One of the wonders of the human body is that it heals itself. The damage might be self-inflicted, like an accidental fall, or it could be caused by an attacker. Either way, the human body is tremendously adept at repairing cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other ailments. HP is taking that same concept and applying it to the PC's Basic Input/Output System, otherwise known as the BIOS.
It's the little guy that often gets overlooked in various circumstances, and when it comes to computers in general, BIOS makers fit that description, even though their chips and code play a big role in the operation of your PC. Like every other PC player, BIOS designers are feeling the hurt from weakening PC sales, leaving them to find alternative means to flip a profit amid a changing market place.
As any SSD owner can tell you, fast boot times are a wonderful thing! Except for, well, when they're not. Microsoft's been working hard at reducing the boot times in Windows 8 and to hear them tell it, your home screen pops up so fast that there simply isn't enough time to mash on the trusty ol' F2 or F8 if you need to muck around in the BIOS or enter Safe Mode. Rather than shrugging their shoulders and leaving users to press a key in a 200ms window, Microsoft instead created a new "Boot Options" menu.
Gigabyte has come up with a way to make its UEFI BIOS interface even easier to navigate while simultaneously jumping on the 3D bandwagon, but not in the way you think. In reality, Gigabyte's 3D BIOS technology is a fancy way of navigating your motherboard's BIOS with an isometric graphical view of the board and all of its parts, and it's actually pretty cool.
Security firm Webroot is taking great interest in a new BIOS rootkit discovered by a Chinese company called Qihoo 360. It's called "Mebromi" and it's a particularly nasty piece of code that targets Award BIOSes, but that's not all. It also contains an MBR rootkit, a kernel mode rootkit, a PE file infector, and a Trojan downloader all rolled into one.
It's impossible to outrun technology, though updated drivers, software, and firmware can keep your gear current for as long as possible. That typically means you have to rely on hardware manufacturers to play ball, and Gigabyte 6 Series motherboard owners will be happy to know Gigabyte is keeping them in the game with significant BIOS updates for its entire 6 Series mobo line.
Last weeks Old School Monday featured a 1997 white paper explaining RAM - and since it was so popular, we thought we'd give you another one. Up this week, Knowing Your BIOS--courtesy of the June 1997 issue of Boot. It's actually hard to believe that an aspect of computing could have changed so little in 14 years, but the ancient BIOS is finally on the way out. So, read on for a historical perspective on the ins and outs of BIOS and PC performance and stay tuned, next week we'll cover magnets. (How do they work?)
With few exceptions, our advice has always been to purchase the fastest hardware you can afford right now rather than wait for something faster to come along when you're in need of an upgrade. Why? As any PC hobbyist will tell you, there's always something bigger, faster, and just plain better on the horizon, and once you get stuck playing the 'waiting game,' it's hard to ever pull the trigger.
We bring this up because EVGA has done something unique with its GeForce GTX 460 line. The graphics card maker recently released a new BIOS, which in and of itself isn't anything new, but this updated BIOS pushes the core/shader clockspeeds to 720MHz/1440MHz, up from 675MHz/1350MHz.
That's a generous 7 percent "Free Performance Boost," as EVGA calls its BIOS update, which only further sweetens the pot (EVGA cards are backed by a lifetime warranty, provided you register your card online within 30 days of purchase). Pessimists will point out that the clockspeed increases aren't going to make a huge difference in gaming performance, but hey, videocards boasting a 7 percent boost over reference clocks typically carry a pricing premium, and here EVGA is giving away performance bumps to existing owners. That's just rad.
You can snag the update here, being extra careful to follow EVGA's directions to a T.