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MSI Click BIOS - Evaluating UEFI

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DragunovHUN 11th January 2009, 01:41 Quote
What? That's a BIOS? But... but... it has... COLORS! THATS IMPOSSiBLE! YOU'RE LYING
Smilodon 11th January 2009, 01:46 Quote
Oh my...!

This can't be good. I have seen way to many people mess up their OS. Making the BIOS setup more accessible to the general public is NOT a good idea!


Oh, and games in BIOS?
quack 11th January 2009, 02:37 Quote
I wish they'd pay someone to write PROPER explanations of what options actually do, instead of too-short broken English attempts at a description.
n3mo 11th January 2009, 03:02 Quote
I'm not sure if you are aware, but one of the main purposes of designing EFI was "intellectual property protection", it is even feared that it is a straight road to completely locking-out all open-source/free software. Sometimes it was (and still is) called DRM BIOS.

All current implementations are too primitive to do this, currently it's still more of a BIOS frontend with possible plugins. Basically it's more aimed at "omg-it-has-cute-shiny-windows" vista generation with no real advantages over BIOS.
Firehed 11th January 2009, 03:09 Quote
Suppose the HD backup tool is a decent thing to have at the BIOS level since every Windows-based tool I've ever tried sucks (and a proper DOS-based version of Ghost is a pain to get running correctly, especially since the advent of SATA drives half a decade ago... I've never understood why something as fragile as Windows is so damn hard to make a working image of), but the rest of it just seems like color for the sake of color. A brushed metal background is the best thing to come from it? Come on.
Darkefire 11th January 2009, 04:58 Quote
Y'know, the only thing I find the current BIOS is missing is a decent explanation of the various options; I don't always have the luxury of a manual to consult when I'm fiddling around. So how is it that they came up with an entirely new modern replacement for the aging BIOS and the only new things to come out of it are tools that aren't going to be used very often, a bunch of shiny colors nobody cares about, and a few games nobody wants to play? Seriously, how hard is it to transcribe your stinking manual into the new program? And I sincerely hope that whoever had the bright idea of putting in a WWII Breakout game with graves in the background was fired.
Splynncryth 11th January 2009, 06:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by quack
I wish they'd pay someone to write PROPER explanations of what options actually do, instead of too-short broken English attempts at a description.

The translation factor is only one part of the problem. The options usally make sense if you are working off the data sheets for the chipset, or are familiar with the spec the setting affects.
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3mo
I'm not sure if you are aware, but one of the main purposes of designing EFI was "intellectual property protection", it is even feared that it is a straight road to completely locking-out all open-source/free software. Sometimes it was (and still is) called DRM BIOS.

All current implementations are too primitive to do this, currently it's still more of a BIOS frontend with possible plugins. Basically it's more aimed at "omg-it-has-cute-shiny-windows" vista generation with no real advantages over BIOS.

Pure FUD.
It looks like the UEFI 2.2 spec is available now, check section 3.4 for some info on how an OS in launched.
Once the OS is launched, section 7 outlines the runtime services the systme formware makes available to the OS as required by the specification. Beyond that, the system can also produce runtime drivers (as opposed to boot services drivers) for the OS to use if nothingelse is available, and ACPI 3.0 is part of the specification as well.

UEFI is desperatly needed by the industry. In a nutshell, BIOS is 25 years of hacks to extend something not intended for the current environment. With a few exceptions, there were few specifications to work from. UEFI tried to address problems encountered by BIOS vendors, OEMs, hardware makers, OS authors, etc by providing a set of rules for software abstration, a specification on how the interfaces work, some flexibility to allow companies to solve their own problems, and a forum to provide feedback and make changes to the specification.

As for teh games, I was curious. I'm not sure where MSI found the programmers familar enough with UEFI to create the software. It looks like another instance of what we see as eastern culture strangeness. Assuming those games are using the standard EFI interfaces, what might be interesting to note is that none of that software should be talking to the hardware as with a DOS game. Instead, it should be using an abstracted software interface and the system firmware is talking to the hardware (still does make the games less of a WTF moment though).
OWNED66 11th January 2009, 11:46 Quote
i read about this a year ago
why is every one like "WTF"
Shuriken 11th January 2009, 14:01 Quote
It's a normal BIOS with mouse input and a background image, am I the only one who sees this?
Bindibadgi 11th January 2009, 14:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuriken
It's a normal BIOS with mouse input and a background image, am I the only one who sees this?

