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Asus Motherboard Interview

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ComputerKing 17th August 2008, 13:20 Quote
Wooot

Awesome BT :) I really Wanted this

Thanks alot. I will read it again and again.
p3n 17th August 2008, 16:06 Quote
Great stuff.
DougEdey 17th August 2008, 16:16 Quote
Why didn't you ask them when they were going to improve their end user support?
Splynncryth 18th August 2008, 00:48 Quote
This seems the logical place to comment on this, thought it doesn't seem to be getting a lot of traffic. What Mr. Liu said about no EFI drivers is dead on, and it is a real sticking point.
There are ways around the issue for now, but it means the firmware needs a CSM (and will for some time to come). For v ideo, the firmware can use VESA BIOS extensions to get a frame bugger and wrap it to GOP, but the firmware needs the CSM to run the video BIOS (which expects a 16 bit environment) to get set up.
SATA and IDE are hrdware based enough that drivers for them are pretty simple, but for add in cards such as SAS or SCSI, the firmware still needs a CSM to run the BIOS on the card. In some cases, an int 13 ro block IO wrapper can be written, but it's not very common at the moment. The CSM also get the info on the drives connected to the controller, and the info to boot it so the drives will show up in setup, and allow you to changes things there.

The flip side is that hardware companies see slow uptake on EFI and don't want to dedicate the resources. In the mean time, BIOS is being strained to the limits.
DarkLord7854 18th August 2008, 04:16 Quote
Wish we could move on to EFI already -.-

Until they start pushing out EFI, uptake on it will remain slow
Splynncryth 18th August 2008, 05:20 Quote
It's going to be a long process. The problem with Asus (and most ther OEM's) rational is that 'legacy; is part of the PCI and PCIe specs. As ling as these interconnect systems are present in a PC, it will need some compatibility with 16 bit option ROMs (the on board 'BIOS' of add in cards).
So while the excuse is partially true, it also allows them to drag out the transition until another industry consortium (such as the PCI SIG) puts their foot down too and demands EFI support.

QA is a concern that you may hear spoken about, BIOS has had 20+ years to be fiddled with and it relatively stable now outside of the occasional OEM screw up. No OEM wants to be the EFI guinea pig that finds all the bugs (and there are at least a few lurking about).

There is another concern, coding for EFI is not even close to being like coding for BIOS. BIOS has a reputation for being a tangled mess of code because there are no standard programming models and it comes as a complete package from one source, the BIOS vendors. EFI is modeled like an embedded OS and forces a programming model to be followed. BIOS engineers are still adjusting to this new world. This adjustment period will spawn quite a few bugs too :(

But Intel is comitted to EFI so expect to see them getting their act together before too much longer. Hopefully, this means solid EFI drivers soon. There may even be some demos at IDF later this week.
DarkLord7854 18th August 2008, 05:45 Quote
Don't Apple use EFI?
confusis 18th August 2008, 06:40 Quote
Hmm for low-end new systems (or partial upgrades to an older system) they may be shooting themselves in the foot by switching to DVD-ROM. Personally I have no need for DVD-format drives in my PC's (I have a dvd player for my TV and that's all I need), and when I've upgraded a few other people's PCs they also have no need for it. Of course those with higher spec systems may appreciate more drivers/bundled programs.. Yes I realise all the drivers are available online, but in a tight spot when fixing PCs in the end-user's home, there are still a few people who are on dial-up, or have limited access
BurningFeetMan 18th August 2008, 07:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Why didn't you ask them when they were going to improve their end user support?

Exactly. And on this fact alone, I will NEVER be buying Asus again. Sure, I did enjoy my P5B deluxe, but navigating the Asus website and downloading updates has been a dismal experience.

My next investment will be back to the Nforce chipset, as I still hold high opinions of my Nforce2 chipset even after 7 years.
Timmy_the_tortoise 18th August 2008, 15:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
Don't Apple use EFI?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Linux systems have been able to use EFI at boot time since early 2000, using the elilo EFI boot loader or, more recently, EFI versions of grub.[13]
HP-UX has used EFI as its boot mechanism on IA-64 systems since 2002. OpenVMS has used it on production releases since January 2005.
Apple has adopted EFI for its line of Intel-based Macs. Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger for Intel and Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard support EFI v1.10 in 32-bit mode, even on 64-bit CPUs (New Mac Pros have 64-bit EFI).[14]
Splynncryth 19th August 2008, 03:34 Quote
Yes, Apple does use EFI, but AFAIK, theirs is still based on the 1.10 spec. What is currently rolling out in the PC world is based on the UEFI 2.0 spec with a few exceptions.
But Apple also has TPM support and security to make sure their OS only boots on their platforms.

Linux EFI boot loaders are a bit dodgey. A coworker was trying to get a linux boot loader to run that said it was EFI compliant, but then it preceeded to try and use int 13h to get access to the HD. This was a problem as he was doing a test without a CSM. There are a few other quirks, but things should improve over time. And I don't mean to imply only Linux has problems. It's just that it's all still very new and everyone is still learning how to get along.

I wonder how Express Gate will fare in the future, similar utilities have been demonstrated running as EFI native applications. The market isn't even close to talking about cost yet, but it becomes much easier to do similar things under EFI.
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