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UEFI to replace BIOS in most new PCs by 2011?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 04 Oct 2010 13:55 User comments (6)

UEFI to replace BIOS in most new PCs by 2011? The basic input/output system (BIOS) used in most shipped commercial PCs is way past its use-by date according to many within the industry. As computer technology improves, some problems can arise due to the continued use of BIOS, such as drive size limits. For this reason, the industry is moving increasing toward the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).
"Conventional Bios is up there with some of the physical pieces of the chip set that have been kicking around the PC since 1979," said Mark Doran, head of the UEFI Forum. He said that creators of the original BIOS only expected its lifetime to extend to about 250,000 machines. "They are as amazed as anyone else that now it is still alive and well in a lot of systems. It was never really designed to be extensible over time."

Brian Richardson, head of the technical marketing team at BIOS software developer AMI, said that BIOS is starting to hamper development as 64-bit computing becomes more common. "Drive size limits that were inherent to the original PC design - two terabytes - are going to become an issue pretty soon for those that use their PC a lot for pictures and video," Richardson said.

BIOS expects a machine to have the same basic internal setup as the first PCs. Adding support for extra peripherals has not been as easy or straight-forward as would be expected, and is not as efficient as it could be. UEFI does not require a computer to have this same basic blueprint that anything new has to adapt to or work around.

It does not have a specific port for a keyboard for example, or expect that a keyboard device be connected in any one way. "All it says is that somewhere in the machine there's a device that can produce keyboard-type information," said Mr Doran. This helps with the use of soft keyboards, touchscreens and other input devices.

"The extensible part of the name is important because we are going to have to live with this for a long time," Doran said. System administrators responsible for many remote machines could benefit from the widespread change in many ways, as UEFI can easily support more basic net protocols, making remote management easier from the "bare metal" upwards.

For consumers, the biggest noticeable change would be the start-up time of the computer. "At the moment it can be 25-30 seconds of boot time before you see the first bit of OS sign-on," he said. "With UEFI we're getting it under a handful of seconds."

"In terms of boot speed, we're not at instant-on yet but it is already a lot better than conventional Bios can manage, and we're getting closer to that every day."

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6 user comments

14.10.2010 15:06

It doesn't mentioned if the "handful of seconds" with UEFI is using SSDs or not. If it's not than an SSD may reduce that even more.

Considering how fast technology has advanced over the past 30 years I'm surprised the BIOS wasn't replaced sooner.

24.10.2010 19:05

Originally posted by Pop_Smith:
It doesn't mentioned if the "handful of seconds" with UEFI is using SSDs or not. If it's not than an SSD may reduce that even more.

Considering how fast technology has advanced over the past 30 years I'm surprised the BIOS wasn't replaced sooner.
I agree. Many of the new computers we ordered have UEFI in them but the old BIOS has been stretched beyond it's life. I guess it was cheaper to use that and for most set ups it fit the need but it has reached its limit for many things.

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34.10.2010 19:14

the UEFI will be used before a HDD boots the OS, so off a chip on the mobo. SSDs wont come into play.




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44.10.2010 20:27

Originally posted by Pop_Smith:
It doesn't mentioned if the "handful of seconds" with UEFI is using SSDs or not. If it's not than an SSD may reduce that even more.

Considering how fast technology has advanced over the past 30 years I'm surprised the BIOS wasn't replaced sooner.
its before it hits HD boot

54.10.2010 20:45

Originally posted by shaffaaf:
the UEFI will be used before a HDD boots the OS, so off a chip on the mobo. SSDs wont come into play.
Originally posted by SmOkM:
its before it hits HD boot
You are both right, I was thinking the OS had to be booted from a HDD/SSD which doesn't appear to be the case with UEFI.

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65.10.2010 0:01

This guy is full of hot air, and he is going into a whole bunch of redundant detail about nothing...he is like one of those guys that says, "No, that is not a motor, it is an engine" This is a tiny, behind-the-scenes change. We will still see bios setup menus that look virtually identical...they may say "press F10 for EUFI setup menu", but it will be the same thing.

"For consumers, the biggest noticeable change would be the start-up time of the computer. "At the moment it can be 25-30 seconds of boot time before you see the first bit of OS sign-on," he said. "With UEFI we're getting it under a handful of seconds.""

What he is talking about here is not the actual sign-on prompt, but when you first see the windows loading screen, or actually, when the windows bootloader gets called. Yes, this can be over a minute on some machines with lots and lots of complex devices and staggered hard disk starts, but most PCs already do this in a handful of seconds. This really isn't a speed change, as EUFI will still need to detect drives and run the setup routines for any cards that may have drives...otherwise the OS can't replace bios functions because it can't load.

"Drive size limits that were inherent to the original PC design - two terabytes - are going to become an issue pretty soon for those that use their PC a lot for pictures and video,"

Those who still have PCs that only support 2TB and smaller drives probably won't rush out and buy new drives any time soon; these systems are ancient.

"He said that creators of the original BIOS only expected its lifetime to extend to about 250,000 machines. "They are as amazed as anyone else that now it is still alive and well in a lot of systems. It was never really designed to be extensible over time.""

Those people also thought that only universities and huge corporations would have computers, and that 250,000 machines would be the world supply for the next 50 years.

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