaults sets it to 10x (and, as far as I can see, is the only parameter that changes between the two options!). I changed this to 9x and that solved the problem of the distributions failing to boot - albeit with a 1GHz processor now running at 900MHz.

I can only think that there must have been some strange interaction between the VIA Eden CPU and then iteration of the Linux CPU Frequency Control software.

As of October 2017 there is no such problem. (Tiny Core 7.0 failed. Tiny Core 8.1.1 is fine).


Any comments? email me. Added May 2014    Last update October 2017