MSI's EFI BIOS
MSI included a disc with the motherboard which had a few extra pieces of software - Games. These are more proof of concept designs but are still very impressive. After inserting the supplied CD, you can access the Game menu. If you forget to insert the CD, a small pop-up appears asking you to insert it.
There is a choice of 3 games: Puppy Run, Pair Match and Break-Out, none of which sound particularly compelling. We have a feeling that these were put in just to show what can be done, and it's certainly fairly impressive.
None of the games are at all interesting as you can see, and you would have to be pretty sad to play any of them for more than a few minutes. However, they do show how powerful EFI can be and the possibilities for great things in the future.
We had the opportunity to speak with MSI about EFI, and they came back with lots of interesting information. For those interested, there is a micro-site here which has a load of interesting information related to EFI.
MSI's main comments towards EFI were as follows:
- At present EFI is 'just' a prettier version of the standard BIOS. All the features that are present in the standard BIOS are also present in their EFI implementation, but are in a clickable format, making it much easier to navigate and use. There are a few extras included, such as the games which we took a look at above, and the customisable boot screen. MSI do plan to implement more and more features as their EFI roll out moves forward.
- EFI acts as the 'middle man' in the PC structure. The BIOS still turns the computer on, and does all the low level stuff, and then feeds it to a higher level, the EFI. This layer will then be able to control components such as sound cards, bluetooth keyboards and third-party LAN, all initialised through firmware and all impossible to do within a standard BIOS.
- MSI are hoping that as the platform is rolled out to people, more and more third-party applications will be released. The apps are essentially based around C++, which is used on a number of consumer devices. With this in mind, the possibilities could be simply endless, with the possibility to create apps for your personal needs. It's good that MSI are allowing third-party users to create applications, and it should give far more versatility and choice to the end user.
Third Party Applications- The Possibilities
Although we have no idea how easy or hard it is to code applications to run in the firmware, judging by what MSI have said, it shouldn't be too difficult for people who know what they are doing. This could be a massive leap forward for almost all users. For novices, applications with step by step instructions or auto tuning of the system could be produced, making overclocking avaliable to the masses and hopefully within a safe manner. Then we have the other end of the scale: Extreme Overclockers. With a correctly coded application they could avoid the need for booting into the OS to test their overclock, and if it goes bad, then it won't corrupt their operating system either. Obviously measures would have to be put in place to avoid corruption of the firmware, but this is certainly exciting times.