Swedes get sneak peek at Asus mobo with UEFI

For all the strides PCs make toward greater speed and sophistication, hitting that delete key after startup always feels like stepping back in time. The age-old and seemingly timeless BIOS lives on, having been retired in only a minority of systems—Macs being among the notable trailblazers. Could the arrival of Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPUs and assorted platforms in 2011 finally see the end of the BIOS in enthusiast machines?

I can’t answer that question for sure, but the latest story over at Sweclockers.com is definitely encouraging. Those crafty Swedes have gotten access to an Asus Sandy Bridge motherboard with a UEFI interface, which brings overclocking and low-level system controls into the 21st century. They’ve even posted a video of the interface, although unless you speak Swedish, you’ll only get to look at the pictures:

Besides quicker boot times and various design enhancements, UEFI will replace the BIOS interface with a fancy, high-resolution, mouse-controlled UI. From the looks of it, what you’ll be stepping into will resemble Asus’ power-management Windows utilities. At least in this particular example, I like what I see. I only hope we see at least some consistency and ease of use across different UEFI UIs on different products… those Taiwanese motherboard makers aren’t always known for tasteful and easy-to-navigate interfaces.

Comments closed
    • sigher
    • 9 years ago

    Concept of EFI = DRM from powerup.

    AVOID IT and don’t help them push it, don’t be naΓ―ve and stupid.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      Uh, no. It may be /[

    • Aphasia
    • 9 years ago

    What they also mentions in the article is that this UEFI does parallell initialization of the devices, unlike many bioses does it in serial. This by itself should speed up boot-times abit. Especially on default configs where people doesnt disable auto discover on SATA that isnt, there, etc.

    After that they mention that UEFI isnt limited as the old bios, since you can do utilities drivers for overclocking, troubleshooting, etc right in the UEFI software.

    Last and not least they point out the following: “Its not about the state of UEFI today, but what it will enable us to do in the future”.

    • Lianna
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah, the veeeery newest thing. I remember back in 1993 (or was it ’94?) when I bought Pentium (Classic) 75MHz (overclocked do 100MHz, I even got a written guarantee it will work this way πŸ™‚ ) that MB for that CPU had this graphical BIOS with mouse control, simultaneous windows for different tasks… Yeah, so 17 years later, finally others got that, too, how great today’s innovation is. Woohoo.

    BTW, right in time for that >2TB HDDs.

    • Tumbleweed
    • 9 years ago

    One more thing for Lisbeth Salander to hack…

    • jackbomb
    • 9 years ago

    Like going from DOS to Windows 3.0. /[

    • sluggo
    • 9 years ago

    That settles it – I want my next motherboard /[

    • Next9
    • 9 years ago

    l[

      • Krogoth
      • 9 years ago

      What are the problems with UEFI/BIOS?

    • Next9
    • 9 years ago

    I hope, it will be possible to disable this idiotic UI. I do not know, whether overclocking kids like these shiny glazy gadgets, but It is far from usability for regular IT usage. UEFI style on Intel own motherboards is far better.

    • sid1089
    • 9 years ago

    I know its only a fancy UI over existing features, but this looks like it is from 20 years into the future!

    Probably because, the old BIOS we are used to seeing is from 30 years in the past.

    • DrCR
    • 9 years ago

    I’m not excited.
    l[

      • data8504
      • 9 years ago

      Ahrr, sorry to keep beating my Intel Firmware drum here, but UEFI will not _in itself_ change the setup interface. At all. You can have a pretty interface in legacy BIOS, and you can have a character-drawn interface in EFI compliant firmware.

      It’s just a setup interface implementation choice.

        • DrCR
        • 9 years ago

        I’m using EFI+GPT and EFI+MBR already. I’m just swaying if this is what Asus will offer, I’ll be going elsewhere.

          • DancingWind
          • 9 years ago

          Oh really .. just because of a fancy interface?

      • stdRaichu
      • 9 years ago

      I’d be excited about EFI if it wasn’t for the irresistible temptation people are going to have to “brand” the hell out of it.

      Heck, 80% of my desktop’s boot times are waiting for the BIOS to do it’s stuff… EFI and the rest are meant to improve on that (not seen one in action though) but I fully expect it to be loaded enough foofaraw to negate any speed benefits.

