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UEFI BIOS Problems


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#1 davnel

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 06:01 PM

I recently replaced my main system with a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H mobo and an Intel i7-3770 (not -K) CPU. This is NOT a "gaming" system, and will never be used for such. I am using native Intel HD-4000 video from the CPU.

 

My normal configuration, in the past, had been a machine I could swap boot disks to accommodate various OSs, Windows, Linux, you name it, using an Antec Easy-SATA disk adapter for the boot drive.

 

In recent communications with Gigabyte tech support, on the issue of the BIOS not finding the boot drive, and rearranging the boot order when I change disks, I was informed that any UEFI board would NOT support disk changing directly. Sometimes it doesn't even see the disk until several restarts happen. This is unacceptable.

 

What's worse, I don't think AMI, or anyone else, actually understands the UEFI spec well enough to write a viable BIOS based on it. Lotsa problems out there. The traditional, ASCII, BIOS has had several decades to achieve Nirvana, and pretty much has. Of course, once that happened someone had to mess with it. UEFI is the result. Thanks, Microsoft!!

 

What I'd like from this forum is a recommendation for a motherboard that will support my new CPU, and that does NOT have a UEFI BIOS, or, better, a traditional ASCII (non-UEFI) BIOS for this board.

 

As it is, it looks like I'll have to go back to my X58A/i7-920 board to play on and set this one up as a dedicated Windows 7/8 dual boot machine without changeable disks. What a waste! It would have been nice if they had warned us of this potential problem (or maybe they did and I just missed it). I probably would have purchased a different mobo.

 

Current configurations:

 

Main system -

 

Mobo.................. Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H w/AMI UEFI BIOS F15q

CPU................... Intel Core i7-3770 (not -K)

Memory............. 32GB Kingston HyperX Black DDC3-1600

Video................. Native Intel HD-4000 GPU only

PSU................... Antec EA-650 (overkill on this system which uses 120W)

Disks.................. Two SATA II drives in Antec Easy-SATA adapters to allow changing disks

OSs.................... Dual-boot Win 7 Ultimate 64/ WIn 8.1 Pro, Win XP, various Linux flavors

Other.................. one Zyxel NAS with 4TB in JBOD, one Sans Digital 8TB eSATA array in Raid 0

                            Lian-LI PC-7 case, Samsung 27" monitor

Unless a miracle happens to the BIOS, this machine will be changed to two fixed hard disks, one for dual W7/W8.1, the other for data. May put a 240GB SSD in here as the boot drive (msata on the mobo). This really is a nice board. Too bad they messed up the BIOS.

 

Second (original) system -

 

Mobo.................. Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5 w/AMI ASCII BIOS

CPU................... Intel Core i7-920 (eminently overclockable, but it's not, yet)

Memory............. 24GB Patriot DDC3-1600

Video................. ASUS GForce GT 640 (Hey! I said I wasn't gaming - this works fine)

PSU................... Antec EA-430

Disks.................. Two SATA II drives,  boot drive in Antec Easy-SATA adapter to allow changing OSs

OSs.................... Dual-boot Win XP Pro 32/Win 7 Ultimate 64, various Linux flavors

Other.................. Cisco wireless adapter, Lian-LI PC61 case, Samsung 22" monitor

 

This was my old workhorse for experimenting. Looks like I'm going back to it. I'm going to swap PSUs between them since the Z77X system doesn't need 650W, and this one might.

 

Also have two older E8400/4GB systems dedicated to XP Pro 32 - because I have design software that won't install or run in Windows 7+, and a laptop that dual-boots XP Pro 32 and Win 7 Ultimate 32.

 

Any suggestions on how to get around, or get rid of, the UEFI BIOS on the Z77X system will be greatly appreciated. The board has Gigabyte's "Dual" flashable BIOS setup which has already been flashed a couple of times, so I know it works.

 

Thank you.

.


Edited by davnel, 13 January 2014 - 06:25 PM.


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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 06:40 PM

When you switch the drive out are you physically removing the connections for the drive or going into the BIOS to tell it which drive to boot from?

#3 davnel

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 08:14 PM

The Antec adapter allows me to remove one drive and replace it with another, then reboot. In the ASCII BIOSs the boot order is determined by the IDE or SATA channel number. If the boot device fails, you get the "NTLOADER NOT FOUND" message.

 

In a UEFI BIOS, apparently, the system looks over the drives presented at a given boot time, and determines boot order from that. If the first drive changes, or fails, it looks around for another source, usually with some amazing results. No, UEFI is designed for a single, fixed, setup where the boot device never changes. I read, somewhere, a long time ago, that Microsoft wanted their new OS to be recorded in the CMOS memory in some fashion, and that any change from that data would cause a boot failure. Seems to be what's happening here. Of course, F12 seems to work, most of the time, but you gotta have a quick finger to catch it.

.


Edited by davnel, 13 January 2014 - 08:15 PM.


#4 cryptodan

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 08:56 PM

I had this recently happen on my motherboard, and the issue was resolved by powering up the computer until the boot drive was detected with all other drives disconnected from the SATA Data Controller.

And then use the BIOS to determine the primary drive to boot from. There is no solid way to do what you are doing with ease.

#5 davnel

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 09:01 PM

That's essentially what Gigabyte said. It's why I'm going back to my i7-920 system to play with. The new system becomes the internet appliance Microsoft wants them to be. Terrible waste.

