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Will BIOS Be Dead in 3 Years?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 65 comments

MSI will begin its shift over to UEFI by the end of the year, with the industry expected to follow over the next three years.

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.

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Top Comments
  • 30 Hide
    jimishtar , June 8, 2010 10:12 PM
    finally, it was about time...
  • 29 Hide
    skit75 , June 8, 2010 10:24 PM
    I think it was almost 5 years ago when I read nearly the same article making the same prediction yet, here we are.
  • 25 Hide
    7amood , June 8, 2010 10:23 PM
    as long as I can control my CPU multiplier, clock and voltage... bring it on...
Other Comments
    Display all 65 comments.
  • 30 Hide
    jimishtar , June 8, 2010 10:12 PM
    finally, it was about time...
  • 25 Hide
    7amood , June 8, 2010 10:23 PM
    as long as I can control my CPU multiplier, clock and voltage... bring it on...
  • 20 Hide
    afrobacon , June 8, 2010 10:23 PM
    Looks like I'll wait a little longer before I upgrade the ol' TRS-80
  • 29 Hide
    skit75 , June 8, 2010 10:24 PM
    I think it was almost 5 years ago when I read nearly the same article making the same prediction yet, here we are.
  • 6 Hide
    Computerrock1 , June 8, 2010 10:35 PM
    Go BIOS! I fear that I will lose fine tuning ability with something like this.
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , June 8, 2010 10:37 PM
    Computerrock1Go BIOS! I fear that I will lose fine tuning ability with something like this.


    don't be afraid of the future... efi will not make it worse...
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , June 8, 2010 10:38 PM
    apple's had efi for how long? yeah it ain't that hard. mobo makers can sell a usb dongle efi to circumvent the bios.
  • 10 Hide
    nukem950 , June 8, 2010 10:39 PM
    Well, it is about time. I so want an UEFI board.

    I wonder when an AMD board will come out...
  • 3 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , June 8, 2010 10:46 PM
    Finally, I'll have to get used to it , but I've been waiting for it.
  • 2 Hide
    deltatux , June 8, 2010 11:03 PM
    Finally, after how long?
  • 21 Hide
    ready4dis , June 8, 2010 11:09 PM
    This isn't the first time you brought up EFI, and it's not the first time you put out the exact same wrong information. The BIOS IS NOT THE LIMITING FACTOR FOR THE 2TB windows problems. If it was, nothing would be able to access a 2TB drive, clearly that isn't the case. There is no hard drive limit, there is simply a limit in the way partitions are handled. It has nothing to do with the bios, or the hardware. It's a software implementation issue. There have been workarounds for years, please stop putting out mis-information. If you really don't know anything about it, maybe you should let someone else post the news who has a clue.

    Before you do any more news on the subject, please read up on MBR's and GPT's, and find out where the 2TB problem arises. It has nothing to do with the BIOS, nothing nothing nothing. I read news here all the time, and some of it is great, but spreading misinformation, when you've already been corrected isn't acceptable.
  • 8 Hide
    sliem , June 8, 2010 11:20 PM
    It'll die, but not in 3 years.
  • 20 Hide
    killerb255 , June 8, 2010 11:30 PM
    MBR has a limit of 2 TB. In order to have a >2 TB partition, you have to go GPT.

    The 2 TB problem arises when trying to BOOT from a GPT partition using a BIOS, not reading one.

    32-bit XP doesn't support GPT. 64-bit XP does.

    All NT6 OSes (Vista/Server 2008/7/Server 2008 R2) support GPT.

    ready4dis: So educate us: what are the workarounds that you say exist? Are they as haphazard as, say, using uncrippled PAE to address more than 4 GB of RAM using a 32-bit Windows OS?
  • 2 Hide
    Strider-Hiryu_79 , June 8, 2010 11:32 PM
    really? so it'll be joining it's brethren in that special place in the sky? like the x86sx/dx math co-processor and removable/upgradable sram socket chips? *cries*
  • 3 Hide
    matt87_50 , June 8, 2010 11:49 PM
    bout time! please tell me this will increase boot times! bout 70% of my boot time is before windows starts to load :( 
  • 21 Hide
    kelemvor4 , June 8, 2010 11:58 PM
    ready4disThis isn't the first time you brought up EFI, and it's not the first time you put out the exact same wrong information. The BIOS IS NOT THE LIMITING FACTOR FOR THE 2TB windows problems. If it was, nothing would be able to access a 2TB drive, clearly that isn't the case. There is no hard drive limit, there is simply a limit in the way partitions are handled. It has nothing to do with the bios, or the hardware. It's a software implementation issue. There have been workarounds for years, please stop putting out mis-information. If you really don't know anything about it, maybe you should let someone else post the news who has a clue.Before you do any more news on the subject, please read up on MBR's and GPT's, and find out where the 2TB problem arises. It has nothing to do with the BIOS, nothing nothing nothing. I read news here all the time, and some of it is great, but spreading misinformation, when you've already been corrected isn't acceptable.


    Hogwash.

    BIOS uses Master Boot Records (MBR) to boot from a drive. The MBR is 512 bytes of which 64 bytes is the partition table, 16 bytes to fully describe each partition's attributes, so you only have 8 bytes to point at each partition's location and size. Only 4 bytes of that can be used to point at each partition's beginning sector. Four bytes is 32 bits, so you can address 2**32 sectors and (2**32)*512 bytes (since there are 512 bytes/sector) = 2.2 E12 or about 2 TB (maximum addressable disk size and also partition size since 4 bytes is also allowed to describe each partition's size with BIOS and MBR).

    It's a very cut and dry 2TB limitation baked into BIOS. I discovered this rather painfully with my last build when I tried to use a single 6Tb array. Quite disappointing.

    Now once you have booted from a 2TB or smaller partition using windows/macos/linux/name your bootloader you can use software to mount a GPT partition that exceeds 2Tb. You still cannot boot from a partition greater than 2Tb. There's nothing to argue about here, try it and find out for yourself.
  • 1 Hide
    drwho1 , June 9, 2010 12:35 AM
    So the whole issue is not been able to BOOT from a 2TB or greater drive?

    who cares!

    as long as I can access thid drives as data/multimedia drives.
    I got 2 2TB working just fine (not as boot drives) just for storage.
  • 1 Hide
    razor512 , June 9, 2010 1:12 AM
    doesn't bigger generally = more data which generally = longer load times and more resource usage? So wouldn't a bios load faster?
  • 4 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , June 9, 2010 1:53 AM
    I don't understand the need for the change? All I read was the 2TB limit. The current state of the BIOS performs well if not perfect. It was designed from the ground up to be super simplistic to make changes, not some colorful, over-exaggerated piece of, whatever you want to call it. Big circles and color... what!?
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