[coreboot] "How come it's so slow?"

Ed Swierk eswierk at aristanetworks.com
Tue Mar 9 17:32:15 CET 2010

On Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 8:58 AM, ron minnich <rminnich at gmail.com> wrote:
> Just got a new nehalem box in for test yesterday. Experiences so far:
> 1. POST from power-on takes 45 seconds. *45 SECONDS*. Now, I had it
> said to me at SCALE7x last year from someone from Intel that all new
> BIOSes on Intel chips are really EFI underneath -- is this indicative
> of what we are to expect? If so, it's awful. It's 15 times slower than
> what we had ten years ago, and 50 times slower than what we can do
> today on coreboot.

As far as I can tell the sole purpose of EFI is to make it easier for
hardware vendors to shovel more junk into the BIOS by removing the
hurdle of hand-coding 16-bit assembly.

But while EFI might accelerate the trend, it's not the only villain.
Someone noticed a 9x growth in boot time on qemu recently
(http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/qemu-devel/2010-03/msg00546.html ).
Even on a virtual platform with no actual hardware to initialize, boot
time will grow unless someone is actively pushing the other way.

Ultimately the system board vendors are responsible for the BIOS in
the boards we buy. They are the ones cutting deals with Intel and AMI
and Phoenix, and can exert the necessary leverage. But they won't,
until they see 1-second cold boot as a feature that will sell more


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