Phoenix UEFI starts loading Windows in under a second

Even on a high-end PC, starting up often involves waiting a few seconds for the POST and BIOS sequences before the operating system starts loading up. Well, that may change soon. Engadget says Phoenix got that time down to "under a second" in a demo at the Intel Developer Forum.

According to the video Engadget shot, the Phoenix executive running the demo used a Lenovo ThinkPad with UEFI firmware, and indeed, the storage activity light started blinking pretty much immediately. For the unacquainted, UEFI, or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, is essentially a next-gen BIOS replacement. Apple already uses EFI in all of its Intel-based Macs.

By my count, the system took only 12-13 seconds to go from the power button being pressed to entering the Windows 7 desktop. Impressive stuff. The Phoenix executive also ran a demo on a "retrofitted" Dell Adamo, but the boot process on that system took a little longer.

Comments closed
    • MarioJP
    • 10 years ago

    what about able to OC? This is why you can’t OC a mac lol.

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    Now that modern OS have caught up with EFI support. Its last remaining hurdle is the cost of EPROM chips with larger capacities. Motherboard manufacturers are frugal little buggers with bottom line cost. I am surprised that high-end enthusiast/workstation boards don’t have EFI support yet.

      • data8504
      • 10 years ago

      Keep in mind EEPROM as a concept has matured greatly. We’re actually storing BIOS on SPI-protocol NAND flash these days. I wouldn’t exactly say your statement is _necessarily_ wholly accurate.

      The other interesting side effect of this is that there’s no longer a distinct “ROM” and “CMOS” for user options. Everything is stored in the flash.

      • data8504
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, and hold on – your high end boards 99% of the time DO have EFI support. EFI is not necessarily bigger than BIOS, it just is a different stack interface/handoff. Go listen to the podcast. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Krogoth
        • 10 years ago

        I haven’t see any boards with EFI support outside some exotic server solutions or are geared for Apples.

        EFI’s extra features (low-level tools) will require chips with larger storage capacities. A bare-bones setup will be the same if not smaller in size then BIOS.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          I wouldn’t call Dell PowerEdge servers “exotic” and most of the ones I’ve seen lately have had UEFI support (maybe all, I wasn’t looking for that specifically).

          UEFI adoption is tied to 64bit, and only in the past 6 months or so have the big consumer OEMs like Dell switched to offering x64 versions of Windows (as a default, or even at all). Servers got it earlier because Server 2008 x64 supported UEFI and was widely adopted in x64 form.

            • Krogoth
            • 10 years ago

            FYI, I was referring to motherboards not entire systems. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            • Xylker
            • 10 years ago

            The 11th generation servers in all formats (tower/rack/blade) are all UEFI enabled, with an option to use legacy BIOS if you (or your OS) like.

            • readysetgo
            • 10 years ago

            Could someone/anyone link to a page where I could read information on the different generations of servers?

            Thanks in advance.

            • Xylker
            • 10 years ago

            Dell server generations? Or generic? Not sure that there is such a beast…

    • Deanjo
    • 10 years ago

    It’s about time that PC’s started catching up to Macs in this area.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Macs were years behind Itanium. There’s pretty much an inverse relationship between the size of the 3rd party hardware market and the speed with which UEFI can be adopted.

        • Deanjo
        • 10 years ago

        Itanium was hardly a consumer solution. Besides before Itanium had EFI, Macs had openfirmware.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          Itanium’s target market is irrelevant. The point is that the 3rd party hardware ecosystem for it was tiny (it’s not the market /[

      • stmok
      • 10 years ago

      You do realise EFI was mainly used as a control mechanism by Apple, don’t you?

        • StashTheVampede
        • 10 years ago

        You do realize that EFI is an open standard? It replaces the HEAVILY controlled/closed BIOS implementation.

        Apple is using EFI because they are running on Intel reference designs that implement EFI.

          • stmok
          • 10 years ago

          (Supposed to be for post #19)

          Its not hard to piss off an Apple fan, is it?

          • stmok
          • 10 years ago

          l[

            • Deanjo
            • 10 years ago

            If by apple fan you mean, fan of getting rid of a ancient limiting solution that’s called the BIOS then by all means call me an apple fan.

        • Deanjo
        • 10 years ago

        Pure FUD stmok.

