Friday, September 16th 2011

Finally, Gigabyte Goes UEFI

Gigabyte surprised many last year, when it broke its decade-long tradition of blue-colored PCBs to unveil its first black ones. Pictures of the first black PCB Gigabyte boards were first dismissed as Photoshop jobs, but after some confirmation, news posts carried quite some shock-value. It's such small things that Gigabyte has known to be quite particular about. Not that it's bad, Gigabyte is the second biggest motherboard vendor because many of its rigid design policies paid off, but some of these could work against the company.

One such has been the company's reluctance to use UEFI firmware on its motherboards. With socket LGA1155 and AM3+, we saw motherboard vendors of all shapes and sizes, including much smaller ones such as BIOSTAR adopt UEFI. Besides allowing vendors to deploy mouse-driven graphical user interface for the CMOS Setup program, UEFI addresses many glaring limitations of legacy BIOS, which hasn't changed much over decades. UEFI allows you to boot from volumes bigger than 2.2 TB in size. Eventually, storage volumes several terabytes in size will become mainstream, and that's when the ticking time-bomb that is BIOS, will blow.
Gigabyte tried to address the limitation with what it calls "HybridEFI", which is nothing to do with UEFI, but is rather an address-space tweak for existing AwardBIOS code that allows you to boot from large volumes. That still leaves out the problem of Gigabyte's notably slow and convoluted CMOS setup program navigation. One genuine upside of HybridEFI is that Gigabyte has been able to provide BIOS updates to many of its older motherboards with 16 Mbit EEPROMs, that give them the feature. Gigabyte is hence the only motherboard vendor with socket LGA775, LGA1156, LGA1366, and AM3 motherboards that can boot from >2.2 TB volumes.

Finally, it seems like Gigabyte broke another big "tradition", that of using AMI BIOS over AwardBIOS. Award doesn't seem to have a template UEFI firmware that vendors can work their own UIs on. Gigabyte's BIOS team is known to have programmers who have had first-hand experience in programming AwardBIOS, which could explain the company's slow transition to UEFI. Spotted on working models of Gigabyte's LGA2011 X79 motherboards on display at IDF, Gigabyte is using an AMI UEFI BIOS with its own GUI. Add to this, Gigabyte found a way to give its AMI BIOS the huge advantage of its patented DualBIOS technology, an automatic redundant EEPROM switching technology that protects from damaged BIOS or failed BIOS flashing.Source: LegitReviews
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38 Comments on Finally, Gigabyte Goes UEFI

#1
EarthDog
yogurt_21 said:
this annoys me actually, there's a reason server bios's are still all text based. We want function, not pretties. Pretties are for clients that hit the applications hosted on the server.


I like function in my bios, pretties in my OS. prettying up my bios and losing relevant and necessary features isn't my idea of advancement.
Remind me what was lost in functionality with the move to a mouse based/gui/uefi bios please...?
Posted on Reply
#2
WarraWarra
tilldeath said:
I'm not really up to date on the uefi, but will this be a possible upgrade to existing motherboard bios with a flash? Or does it acutally have to be built into the bios at factory?
Not sure, theoretically if there is a storage device then you can load anything on it, Gigabyte will tell you no so that you would need to buy a new motherboard as they would not get cash for old bios updates and the issues that would result on your win xp not loading on it.

Same as using OSX for pc you need to disable the UEFI to get it to load. Not even sure or don't care if win7 works with UEFI as I am not going to downgrade to win7 :banghead: again or use UEFI soon.
If it means I have to give up Win XP then hell no I would not go. :nutkick:
Posted on Reply
#3
[H]@RD5TUFF
ABout fracking time, has it been verified it's actually UEFI and not a skinned bios.
Posted on Reply
#4
xBruce88x
did someone mention AMI? (edit: ah it was btarunr) I stumbled upon their corp. HQ the other day :) they actually let me inside :D I think i could have just walked around where ever b/c no one knew i wasn't working there until i asked if they were hiring lol. they had a nice display up front with a few motherboards with their bios. i would have took a pic but i wasn't sure how they'd react to that... while i was there i saw a guy with some ram talking about testing it on something they're working on. next time i'm in Norcross near them i'll tell them i'm a member of TPU and see if they'll let me get some pics or some news on what they're up to.



now that i think about it, i think the system with the cool looking bios back in the day was an AMI bios. it wasn't using a boot disk either. i can't remember the computer exactly... i want to say either packard bell, ibm, gateway, or hp. I remember the motherboard tray was removable and i think it used a slot PII. also the mouse pointer had a tail that moved while you moved the mouse, i lol'd every time using that pc

@thrackan, the closet thing i can find to a proper rock radio station is Project 9-6-1 Atlanta (WKLS i think)
Posted on Reply
#5
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
Yes UEFI does require more memory on the Bios Chip, heck the bios chip that is on the AsRock 970 Extreme 4 is different from the Bios chip on my sig rig

xBruce88x said:
i think uefi requires more space due to all the images and whatnot, so many current boards may not be able to load UEFI even if the manufacturer wanted to. unless some boards have socketed bios chips that the manufacturer could send as an upgrade that have more storage room for the UEFI software rom

^ @tilldeath

@xor and steevo. I was thinking the same thing. I think it was a packard bell that i used with a s7 166cpu. the interface reminded me of an early mac os. it was pretty cool though at the time. (still is really). too bad there were no OC settings, o wait that's what jumpers were for back then ;)

as for the built in web browser... that's pretty neat. will come in handy if you need to google settings or forgot to get drivers (at least one would hope you can dl files to a flash drive)
Posted on Reply
#7
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
xBruce88x said:
oh wow... AMI is a member of the UEFI forum, makes sense i guess since ami was the first with a bios gui of sorts.

http://www.uefi.org/about/
So is Phoenix Technologies (the company behind AwardBIOS).
Posted on Reply
#8
Goodman
I'll wait for Award to get on UEFI , i hate AMI bios...
Posted on Reply
#9
INSTG8R
I am very pleased with the UEFI BIOS makes things just easy all round to be able to point and click my way around. I of course run it in Advanced mode not the Basic Mode like the screenshots posted.
I think it is a great step forward for ease of use. Not just purely a cosmetic thing.
Posted on Reply
#10
Steven B
the BIOS shots displayed show the advanced mode, there will also be another style BIOS like easy mode. Also GB said that they will have very unique features that others do not have. As the basis for the UEFI comes from AMI, GB is still using their AWARD BIOS team to code a lot of things for the BIOS and I am told that it should be pretty cool. I mean GB owns the AWARD BIOS team, so we will see how it goes. But we have to wait and see, so far it looks ok.
Posted on Reply
#11
Wile E
Power User
WarraWarra said:
Not sure, theoretically if there is a storage device then you can load anything on it, Gigabyte will tell you no so that you would need to buy a new motherboard as they would not get cash for old bios updates and the issues that would result on your win xp not loading on it.

Same as using OSX for pc you need to disable the UEFI to get it to load. Not even sure or don't care if win7 works with UEFI as I am not going to downgrade to win7 :banghead: again or use UEFI soon.
If it means I have to give up Win XP then hell no I would not go. :nutkick:
If you think 7 is a downgrade compared to XP, you sir have bigger things to worry about than UEFI.
Posted on Reply
#12
Goodman
Wile E said:
If you think 7 is a downgrade compared to XP, you sir have bigger things to worry about than UEFI.
I some how miss that post...

Win7 a downgrade from XP must be kidding , right? :roll:

C'mon wake up man :slap: (WarraWarra)
Posted on Reply
#13
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Once you go UEFI its tough to go back.
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