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#6 cryptodan

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 09:30 PM

Just to note my motherboard is not uefi enabled. It is a standard bios with ahci enabled

#7 waldojim42

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 12:49 PM

Most motherboards have an option to disable the UEFI. However, I would like to note, that I also use swappable drive bays (CoolerMaster LanBoy XB) and never had a problem with the UEFI. Still, I would simply disable it if it were a problem. Have you tried this already?


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#8 jonuk76

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 04:58 PM

You can normally enable UEFI mode only, legacy mode only or both.

 

UEFI mode requires a 64 bit, EFI compatible OS (Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, Linux) and a GPT partitioning scheme on the disk.

 

I've been using a Gigabyte Haswell mobo (UEFI) and there is an option in the BIOS to manually override the boot device, and it works with both UEFI and legacy boot modes.


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#9 davnel

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:52 PM

A couple of interesting things happened today.

 

1. I have heard from Gigabyte, and Intel, and no other mobo makers (couldn't be bothered, I guess). Both say there are no Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge mobos without UEFI - NONE!

 

2. I completed changing the system over to appliance mode - removed the plug-in disk adapters, installed some data disks, and, most important, installed a 240GB BP4 mSATA SSD with the contents of my normal boot disk on it. The boot up time went from 3 minutes to just under 20 SECONDS! WOW is this thing fast!

 

3. My original X58/i7-920 system has been rebuilt as the playground for all of my experimenting.

 

I guess the bottom line here is that the OS and mobo makers have decided they don't want people futzing around with their (own!) computers. They seem to have decided to make it almost impossible to do so. They apparently want you to buy a Dell or some such preassembled junk pile, with tons of crapware loaded (so they can make an extra buck). They're even charging extra (like $100) for Windows 7 vs Windows 8. I guess they want us fiddlers off the market, and have found a way. Bummer! So, don't throw away those older systems. They may be the only things you can pay with in the not-too-far-distant future.

 

BTW, I am aware that UEFI, itself, can be turned off, even in my BIOS. That ain't the problem. I've been running in legacy mode from the beginning. The way it works, even in legacy mode, is way different that a traditional ASCII BIOS. That makes doing things like changing the boot disk difficult.

 

Life goes on.

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#10 waldojim42

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 11:19 PM

Again, as an owner of newer UEFI systems, I am NOT experiencing the problem you are. In fact, UEFI has made this an easier situation for me to deal with when swapping out hard drives. There may be issues with the board you are using, but I would have to see a trend before blaming UEFI.


Laptop: Alienware 14 : Intel i7 4700mq : 8GB ram : Nvidia GTX 765 : 256GB Plextor M3 : 1080P IPS display

Test rig: AMD Phenom X4 955 @ 4.0Ghz : MSI 970A-G46 : 8GB Ram : 128GB Plextor M5s : 2x AMD 5770's (Flashed to 6770) : PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 : Pioneer BR

Hackintosh : Gigabyte GA-H61m : Intel Celeron @ 3Ghz : 8GB ram : EVGA GTX 550Ti : Patriot Torx 2 64GB : Silverstone Strider ES-50 : OSX Mavericks

 


#11 OldPhil

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 10:54 AM

It is obvious most of you are way ahead of me!!  I am also running a GA-Z77X-UD5H/i5 3750 2 sticks of Mushkin DDR3 12800 ram just loaded up two days ago, I used the default bios setting due to the prior owner having it clocked a bit high I just hit the switch and left it.  Dumb me did not at the time to research the proper settings for SSD, I need to redo it with AHCI as my boot time is 27 seconds.  I went over everything I could find and it should full boot in 11 seconds, UEFI slows it down also set to AHCI Win7 does all the necessary tweaks for you which I did manually.  I ended up with this machine by accident, I was shopping for a lesser new machine with a warranty, got poking around Ebay and now it is here!  I will be watching for tips from you smarter guys, I think we need a pinned topic on SSD to help me and others.  These drives super potential that many will not realize without help.

 

Phil   


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#12 davnel

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:18 AM

Phil:

I'm not quite sure where you got that time figure. I have the same board, running stock with an i7-3770 and 32GB DDR3-1600. My new SSD, on a SATA II port does a full boot to final desktop (that's when the disk activity drops to the once-per-second "heartbeat") in 27 seconds from reset, with three seconds to present and select the OS. It's possible it might go a little faster if I use a SATA III port, but 27 seconds is blinding, considering the whirlydisk time was 2:40. I'm using a BP4-240 mSATA drive in the on-board socket, which is SATA II port 5.

 

As a suggestion, plug in all drives, get into Setup, and set the Optimized Defaults. You will have to go back and set up boot order, etc., but most operational settings will be good.

 

 

I agree about the SSD forum. We need one.



#13 OldPhil

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:30 AM

Curious did you set it to AHCI?


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#14 davnel

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:33 AM

OK, what, specifically, happens when you change the boot disk to another size/type and reboot? I've found that, if I use drives  of the same make and model, that most of the time it boots fine. If I change from eg. a 500GB disk to a 320, even with the same OS, boot mostly fails until I go into setup and correct the boot order. What's your experience?

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#15 davnel

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:44 AM

Phil:

SATA channels 0 through 5 are set to IDE, legacy, 6 thru 9 are set to AHCI because I use them as hot-swap channels. I don't believe I can just switch 0-5 to AHCI without reinstalling Windows (or Linux). I will admit I have NOT tried any of that. Also, my disks are all MBR, not GPT (except an 8TB eSATA external I'm using), for whatever difference that might make.

 

I could practically write an ASCII (traditional) BIOS. I will admit that UEFI has me totally snowed. Also, the consensus out here is that Nobody understands the UEFI spec well enough to write a good BIOS from it. It should get a lot better when they do.






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