Yea but there's more to a page so less scrolling, in-built options for more software and a better resolution. It is normal, but better-normal.
ElThomsono 11th January 2009, 14:24 Quote
I dunno, a move away from the familiar chunky blue menu would just annoy me; BIOS is not a happy place
chrisb2e9 11th January 2009, 15:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilodon
Oh my...!

This can't be good. I have seen way to many people mess up their OS. Making the BIOS setup more accessible to the general public is NOT a good idea!

I agree 100%. Most people dont know what they are doing in a bios. adding things like games just invites kids to go in and mess with their parents computer and change things that should not be changed.
Gee, I wonder what happens when I set the cpu to 1.7V? maybe it will run faster!
ParaHelix.org 11th January 2009, 16:47 Quote
I'm all for nice looking user friendly BIOS interfaces but when it comes to games it is a total waste of space.
tuaamin13 11th January 2009, 18:37 Quote
You know, if they ditched the games you think they'd have space for the backup utility?

Also, do other companies have EFI bios (in production)? I reinstalled a HP Elitebook (8530p) and a Dell E6500 at work and they both had BIOS where you could use the mouse. I presumed that was EFI but I haven't heard any concrete evidence.
Jipa 11th January 2009, 19:34 Quote
I've never found myself wondering "If only I could do the bios settings using mouse...". I guess the system could be used for some clever functions in the future, but so far it's just a tech demo with no real value.

And what the BUCK is going on with the games?!?! MSI just what the hell were you thinking?
teamtd11 11th January 2009, 20:36 Quote
Ive just spent x amount of money on a new pc, and should i play crysis? fallout 3?... nah ill play the games in the bios/uefi whatever :p
Splynncryth 11th January 2009, 20:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuaamin13
You know, if they ditched the games you think they'd have space for the backup utility?

Also, do other companies have EFI bios (in production)? I reinstalled a HP Elitebook (8530p) and a Dell E6500 at work and they both had BIOS where you could use the mouse. I presumed that was EFI but I haven't heard any concrete evidence.

AFAIK, Dell is not using EFI, The HP might, but I don't know yet. All the Intel Desktop boards have been based on whatever the current EFI revision has been for a while now. You can confirm this by opening their .BIO files and noting that the first 16 bytes are the capsule GUID of 3B6686BD-0D76-4030-B70E-B5519E2FC5A0 (looks like BD 86 66 3B 76 0D 30 40 B7 0E B5 51 9E 2F C5 A0 in the editor).
So mouse support != EFI. It is just a lot easier because of the EFI_SIMPLE_POINTER_PROTOCOL. It's like saying DOS and Linus are equivalent because of the command line interface both have.


What you see in what just about everyone called BIOS is just a human-machine interface. BIOS is the code that the CPU executes at reset, beginning with the instructions located at 0xF000:0xFFF0. Now, I can run through a rough list of what BIOS does from this point untill you see the OS load, but even the quick version is long (and tend to be a bit long winded). It also requires some knowledge of PC architecture. You should know what the interrupt vector table is, what the E820 table is as well as the modes of operation the CPU can run in such as protected mode, real mode, and "flat mode". You should have some idea what ACPI is, and system management mode (SMM) is.
BIOS hides a lot of complexity from the user and even the OS. It's a fairly sophisticated piece of software in its own right. But it was designed around a set of ideas that are no longer valid. These limitations do affect a lot of things in your PC. Again, the industry has worked very hard to hide all this so it does not appear to be a burden. But the resulting hacks and work arounds are a major source of headaches. Take USB booting as an example.

