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Hardware First Look: Extensible Firmware Interface

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 22 Jan 2008.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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  2. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    So we're probably looking at another 18mths+ before this becomes mainstream?
    It's disappointing that MS don't seem to bother about supporting EFI on 32-bit Vista.
     
  3. Spode

    Spode What's a Spode?

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    True, but maybe the market needs that sort of push to get people moving to 64-bit. That would be justified if 64-bit Vista worked well :D

    I'd quite like to know how big the flash memory is for an EFI bios. I.e, is it big enough to put a stripped down Linux install on, and if there are any down sides to doing so. With Slitaz (www.slitaz.org) at 22MB, if they have chosen 32MB for the standard, it's quite possible! With graphics, and higher level coding, I imagine it would have to be above the previous 2/4MB size.

    Either way, I imagine we're going to see some interesting open source developments in this area.
     
  4. DougEdey

    DougEdey I pwn all your storage

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    Shame it's not drop in socket replaceable either :(
     
  5. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg New Member

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    Problem with embedding linux in the EFI flash would be where does EFI go? If they go with a 32mb flash you can guarantee it'll fill most of that. Manufacturers are not going to spend more on this than they have to.
     
  6. Koradhil

    Koradhil New Member

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    Would be awesome to have the option of replacing the onboard flash for a higher capacity chip, to allow it to be used as an SSD.
     
  7. Digital-Prozac

    Digital-Prozac New Member

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    Apple have been using EFI since they switched to Intel in 2006. So it's not that it's never been implemented by a manufacturer.
     
  8. Goos!e

    Goos!e New Member

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    Maybe a few everyday applications/games working on 64-bit would help?

    As far as i know... there are hardly any games out that even work on 64-bit(might be wrong and haven't heard of some tho)

    My point being: 64-Bit seems overrated to me..

    but to the EFI BIOS: I don't quite get the point of it....(prolly just too stupid)
    Isn't it somewhat like a Linux type USB-Flashdrive OS (if ya get what i mean)?
    Just like old fashion BIOS with a Facelift? and mind you... easier too use?
    As far as im concerned.. most ppl i know don't dare to finger about in their BIOS because they are too scared to F* up!
    now with this nice little Interface and whatnots.. i take that the "no-i-wont-touch-it-cause-it-looks-"techy"" barrier is going down

    And wtf! Instant messaging? In BIOS? What For?

    supportchat? or for the urgent to have a Cybernookie?

    Capability to Stream Audio/video???

    Sorry.. i don't quite get the point of it all...

    Having a facelift is nice.. for a change.. this ugly blue is getting out of fashion yes.. but is it really necessary?
    I think its more the same reason the CPU's have different sockets... so the Industry can earn more money

    "Oh yes this mainboard costs this much because it has state-of-the-art EFI BIOS on it"

    All older ones/those without will probably just not be manufactured anymore... like the Socket A Mainboards...

    yeah there is always this auction plattform....

    and in the end... you probably will not even have a choice... New PC... EFI BIOS already in... new MoBo...you get the hint....
     
  9. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    I dont see how this is going to good. The only thing I would like to see is more explanation of some of the options in the bios. Maybe a UI facelift. But this looks you'll have to navigate 50 extra menus to find the item you're looking for. And what is the point of having all of those extra apps in it? an instant messanger? wtf sir. Mouse support would be nice, but completely unnecessary.

    The bios doens't have to have a fancy UI. The only time you'll be looking at it is to change an overclock, change a boot device, or change some random setting. I don't know about most people, but once I get it set up the way I like it, I leave it alone for months at a time.

    The bios on my 2yr old motherboard does everything I want it to already. If an overclock fails, it reboots at default speeds. It can boot from any USB device. Hardware temp monitoring, changing ram timings, fsb settings, boot order, plus all the myriad of other options. This is a improvment over my 8 yr old dell's bios (being used as a file server in my cloest). Getting the dell to boot from anything other than its main IDE channels was nigh impossible, no USB keyboard support among other things.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2008
  10. [USRF]Obiwan

    [USRF]Obiwan New Member

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    We go to the moon and back, have ultraspeed quad processors, super HD 3D gaming, Flatscreen HD LCD monitors, Copper heatpippes on the motherboard, Solid state capicators, terrabyte drives, 1200Watt PSU's, Triple and quad Videocard options, multiscreen views, fast sata connectors, highspeed bluray/HD-dvd drives, 32GB memorysticks, ultrathin flashdrives, Warning led indictations all over the motherboard, Flashy lcd readout, 20 highspeed USB connectors, Linked Gigabit ethernetm external sata connectors, Bluetooth connectivity, wifi wireless connections, HD 7.1 sound with optical connectors, a keyboard with Oled or laserguided keys, weird looking mind/gesture controlable things and multitouch interfaces.



