Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2015 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: uefi, security
Yet another revelation has come from the Hacking Team leak, a UEFI based rootkit which can infect computers and will survive AV scans and even a drive replacement. The rootkit is designed specifically for the BIOS designed by Insyde which are found primarily in laptops; Dell and HP for example. TrendMicro suggested to The Register that this rootkit could also infect AMIBIOS designed UEFI, the type you are familiar with from desktop motherboards but that has not been confirmed. As well Trend Micro intimates that the rootkit could be installed remotely but so far the evidence suggests physical access is required ... as flashing a BIOS tends to do. Using UEFI SecureFlash, or even flashing to the newest version will also remove the kit, although depending on the solution your motherboard uses you may see error messages about updating an unexpected or corrupt previous version. Keep safe out there and maybe keep the Flash to your BIOS for now.
"Hacking Team RCS spyware came pre-loaded with an UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS rootkit to hide itself on infected systems, it has emerged following the recent hacking of the controversial surveillance firm."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Adobe: We REALLY are taking Flash security seriously – honest @ The Register
- Samsung Galaxy A8 launches with Snapdragon 615 chip and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop @ The Inquirer
- Google can now run your Windows Server installations for you @ The Inquirer
- Rackspace to resell and support Microsoft's Azure @ The Register
- How to Really Delete your Files @ Hardware Secrets
- Asus RT-AC3200 802.11ac Router @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Storage | April 16, 2015 - 06:47 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: uefi, SSD 750, PCI-E 3.0, NVMe, Intel, ACHI, 750 series
UPDATE: ASUS has pointed us towards a poll they are running to gauge what platforms people are most anxious for NVMe Boot support on. So if you have an ASUS board and are interested in buying an Intel SSD 750 Series, head to their poll to voice your opinion!
Last week, the Intel 750 Series SSD was unveiled the the public as the first consumer SSD to feature the NVMe or Non-Volatile Memory Express interface. NVMe was designed from the ground up for flash storage, and provides significant advantages in latency and potential top transfer rates over the aging AHCI standard. Check out our review of the Intel SSD 750 Series to find out why this is such an important step forward for storage technology.
Even if you aren't necessarily concerned about the merits of a new storage interface, the throughput numbers from the 750 series are hard to ignore. With peak speeds over 2.5GB/s read and 1.5GB/s write, it's hard not to be interested in this new drive.
However, all this new speed doesn't come without a few complications. NVMe is an all-new standard which means it might not be supported on all platforms. Intel themselves only point to official support for Z97 and X99 chipsets. In order to get a better idea of the landscape of NVMe compatibility, I took it amongst myself to start testing the add-in card version of the 750 Series in just about every modern motherboard I could get my hands on at the office.
Subject: Processors | March 10, 2015 - 10:20 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: uefi, motherboards, lga 1150, Intel, Broadwell, bios, asus
ASUS has announced that all current Intel 9 Series motherboards will support the upcoming 5th-Generation Intel Broadwell LGA 1150 CPUs with an UEFI update.
We reported last week that Intel’s 5th-generation Broadwell CPU had been demonstrated at GDC using Intel’s Iris Pro graphics, though official details about the new LGA versions of Broadwell are not yet public. The desktop variants will no doubt use the same 14nm process technology of the current BGA parts, and it has been rumored that the new CPUs will initially launch in both Core i5 and i7 versions, with the potential for Core i3 and Pentium branded parts to follow (though any potential product information is mere speculation at this point).
It will be interesting to see if the upcoming LGA 5th-Generation CPUs will be able offer any higher perfomance for desktop users compared to existing Haswell parts (such as the i7-4790K), or if there will even be unlocked processors. Considering Broadwell is a mobile-focused part designed for efficency and lower power consumption the chips could offer a compelling solution for small form-factor computers such as HTPCs, as they will presumably provide lower heat and higher IPC than existing parts.
The UEFI updates will go live later today (some updates have already been released) and include all ASUS motherboard models with Z97 and H97 chipsets.
