Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

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Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby viking777 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:23 am

BAD

Replying to a post in another section set me to thinking that in order to help people with computer buying choices with regard to Uefi problems it might be a good idea if we had a list of good and bad bioses. At least if you knew one bios was bad (like mine!) you could avoid buying any machine with that bios on it.
In order to do this we would have to define what good and bad actually means. My definition would be that if you are able to install Linux using the tutorial here viewtopic.php?f=42&t=121912#p669573 (either on its own or alongside windows) then you have a good bios. If you have to jump through any more hoops than that to get a successful installtion (or you can't succeed at all) then you have a bad bios.

Why am I talking about bioses when the problem is with Uefi? Well quite simply, the bios settings screen is where you will control Uefi settings, if that is faulty or lacking then you will have great difficulty in knowing wihih and tsdadam's tutorial will be impossible to use as it is for me. If you are unsure of your bios version (should be somewhere in your computer documentation) you can find out what it is with the following command:

Code: Select all
inxi -M


If you don't have a distro with inxi on it you can get similar information from:

Code: Select all
sudo lshw | grep *.firmware -A 6


You may have to adjust the number at the end (which is the number of lines to show after the search term '*.firmware').

So my #1 'bad bios' candidate is my own:
Bios: FUJITSU // Phoenix version: Version 1.09 date: 05/22/2012

If we add to this list we can help others with buying choices. I would request that as you add the word GOOD or BAD at the top of your post (in capitals on a separate line as I have) it will make sorting through the thread an easier task. If I get enough results I will attempt to produce a list of the good and the bad when I have enough results.
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby GeneC on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:29 am

Hi Viking... :)

Thanks for starting this. I am in the market for a Laptop and need some guidelines to make my decision on which to buy. I will be following this thread closely... :wink:
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby tdockery97 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:13 am

Mine was not overly difficult to figure out how to turn off Secure Boot and enable Legacy Bios: Hewlett Packard - Bios: Insyde version: F.12 date: 08/21/2012.
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby srs5694 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:43 pm

Compiling such a list is a good idea, although not everybody will (or can) follow the specific procedure to which you link, and there will be significant variation based on the tester's individual needs and capabilities. Here are my contributions:

  • ASUS P8H77-I motherboard with AMI 2.10.1208 firmware (UEFI 2.31) -- Good set of options, including Secure Boot support; however, some options are strangely named or do peculiar things. I've installed Fedora 18, Ubuntu 12.04, and Debian on this system. It occasionally (perhaps 10% of the time) hangs when launching the Linux kernel, but is otherwise reliable. (When it hangs, resetting the system brings it up normally.)
  • Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P motherboard with Award 6.00 PG "Hybrid EFI" (UEFI 2.10) -- A terrible implementation. I worked for hours before I got the thing to boot correctly, and it's unreliable -- it often hangs before loading the boot program, and when this happens it often hangs for several reboot attempts before finally booting. This board can't seem to remember its NVRAM settings, which complicates boot loader installation. This implementation is actually an old-style BIOS with UEFI implemented as a layer atop that, and it's more reliable when booting in BIOS mode. Details are here. I'm currently running Gentoo on this system.
  • Intel DG43NB motherboard with AMI UEFI 2.00 -- This is a fairly old board (circa 2009) with a relatively early UEFI implementation. The manual barely mentions EFI, and there's just one firmware setting related to it, so getting it to boot in the desired mode can be hit-or-miss. Nonetheless, with EFI boot support enabled, the Ubuntu installers I've used have booted and installed fine. The firmware ignores the BootOrder variable, though, which means that the board continues to boot with the first boot loader set up, which can be frustrating if you want to change it. (Deleting all the entries and re-creating just the desired ones works around this problem.)
  • Mac Mini (2006) with Apple EFI 1.10 -- This isn't technically UEFI, since it's EFI 1.10, and Apple's weird customized EFI 1.10, no less. It's also 32-bit, and few or no Linux distributions support direct EFI-mode installation on 32-bit systems. Thus, installing in EFI mode requires modifying the installation medium by adding an EFI boot loader. Once set up to boot in EFI mode, it works OK, with the exception that the kernel's EFI stub loader hangs if loaded from a FAT partition. It's fine when loaded from an HFS+ partition or, with the right driver, an ext2/3/4 or ReiserFS partition.

