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#1 2012-11-14 18:30:03

frayedknot
Member
Registered: 2012-11-14
Posts: 4

UEFI Motherboard

Hello.  I have a very newbie question regarding UEFI and installing arch.  I'm not new to Linux at all or Arch for that matter, but I have gotten out of touch a bit with newer hardware.  I recently purchased an Asrock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 motherboard and my main question is do I need to create a seperate UEFI boot partition (as the guide directs if you have UEFI)

I admit that I don't know anything about UEFI.  My understanding is that is the newer "standard" that replaces the BIOS.  I guess my first question is, does it co-exist with the BIOS?  Do I have both a BIOS and UEFI?  I apologize if these are ridiculous questions.

Secondly, and most importantly, do I need to follow the special UEFI steps or is using UEFI an option?

Thank you in advanced for helping out.  Again, I hope my questions make sense.

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#2 2012-11-14 20:03:05

graysky
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From: The worse toilet in Scotland
Registered: 2008-12-01
Posts: 8,647
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Re: UEFI Motherboard

If you want to boot with UEFI, yes.  If your board supported legacy 'bios' mode then no.


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#3 2012-11-14 20:05:05

frayedknot
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Registered: 2012-11-14
Posts: 4

Re: UEFI Motherboard

Thanks for the reply.  Could you tell my why I would want to boot with UEFI?

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#4 2012-11-14 20:18:57

Morn
Member
Registered: 2012-09-02
Posts: 350

Re: UEFI Motherboard

frayedknot wrote:

Thanks for the reply.  Could you tell my why I would want to boot with UEFI?

Unless you have a hard drive with more then 2,000 GB or you need the ability to create lots of partitions, AFAIK there's not much reason to use UEFI. My 2012 PC came pre-configured with BIOS and the old-fashioned kind of partition table with four primary partitions. Macs use UEFI by default though.

Last edited by Morn (2012-11-14 20:19:23)

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#5 2012-11-14 21:21:13

89c51
Member
Registered: 2012-06-05
Posts: 674

Re: UEFI Motherboard

frayedknot wrote:

Thanks for the reply.  Could you tell my why I would want to boot with UEFI?

Bypass GRUB maybe? (or any other bootloader for the matter)

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#6 2012-11-14 21:28:26

DSpider
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From: Romania
Registered: 2009-08-23
Posts: 2,273

Re: UEFI Motherboard

UEFI was developed for a reason. It has its advantages over the standard BIOS that was used in computers for over 20-something years. If you have a newer motherboards that supports UEFI, I say go for it.


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#7 2012-11-14 21:41:27

Morn
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Registered: 2012-09-02
Posts: 350

Re: UEFI Motherboard

89c51 wrote:
frayedknot wrote:

Thanks for the reply.  Could you tell my why I would want to boot with UEFI?

Bypass GRUB maybe? (or any other bootloader for the matter)

From what I've seen of the EFI shell on the Mac, it seems to be more primitive than GRUB 2. So I'm not sure if ditching GRUB is a very compelling reason.

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#8 2012-11-14 22:08:50

frayedknot
Member
Registered: 2012-11-14
Posts: 4

Re: UEFI Motherboard

89c51 wrote:
frayedknot wrote:

Thanks for the reply.  Could you tell my why I would want to boot with UEFI?

Bypass GRUB maybe? (or any other bootloader for the matter)

So with UEFI I don't need a bootloader?

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#9 2012-11-14 22:13:41

Morn
Member
Registered: 2012-09-02
Posts: 350

Re: UEFI Motherboard

Well, technically you still need the UEFI bootloader, but the kernel can perform that task itself: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/UEFI_Bootloaders

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#10 2012-11-14 22:19:11

89c51
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Registered: 2012-06-05
Posts: 674

Re: UEFI Motherboard

frayedknot wrote:
89c51 wrote:
frayedknot wrote:

Thanks for the reply.  Could you tell my why I would want to boot with UEFI?

Bypass GRUB maybe? (or any other bootloader for the matter)

So with UEFI I don't need a bootloader?


Pretty much yes. In my motherboard -when the Intel firmware people get it to work properly- you create entries with efibootmgr (or bcfg if you work from a UEFI shell) and have them appear on the boot menu where you choose what to boot. In essence it has a bootloader (or bootmanager???) built in.

There are things like gummyboot and refind but i have no idea whats their purpose. hmm

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#11 2012-11-14 23:08:10

WonderWoofy
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From: Los Gatos, CA
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 8,412

Re: UEFI Motherboard

I used to use gummiboot (it stopped working when i switched hard drives... don't know why) and it was pretty awesome.  It is techinally a boot manager, as you then are able to boot the kernel using efi stubloader.  But it allows you to have boot selections (obviously) as well as edit your kernel command line before booting.  When you use an efibootmgr entry, you cannot change this on the fly before booting.  At least, with my machine you cannot, and I have not come across a machine that will.  If you set gummiboot's timeout to zero, or omit the setting completely, it will boot straight into your default selection.  If you want to boot something else, or change your kernel command line, you just mash the spacebar when the computer is transitioning from POST to gummiboot, and it gives you the menu that you would see if you were to set a timeout.  It is super convenient.