So it's hard to explain what EFI is unless you really, truly know what BIOS is, and how to interface with it. That text screen you see with the cryptic stuff is only a small tip of the iceberg. All the work it does could be dome from the OS. It's there because you can't always count on there being something to load an OS from.
Hugo 11th January 2009, 21:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuriken
It's a normal BIOS with mouse input and a background image, am I the only one who sees this?

Yea but there's more to a page so less scrolling, in-built options for more software and a better resolution. It is normal, but better-normal.

And don't forget it's now coded in high-level languages (C/C++/Python/whatever).
DanaG 12th January 2009, 05:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuaamin13
You know, if they ditched the games you think they'd have space for the backup utility?

Also, do other companies have EFI bios (in production)? I reinstalled a HP Elitebook (8530p) and a Dell E6500 at work and they both had BIOS where you could use the mouse. I presumed that was EFI but I haven't heard any concrete evidence.

I can confirm, the HP EliteBook laptops definitely do have UEFI. HP lets you enable and use "UEFI Boot Mode" so you can run arbitrary .efi binaries; however, it only seems to support x86-64 efi binaries, not the Fat (Universal) Binaries that things like the rEFIt project like to use because they seem to think EFI ≡ Apple. =þ

Booting Vista under UEFI boot mode results in broken Intel 5300 (AGN) wireless (Code 10 in Device Manager: "Device Cannot Start").
Surprisingly enough, video acceleration with my ATI card works fine in both Windows and Linux (binary drivers on both). You'd think Intel, who takes part in designing the standard, would have drivers that work under it.... but nope. In fact, that's the only device I have that doesn't work under UEFI.

I've gone back to BIOS-based boot mode, however -- broken wireless makes Vista a no-go, and the EFI "Express Boot" menu does not offer a "savedefault" function like Grub (legacy) does.

HP Services Media Library item: BIOS menu emulator, from the 14" model; the 15" model I have has the same menu structure.
http://h20181.www2.hp.com/plmcontent/NACSC/SML/results.htm?SID=3688868&MEID=5C316DB1-6B5B-4C11-9F68-807A3979A6CE
Flexible_Lorry 12th January 2009, 06:10 Quote
Hmm
More options per page is probably nice.
Ability to use mouse is probably nice.
More colours are probably unnecessary.
Flashy wallpapers are definitely silly.
Games are definitely silly.

And good descriptions would be nice.
[USRF]Obiwan 12th January 2009, 09:44 Quote
I rather have the "USB-stick in USB port cause 'no operating system found' when powering up pc" fixed.
tuaamin13 12th January 2009, 12:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splynncryth

So mouse support != EFI. It is just a lot easier because of the EFI_SIMPLE_POINTER_PROTOCOL.
That makes sense. I've just never heard of or seen mouse support in a BIOS until recently. I read the original article on EFI here about a year ago and didn't think anything of it until I saw this and how they're marketing it as a Click BIOS.

Thanks for the short explanation. I haven't gotten to that in school, though this semester I'm taking a course on computers (logic gates > assembly > basic C). Perhaps we'll cover some of the stuff you mentioned
Gareth Halfacree 12th January 2009, 12:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuaamin13
That makes sense. I've just never heard of or seen mouse support in a BIOS until recently. I read the original article on EFI here about a year ago and didn't think anything of it until I saw this and how they're marketing it as a Click BIOS.
I had a 386 which featured a mouse-driven BIOS. The windowed GUI even allowed you to perform a basic virus scan on FAT volumes and low-level format the drive.
kosch 12th January 2009, 14:19 Quote
I'm looking forward to being able to export all my bios settings as a text file on a flash disk. This will save so much time when discussing/comparing OC settings on a forum.
Saivert 13th January 2009, 02:12 Quote
Yes, they had some BIOS versions with mouse support many years ago, but it got canned. Think it took up too much space that they later used for things like USB support. Also not really needed.

Macs use EFI while PCs use UEFI. there's a differerence. I think they put on Universal to denote that it's a universal standard.
And you knew they would add the games. Don't kid yourself. It comes as no surprise. Asian companies and especially MSI always do stuff like this.

If you can forget about the games thing you need to understand that UEFI has lots more potential than what you see here now. It is truly needed to get the PC platform a step ahead.
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