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The BIOS of a modern computer is directly related to the "buoyancy" of your silicon friend in the stormy ocean of software. One error in the parameters - and the beautiful swallow turns into a clumsy monster, which has nothing to do with stability and high performance. In this article I will try to generalize some knowledge and experience on setting up the BIOS of a computer. This topic is so vast that it is simply impossible to cover everything. However, I will try to outline the main items for setting up and optimizing the operation of the computer using the Basic I / O System.
BIOS. general information
An important element of the motherboard is the BIOS (Basic Input / Output System - basic input / output system). This is the name of the hardware built into the computer software, which is accessible without access to the disk. The BIOS chip contains the program code necessary to control the keyboard, video card, disks, ports and other components. Typically, the BIOS is placed in a ROM (ROM, Read Only Memory) located on the computer's motherboard (this node is often called the ROM BIOS). This technology allows to ensure constant availability of the BIOS regardless of the performance of components external to the motherboard (for example, boot disks). Since access to RAM (RAM) is much faster than to ROM, many manufacturers provide for the automatic copying of BIOS from ROM to RAM when the power is turned on. The memory area that is involved is called the Shadow RAM. In the chips, the BIOS uses different types of memory to store the program code. PROM (Programmable Read-Only Memory) is a type of memory that can be written only once. The difference between PROM and ROM is that PROMs are initially produced "clean", while in ROM data are entered in the production process. And to write data to the PROM chips, devices are used, called programmers. EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) is a special type of PROM that can be cleaned (and recorded) using ultraviolet rays. The EEPROM type memory is similar to EPROM, but the erase-record operations are performed by electrical signals.
Currently, most modern motherboards are equipped with FLASH BIOS chips, the code in which can be overwritten using a special program. This approach facilitates the upgrade of the BIOS when new components appear, which need to provide support (for example, the newest types of memory chips). Since the lion's share of the program code of the BIOS is standardized, that is, it is the same and mandatory for all PC computers, in principle, there is no special need to change it. Overwriting BIOS is an extremely important and very difficult task. To fight for it should be only in the most extreme case - if the problem can not be solved by any other means. At the same time, it is necessary to clearly understand the necessity and consequences of each step of this operation. Modern types of BIOS, made using Plug-and-Play technology, are called the PnP BIOS, while support for such an architecture is provided only by Flash ROM chips. In general, full support for Plug-and-Play on the Windows side is possible only if you use the PnP BIOS. Usually, this circumstance serves as a good reason for deciding whether to rewrite the BIOS. In addition to the above, in newer versions of the BIOS, minor bugs and flaws are often corrected. New versions usually contain new features.
The purpose and functions of the BIOS
In modern computers, the BIOS performs several functions:
• Computer start-up and Power-On Self Test (POST). The program located in the BIOS chip is loaded first after the computer power-up. It detects and checks installed equipment, adjusts it and prepares it for operation. If a hardware malfunction is detected, the POST procedure stops with a corresponding message or beep. . Configure the system settings using the BIOS Setup program. During the POST procedure, the equipment is determined in accordance with the BIOS parameters stored in the special CMOS memory. By changing these parameters, the user can configure the operation of individual devices and the system as a whole according to their needs. They are edited in a special program, also called BIOS Setup or CMOS Setup.
• Supports I / O functions through BIOS interrupts. As part of the system BIOS, there are built-in functions for working with the keyboard, video adapter, disk drives, hard disks, I / O ports, etc. These functions are widely used in operating systems like MS-DOS, and are not used in modern versions of Windows.
The first device that starts after pressing the power button of the computer is the power supply. If all the supply voltages are normal, the central processor that reads the contents of the BIOS chip starts and starts executing the self-test procedure written in it, or POST. POST solves several basic tasks:
1 ... Initializes and configures the main system components: processor, RAM, chipset and video adapter.
2 ... Checks the CMOS checksum and battery status. If the CMOS checksum is wrong, the default values will be loaded.
3 ... Tests the processor and RAM. The results are usually displayed on the screen.
4 ... Initializes and configures peripheral devices: keyboard, mouse, disk drives, hard disks, etc. Information about detected
Drives are also displayed on the screen.
5 ... Distributes resources between devices and displays a table with the detected devices and the resources assigned to them.
6 ... Searches and initializes devices with their own BIOS.
7 ... Calls the operating system loader.
After the POST procedure was successfully completed, a boot sector scan starts, which may be on the hard disk or removable media. The order of polling devices is set using the BIOS parameters: First Boot Device, Second Boot Device, Third Boot Device.
The main BIOS developers
Previously - approximately in the early to mid-90's - it was possible to meet the BIOS versions, entirely developed by the manufacturers of motherboards or laptops - for example, Intel, IBM, Compaq, Toshiba, Dell. As a result of the evolution of computer equipment, all the best practices were embodied in the products of such brands as Award, AMI, Phoenix, which are now the main producers of the BIOS code. Therefore, BIOS versions differ slightly. Let's take a closer look at each manufacturer of the basic BIOS version.
AwardBIOS company Award Software (phoenix.com) - the most famous manufacturer of BIOS. At one time, version 4.51 was very popular, later version 6.0 was introduced, which is installed on the lion's share of modern motherboards. In the distant 1998, the Award company was bought by Phoenix, but all subsequent developments go under the trademark AwardBIOS or Phoenix-Award BIOS.
AMIBIOS company American Megatrends (ami.com). Currently, this manufacturer is the second most popular among the manufacturers of motherboards. Basically, this version of the BIOS for their products installs companies such as ASUStec, ASRock, MSI.
PhoenixBIOS of Phoenix Technologies (phoenix.com) is most commonly found on laptops.
In order to use all the features of the chipset installed on the motherboard, as well as the features of working with all peripheral equipment (hard disks, expansion cards, etc.), you need a BIOS version. But in order to create the necessary version, you need to provide a full cycle of program development. But it is not profitable for manufacturing firms to maintain a special department, to waste time and resources. Therefore, the creation of the BIOS is usually divided into two phases:
1 ... Manufacturer BIOS develops a basic version, in which all functions are implemented, independent of the features of the chipset.
2 ... The motherboard manufacturer together with the company-developer BIOS, so to speak, customize the version under the features of the motherboard. Over time, new peripheral equipment appears, and the BIOS can repeatedly change after the release of the board, receiving new features and capabilities. New versions of the BIOS are laid out for download on the sites of companies - manufacturers of motherboards with an exact indication of the model of this motherboard itself.
Thus, the term "BIOS version" can be designated as a version of the base code (usually referred to as AwardBIOS 6.0 - the sixth version of the BIOS of the Award Company) or a BIOS version for a particular motherboard model, the name of which usually consists of the abbreviated name of the board model and the upgrade number.
Entering the BIOS Setup
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