PBIOS

A snapshot from USB floppy boot on our PX30 platform.

Introduction

PBIOS was written from the ground up for use in embedded applications. The design was focused on performance, quality and compatibility. The setup screen was skipped in favour of automatic hardware detection in order to better fit a typical embedded application.


A lot of development effort has been spent into reducing the BIOS start up time. The BIOS will not spend time showing fancy graphics or execute any unnecessary hardware tests and initializations. PBIOS executes the mandatory POST (Power On Self Test) process, but keeps the tests and initializations to a minimum.


The POST is executed differently during hard reset (power on or reset button) and soft reset (CTRL+ALT+DEL or CPU shutdown). When the BIOS starts from a hard reset, hardware needs to be fully tested and initialized, since it has been reset to the default settings. When starting the BIOS from a soft reset, a minimum POST processing is executed, since hardware is already tested from the last hard reset. PBIOS excels in start up times during soft resets.


Customization

PBIOS can be tailored for a customer platform upon request. The BIOS is very modular and the usual needs by a customer board can often be put together by the standard modules. The standard modules supports the following features:


  • Up to 2 IDE channels for hard drives, CD-ROMS etc. (i.e. up to 4 devices)
  • 2 floppy drives (360KB, 720KB, 1.2MB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB)
  • Emulated floppy drive in flash memory (same sizes as above)
  • Emulated hard drive in flash memory
  • Emulated floppy drive on CD-ROM (El Torito CD-ROM boot standard)
  • Emulated hard drive on CD-ROM (El Torito CD-ROM boot standard)
  • Emulated hard drive on USB, EMMC and SD CARD
  • VGA graphics on either ISA or PCI bus
  • Keyboard and/or display emulation on VT100 compatible terminals
  • Keyboard (for boards equipped with keyboard and/or USB controller)
  • Mouse (for boards equipped with keyboard and/or USB controller)


The features above can be combined to fit most boards and custom features can be ordered on request.

 

Boot process

PBIOS has very flexible boot options. The BIOS disk services API (INT 13h) supports extended disk functions (41h – 50h) and implements the full El Torito CD-ROM boot standard.


The BIOS can boot from the following sources:


  • Flash memory (emulated floppy or hard drive)
  • CD-ROM (emulated floppy, hard drive or direct boot with no drive emulation)
  • DVD or Blueray (same configurations as CD-ROM)
  • Floppy drive (360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M, 2.88M)
  • Hard drive
  • USB thumb drive
  • EMMC or SD CARD
  • Expansion rom


Other tailor made boot sources can be added on request from customer.


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