The upgrade path to Ivy Bridge might be blocked by changes to UEFI

More issues with the LGA1155 platform. Seriously, the entire Sandy Bridge line-up must've been a nightmare to market. First the PLL override option, then the B2 sata issue, today the Gen3 debate and now the possible issues with the upgrade path.

Most, if not all motherboard manufacturers have gone out and said that their 6-series Intel chipset motherboards will work with Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processors which are expected to launch sometime in March-April next year. Well, it turns out that even though the hardware might be compatible, there might be a UEFI related issue that will prevent many motherboards from ever accepting an Ivy Bridge CPU.

According to our sources, Intel will for example have to do a factory re-work on its own brand motherboards for Ivy Bridge support to be possible, as apparently a clean wipe of the Flash ROM on the motherboard is required to upgrade to the new UEFI version. This is something that apparently can't be done either by the end user or a service location. What we don't know is if this applies to all motherboards, or if this is an issue unique to Intel.

This is bad news for anyone that's been looking at upgrading to Ivy Bridge while keeping their old motherboard, but there's a potential glimmer of hope. On motherboards with a pair of BIOS chips, it should be possible to perform the UEFI upgrade by first flashing the secondary BIOS chip and then the primary one. That said, this would be up to the specific motherboard manufacturer to enable this process for the end users and even in this case, we're not certain if it'll work with all motherboards.

Intel is also looking at adding a wide range of new additions to its own UEFI setup and we should be seeing a graphical UEFI interface for Intel's own brand motherboards towards the middle of next year. So far, Intel has stuck with a very basic text based UEFI interface that didn't look much different from its BIOS interface. The UEFI standard will also move towards version 2.3.1 come next year and it'll add support for IPv6 and option ROMs for native UEFI boot from third storage controllers.

Some of the UEFI changes will also depend on the Windows 8 requirements and as such some things are still not set in stone. In the near future, a lot of the legacy features currently present will have been removed from the UEFI, as newer operating systems won't be relying on the legacy features. That said, this will also force users to upgrade to a newer OS, like it or not, as older operating systems simply won't work with future UEFI versions. Even Windows 7 requires some of these legacy features to be present, so once we to Intel's Haswell processors, we'll most likely not see support for Windows 7 due to these changes.

For now though, let's hope that the motherboard makers can solve the current issue at hand or that they'll at least allow for some kind of upgrade program where motherboards can be sent in for a UEFI re-flash or some kind. We can see this causing quite a stir and even a potential law suit or two where companies have promised support for Ivy Bridge, despite not being able to deliver it in the end.

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