    ...And still they put a floppydisc connector on the motherboard...
     
  11. Kipman725

    Kipman725 When did I get a custom title!?!

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    seems to me to be a problem looking for a solution. Also moden BIOS still works with early versions of DOS (and the speed is jaw droping windows 3.11 boots instantly (still buggy though)) wheras this EFI only works with the most moden OS's. If boot speed is a problem shouldn't the focus be on linux bios which can boot in mili seconds.
     
  12. Splynncryth

    Splynncryth 0x665E3FF6,0x46CC,...

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    EFI is hard to see any advantage to as a user because it was not really designed with a user in mind. Any piece of software that gets a PC up and running should do so with as little intrusion as is possible. That is not to say there is not a lot of work BIOS does.

    The problem is that BIOS is like that place that has grown over the years with no real planning or oversight. Things are strewn about all over the place, some things are there because of some long forgotten feud or just because of tradition. Normally, you don't care because all you do is drive by it on your way to something else. Occasionally, you may stop in to use the phone, restroom, or other service. But you never have been that far into that place, and the locals like it that way.

    EFI is about bringing order to this behind the scenes chaos. You can learn a lot about BIOS from the 1984 IBM technical reference manual for PCs. That is the primary source for the 'standard' BIOS is based off of. Along the way, some other things may have been added, El Torrito, BBS, USB, etc. But most of these are not concrete and may only be loosely enforced. This leads to a lot of complaining :) EFI tries to separate a lot of these specifications, which are heavily tied to PC architecture, and tries to abstract it so there is no dependence on hardware at all. Imagine a version of grub or lilo that didn't care what platform it was loading on. Consider the highly unlikely future where PC architecture radically changes, like Sparc or Itanium were to somehow become the architecture of choice (this is all hypothetical :) ). Outside of the binary compatibility issue, an OS that uses EFI would theoretically be fairly simple to get running on the new platform. At least, that's the theory.

    For must of us, it will simply be a new TLA on the box and not affect us too much. Most of what was demoed, the IM app, media player and such are not big sellers but more to demonstrate what can be done. If there is a demand, they may become part of the system firmware, but for most of us, BIOS is something we barely notice.
     
  13. DougEdey

    DougEdey I pwn all your storage

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    The streaming from EFI for Audio/Video would be great if this is implemented on cheap boards, making a quick and easy Media Streaming server is great!

    But

    Erm...What planet are you on? Almost all games work on 64 bit, only really old ones have some difficulties, but not a lot of people use them.
     
  14. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    ever try to install windows XP onto a SATA RAID array?

    Thats what I thought.
     
  15. Woodstock

    Woodstock So Say We All

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    the main advantage i see is that its written in c/c++ and that (last i heard) a worldwide shortage of (traditional) bios coders
     
  16. completemadness

    completemadness New Member

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    Most 64bit OS's (Well, XPx64 and Vista64) have 32 bit emulation, There are still only a very limited number of 64bit games

    Of course, who really cares at the moment, as long as 32bit games play in 64bit OS's, what does it matter
    As 64bit becomes more mainstream, so will programs using it (mainly ATM, only drivers are supporting 64bit, because they have to)

    Edit:
    Ontopic - its great to see EFI finally coming closer to the consumer, Linux (well servers) have had it for ages, and apple has had it for a while (didnt the original IBM mac's use something like EFI though)
    Once again, its just windows holding _everyone_ back
     
  17. DXR_13KE

    DXR_13KE BananaModder

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    legoman666 there are some mobos that you don't need that....
     
  18. Bionic-Blob

    Bionic-Blob New Member

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    eugh, still uses that crappy system font ><
     
  19. completemadness

    completemadness New Member

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    That use a raid array? Only the ones that use an "IDE" mode get away without drivers (that ive seen)

    Anything like SATA hotswap, AHCI, or Raid all require drivers - i too welcome the addition of floppys, even in this day and age
     
  20. Woodstock

    Woodstock So Say We All

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    if apple use EFI how can xp boot with boot camp
     
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