So now I just use an efibootmgr entry.  Then I put the UEFI Shell in the /EFI/boot/bootx64.efi spot, so that I can boot to the shell by selecting my hard drive to boot from.  Then I can boot with custom kernel parameters from there.  This came in super handy yesterday when I was changing something in the bios.  F10 saves and F9 resets the bios to defaults.  I accidnely hit F9 and whoops... there go all my efibootmgr entries.  Luckily I had the uefi shell in the right place and was able to boot from there.

rEFInd is like gummiboot, but is all pretty and stuff.  Gummiboot is just simple text... white lettering on the black background.  I like simple, so that was my choice.

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#12 2012-11-14 23:16:50

bsilbaugh
Member
From: Maryland, USA
Registered: 2011-11-15
Posts: 141

Re: UEFI Motherboard

Just in case you haven't seen this: Arch Wiki UEFI. I think it answers most of your basic questions: What is UEFI? How does it work? Should I use it? You can also read the official docs from Intel here, which also explains some of the basic motivation for depreciating BIOS in favor of EFI.

I also found the rEFInd docs to be quite useful when I was trying to get my head wrapped around UEFI/EFI, and getting Arch setup on my MacBook. I think it's worth reading even if you don't use rEFInd in the end.

If you have a UEFI motherboard, my recommendation would be to embrace UEFI and at least try to get it to work. Right now, we're in a transition period where UEFI "feels" awkward and clumsy because it's new. I think a lot of people like BIOS simply because it's familiar to them, and they feel competent using it.

Last edited by bsilbaugh (2012-11-14 23:18:06)


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#13 2012-11-14 23:24:49

frayedknot
Member
Registered: 2012-11-14
Posts: 4

Re: UEFI Motherboard

Thanks a lot everyone for all your replies!  For some reason, I totally neglected to read the UEFI Arch Wiki sad

I will play around with my install and give it a shot.

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#14 2012-11-14 23:30:23

WonderWoofy
Member
From: Los Gatos, CA
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 8,412

Re: UEFI Motherboard

I think it should also be noted that it is entirely possible to set up UEFI and then also install a traditional bios bootloader as well.  The two use entirely separate areas of the hard drive to do their work, so they do not conflict whatsoever.  I actually use UEFI, but keep syslinux installed just in case I do something stoooopid like my example above. 

I figure I should also second bsilbaugh's recommendation of reading the rEFInd docs.  Actually, I think I would moreso recommend that you simply explore the rodsbooks site.  Rod Smith seems to know an awful lot about UEFI and has done the awesome deed of compiling his collected knowledge and posting it all on his web page. 

UEFI is the future.  The legacy bios system is stable and works, but has been around for around thirty years now.  Times are a-changin' and our systems now load much more data than the tiny MBR allows.  Plus, booting with only the kernel can be much faster than booting into a bootloader which in turn boots in to the kernel.  I think I am now at the point where my POST takes about as long as my boot... maybe longer.

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#15 2012-11-14 23:57:08

89c51
Member
Registered: 2012-06-05
Posts: 674

Re: UEFI Motherboard

WonderWoofy wrote:

UEFI is the future.  The legacy bios system is stable and works, but has been around for around thirty years now.  Times are a-changin' and our systems now load much more data than the tiny MBR allows.  Plus, booting with only the kernel can be much faster than booting into a bootloader which in turn boots in to the kernel.  I think I am now at the point where my POST takes about as long as my boot... maybe longer.

Wish coreboot was widely supported. sad  But noone cares about linux that much so we can have it as an option on of the shelf HW.

Also the parameter thing you mention on the previous post will get better once we get kernel 3.7(?) where the linux.conf file is supported. Not as good as on the fly changes but better than creating new entries each time.

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#16 2012-11-15 02:55:48

WonderWoofy
Member
From: Los Gatos, CA
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 8,412

Re: UEFI Motherboard

Yeah, when I first started figuring out UEFI and the efistub in particular, the wiki indicated that the linux.conf feature was slated to be with 3.6.  Now it is 3.7, and I haven't heard any news regarding this now that 3.7 rc4 has been released... so maybe it is now 3.8?  I'm not too sure, but I'm not holding my breath.  I figure I have a working system up and running, and that is enough for me.

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#17 2012-11-16 00:29:33

cfr
Member
From: Cymru
Registered: 2011-11-27
Posts: 5,675

Re: UEFI Motherboard

Another reason may be that you want to use a GPT partition map and that your firmware doesn't like GPT+BIOS for some reason.


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#18 2012-11-16 18:16:00

KairiTech
Member
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-04
Posts: 231

Re: UEFI Motherboard

Here's my script that ignores GRUB entirely and uses the STUB kernel as its own bootloader.

It also uses LVM2 volumes on a LUKS encrypted RAID0 array. Might be overkill for what you want but it should give you a reasonably good idea of how to install a pure UEFI Arch once you have your hardware configured your way.

Last edited by KairiTech (2012-11-16 18:16:27)


-=[ LIVE enabled UEFI with redundant syslinux pure systemd detached LUKS header partitionless encrypted GPT SSDx3 RAID0 because I can.  ]=-

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