    • data8504
    • 9 years ago

    UEFI does not define an interface spec. The character-based interface you’re accustomed to for “Setup” is no more bound to legacy BIOS than my right thumb.

    The upshot is that you can have a pretty interface into setup for legacy BIOS, and a character driven interface into setup for an EFI compliant one.

    Oh, and 99% of firmware included with _all_ systems over the past 5 years (at least on our, Intel’s, side) have been EFI compliant. The onus is on OSes to take advantage of it.

    • Flying Fox
    • 9 years ago

    Two things:
    – With Sandy Bridge limiting overclocking except for the K processors, showing off the OC features is like slap in our faces?
    – Does this UEFI thing mean it will be easier to build hackintoshes from now on?

      • adisor19
      • 9 years ago

      I read the entire thread and you’re the ONLY one to mention the possibility of booting OS X DVD on it with no major haxorage. To me, the major use of UEFI is bringing us closer to installing OS X with ease on our hackintoshes.

      Bravo sir !

      Adi

        • cygnus1
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah, if we end up with a board that will boot the retail OS X install disk, and all the other parts work, I will craigslist my mac mini in a heartbeat.

    • ew
    • 9 years ago

    BFD, I had an old Supermicro board with a mouse based BIOS over 10 years ago.

    • Sahrin
    • 9 years ago

    Ugh…I hate Mobo maker utilities; in my experience they have always been bloated, inefficient and unattractive. Hopefully they’ll go in a different direction with UEFI – but the Mobo makers are not known for their subtlty in interface design – just look at any motherboard box.

      • bthylafh
      • 9 years ago

      Dell’s new mouse-driven Optiplex and Latitude BIOSes (EFIs with a BIOS payload?) are pretty nice, and tastefully bland.

        • culprit
        • 9 years ago

        yep, I’ve noticed this on some Dell laptops I work on that are about a year or 2 old. Having a GUI with some hints/tips is pretty nice. I guess my main worry is that some useful settings might get hidden away behind a bunch of mouse clicks.

        Oh well, at least it looks a little more modern.

        • Sahrin
        • 9 years ago

        Since when is Dell a motherboard maker?

          • cygnus1
          • 9 years ago

          They may not manufacturer the motherboard but they do at least write/tweak their own bios/firmware

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    While this is quite cool and a step in the right direction, I hope low level settings don’t somehow get lost in the translation and all we will end up with in the future is a bios on training wheels.

    • blitzy
    • 9 years ago

    UEFI, bringing bloatware to your BIOS…

    at least I hope not.

      • Skrying
      • 9 years ago

      But it doesn’t have to! That’s the thing! The only reason it will is because motherboard manufacturers seemingly refuse to put any effort in creating software that’s good. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

      Don’t blame the technology, blame those who abuse it.

      • data8504
      • 9 years ago

      Skrying is correct. UEFI is an API and execution spec. It doesn’t define capabilities or implementation. Don’t blame EFI for bloat any more than you’d blame DirectX for the playability of a 3D game.

    • XDravond
    • 9 years ago

    in short what he says is

    “hi goday and welcome were having a look at uefi mb from asus

    simpler for the mb manuf. to create their own software

    to begin we have a mouse.

    the possibility of running several diffrent settings, just this is the first very simplifyed the first that you get when you first enter uefi.

    we have very simpel settings

    three difrent settings one power saving one standard and one “optimal setting”

    simpel drag and drop to deciede what drive to start from
    very easy for peolpe who dont want to go around and mess to much

    fanspeeds…

    then the anvance, looks a loot like the old bios and is familiar with the settings works about the same a bit more settings.

    simpler to chose how to update the firmvare ”

    pls ecxuse bad writning getting late XD

      • bdwilcox
      • 9 years ago

      Thanks for the translation.

    • Vaughn
    • 9 years ago

    I like the look of it but they better not dumb it down apple style.

    I want the advanced screen to give me all the options I get in a current bios, if need be they can add like some sticky note pops for the noobs.

