New PCs will most certainly start in just seconds, thanks to an update to one of the most ancient parts of desktop computers. The improvement will spell the end for the 25-year-old PC start-up/initialization software known as the BIOS that initializes a machine so its main operating system can get going. The BIOS code was never planned to live nearly this long while adapting its self into modern PCs; this is one reason they take a very long time as they do to warm up.
Bios’ replacement known as UEFI, will dominate in new PCs by 2011. This acronym stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface and is intended to be more flexible than its admired predecessor. The old and trusted BIOS is up there in the history books along with some of the physical pieces of the chip-set that have been going around PC’s since 1979. The developers of the original BIOS only expected it to have a life span of about 250,000 machines – a number that has long been passed.
AMI is a company that develops the BIOS software. Brian Richardson of AMI’s technological advertising team mentioned the era of the current BIOS was starting to hinder the development as 64-bit computing becomes more frequent and machines mutate beyond the most basic form of desktops and laptops.
The BIOS tells the computer what input and output devices are installed (Hence the acronym: Basic Input Output System), among various other technical things.
“Drive size limits that were natural to the original PC design are going to become an real problem pretty soon for those that utilize their PC to store a lot for pictures and video.” he said. Like wise he said; “As tablet computers and other tinnier devices grow to be more popular, having to get them functioning with a PC control system was going to cause great problems.” The trouble emerges he said, because the BIOS needs the machine it is to get going to have the same basic internal set-up as the first PCs.
Consequently, adding extra peripherals – such as keyboards or mice that connect by USB and not PS2 was a really difficult thing to achieve at the time. Similarly, the BIOS demands that USB drives are to be recognized by the PC as either a hard drive or a floppy drive and this possibly will cause problems when those flash sticks are used to get a system functioning while installing or re-installing an operating system.
UEFI free’s the computer from being created around the blueprint and conditions of the original PCs. For example, it does not state that a keyboard will only attach via a specific port, only that somewhere in the machine there’s a piece of equipment that can create keyboard-type information. Thus under UEFI, it will be a lot easier to incorporate inputs that come from a virtual keyboard, gestures on a touch screen or any potential input device. UEFI is also proving to be an advantage to those managing lots of computers in data centers. The extensible part of the UEFI is critical because we are going to have to live with this for an extended amount of time.
UEFI began life as an Intel-only specification known as EFI. It manipulated into a general standard when the need to replace the BIOS on hardware across many industries became more widely known. Additional benefits over the old-fashioned BIOS has enabled and allowed system administrators to supervise hundreds or thousands of PCs in places like data centers and large commercial offices around the world. Until now, making those machines work correctly has been a very long and painful process because of the limitations of the traditional BIOS.
The biggest advantage of course is a machine running UEFI will be the speed by means of which it starts up. At present at the moment it can be 25-30 seconds of boot time before you see the OS begin to load files, With UEFI it will be in a handful of seconds. Some PC and laptop manufactures are already starting to use UEFI as are many firms that make embedded computers.
I would personally say we are at the edge of the tipping point right now and that in a few years all motherboards will support UEFI.
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Yours sincerely – Elliott Veares
Originally posted: 08/10/2010