10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2011 5:50 PM by Christopher Murphy
Albert Trub Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
If anyone owns one of the new MacBook Pro's that just came out, can you check whether they have upgraded to UEFI 2.x?

The reason why I am asking is because I would like to see if it would be possible to dual-boot Windows with AHCI support. When using Boot Camp, Apple configures the BC partition to run in proprietary BIOS mode as well as shuts off AHCI support. Windows Vista supports EFI boot starting with SP1 as does Windows 7; however, it needs UEFI 2.x. Earlier MBP models only have EFI 1.x which do not allow this. There is a way to hack the boot sector to enable AHCI, but I would not rather go that route as it introduces some unpleasant side effects.

If Apple upgraded these new MBP's to UEFI 2.x, perhaps native AHCI support would finally be possible. I know most of the Sandy Bridge motherboards out there support UEFI now. Wonder if Apple followed the trend.

MacBook Pro (April 2010), Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • jbowcott Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I too would really like to know this.
    Installing and booting Windows 7 natively using EFI should allow me to choose which GPU I want to use, so I can take advantage of QuickSync (H264 encoder) in the Intel HD 3000.

    Is there a way to find out the EFI version on the system?
    If not, could I just pop in a Windows 7 disc, try the EFI boot option and hope for the best?
  • Albert Trub Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Testing it with Windows 7 DVD would work, but you need to make sure that it is the 64-bit version. Windows supported UEFI starting with Vista SP1; however, 32-bit versions do not support it.

    From what I have read in blogs, some people tried it on older MBP's. You need to make sure that Boot Camp is not enabled (if it is, it will do a BIOS boot for anything other than Mac OS X). Once that is set, hold down Option key when booting, along with Macintosh HD it is supposed to show you 2 additional options: Windows and Windows EFI boot. The ones who tried it on older MBP's said that it started booting but froze somewhere through the process, probably due to the fact that EFI is older version (1.x). So my guess is that if UEFI is there, boot will go through and you should get to the part where Windows setup asks you what partition/drive you want to install Windows on.

    Since no one has responded, I am seriously contemplating going to one of Apple stores and testing this theory (of course, this will get me kicked out if they catch me). I'm not planning to format the store machines with Windows though, if I get to drive selection screen, I will just cancel out, reboot it back to OS X and might just buy it.
  • Side_Step_Society Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
    I'd also like to know if it's using UEFI. Would love to see Windows booting as fast as OS X, even though it's still pretty quick right now.
  • jbowcott Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    You are absolutely correct.

    Im sure if you ask nicely at the store (and hint that you may be buying) they wouldn't mind you trying the Windows disc. Just make sure if it does work you definitely cancel :P

    As you said, currently on all other Macs (including mine) doing the EFI boot on Windows 7 64-bit will freeze at the 'Loading files' stage (i.e. before the Windows logo). If it gets past that, then its definitely got EFI 2.0+, or the EFI has been updated with features required by Windows.

    I don't have one myself but I am considering buying one. It would be nice to know the EFI version though (so it can be an all-in-one replacement for my Windows desktop).

    P.S. I wouldn't get your hopes up though. If it had been updated I think we would of heard more about it (i.e. "Boot Camp no longer required by 2011 MBP" etc.)
  • jbowcott Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I tried it at my local Apple store and sure enough it looks like it doesnt have UEFI. EFI Boot wouldnt even work.

    I spoke to an Apple genius about it and he asked a tech person on the phone. Seems that UEFI isn't on Macs because the mac hardware does not conform to the UEFI standards, which were designed for PC's.

    I did some research and apparently Apple dont even use standard EFI 1.x, its EFI 1.10 plus some UEFI 2.0 bits.

    So we are stuck with BIOS under Boot Camp untill someone figures out a way to emulate UEFI in a rEFIt kind of way.
  • Albert Trub Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    That truly *****. Not sure what exactly you mean by "Mac hardware does not conform to UEFI standards". I always thought that for all intents and purposes, the latest Macs are Intel machines. Of course, Apple customizes EFI with their branding/logos, etc. as well as includes some kind of Fritz Chip/TPM module that ID's them as Macs. This is a mechanism that OS X uses to prevent you from booting/installing it on non-Macs. Every time it boots, it looks for that module, and if it doesn't find it, it will give you an error and refuse to go forward.

    With that in mind, does anyone know if Boot Camp included with new MBP's includes AHCI support. Once again, I have a reason for asking that. Previously, BC supported Windows XP, so my guess was that disabling AHCI was done to maintain compatibility as XP does not support it out of the box. There was a way to enable it, either via F6 during setup and providing a disk or installing it in legacy IDE mode, hacking registry and then enabling AHCI mode. However, this would be way too complicated for regular Joe Schmoes, so I see a reason why Apple left AHCI out.

    However, as I was reading support articles for new MBP's, I've noticed that Apple dropped BC support for XP. Vista (and obviously 7) detect and support AHCI devices right out of the box, so with that in mind I am wondering if Boot Camp keeps AHCI enabled on new MBP's given that they no longer have to worry about XP users. If anyone owns a new MBP and can check that, that would be greatly appreciated.
  • jbowcott Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Albert Trub wrote:
    Not sure what exactly you mean by "Mac hardware does not conform to UEFI standards".

    Well that's not what he said, but it was the gist of what he was trying to tell me.

    I do agree with what you said about it being standard Intel hardware.

    I guess Apple could do it, but only if it made sense for them to do so. If Windows 8 drops BIOS support, which seems unlikely, then they would do an update.

    Now AHCI, that is an issue, especially now many of us are using SSD's in our Macs.
    I dont know if the EFI now does AHCI natively for Boot Camp, but a quick Google search suggests that there are ways and workarounds to get it to work on older models.

    I appreciate that this is all guess work and not entirely helpful, but I plan on buying one this week so I will be posting my findings.
  • Fugitive Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    I see discussion about Boot Camp but I should mention that you don't need Boot Camp to install Windows. You could walk into any Apple Store and pop a Windows CD/DVD into a machine and install Windows onto a machine natively. Later on you'd just need to find the drivers for full support of all the devices. For dual boot Boot Camp provides an interface to native OS X capabilities to re-partition the drive, and it also supplies the drivers to easily get all your devices to work in Windows.
  • Christopher Murphy Level 3 Level 3 (555 points)
    rEFIt reports the following for a Macbook Pro 8,2. very disappointing. I could f'n care less about BIOS emulation or Windows. Could we please joint the modern era Apple? This EFI version is ancient and non-standard.

    EFI Revision 1.10
    Platform: x86_64 (64 bit)
    Firmware: Apple 1.10
    Screen Output: Graphics Output (UEFI), 1680 x 1050
  • Christopher Murphy Level 3 Level 3 (555 points)
    So the bottom line answer to this question is, the new MBPs use EFI 1.1, not UEFI 2.x. And this is a problem for EFI booting Windows 7 as well as (U)EFI booting pretty much any other OS out there other than Mac OS X.

    So EFI is for Apple, and BIOS is for everyone else. Which irks me because Apple would have better compatibility had they stuck with BIOS based hardware until they were ready/willing to go to UEFI. So all this talk about openness and extensibility and benefits of Apple's use of EFI in reality falls flat on its face.

    More:
    http://darobins.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/native-uefi-windows-7-boot-on-mac-mini/