Bellevue, WA -- (press release excerpt) -- Embedded software vendor General Software, Inc. claims to have demonstrated the world's fastest PC BIOS boot time on record. According to an announcement issued today, a Pentium III processor-based embedded system was clocked at 0.8 seconds from system power-on to transfer of control to the Linux OS LILO component. The demonstration ran on an Intel SOYO motherboard with an Intel 440BX chipset and 400Mhz Pentium III processor. It employed General Software's Embedded BIOS 4.3 firmware, which had been specially configured to eliminate superfluous activities commonly performed by desktop PC BIOSes.
They accomplished this quick boot time by disabling standard Embedded BIOS configurable features. The adaptation included disabling memory count-up, banners, and various POST status messages; using the "quick" memory test, which scans only the first word of each 1KB unit of memory during the memory test; and disabling floppy and hard disk seeks during POST. In addition, General Software's engineers optimized the memory sizing further by adding custom code in the SOYO BIOS adaptation Board Personality Module: they enabled shadow memory at the earliest possible time allowed by the board's design (rather than use the generic but safe non-optimized code).
"This adaptation is typical of BIOS adaptation activities performed by an embedded computer equipment ODM or OEM," according to Steve Jones, General Software's President and CTO. "Commonly, a BIOS adaptation project begins when the customer selects an Intel reference design with Embedded BIOS pre-installed on it. The OEM uses the reference design to prove-out all the software that will be used in the final customer hardware. Once that's done, the OEM uses the Embedded BIOS Adaptation Kit and the board and chipset personality modules (for Intel's 440BX chipset and the reference board), and builds the exact same BIOS that General Software supplied to Intel for its board. From there, adaptation is straightforward, with successive approximation of features until the BIOS is fully optimized for the embedded application," Jones said.
General Software's Embedded BIOS quick-boot operation allows the device to restart and resume operations well within three seconds-the maximum amount of downtime allowed per year for a device that must support "seven nines" or 99.99999 percent uptime.
So what about MB/proc/ram/HDD combos. I would think the most vairance would come in at mb selection as once it clears POST, it's all about throughput from the hdd. That's where the Windows tweakes come in. But what about the actual MB itself? Is there one out there (or one chipset) that's really faster than the others?