Technical data

The hardware

This page contains information about:


The installation software of your linux-distribution will probably ask you about some of the data provided on this page. The information was partly taken from the AeroFAQ and the "FAQ for Linux on the Compaq Aero".

The photographs were taken from Philip Wilks page (shot by Javier Hernandez) and from Markus Gehards excellent Aero-Page. Both provide many additional photographs and information about the aero, so take a look there too.


The CPU is an INTEL SXJ. The SXJ has a 16-bit external bus, while maintaining the 32 bit bus internally. Speed is 33 MHz for the color model, 25 MHz for the B/W model.


Compaq BIOS, Resides on a separate "setup and diagnostics partition". If you upgrade your harddisk you must re-install the bios partition before all other partitions. If you have a workable floppy drive, use the softpack SP2054 to install the partition before anything else. If you have no floppy take care that you do not delete that non-dos-partition on your harddrive.


The bus is ISA.


The aero has 4 MB RAM fixed to the motherboard. You can upgrade it with additional RAM-Modules which are 4 MB, 8 MB or 16 MB in size. You just plug them into an opening on the backside of the laptop.

The 16 MB-Module is made by the third party manufacturer kingston. You have to upgrade the aeros bios to the newest version (SP1992) to make it see the module.

Although there is no problem with windows, linux has some problems with the 16 MB-Module: You need a kernel patch to get access to (almost) the full ram-size (see: The BadRAM-problem).


PS/2 Two-Buttons-Mouse. Trackball. Manufacturer is Logitech.


1 slot, Type II CSSI 2.01

The PCMCIA controller is a VLSI 82c146. It is compatible to the Intel i82365.
You cannot run pcmcia-cardbus cards (32bit) only 16bit-cards work.


4/25m: 8.0 inch, Backlit, Passive Matrix Monochrome VGA; 16 greyscales

4/33C: 7.8 inch, Backlit, Passive Matrix Color VGA 16 colors

internal (4/25) 640 x 480 16 (mono) N/A
internal (4/33c) 640 x 480 16 N/A
external 640 x 480 16 Horizontal Sync: 31.2kHz, Vertical Sync: 70 Hz


Controller-Chip: SMOS 8108

4/25m: SPC8108F0c,
4/33c: SPC8106F0b
VRAM: 512KB (only 256 k available).

"Since the video chipset is a third party chipset it only uses 256K. The remaining 256K VRAM is used to support the pop-up feature when coming out of stand-by". (info by compaq).

Manufacturer: S-MOS Systems (merged now with Epson). According to dosemu, the display is powered by a Tseng Labs ET4000 with 256K RAM. But XF86_SVGA refuses to recognize it, so don't use the Tseng-driver.

Bus: The Graphic is connected via Local Bus.

Driver: VGA

Vesa Compatible: No


You should also be prepared to enter information about your local network (DHCP or IP addresses, gateway, nameserver).


If the firmware is upgraded to the "newest" version of 1996 (SP1992) the BIOS can access drives up to a capacity of 8,4 GB. If you use a bigger one, you have to setup the BIOS to let the Operating System handle the drive. Otherwise the Aero won't boot. See the following chapters.


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