UEFI Support: 3TB Drives & Mouse Support Pre-Boot

Remember the mountain of issues I had trying to get Seagate’s 3TB HDD to work as a boot drive in my X58 system? A couple of weeks ago Intel released version 10.1 of its storage drivers, which added software support for drives larger than 2.2TB. That’s one piece of the puzzle. With Sandy Bridge, many motherboard manufacturers are moving to UEFI instead of traditional 32-bit PC BIOSes. Combine that with a GPT partition and your new Sandy Bridge system should have no problems booting to and accessing 3TB drives made of a single partition.


ASUS' entire SNB lineup is UEFI enabled

ASUS sent over a couple of its 6-series motherboards which boast a custom skinned UEFI implementation. You get all of the functionality of a traditional BIOS but with a GUI, and yes, there’s full mouse support.

You’re either going to love or hate the new UEFI GUIs. They do take a little time to get used to but pretty much everything is where you’d expect it to be. Navigating with the mouse can be quicker than the keyboardin some situations and slower in others. Thankfully the interface, at least ASUS’, is pretty quick. There’s scroll wheel support although no draggable scroll bars, which makes quickly scrolling a little frustrating.

Unlike P55, you can set your SATA controller to compatible/legacy IDE mode. This is something you could do on X58 but not on P55. It’s useful for running HDDERASE to secure erase your SSD for example. If you do want to use HDDERASE on a 6-series motherboard you’ll need to first run HDDERASE4 to disable the UEFI initiated security on your drive and then run HDDERASE3 to secure erase it.

The biggest improvement to me honestly is POST time. Below is a quick comparison of time from power on to the Starting Windows screen. I’m using the exact same hardware in all three cases, just varying motherboard/CPU:

  Intel P67 Intel P55 Intel X58
Time from Power on to Boot Loader 22.4 seconds 29.4 seconds 29.3 seconds
The 6-series Platform & 6Gbps SATA Performance The Future: Z68 Chipset in Q2, LGA-2011 in Q4
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  • RMSe17 - Monday, January 03, 2011 - link

    Time for an upgrade :) Reply
  • marc1000 - Monday, January 03, 2011 - link

    I decided to jump the first core-i lineup, and sitck to an old core2duo for some more time... now seems the wait was worth it!

    I just hope the prices outside US/Europe will be reasonable..

    thanks Anand,
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Monday, January 03, 2011 - link

    I think there are many of us that had the same idea. Unless needing to upgrade due to malfunction or new laptop purchase, holding C2D til past the i-Series was the best move to make; whereas buying into C2D asap was the best move at the time.

    Still going to wait for prices to fall and more USB3 adoption. Expected new purchase: mid-2011-mid 2012
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Monday, January 03, 2011 - link

    by "i-Series" it should have said "1st gen. i-Series" Reply
  • CptTripps - Tuesday, January 04, 2011 - link

    Ya know I usually do as you are but was an early adopter of the i7 920. Looking now it seems I made the right choice. I have had 2 years of kickassery and my processor still holds up rather well in this article. Reply
  • hogey74 - Thursday, January 06, 2011 - link

    Me too! I've got an e8400 running at 3.9 with almost zero OC know-how and its done me well. I might snap up an i7 if they and their mobos get cheap when sandy bridge has been out a few months... but may well skip that generation all together. Reply
  • Einy0 - Monday, January 03, 2011 - link

    Holy crapola AMD really needs Bulldozer now. Even in heavily threaded video encoding the 2600K at $300 is blowing the 1100T x6 out of the water. This is the the Core 2 Duo vs. A64 X2 all over again. Will Bulldozer be another Phenom, a day late and a dollar short? TLB bug anyone? As a PC enthusiast I really want to see competition to keep prices in check. If I had to upgrade today, I can't see how I could turn down the 2600K... Reply
  • medi01 - Monday, January 03, 2011 - link

    Did you add mobo price into equation?

    I don't get all the excitement, really. If anything, Intel's anti-overclocking moves
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, January 03, 2011 - link

    Yeah, new Intel motherboard models are never cheap. I don't understand why the price remains so high when more an more functionality is moving to the CPU. The other killer is that you need a new board for every Intel CPU update.

    Lastly, it's hard to throw the "buy now" tag on it with AMD's new architecture over the horizon. Sure, AMD has a tough act to follow, but it's still an unknown that I think is worth waiting for (if it's a dog, you can still buy Intel). Keep in mind that Bulldozer will have a pretty strong IGP, one that may make decent IGP gaming a reality. It will become a matter of how powerful the x86 portion of the Bulldozer is, and they are trying a considerably different approach. Considering the amount of money you'll be paying, you might as well see how AMD shakes out. I guess it just depends on if what you have today can get you by just a little longer.
    Reply
  • dertechie - Monday, January 03, 2011 - link

    You're conflating Bulldozer and Llano there. Bulldozer is the new architecture, coming to the desktop as an 8-core throughput monster. Llano is the first desktop APU, cramming 4 32nm K10.5 cores and a Redwood class GPU onto the die. The next generation of desktop APUs will be using Bulldozer cores. Reply

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