    • xii
    • 9 years ago

    More functionality means more to go horribly wrong and break. More graphics means more chances for unusable and buggy interfaces.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Because hacking BIOS for 30 years didn’t have any “bugs” to go along with it.

        • Deanjo
        • 9 years ago

        lol, Ya those bios upgrades are always just for new processor support aren’t they?

    • jbraslins
    • 9 years ago

    Since when hiding everything and taking all control away from the user is considered trail blazing?

    • ybf
    • 9 years ago

    What?

    Same old shit in a candy-ass wrapper.

    • Chrispy_
    • 9 years ago

    l[<"Those Taiwanese motherboard makers aren't always known for tasteful and easy-to-navigate interfaces."<]l I'd like to nominate this sentence for *[

      • Palek
      • 9 years ago

      You have my vote.

      • Flying Fox
      • 9 years ago

      Just 2010? πŸ˜‰

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t know what I think about UEFI… since they started putting it on servers, they seem to take even longer to boot up. We’re talking double digit minute times here and the mouse driven interfaces suck since they don’t engineer them to work fully with just a keyboard

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Not that I’d know exactly what servers are doing with it, server boards may be bridging UEFI with BIOS just to get around specific limitations, and making a mess of other things.

      Consider that desktops boards with UEFI also have to have BIOS for the time being. Much as is the case with so many fancy new things, having it there and utilizing it end up being two very different things.

      • Flying Fox
      • 9 years ago

      When UEFI finally comes it’d better be functional with just keyboard alone too.

      • Deanjo
      • 9 years ago

      Sounds like your falling back to BIOS-compatibility mode causing it to drag on. Native UEFI is extremely quick.

        • data8504
        • 9 years ago

        UEFI is no “faster” than Legacy BIOS, per se. Both provide a general flow and API for early initialization. Performance is all about what is behind those interfaces. For instance, one company’s implementation of an EFI compliant firmware might be faster than another’s.

        Keep in mind the difference between implementation and API specification.

      • stdRaichu
      • 9 years ago

      Depends alot on the type of box; we’ve got a load of IBM 3650’s that take forever to boot; the BIOS part is quite quick, but doing the initial memcheck (>32GB RAM) and loading the firmware for the RAID cards takes forever. That gets us into ~10min boot times easily. Not seen any new kit with EFI though.

        • cygnus1
        • 9 years ago

        Those are the ones I was talking about. When I started testing them out, I was psyched to see the UEFI thing popup, but then I was floored with how long they took to boot.

          • stdRaichu
          • 9 years ago

          It seems to be an IBM thing πŸ™‚ We switched back to proliants 18 months back, and all those systems boot in a fraction of the time, mostly due to the RAID cards loading in 10s instead of 5min. Memory initialisation still takes a long time as it scales linearly; most of the HP’s take 30s or so to get past memcheck (96-128GB RAM) but the actual loading is waaaay quicker.

          Dunno why IBM takes so long to load, it can’t just be RAS features, but they do.

            • cygnus1
            • 9 years ago

            Yeah, I miss the proliants. Before my company was bought out, that’s all we used. Hopefully the rumors around the water cooler I’m hearing that my company might be ditching the IBMs because of how much power they suck and how badly their monitoring software works (director agent is garbage compared to hp foundation agents) we might be switching back.

            I still don’t know what moron in my company came up with the idea to have the ‘strategic direction’ be IBM for white boxes and HP for blades.

      • bcronce
      • 9 years ago

      May be the OS on the servers doesn’t correct support the new interfaces yet?

        • cygnus1
        • 9 years ago

        On a cold boot, it’s around 10 minutes (or at least 8 or 9) before you even hit the OS. It’s all hardware initialization and it’s mind boggling slow.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 9 years ago

    Something to support booting a 3TB hard drive, it seems.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    Hey look, it’s the new Ami WinBIOS!

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    Yay, Advanced Mode!

    • bthylafh
    • 9 years ago

    I’ll let you heatseekers beta-test the new BIOS interface for me. That way the nasty bugs from all the New! New! code should be shaken out by then.

    • tanker27
    • 9 years ago

    I will be happy to trade in the BIOS and all its obscure settings for this.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    I’ll be more than happy to trade in white text on blue background for something shiny like this!

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