Subject: Motherboards | June 5, 2013 - 02:17 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z87-GD65 GAMING, uefi, overclocking, msi, haswell, computex 2013, computex
MSI announced new Z87 motherboards today, ready to accept Intel's new 4 Generation Core "Haswell" processors. The new Z87 boards are broken up into the company's "GAMING" series and a new "Overclock" series. Both boards use Military Class IV components that are MIL-STD-810G rated.
The MSI Z87-GD65-GAMING is the company's latest motherboard aimed at PC gamers. It incorporates a Killer NIC and the company's Audio Boost technology. It also supports MSI technology such as V-Check points (to get voltage readings with multi meter), Super RAID, Multi-BIOS II, and Go2BIOS.
On its face, the Z87-GD65-GAMING features an Intel LGA 1150 CPU socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots, eight SATA 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and four PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots. Rear IO includes a PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, coaxial and optical S/PDIF audio outputs, one DVI port, one VGA port, one HDMI output, one Kill NIC-backed Gigabit LAN port, and six analog audio jacks.
The MSI Z87-GD65-GAMING motherboard is currently selling for around $189 at various online retailers. It has earned a Computex 2013 Best Choice Gold award as well as a positive review from PC Perspective's resident motherboard guru Morry Teitelman. You can find our full review of the gaming motherboard here.
MSI also announced three new motherboards under its Overclock series. These boards are intended for PC enthusiasts who like to tinker with hardware and push their chips (CPU and GPU) as far as possible. The new boards include the Z87 MPOWER, Z87 MPOWER MAX, and Z87 XPOWER.
The Overclock series motherboards also use Military Class components. They also feature MSI's latest Click BIOS 4 UEFI and Control Center software that allows monitory, tuning, and remote controlling of your PC. The MSI Overclock boards also have a tool that allows for automatic overclocking called OC Genie 4 that reportedly operates in two stages. The Z87 MPOWER has a 32-phase digital power system, supports DDR3-3000 memory, and supports 4-way SLI or Crossfire. The MPOWER MAX and XPOWER motherboards are OC (Overclock) Certified and supports MSI's Extreme Tuning Utility for overclocking within Windows.
Rear port layout is similar to the Z87-GD65-Gaming motherboard, except that the new MPOWER boards add a removable Intel Wi-Fi + Bluetooth card that adds 802.11g/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel WiDi (Wireless Display) technology. The highest-end Z87 MPOWER, the XPOWER board, also has additional USB 3.0 ports on the back panel.
You can find more information on the Z87 MPOWER motherboards on this MSI product page.
Also read: MSI Launches 17" GS70 Gaming Notebook @ PC Perspective.
Over the weekend, Gigabyte posted a new photo to its Facebook page that teased the interface of the company’s upcoming UEFI BIOS. The new UEFI DualBIOS interface features an orange and black theme with a black background, orange accents, and white text. From the preview photos of Gigabyte’s Z87 motherboards, the BIOS colors will match up nicely with the actual black and orange colored hardware.
The middle pane occupies the most space and brings all of your standard BIOS setup and overclocking settings front and center. Gigabyte has laid out the various settings into tabbed categories. Users can further customize a shortcut menu on the right-most tab. This settings pane is surrounded on all sides by various bars and columns with status information.
The top bar includes graphs on the system’s voltages, fan speeds, and temperatures. The bottom bar displays system information such as the total amount of RAM installed, CPU and BIOS identification, and other information. On the left of the main settings panel is a column with readouts on the installed processor. The information it provides at a glance includes CPU voltage, frequency, temperature, and core ratio. It also lists the CPU fan speeds. Meanwhile, the column on the right-hand side of the display hosts temperature and fan speed information for the PCH, system/case sensor, and up to five case fans.
While some enthusiasts might balk at the orange, black, and white color scheme, in all it looks like a nice improvement. Most of the information is available at a glance, and the customizable shortcut menu is a useful feature.