    • MarioJP
    • 10 years ago

    New slogan for PC’s “No drivers needed it just works” On a serious note does this mean we won’t be able to oc our processors anymore??

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      It all depends on the firmware your mobo adopts — just like today. Have you had any luck finding OC controls in the BIOS of most laptops? There’s actually potential for 3rd party (“hacked’ or tacitly allowed) UEFI implementations that unlock features the OEM version does not provide, much like the alternate firmware for certain routers (Tomato, etc).

      And you’ll still need drivers for Windows. UEFI drivers are for the pre-boot environment only, and aren’t tuned for high performance.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    Hm. There’s a gerbil around here who works for intel who’s a huge proponent of UEFI. I wonder if this is something he’s been working on…

      • data8504
      • 10 years ago

      That might be me… I was the BIOS engineer on the podcast a while back. Must admit, this is Phoenix’s BIOS, not ours (Intel’s), so kudos to them for such a quick boot. I will point out that oftentimes the largest determining factor for boot time (as far as POST/cfg goes) is MRC latency (“memory reference code” that configures the timings of the memory controller whether it be on die on off) I’d be really interested to know what the memory configuration is on this system – I’d bet anything that it’s SUPER minimal. (1 dual rank UDIMM, for example.)

      Still quite impressive.

      Unfortunately I didn’t make it to IDF this year…

        • crazybob
        • 10 years ago

        But will it boot DOS?

          • iatacs19
          • 10 years ago

          Windows 7 is an OS.

            • shaq_mobile
            • 10 years ago

            but will it boot crysis?

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 10 years ago

        Yep. You’re the guy I was thinking of. Your name is hard to remember.

        q[

          • data8504
          • 10 years ago

          Well, I mean, I tried a more memorable one “snakeoil,” but I got banned for some reason…

            • UberGerbil
            • 10 years ago

            Oh, so _[<*[

            • data8504
            • 10 years ago

            Guilty! ๐Ÿ˜‰

            • Kurkotain
            • 10 years ago

            well, that was rather… anticlimatic.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 10 years ago

    Oh, please please please offer this as a retrofit for my existing T400….

    • iatacs19
    • 10 years ago

    He’s Phoenix Technologies’ chief scientist; Steve Jones.

      • titan
      • 10 years ago

      When I read Steve Jones, I actually processed that as Steve *[

    • Spurenleser
    • 10 years ago

    Hm, the DEL-key smash fest to get into the BIOS will get even harder ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      I was wondering about that too.

      • Machupo
      • 10 years ago

      keyboards will have to come with the “turbo” button from the old NES Advantage controller

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Heh, good point. Maybe mobo makers who do use EFI on boards with tweaks for oc’ing will have a variable delay setting. But once you set it to 0 you’d be srewed.

        • khands
        • 10 years ago

        Nah, you just need a physical button on the case to hold down that either boots you into the BIOS or resets your CMOS.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          And at least some of the settings will move into Windows (putting the boot order into the control panel, etc)

      • Mystic-G
      • 10 years ago

      Nothing like a loading up a super fast BSOD. =P

      • TO11MTM
      • 10 years ago

      Hopefully they do something logical… simplest solution is to make it so you hold the button on boot.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    just one of a million little niceties that EFI will eventually bring to everyone if people would get their butts in gear and start implementing it on motherboards.

    edit: if you like PowerPoint, you’ll love this:

    ยง[< http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/f/d/afdfd50d-6eb9-425e-84e1-b4085a80e34e/SYS-T303_WH07.pptx<]ยง

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      Dude, I /[

      • djgandy
      • 10 years ago

      Don’t blame the mobo guys. Windows didn’t support EFI until recently as far as I remember.

        • UberGerbil
        • 10 years ago

        Vista SP1 and Server 2008. (Though if you want to interpret “Windows” broadly, the IA64 version has had support going back much further). But there’s a whole cluster of issues; a big one has been acceptance of x64. Only when the OEMs were willing to offer x64 as the default (or at least optional) OS did talking about switching over to UEFI made sense. And the OEMs have only gotten on the x64 train this year.

        The PC ecosystem contains a huge array of actors, many of whom have diverging priorities and timeframes. Pushing a major breaking change through all of that takes a lot of time, especially when it’s as fundamental (and as well-established) as the basic firmware.

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