One comment about your terminology: You're using "BIOS" to refer to the firmware or sometimes to the user interface portion of the firmware -- the screens in which you tell the firmware to enable or disable Secure Boot, to change the timing on memory accesses, and so on. This is incorrect. Technically, "BIOS" refers to a specific type of computer firmware, not to the user interface, and UEFI is not a BIOS. I realize that most manufacturers are using "BIOS" when they should be using "firmware," but IMHO this just leads to more confusion as it tends to make people think that the UEFI has more in common with older BIOSes than it does.
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby viking777 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:22 pm

Thanks for the responses people, please keep them coming.

And srs5694, I am aware of, though not responsible for, the shortcomings in the terminology relating to Uefi vs Bios. I am also aware that some Uefi implementations have their own settings utilities, I have even seen screenshots of them, though they seem to be exceedingly rare. The thing is that for most users at round about my level, if I have to enter a bios settings screen to manipulate a Uefi setting then I feel reasonably comfortable in calling it a bios setting because I know that the people I am trying to communicate with will call it a bios setting as well and understand what I mean. People operating at your level of knowledge may call it something different, but I don't know what else to call it and neither do most others. Anyway thanks for adding your bios/uefi good/bad list I am sure not many people will be able to add 4 entries here, much appreciated :)
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby blue_bullet on Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:14 pm

GOOD
Machine: System: Hewlett-Packard product: HP ENVY dv7 Notebook PC version: 088A110000305920000620100
Mobo: Hewlett-Packard model: 181C version: 52.24 Bios: Insyde version: F.22 date: 11/02/2012
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby viking777 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:34 am

That is interesting, two 'good ' votes for Insyde bioses. I had a computer with an Insyde bios once and it was so bad I swore I would never ever use one again, and indeed I rejected one computer on my last shortlist purely because it had an Insyde bios on it - just goes to show how wrong you can be, I didn't even look at the version number, just the word 'Insyde' was enough for me to reject it :(
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby catweazel on Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:45 am

viking777 wrote:just the word 'Insyde' was enough for me to reject it :(

"Made in China" is my trigger phrase.

Good work on starting the list, btw. I'm sure many will find it very helpful.
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby ninomrki on Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:18 am

These days everything is made in China. Even things that are not "made" in China are usually just assembled somewhere else from parts that were made in China.
Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby srs5694 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:58 pm

viking777 wrote:The thing is that for most users at round about my level, if I have to enter a bios settings screen to manipulate a Uefi setting then I feel reasonably comfortable in calling it a bios setting because I know that the people I am trying to communicate with will call it a bios setting as well and understand what I mean.


The problem is that it's not a "BIOS settings" screen. Call it what it is: A firmware settings screen or a UEFI settings screen. BIOS and UEFI are two different forms of firmware. Calling it "BIOS" may help people understand how to activate it, but it's no more accurate than saying "I opened the door to my Chevy" when in fact the car was a Honda. In the long run, this inappropriate use of "BIOS" leads to greater confusion because there are plenty of times when it's necessary to describe the differences between BIOS and UEFI, and if people think "BIOS" is a generic term, they'll be completely mystified.
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby willation on Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:11 pm

This is a great idea, especially for us Linux newbies. I will continue to check the progress on GOOD and BAD (U)EFI systems with windows 8 and Linux Mint dualboot. It will probably be a while before I buy another laptop, however, I just built a new Tower, all new components and I installed the Windows 8 Pro from the $39.99 special that expired in January. I will attempt a dualboot with Linux Mint 14 and then post my results at a later time. Currently I am very happy with my dualboot; Windows 7 and Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon; I upgraded from LTS, and still on my trusty Dell Inspiron 1525 :)
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses. GOOD

Postby pgmer6809 on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:13 am

GOOD

This one gives me no problems at all. BUT I should first say that I am using it in "BIOS" mode, ie no secure boot, and MBR (not GPT) disk drive.
It allows me to install Linux alongside Win7.
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby catweazel on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:26 am

GOOD

Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H is very good. I bought one yesterday, along with a shiny new Intel 3770 CPU. It has comprehensive EFI support, which can be mixed with legacy or turned off completely. Running sweet as a dream here.
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Re: Uefi buyers guide - good and bad bioses.

Postby viking777 on Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:02 am

Thanks for the responses - keep them coming.
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