PCs boot pretty quickly these days, and getting into their firmware interfaces has become somewhat more difficult as a result. With a sufficiently fast system, you have to start hammering the delete key right after pressing the power button to have any hope of making it into the BIOS or UEFI. To save keyboards from unnecessary abuse, MSI’s new Z77 MPower motherboard has a Go2BIOS button that takes users directly into the firmware at the next reboot. Go2BIOS works as long as the system’s power is connected, MSI says, even if the computer is turned off.
A tiny red button near the bottom of the board activates the Go2BIOS feature, although you wouldn’t know it based on the adjacent Super Charger label. MSI has recently been more secretive about its upcoming motherboard features, and the label may be a bit of misdirection. We saw the very same button at the Computex trade show in June, when we caught our first glimpse of the Z77 MPower. At the time, MSI was eager to talk about the board’s overclocking-friendly warranty and validation testing but made no mention of Go2BIOS.
As much as we like the idea of a firmware shortcut, the button placement isn’t terribly convenient. Onboard buttons are fine if you’re running an open system, sans case, but they’re a pain to access on fully built rigs. MSI says it’s looking into moving the Go2BIOS button to the rear port cluster, where the function would be accessible from outside of the case.
Of course, there’s more than one way to allow easy access to motherboard firmware. Asus’ current UEFI implementations feature an adjustable time delay for the initial POST screen, providing a potentially wide window of opportunity to hit the delete key. The delay applies to every boot, while MSI’s solution can be invoked only when needed.