Is the end of BIOS almost upon us? That's the current speculation, with the date of termination expected in the near future. According to an unnamed spokesperson for MSI, the motherboard manufacturer is making the shift over to point and click universal extensible firmware interface (UEFI) systems by Q4 2010/Q1 2011. The change is expected to become "widely adopted" within three years thereafter.
The MSI spokesperson said that the first new products using UEFI will be based on Intel's Sandy Bridge chipset, and will range from entry-level motherboards to high-end solutions. This should be expected, as UEFI is a continuation of Intel's original EFI project designed to replace the clunky, elderly BIOS interface, and to address other problems that have plagued PCs for years, including hard drive storage limits beyond 2 TB.
But upgrading to UEFI isn't as simple as flashing the old BIOS with the new interface. "A UEFI system is generally bigger than a traditional BIOS," the spokesperson said, "and most of the on-board ROM is not that big, so you can’t just flash UEFI into a traditional BIOS board."
Motherboard manufacturers are also holding off on the new technology because of the resources needed to make the change. There's also a customization issue: UEFI doesn't support every board. Manufacturers who design unique features and technologies for their products--those that only communicate with BIOS--may not function with UEFI installed. Designs will eventually need to be re-worked to incorporate the new interface.
But MSI believes that UEFI is the way to go, the next evolutionary step even though UEFI still needs some work. The company may be right, especially as consumers require more and more storage space than what BIOS can currently handle.