You can find the original photo as well as several other preview photos on Gigabyte’s Facebook page.
What do you think about the new UEFI BIOS UI?
Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 1, 2013 - 12:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Secure Boot, uefi
Steven J Vaughan-Nichols of ZDNet published an update on the status of Secure Boot. Fans of Linux and other open-source operating systems have been outspoken against potential attempts by Microsoft to hinder the installation of free software. While the fear is not unfounded, the situation does not feel to be a house of cards in terms of severity.
Even without an immediate doomsday, there still is room for improvement.
The largest complaint is with Windows RT. If a manufacturer makes a device for Windows RT it will pretty much not run any other operating system. Vice versa, if an OEM does not load Windows RT on their device that PC will never have it. Windows on ARM is about as closed of a platform as you can get.
On the actual topic of Secure Boot, distributions of Linux have been able to sign properly as trusted. Unlike the downstream Fedora 18, Ubuntu 12.10, and others: the Linux Foundation is still awaiting a signed bootloader.
Other distributions will need to disable the boot encryption which many thought would forever be the only way to precede. While not worse than what we have been used to without Secure Boot, disabling boot encryption leaves Linux at a disadvantage for preventing rootkits. Somewhat ironic, we are stuck between the fear of being locked out of our device by a single entity and the fear of malice intentions not being locked out.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of Gigabyte
PC gaming is alive and well and hardware vendors are working to create unique features in their product lines to entice this niche audience. Gigabyte has always had a soft spot for gamers who want the best components for their LAN rigs so they can own their friends in any game genre they choose to play. Gigabyte has broadened their product line to include performance gaming mice, keyboards, and PC cases. They also have a line of "G1-Killer" motherboards that Gigabyte claims is designed with 3D gaming in mind. One of their latest boards in the G1-Killer series is the G1.Sniper M3, and just happen to have a sample that we are reviewing today.
Courtesy of Gigabyte
The G1.Sniper M3 was designed into a micro ATX form factor that sports Intel's latest Z77 Express chipset and supports the third generation of Intel's LGA 1155 "Ivy Bridge" processors. It is challenging to pack enough performance features and overclocking options onto a micro ATX footprint, but Gigabyte's G1.Sniper M3 has broken the code in this department. This $180 board includes a digital power phase design with auto voltage compensation, dual UEFI BIOS, and an onboard Creative Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor for rich, high-definition audio.
Subject: Motherboards | November 6, 2011 - 04:11 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: gigabyte, x79, pattsburg, Intel, SB-E, sandy bridge-e, uefi
Many motherboard manufacturers have phased out the old school BIOS in favor of a shiny graphical user interface (GUI) UEFI BIOS that adds support for booting from larger capacity hard drives and presenting configuration screens that are able to be navigated with mouse or touch controls. Gigabyte has been somewhat quiet on the UEFI BIOS front, until now that is. Starting with Intel’s new X79 chipset based motherboards, the company will begin using a new “3D BIOS.”
Fortunately, red and cyan glasses won’t be required for Gigabyte’s new UEFI BIOS. Instead, the BIOS is only “3D” in the same sense that a computer game is 3D -- meaning a 3D perspective viewed through a 2D window of sorts (the monitor) and this is a good thing.
The way Gigabyte’s 3D BIOS works involves displaying a photo of the user’s motherboard with various hot-spots that display content sensitive information and configuration options when hovered over and clicked on respectively. For example, when hovering over and clicking on the SATA ports in the rotate-able photo of the board, users are presented with options to set the SATA controller mode to IDE, AHCI, or RAID mode. Also, when clicking on the CPU area, the user is able to adjust frequency, voltage, and timing settings for the CPU and RAM. Further, context sensitive help is available for all the various options in each dialog.
For those that prefer a more traditional text based approach, Gigabyte is also including an advanced mode for enthusiasts who like to dig into every setting possible. The advanced mode looks like one would expect a BIOS to - a text based UI with minimal distractions. The ability to use the mouse for navigation is still present, however.
