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UEFI to Drop PC Boot Times to Seconds by 2011

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UEFI, the long-awaited Bios replacement could finally be standard fare in PCs according to Mark Doran, head of the UEFI Forum.

Doran told the BBC that the PC industry is at a tipping point to finally move over to the modern technology that is UEFI.

The Bios, is the basic standard method of interacting between a computer’s hardware and the operating system, and is responsible to getting all the gear such as the hard disks and graphics cards initialised. However, the technology has changed little since it was first introduced in 1979 and is the main reason a PC takes so long to boot.

Moving to UEFI could finally bring the time it takes for a machine to boot down to seconds, according to Doran. "At the moment it can be 25-30 seconds of boot time before you see the first bit of OS sign-on," he said. "With UEFI we're getting it under a handful of seconds.

"In terms of boot speed, we're not at instant-on yet but it is already a lot better than conventional Bios can manage," he said "and we're getting closer to that every day."

UEFI stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, and it is this Extensible part that is the most crucial. It means that it will be able to accommodate new advances much more easily than the current Bios. This means the likes of soft keyboard gestures and touchscreens that are becoming common, and larger storage capacities, such as this 3TB disk from Seagate.

TrustedReviews spoke to popular motherboard manufacture MSI about the Doran’s predictions and it said that it would be phasing in more UEFI motherboards from the end of this year, and it expected it to become widely adopted in three years, a couple of years later than Doran’s prediction.

Jon Inwood, MSI UK’s Components Marketing Manager said that up to now the move to UEFI has been slow due to a lack of pressing need, but that large drives such as the Seagate were pushing it up the schedule. “{The} default storage size for general public is getting bigger and bigger, {and} you can see mainstream notebooks will use almost 1TB storage next year, not to mention desktop systems. So we need to move forward to UEFI fast!”

Inwood explained that creating UEFI was a challenge, as it needed to be coded from the ground up in C, in order to give it its flexibility, and was much larger than the standard BIOS. “MSI has to rewrite everything from zero, {and} the real challenge is graphics UI. Using C to program gives us more flexibility, but there is no useful graphics API so far, so we have write our own UI from scratch and make it useful and easy”

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