The 3D motherboard will reflect the actual physical motherboard and can be easily rotated to admire the shiny interface. It is certainly an interesting angle and should help new users navigate and find the settings they need. Whether it will be enough to help differentiate the product or not remains to be seen. A video showing off the new 3D BIOS is available below, and more photos can be found here.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | October 13, 2011 - 12:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: x79, uefi, roadmap
To call The Tech Report obsessed about motherboards is an understatement, like here at PC Perspective there is never enough information to satisfy us fully. That is probably why we are such suckers for sneak peeks and hints of what is coming up in the next generation of parts. Today it is the new UEFI implementation that we will be seeing from ASUS that will be present on the new family of X79 motherboards. This new type of BIOS is obviously maturing as you can get the same functionality we are used to seeing from GUI based overclocking and monitoring programs except now you are much closer to the metal. Check out the sneak peek and keep an eye out for more information from this super secret meeting.
"Later this week, I embark on a super-secret mission to Silicon Valley to get a sneak peek at Asus' upcoming X79 motherboards. At a similar preview event for Sandy Bridge motherboards last year, I got my first hands-on time with the UEFI—that is, the better, more flexible BIOS replacement—that went on to outclass everything in the industry. Asus will probably have a few new UEFI tricks to show off this time around, and I'm curious to see what's in store. I also have some rather specific thoughts on what should be incorporated in new firmware implementations. When you've been reviewing motherboards for more than a decade, you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about such things—and have a somewhat inflated sense of the value of your opinions."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Asustek launches Zenbook series ultrabooks @ DigiTimes
- Hackers age 14-18 can compete to put their project into space @ Hack a Day
- Dennis Ritchie, Creator of C Programming Language, Passed Away @ Slashdot
- RIM has restored its systems @ The Inquirer
- iOS 5 reviewed: Notifications, iMessages, and iCloud, oh my! @ Ars Technica
- Seagate, WD update impact of Thai flooding @ DigiTimes
- Windows 7 overtakes XP - finally @ The Register
- SLI Multi-GPU Technology on AMD Platforms - An Interview with Tom Petersen of NVIDIA @ Hi Tech Legion
- Microsoft patches 23 flaws in multiple products @ The Inquirer
- October Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest @ Bjorn3D
Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2011 - 11:51 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, coreboot, uefi, bios, embedded, llano, opteron, s3
A lot of attention is being paid to UEFI, the new graphical BIOS replacement that not only lets you utilize 2TB+ drives as a boot device but will give you mouse control over the games that come integrated with your settings. It does offer quite a few advantages over the old BIOS but adds complexity as well. AMD has gone a different route with their Opteron series with Coreboot (aka LinuxBIOS) a different way of initializing a computer. It does a very minimal hardware initialization and then moves into what is called a payload, which contains the familiar abilities of the BIOS but not integrated directly into the hardware initialization in any way. This is far more useful for server and embedded applications than the latest ROG board, which is why embedded Llano will be receiving support and why Opteron already does. Follow the links from The Inquirer for more.
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has announced that its upcoming Llano accelerated processing unit (APU) will support Coreboot.
AMD has been pushing development the BIOS replacement initiative Coreboot for many years but has focused on getting support for its embedded and server processors. Now the company has come out and said that all of its future processors will support Coreboot, from Llano onwards."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- WebGL in Chrome and Firefox is a serious security risk @ The Inquirer
- Worried about data caps? Here's how to check your usage @ Ars Technica
- Boffins develop method of driving computers insane @ The Register
- AMD's FM1 desktop test board pictured @ VR-Zone
- New Gigabyte board spotted at eTeknix HQ @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 pictures @ VR-Zone
- Essential Windows 7 Tweaks: Part 3 @ Computing on Demand
- Blackberry App World is finally here @ t-break
- Roccat Apuri Review @ t-break